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UK scrambling/trail recommendations
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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Apr 3, 2014
downclimb off the First Flatiron <br />photo by TooTallTim

I have to go to a work meeting in London in a few weeks, and I am planning to rent a car for the weekend prior. Given the typical weather situation I am not counting on being able to climb, so I am looking for scrambling (up to mid-fifth class/4a-b) or trail recommendations (up to ~20 miles).

thanks,
Michelle


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 3, 2014
El Chorro

We're having pretty nice weather right now. I've been able to get out a lot in the last few weeks. Good chance you could find some dry climbing when you're here. But it's always a good idea to have a back up plan.

Best walking and scrambling is all in North Wales and the Lake District... Both five hour drives. Not bad driving, but at $9 a gallon, it just depends on how determined you are. Well worth it if you ask me. The areas are beautifl and friendly and like nothing you'd experience in the US.

Lake District is better for walking, Snowdonia in Wales is better for scrambling. Both have great local ales and nice places to stay.

Shoot me a PM if tou want any more details or want some friends to boulder and drink with while your stuck in London.


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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Apr 3, 2014
downclimb off the First Flatiron <br />photo by TooTallTim

Thanks, Ryan. I will PM you my contact info. I was actually considering heading to N Wales to check out an abandoned building (my other hobby), so that would work out well.


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 3, 2014
El Chorro

Ha, you can check out abandoned buildings in London! Probably be a lot of other people "checking it out" as well!

We'll touch base through email.


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By Ian Buckley
Apr 3, 2014

Tryfan + Glyder Fach/Fawr and Snowdon Horseshoe would be an ideal couple of mountain scrambling routes close by in N.Wales for an excellent weekend. Easy to find info on. Note: UK mountain weather can be incredibly changeable and severe for those used to the weather stability of N.America, plan accordingly - think Wet+Windy.


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By PTR
From GA
Apr 3, 2014

If you think you can make it all the way to Scotland (doubtful), there are some great options near Ft. William. In Glen Coe, there is the knife-edged Aonach Eagach ridge -- and lots of other worthy objectives, such as a direct scramble on Buachaille Etive Mor. From the lower part of Glen Nevis, there is the Carn Mor Dearg arete to Ben Nevis route. If you can get a little further north, the 3 big hills in Torridon are worthwhile: Liathach probably the best of the bunch, but Beinn Eighe and Beinn Alligin also great.

The best scrambling of all is to be had on the Cuillin Ridge on Skye, but that's not very doable from London in a weekend.


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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Apr 3, 2014
downclimb off the First Flatiron <br />photo by TooTallTim

Thanks for the great suggestions, Ian and PTR. I'm actually fairly familiar with erratic weather, living in the schizophrenic Colorado Front Range, and will plan accordingly. PTR, wow that Cuillin Ridge traverse looks right up my alley, but you're right, it's a pretty big haul from London (even if I flew into Scotland). I just need to be back in London by Tue morning, so maybe I can swing something.


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By mark felber
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Apr 3, 2014

There is an overnight sleeper train to Glasgow with rail connections to Fort William or Mallaig. That plus a rental car might let you put together a Cullin Ridge trip. Spend the night on a train to Scotland, rent a car to get to Skye and back, spend another night on a train back to London. I used the sleeper train to get from London to Edinburgh to start a bicycle tour a few years back, it's a great way to travel. www.scotrail.co.uk/sleeper/timetables


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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Apr 3, 2014
downclimb off the First Flatiron <br />photo by TooTallTim

Thanks, Mark. After reading the rave reviews of the Cuillin traverse and hearing that Snowdonia can be pretty crowded (and being my usual impulsive self), I went ahead and booked a flight to Scotland. The flight was reasonable and gives me some buffer time versus the train. I figure even if the weather is crappy I can do part of it.


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By PTR
From GA
Apr 7, 2014

Glad to hear that you are heading to Skye. The gabbro is really unique -- just as grippy when wet (which is a good thing). Hope the weather cooperates. It can often be better on Skye than the mainland. Don't be surprised if you have snow on the tops.

Can't vouch to the youth hostel (I've always camped at the bottom of Glen Brittle). I think that the Sligachan Hotel (at the northern end of the ridge) has climber accommodation.

This is a handy resource about the Cuillin in general and the traverse.

skyeguides.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/2007_Ridge_Downl>>>


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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Apr 7, 2014
downclimb off the First Flatiron <br />photo by TooTallTim

Thanks PTR. It's comforting to know that the rock is grippy when wet. I downloaded a copy of that guide you mentioned and Andy Hyslop's very detailed Rockfax guide last week. I also found a used copy of the Scrambles in Skye book, which is supposed to have a decent topo map. The hostel appears to be booked for that weekend, but I am planning to pack bivy gear and/or sleep in my rental car.


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By mark felber
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Apr 7, 2014

I seem to remember that some Scottish hostels would let you camp on the hostel grounds if the local campgrounds were full. Might be worth contacting the hostel directly and asking.


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By David Coley
From UK
Apr 8, 2014

fossana wrote:
Thanks, Mark. After reading the rave reviews of the Cuillin traverse and hearing that Snowdonia can be pretty crowded (and being my usual impulsive self), I went ahead and booked a flight to Scotland. The flight was reasonable and gives me some buffer time versus the train. I figure even if the weather is crappy I can do part of it.


Put a shout out on ukclimbing.com to see if anyone is around and fancies doing the ridge (if you want company) or a bit of climbing if the weather on the ridge is poor.


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By USBRIT
From Cumbria.UK
Apr 8, 2014
First ascent. The Sword of Damocles... a real beauty. P. Ross on the summit. Palisade and I-70 below.

UK weather is quite different to the Boulder area . ...take it from a chap that has just been living in Colorado for the last 15 years. Back now in the Very wet and windy UK.You might get lucky ...at least you will have good daylight.Skye is superb.Hills like the last 3000' of the Rockies.


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By David Coley
From UK
Apr 8, 2014

USBRIT wrote:
UK weather is quite different to the Boulder area . ...


+1


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By PTR
From GA
Apr 8, 2014

The Sligachan Hotel has a bunkhouse for 18 GBP/night, which is not bad if you get unrelenting driven rain. I also like the Achintee Bunkhouse in Glen Nevis if you need a place near Ft. William at some point. I've stayed there a few times and can recommend it. (I prefer bunkhouses over camping and youth hostels.)

Short of the full ridge experience, it is hard to say which parts of the Cuillin are the most classic. The approach to Sgurr nan Gillean from Sligachan is kind of long compared to the various approaches from the bottom of Glen Brittle. It's hard to go wrong no matter which route and tops you choose.

In any event, I'll let more accomplished Munroists chime in here.


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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Apr 8, 2014
downclimb off the First Flatiron <br />photo by TooTallTim

USBRIT wrote:
UK weather is quite different to the Boulder area . ...take it from a chap that has just been living in Colorado for the last 15 years. Back now in the Very wet and windy UK.You might get lucky ...at least you will have good daylight.Skye is superb.Hills like the last 3000' of the Rockies.


I meant more about the inability to predict the weather conditions. I realize it's a northern sea climate and to expect crap weather.

Thanks for the additional lodging suggestions everyone.

David, I actually prefer to do longer ridge traverses by myself unless it's with someone who I know I'm reasonably matched from a pace and climbing ability standpoint, but if the weather looks dismal I may see if someone wants to crag.


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By jim.dangle
Apr 8, 2014

It's not cheap by dirtbag standards but the Sligachan Hotel offers very civilized accommodation with a great selection of single malts and good little restaurant at relatively reasonable cost. The weather in that part of the world is more than tolerable if you can escape to a peat fire and a dram in the evening. I assume there is still a small campground right across the street too (stumbling distance from hotel pub). Bear in mind that UK campgrounds are essentially fields and the sligachan and Glen Brittle campgrounds are no exception. Both are in terrific positions though-- beneath the mountains at the side of the sea. Glen Brittle lacks pub but you can visit the Talisker distiller on the drive there and stock up.

There are also plenty of cheap B and Bs in the nearby town of Portree.

Hiking in the Cuillins is spectacular. I would be wary of the full traverse in bad weather but I have been on several of the summits in bad weather without a problem. If the weather is really bad up high, walking to Loch Coruisk from Sligachan is well worth it. The scenery is amazing and this time of year you could well be alone.



Enjoy!

Jim


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By David Coley
From UK
Apr 9, 2014

jim.dangle wrote:
Hiking in the Cuillins is spectacular. I would be wary of the full traverse in bad weather but I have been on several of the summits in bad weather without a problem. If the weather is really bad up high, walking to Loch Coruisk from Sligachan is well worth it. The scenery is amazing and this time of year you could well be alone. Enjoy! Jim


I would second that. Although it would be great to do the ridge, the lower level walking is just plain brilliant. There is something about mountains by the sea that always grabs me.


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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Apr 10, 2014
downclimb off the First Flatiron <br />photo by TooTallTim

Will watch the weather, Jim and David.

p.s. I don't drink beer, but appreciate the recommendations nonetheless.


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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Apr 22, 2014
downclimb off the First Flatiron <br />photo by TooTallTim

Well, after 28 hours of travel and 5 hours of cramped rental car sleep I managed to finish 11 (up to Bruach na Frithe) of the 13 main peaks on Sunday. I'm not overly disappointed given the circumstances. The weather was spectacular. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. Photos are here.


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By PTR
From GA
Apr 22, 2014

Bravo. Eleven is outstanding. Looks like you had great weather.


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By USBRIT
From Cumbria.UK
Apr 22, 2014
First ascent. The Sword of Damocles... a real beauty. P. Ross on the summit. Palisade and I-70 below.

fossana wrote:
Well, after 28 hours of travel and 5 hours of cramped rental car sleep I managed to finish 11 (up to Bruach na Frithe) of the 13 main peaks on Sunday. I'm not overly disappointed given the circumstances. The weather was spectacular. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. Photos are here.

I take my hat off to you .. very very impressive..Thats not an easy day (or two).. Been there done that.. You hit the best weather we have had for months


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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Apr 22, 2014
downclimb off the First Flatiron <br />photo by TooTallTim

Thanks, and I feel very fortunate for having been able to make the trek out there.


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By mark felber
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Apr 22, 2014

Excellent photos, thanks for posting them.


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By David Coley
From UK
Apr 22, 2014

Well done!


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