Gallanach Crags, Oban

Here’s another new sport climbing venue that we stumbled across thanks to the UKC “find a crag” map. The Gallanach Crags are just south of Oban looking out over the island of Kerrera and just a few hundred metres north of the tiny Ferry Terminal. It’s a gorgeous spot!

… and super convenient – when it says “roadside” it means it!

These couple of pics are from the top of the crag:

The routes have been mostly put up over the last year or so by Andy Corbe, who we happened to bump into finishing off his latest project. He’s done a great job in terms of the kit he’s used – nicely spaced glue-ins with twin-ring loweroffs. Thanks Andy! The rock is conglomerate with (I’m guessing) a limestone matrix full of water-worn igneous rocks and pebbles. Inevitably, with a new crag of this nature, the routes are still “bedding in” but they’re already more solid than many long-established Peak quarried venues, and with a bit of traffic there should be some real classics.

We started on the Roadside Buttress and worked through the four routes methodically from right to left. The crag faces west and we arrived before the sun had come onto it so it has to be said that our first impressions were damp, midgy and not entirely favourable on the first couple of 6as.

The sun soon came around (about 2ish), the midges and dampness disappeared and we started to appreciate the climbing more.

Like all conglomerate, with no chalk the holds are hard to spot and the grades seemed a bit stiff for an onsight (especially My Button’s Bigger Than Yours, 6b). Here’s what I thought was the pick of the bunch: American Dotard, 6a+

Andy recommended that we check out the sectors a bit further left. Oakley has 4 (maybe more by now!) routes of 6a/+ and Helen did perhaps the second ascent of the rightmost: Pocket Monster, 6a. Great jug-fest up an unlikely wall with remarkably solid holds.

Further right, on sector Church of Bowie, I intended to do the 6c Kilbowie, but sandbagged myself by inadvertently getting on Thin White Teuch, 7a instead – still seemed tough even at that grade (see earlier comments about onsight conglomerate with no chalk). Good though.

All details on UKC at

The roadside sector is really obvious and Oakley and CoB are accessed from a small path starting at a Passing Place sign a couple of hundred metres up the road, skirting right around “The Money Pit” and then back left on a good trod beneath the crag.

That was enough to have worked up a thirst for a quick beer on the beach. Still sizzling at 7pm and a suitable end to our 3 weeks in Scotland. Back for more soon!

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