Petestack Blog

16 October 2010

Tour of Tractorland

Filed under: Climbing,Cycling,Walking — admin @ 2:10 pm

Just back from a wee trip east with Jamie B, with some contrasting climbing at Dunkeld and Ley Quarry sandwiching an ascent of eastmost Munro Mount Keen…

Stopped off at Polney Crag on Thursday to climb Kestrel Crack (Severe), Consolation Corner (V Diff), an approximation to Beech Wall (HS) compromised by wet streaks (the top corner was dripping) and the steeply delightful little gem of Ivy Crack (VS), which I fortunately managed to lead quite nicely under the scrutiny of Graeme Watson and partner, who’d done it just before we got to it.

Next stop Mount Keen, but how to get there when it wasn’t our originally-planned hill day, the 28-year-old map we dug out of my glove compartment neither shows the current main road nor extends far enough north and we were looking for the wrong glen? Try just driving round and round Angus in the dark, marvelling at the number of tractors with trailers on the road (yes, it’s prime farming country) and trying to reconcile the signage with the map till the penny drops and you’re heading up the right glen! After which we dossed for the night before cycling up Glen Mark from the Glen Esk road end, stashing the bikes somewhat prematurely above the Ladder Burn when we started to run into a few gravel traps (turns out we could quite easily have taken them most of the way to the summit) and continuing into the mist and chilly breeze by foot.

Quite a few folk making their way up as we got back to a much busier car park by lunchtime with Jamie determined to squeeze some more climbing out of the journey home. So tried phoning my mate Campbell in Kirriemuir re. a guide to/possible company at the quarry there (too recently developed to make North-East Outcrops?), but decided to skip it when he turned out to be heading home from Yorkshire and thought we’d have to go to Dundee to get one. So off to Ley Quarry instead, eventually finding this hole in the ground (which Jamie seemed to quite like!) after a few more little diversions with many more tractors and stopping to play on the few ‘easy’ routes there. Of which Jamie did three and I did one (twice!), repeating the corner of Cat Scratch Fever and finding its innocuous-sounding F4 (a first outdoor bolt route for this sport-climbing sceptic!) pretty well equivalent to full-on, pumpy VS. But all good things come to an end (or maybe all holes in the ground come to a good end?) and we were back on the road not too much later and home by a pretty reasonable 8:30pm.

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