Dallen’s Rock – a very handy microcrag

Craigallan, The Rucksack Club’s Scottish hut, is a fabulous base for exploring the finest mountain crags in Lochaber (and therefore Britain?) Strategically situated overlooking Loch Linnie, it’s just twenty minutes from Glencoe and half an hour from The Ben. There’s a lifetime of climbing on each, of course, but options run a bit thin on those (admittedly very rare occasions) when the clag is down, the sky is threatening and it’s drizzling. Given the unlikelyhood of such weather it’s surprising that the Scots have a special word for it: Dreich.

It was just such a day when Helen and I were looking to break the journey from The Peak to Skye (Craigallan is also a perfect overnight stop – 6 hours from home) and were delving into the wisdom of the web for inspiration. What we needed was a low-lying, roadside sports crag with a sunny aspect – added bonus points for quality climbing, good bolting, decent rock and an attractive outlook. UKC’s “crag map” threw up https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/dallens_rock-16754#maps, less than 15mins down the road, which definitely looked to be worth a recce…

You catch sight of the crag as you round a bend on the A828 coast road, opposite Shuna Island, and there’s parking on the left on a disused stump of road outside Appin Lodge.

To access the crag you stroll a few hundred metres along the road until just beyond the crag then head up through the remains of a recently felled rhododendron jungle aiming to pass to the right hand side of a wooden pylon

There is actually a bit of a trod beneath the giant bracken,

followed by a zigzag path up to the foot of the crag – about 10 minutes from the car if you get it right…

The rock is a sharp, blocky quartzite – sounder than it looks, and makes for fun, juggy climbing. There are only 4 bolt lines, all 6a / 6a+ (and a 5th route which meanders between these) so it’s only a couple of hours worth – but that’s 4 more routes than we’d have got done anywhere else in the vicinity given the weather. Here’s me on the left hand line: Cassandra, 6a.

There are names, grades and descriptions at the UKC link above, and here’s a bit of a makeshift topo (not that you really need it).

Be sure to look over your shoulder for the great views, before lowering off.

It’s not going to overtake Slime Wall or Carn Dearg in the “Finest Crag” league table, but for a quick hit on a dodgy day, or to break a journey, it’s a great little find. Highly recommended!

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