With the fabulous weather forecast to continue for a few more days we decided to explore another bit of the coastline, and head 50 miles (and about 3 hours!) further south to Gairloch (passing a very pleasant night at a viewpoint overlooking Quinag and following England’s penalty shootout victory on a whif of mobile data!)
Gairloch has some notable high mountain crags, including Carnmore Crag, famed for Dragon, Gob, and Fionn Buttress, but a 4-hour walk in. Happily for us, it also has a bunch of very accessible cragging on a couple of dozen “roadside” crags. The first one you encounter driving from the north is Jetty Crag – this really IS roadside, about 2 minutes stroll from the van, sunny and quick drying too (though that’s not an issue at the moment!)
More stunning views over Gruinard Bay
We did the crag classic Anthrax Flake and its neighbour, Charlie’s Corner, both good VSs.
… before deciding to explore the area further and make it a two-crag day. A couple of miles further south is Goat Crag, a contender for Scotland’s current sports climbing Mecca and therefore a complete contrast!
It doesn’t look much from the road, but the 10 minutes walk (read Bracken Thrash – it’s obviously been a good year for bracken!) brings a mightily impressive wall into view. The immaculate steep wall is home to not just one, but two routes that get the **** accolade. The overhanging prow is the unimaginatively named The Prow, 7c+, and the wall just to the left is Mac Talla, 7b, and variously hailed as “the best route in Wester Ross” and “the best 7b in the UK”. It seemed rude not to have a go, so I fired up the opening moves without much expectation of success. After some really interesting (and testing) moves I was surprised and pleased to still be in contact with the rock at about 2/3 height, before finally running out of steam. One to come back for!
There are also a handful of easier routes, including this improbable 5a Poster Boy.
After a so so meal in the Poolewe hotel, we headed another couple of miles down the road and found yet another splendid overnighting spot, this one even had a loch-side sunbathing deck!