Rock Climbing in Scotland

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Tom Smith blog writter
Tom Smith
Published: 07/04/2020
Updated: 1/06/2021

The UK is far from the biggest place in the world and our mountains may seem tiny in comparison with the Alps and the greater ranges. What we do have though for such a small area is a wealth of different rock types and locations, all of which give the rock climbing in the UK a very special feel.

Here in Fort William on the West coast of Scotland is no exception, within a short drive of Fort William I can climb on over 12 different rock types in several different and equally special and beautiful locations. With Polldubh in Glen Nevis five minutes away which offers the most accessible multi-pitch roadside crags in the country to rock climbing on some of Scotland’s most iconic and famous mountain areas like Ben Nevis, Glencoe, Skye and the Cairngorms. If the mountains are wet or you fancy a change of scene, we have the beautiful West coast sea cliffs and crags to climb, which offer a wealth of options. There is something special about climbing above the sea looking out over the Islands of the Inner and Outer Hebrides with Eagles soaring overhead whilst Dolphins, Seals and Whales play in the water beneath you.

At Kirkhope Mountaineering we are based in such an amazing location to be able to take advantage of some of the best that Scotland has to offer. Our Rock Climbing Courses and Guided Rock Climbing can take place across the region from Learning to lead Courses and Introduction to Rock Climbing Courses based at Polldudh in Glen Nevis. These easily accessible Mica Schist crags offer a wealth of low to mid-grade multi-pitch routes that are ideal for getting to grips with the basic skills of Rock Climbing. If you are on a multi-day course we can afford to spend some time travelling so as to give you an opportunity to put some of your new skills to use on a variety of crags to help you consolidate your learning.

If you are looking for a Guided Rock Climbing experience then the world famous Glencoe can offer you some amazing routes on it’s notorious mountains that stand over the glen. Hanging off a rock face above the world beneath as the tourists carry on about their business enjoying their drive along the A82, made famous from the James Bond film, Skyfall.

Ardnamurchan is the most westerly mainland point of the United Kingdom and is a special place to climb. Here you can enjoy the friction of one of the grippiest rocks I have ever climbed on, not only that but these crags are what is left of an ancient volcano, just one of many that used to make up the West coast of Scotland. Here you are very unlikely to see anyone else at the crags and you will only be sharing the rock with the Sheep, deer and Eagles, soaring above.

Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the United Kingdom and is world-renowned for its Winter Climbing, but these massive cliffs also offer fantastic Rock Climbing in the late summer months and mountaineering, year-round. Classic easier routes are Tower Ridge, Observatory Ridge, North East Buttress, and Raeburn’s Arete. Other more challenging classics are Centurion and The Bullroar on Cairn Dearg Buttress and the Long Climb and Minus 1 Direct over on the Orion Face and Minus Face.

The Weather on the West Coast of Scotland can be changeable but with a bit of flexibility and a passion for adventure you can find yourself somewhere to climb most days, with everyday being different to the last. I have climbed in many places across Europe, but Scotland is still one of the best places I have ever climbed, and it makes me glad that I can call it home.

Winter Mountaineering Courses
Winter Mountaineering Courses

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About the author
Tom Smith blog writter
Tom Smith
Tom Smith is a content writer, translator, educator and lyricist. He is also a passionate traveller and explorer of the human condition. Tom works and lives in Ljubljana.

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