Torridon – Diabaig and Inveralligin Sea-Cliff

We’d visited the fabulous gneiss seacliffs at Diabaig a few years ago, and picked off the plumb lines on The Pillar, including the eponymous 4* E2.

It’s a charming little hamlet on a natural harbour, a winding 10 miles or so from the end of Loch Torridon, and well off the tourist trail.

This time we followed the unlikely coast path (“Precipitous Path”) over The Pillar and around the corner to the Main Cliff – and indeed the main attraction at Diabaig.

This 70m slabby wall of gneiss is home to not one, but two 4* routes: Route 2, HVS 5a, takes the obvious crack that runs the full height of the crag (about 5m left of Helen in the photo above) and Northumberland Wall, E2 5c, follows the short corner, roof, and thin zigzagging crack (immediately above Helen). Both excellent, and didn’t feel like giveaways at the grades (rose-tinted hindsight suggested that the Pillar routes had seemed pretty okay). A bonus is that you can descend by abseil (60m ropes get you all the way down, but with 50s there’s a new, and apparently very contentious, bolted rap station at the mid height ledge). Also worth knowing is that this new rap station ISN’T in the same position as marked on the topo and therefore CAN’T be used to strip gear from the first pitch of Northumberland Wall or The Black Streak.

Here’s a shot from the stance on Route 2.

We finished off with Foil, VS 5a, a better route than its solitary star suggests, with a fun move through the obvious roof (Helen is rapping down the line in the photo below).

Yet another prime van spot at the viewpoint beneath Beinn Alligin, looking out over Beinn Eighe and Liathac.

From the celebrated to the obscure, we checked out the seacliffs at Inveralligin the next day.

Highly featured sandstone on a scale of a Peak outcrop, but in stunning Highland scenery with waves lapping at your toes – escoteric but also quite enchanting. With no guidebook or mobile signal, we managed to cobble together enough info from UKC via a “borrowed” sniff of BT WiFi to supplement some guesswork / judgement, and we think we did: Cranium, VS

… Small Pocks, E1, Shakey Spider and Post Op (both Severe). All good fun and not to be underestimated at the grade – especially the mossy top out on Cranium.

Perhaps not a destination crag, but we stumbled across the “voluntary donations welcome” campsite kindly provided by the Inveralligin Grazings Committee which delivers a winning combo if visiting Diabaig!

7pm and it’s 19C (though that did prompt the first midge of the trip) – what a difference a day makes!

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