Ardmair Beach

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This good quality sandstone crag lies at the south end of the stony beach at Ardmair bay, 5km north of Ullapool. In the winter and after heavy rain it is affected by seepage, but once dry it is little affected by showery weather. Very sheltered, the midges love it!

The crag consists of two sea caves on the right and a long undercut wall on the left. The right side is tidal and the beach level can vary. Because of this some of the sitting starts may need a bit of clearing to unearth the starting footholds, but you’ll have your bucket and spade anyway. Occasionally winter storms can dump huge amounts of seaweed under the crag making sitting starts a bit smelly and slimy, but the seaweed is just as likely to disappear in the next storm.

Although it is possible to top out, this is unpleasant and most problems finish on good holds or easy ground. Only the main problems are described, there being many eliminates and link-ups.

Getting there

10minutes from the road

NH 107978 West facing, Partially Tidal

Drive north out of Ullapool on the A835 and park in a lay-by just before the entrance to Ardmair Point caravan site (NH108984). Walk south along the beach to the crag. Closer but limited parking is available on grass verges above the beach.

The problems


From right to left

1. The Gargoyle Problems V0-V1
Right of the first sea cave are a number of problems on the gargoyles.

2. Black Wall Traverse V1
Start on the slab just left of the first cave. Traverse left on breaks and pockets to finish on a high jug on the right wall of the second cave. The secret is getting your feet to stick.

3. Undercut Crack V3 SS
On the left wall of the second cave is a slanting crack. Start with hands in a rectangular niche in the crack and go straight up. Often wet.

4. Stones and Seaweed V3 SS
Another slow drying problem just to the left. Start undercutting the crack, span left for a shallow pocket, then slap up for a good finishing jug.

5. White Jug VB
Pullover onto the slab using a white jug.

6. The Pockets V3/4 SS
Start with left hand on a three-finger pocket at the top of a thin, vertical seam. Up slightly rightwards to a shallow pocket, gain better holds above and pull over.

7. The Ledge V0 SS
Start sitting just left of the undercut nose and finish standing on the ledge.

8. VB
Start just left of The Ledge and climb straight up on juggy breaks.

9. V0
In a similar vein to the previous problem, but 1m to the left.

10. The Pebbledash Roof V1 SS
From a sitting start at a slot under the rectangular roof, go straight over the roof.

11. A Right Bulger V2 SS
Start on undercuts at the right end of the undercut section. Using sneaky technique make a stretchy blind move to a good hold then pull over.

12. Smiley Problem V3 SS
Start 2m left of A Right Bulger at a pocket on the lip. Gain the smiley hold and the crimp to its right, then slap up to a satisfyingly good hold and pullover to finish.

There is a good V5 SS eliminate just to the left. Starting with the right hand on a crimpy pinch on the lip and left hand on a sharp hold on the underside of the roof, make moves up and rightwards to finish just left of Smiley Problem.

13. Jumping Bristletails V3 SS
Start 2m left of Smiley Problem at a tiny corner and make a weird twisting reach out for a hold below a blocky jug. Gain the blocky jug then finish straight up on more jugs.

Halfway along the undercut section is a square-cut lower section. The next problem starts here.

14. Youzyernee V3 SS
From a cramped start, using crimps on the left wall of a small corner, span out to the big half-moon jug on the lip and continue upwards on good holds.

15. Watch Your Back V4 SS
Start 2m left of Youzyernee at the back of the cave. Gain a flake in the middle of the roof, snatch to a fat pinch with the left hand, reach a good hold on the lip and finish straight up.

16. Changing the Locks V5 SS
Start 1m to the left. From a horizontal rail gain two crimps in the roof then crank for the break. Finish up a flake.

17. Boulder Ding V4 SS
The furthest left problem. Starting from a good undercut, make some excellent moves to gain good holds over the lip. The smooth sloping shelf is out of bounds.

18. The Grand Traverse V3/4
Start with hands on The Ledge. Follow breaks left until past The Pebbledash Roof, drop down until feet are on the lip, then continue left following the lowest line of good holds and flakes above the lip. Finish on a yellow ledge. If successful then skim a few stones and watch the sun go down. Slightly harder from left to right. Var. The High Traverse V2 Instead of dropping down stay high all the way.

19. The Lower Traverse V5 SS
Start at A Right Bulger. Go left, undercutting and using small holds on the lip of the roof, until able to gain the half-moon jug. Continue crimping left along the lower section until better holds lead to a finish on the yellow ledge.

20. Tricky Lippy V8 SS
From the pocket of Smiley Problem go left along the lip without using the back wall. Crux is at the start involving small crimps and a cunning sequence with feet.

21. Cup Run V7 SS
Start as for Watch Your Back. From the flake in the roof lurch left to the crimps on Changing… then continue leftwards following a line of holds to a jug. Finish by pulling over the lip on jugs. The ledge on the far left is a no no.

22. Teo Sio V5 SS
Some 20m left of the main bouldering is a undercut, gritty/pebbly boulder split in 2, or maybe its 2 boulders? This problem takes the left hand boulder, starting at a sloper on the bottom right (the incut is in) and a heal hook high on the left. Make 2 hard moves to slopey pockets then throw for a sloper come jug on the right. Finish easily. Difficult to keep your right foot from dabbing.

South Beach West facing

Scrambling about 70m right of the Beach Crag is small buttress with a double roof, which gives a couple of problems. 10m to the right is a very steep wall that gives an enjoyable V1 lip traverse on huge holds. Although the problems themselves are non-tidal, access from the beach is not possible at high tide. Worth a look if the main crag is seeping and you’re desparate.

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