A Typical British Spring

So the snows have gone; crampons, ice axes, and screws have been packed away and bruised knuckles have healed. The question arises, what to do next?

Fortunately, in Britain when winter has finished we still have a wealth of adventurous mountaineering to look forward to. From the two-day traverse of Skye’s Cuillin Ridge to the intimidating sea cliffs of Gogarth there is plenty to go at.

This year Scotland and the Lakes were blessed with much warm sunshine and dry weather bringing the crags into condition before the arrival of the dreaded midge. With one team, I visited High Crag in Buttermere. This forgotten valley is not actually much further to drive to than Borrowdale and solitude on the crags is almost guaranteed. The high crag is an excellent crag up to three pitches high with an abseil descent or walk-off with many routes to go at predominately in the VS to E1 range including Delilah, Gethsemane, and the three-star classic High Crag Buttress which climbs the obvious Skull-like feature on the crag.

On another trip, we visited Glen Clova in the Southern Cairngorms. This beautiful Glen has a wealth of climbing in both the summer and winter across the grade range. The summer rock climbs have a distinctly mountain feel despite the approach walk being generally less than ten minutes. The routes vary from one to four pitches, ranging from Moderate to E6, and most are generally on excellent granite. A great place to spend a couple of days!

Unfortunately, living in Britain and with most of our weather coming from the west we do get our own fair share of the rain. But not to worry, when this does happen there are still hundreds of mountains to walk up and scrambles and easy rock climbs that are still possible. This spring with a very fit group from a local council I headed up to Kintail in North West Scotland. Over a period of four days, we completed fourteen Munros the highlight of which was the Forcan Ridge and Saddle which is an excellent scramble with some fine exposed sections.

In conclusion, the British springtime can provide as much adventure and excitement as the winter or the summer come rain or come shine.

Euan Whittaker
Aug 2006

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