Monday, 30 November 2015


What a great couple of weeks.  I have dreamed about going to Kalymnos for quite a while and finally the star aligned.  I went out to the Greek Island with old friends Kirby, Ali and Donald.  Fortunately Kirby and Ali had been before so they knew all the good places to eat and knew where all the laybys were for the crags leaving me to ride my scooter without crashing and climb as much as my arms would allow.  I teamed up with good friend and regular climbing partner, Donald.  We're both quiet at this time of year with work so use it as an opportunity to get some last minute sun before the winter and build up a little bit of strength for some winter climbing.

Mike on one of the many no hands rests.

We missed some horrible Scottish weather at home!
With 9 days of climbing on the island, we barely touched the surface.  There is so much to do there to keep any climber (and non climber) entertained.  The perfect destination to take family even if they don't climb, something for everyone.  We climber every day except one.  We should have had two rest days but our first one ended up in some sea level traversing followed by some deep water soloing....and plenty of swimming!  As there was so many cool lines to climb we ended up just climbing as many routes as possible rather than spending a few hours, mornings or days on one particular route...if we fell off them we moved on.  Fortunately most of the time we stayed on but as usual we also took some hugggeeee whippers!  Might need a new rope now!  I'll let the pictures do the rest of the off to sharpen my ice axes!
Most routes ended like this....tired!

Our tour guides...Ali and Kirby

Dream team heading to a smaller island 
Looking back to the Grande Grotte

Kirby smashing his first ever 7b+

From inside the Grande Grotte, all about the tufas

Donald and I trying not to look tired...truth is that our arms barely function

See you next year!
More photos on facebook HERE

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Autumn catch up

It has been a wee while since I have had a sit down to write a wee update, which is great as it has been such an action packed few weeks.  I guess the brilliant weather has helped.  Fortunately I haven't had to travel around too much as the rock has been dry and work has been local.  A couple of visits to Brin Rock and Tunnel Wall helped kick of Sport Climbing season, given that I haven't had a great summer of rock climbing, I felt I was doing ok.  Really enjoyed the routes I tried.  Really pleased to climb Uncertain Emotions in Glencoe after a couple of visits.  I also made the most of some nice days with cragging at Creag Dubh, bouldering at the Skeleton Boulder in Glen Nevis and mountain biking at Wolftrax  before work kicked in.  I have just finished my 3rd week working at the Joint Services Mountain Training Centre in Ballachulish (the military version of Plas y Brenin and Glenmore Lodge).  I have been working on a host of instructor training courses, two weeks of rock climbing instructor training and assessments and a week of Mountain Leader Training.  We visited a whole host of single pitch climbing venues, some with a lengthy drives but worth it for the dry rock and the climbing.  Its been great working Monday to Friday 8am-5pm, feels like a 'real job' with time to spare and weekends to catch up with folk.  With an upcoming trip away sport climbing on the Greek Island of Kalymnos I have been trying hard to build some fitness to get the most of the trip.  So a few trips to Ratho (best indoor wall in Scotland...if not the UK!) and mid week bouldering have been doing the trick.  This week I am working on Mountain Leader Assessment so will be out on the hills for the week which will be great, before flying out at the weekend.   I'm hoping that when I return at the start of December I will be straight into winter climbing so watch this space.
Brin (Zed Buttress) with Mhairi and Murdoch

Good views in Glen Nevis (above Skeleton Boulder)

Creag Dubh...beaut day!

Kingussie Rock training

Group abseil

Setting up climbing at Glen Nevis

Team at Kingussie

Where is the Loch?

Inversion on the Buachaille

Mountain Leader ropework

Walking out of the Buachaille

Good navigation training in Glencoe

Dream team loving learning new skills

Training at Dave Mac's wall