Blantyre Towers

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The venue's top tick - Ivy League F7b

Shortly before his sad passing, much loved local activist, Willie Arrol let it be known he had bolted some modern sport style routes. These are unusual routes which can be found on the sandstone block piers of the long time abandoned Greenhall railway viaduct adjacent to the village of High Blantyre in South Lanarkshire.



The climbing is surprisingly varied and enjoyable considering the uniform nature of the stonework being climbed. Holds tend to be either crimpy or of the two finger pocket variety but the odd jug and sloper appear along the way. The routes are long and sustained by West of Scotland standards - those without EICA Ratho stamina will find the routes very pumpy. This all adds up to fantastic training for the greater ranges. Just to be clear in case there was any doubt the venue has been developed as a sport crag and dry toolers are NOT welcome. Mosquitoes, midges & cleggs (horse flies) can all be a nuisance at times in the summer, so wrap-up, take repellent or pick a day with a breeze.


The climbs have been graded for red-point ascents. Giving on-sight grades for these climbs would by default offer very inflated grades for the red-point. On-sighting here is a battle due to the high number of blind holds and the sheer number of poor holds which don't look significantly different from the good holds. Give yourself an extra pat on the back if you do manage to battle through for the on-sight as not having a bit of sequence knowledge and your favorite holds chalked-up makes a big diffrence here. No quality stars have been awarded to the routes. It is a matter of debate whether anything climbing a stone wall could ever merit stars but suffice to say if this was a natural crag there would be a lot of stars to be allocated.


Willie typically used 86mm and 100mm long M10 stainless steel expansion bolts and longer M12 bolts at the two stainless steel lower-off rings. The routes typically have about eight bolts to the lower-off rings. It is to be hoped that anyone tempted to put up further routes will use similar high quality equipment. A 50m rope and a rack of at least 10 quickdraws is recommended.


The piers (structure EKB/3) are the responsibility of British Rail Board Residuary Limited, who are the body tasked with annual inspections and repair of such abandoned railway structures and/or South Lanarkshire Council. They sit in pleasant woodland traversed by a way-marked riverside foot path popular with dog walkers. It’s fairly certain dear old Willie did not seek permission to place bolts in the piers. Presumably he didn’t feel the need on account of the towers being a long time local training venue, with many old pegs from long forgotten ascents still present. If you choose to climb Willie’s routes, bear in mind the legality of climbing at this venue is at best woolly. Probably, best to be discrete and not arrange club meets and the like at this venue. Just like a natural crag, allow time for the stone to dry after rain to avoid breaking holds. Don’t be tempted to manufacture additional holds if you are having difficulty with a route, they aren't supposed to be easy.


There is spaces for cars in the small park at grid ref. NS 671 567 accessed from Stoneymeadow Road (map at http:/


From the parking the Towers are a 5-10 minute walk. Step over the metal barrier, cross the grass heading downhill. Find a path on the left-hand side (wooden stairs) leading down to a bridge across the river. Cross the bridge and follow the path down stream.


1. Alouette Arete F6a 10m
Climb the short arete.

2. Alouette Eliminate F6b 10m
Clip the bolts of Alouette Arete staying right of the arete.

3. Tetris F6b+ 13m
Climb through a technical crux and on past a seemingly distant bolt.

4. Cheap Talk F7a 15m
Some nice technical climbing.

5. Jacqueville F6c 16m
A series of big holds towards the middle of this good route may make it feel, low in the grade for those fit enough to recover from earlier difficulties. Very friendly bolting make this a good first F6c.

6. Arrol's Eliminate F6c+ 18m
Clip the bolts of Arrol's Arete without the use of either arete.

7. Arrol's Arete F6b 18m
Climb the long arete with repetitive moves and feel your strength ebb away.

8. Andy Pandy F6c+ 18m
Sustained difficulties to an exciting finish.

9. Teeny Weeny Way-co (eliminate) F6c 18m
Enjoyable climbing without use of either arête. Starting near the left arête before making your way to near the right arête via a very small but deep hueco.

10. Kop-out F6b+ 18m
Start to climb "Teeny Weeny Way-co" and resort to using arête holds when it all becomes too much for you.

11. Livingstone F6c 20m
Varied climbing with many points of intrest. Some say a lion lives in the first big slot.

12. Vuvuzela F6c 20m
Sustained climbing. Blowing your own trumpet after an on-sight is optional.

13. Orion F6c 22m
The original pegged line, now with 12 bolts to a lower-off. Use of either arete is allowed.

14. Orion Eliminate F6c+ 22m
As Orion but avoiding using either arete.

15. Ivy League F7b 22m
Even if the difficulties ease after half height don't bother to apply if all you've got is a D- for stamina.

16. Closed Project ??? 22m
The hard line left of Ivy League is a closed project.


Blantyre Towers Topo.jpg
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