Boulder-hunting in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park - Arrochar

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Coilessan Crag

Good potential for routes on the crag and the boulders - some proper giants here. The ship's prow arete up the front of the Blaeberry is particularly eye-catching. Not much bouldering potential. The boulder jumble from the boulder down by the fence heading up to the crag in a straight line (i.e. the left-hand section) doesn't have anything worthwhile. Haven't explored the boulder jumble up to the right.

There's a good problem on the southern end of the fence boulder going up the vertical features that look like fossilised trees. It's on good rock with a good landing but the hard bit is the top-out, which is a slightly weird insecure mantel onto the slab/top. It's 7A or easier. The northern end of this boulder has a hard project clamping the underside of the 80 degree arete for 5-6 metres to the obvious finishing jug, but it's not spectacularly aesthetic - from my point of view, at least... - and if you like 10 metre vertical solos, there's the front face of the boulder.

Glen Croe

The big boulder jumble on the shoulder to the left of the main crag on the Brack is a bit disappointing. The big boulder up at the back has a big vertical wall if you like soloing. The classic line is the overhanging arete in the middle of the boulder jumble - but it has no landing.

There is an obvious boulder about 100 metres straight up the hill above the Kennedy Boulder, which looks worth a scrub. There is a short roof over on the left side of the stream as you go up the path to the Brack, and an easy arete/crack boulder below the crag between the Kennedy Boulder and the path up to the Brack.

The obvious boulder in the trees opposite Turbinal Nose is a complete pain in the arse to get to, owing to the juvenile state of the green carpet of death. It is, however, not very far off the track... Would getting a mat in here be more trouble than it's worth? Need to go back and have a rummage around.

Beinn Ime

On the routes front, there's an impressive prow here, which has not been climbed as far as I know. It was mentioned on the old SC forums a few years ago. The meat of it is a crack in a steep prow.

Not a lot happening along the lower slopes of Beinn Ime at the head of Gleann Leacann Sheileach. A fair bit of good rock on the Ben Chorrannach side of the Gleann Uaine - Lag Uianne watershed. Three steep outcrops, only the one over to the right (looking up the hill) has a good landing. Doesn't really run to any good lines, for my taste at least. A little further up behind these is a boulder with a lip rising to the left. Two jumping problems on this look entertaining, but perhaps not quite enough to tempt one back, given the location... Steep roof on the Ben Vane side looking down the Lag Uainne has an excessively sloping landing. Pretty soft rock as well.

Beinn an Lochain

No bouldering action that I could see, but crikey that overhanging nose is certainly impressive...

Glen Kinglas

Obvious very steep tooth-shaped boulder protruding from the hillside on Beinn Chorranach, facing north. Aesthetically gobsmacking line. Actually looks to have a climbable sequence directly up the underside of the prow, and a harder start coming in from down on the right. Happy days. Landing OK but slopes a little too much. Needs some scrubbing and patio-building work. About 45 minutes or so in from Butterbridge. Flying Pancake just about en route is good as a warm-up. EDIT: Fatty McCakeface, your's truly, pulled a crucial hold off this. Still climbable coming across right to left and finishing round the side, or going up the right arete (quite hard...)

Attractively-shaped pair of boulders leaning together, high up on Binnein an Fidhleir. When you reach the gate at the end of the plantation there is a wee boulder a couple of hundred metres up the hillside. This isn't up to much. The higher boulder is directly above this, to the right of the two boulders by the burn. It's best observed from further back on the approach. The two boulders leaning together are very nicely shaped, and a good height, but the rock is a little sugary under the roof, and the landings are distinctly hairy-chested.

Square, steep block off to the left lower down on the hillside when you're standing on the track looking directly at the prow. This has a juggy crack straight up the front of it. Nice line, soft rock, tricky looking top-out, steep grassy landing. Possibly needs a clean on a rope. At least 7A?

Diagonally to the right above the prow is another big north-facing prow. No good for climbing, but serves to locate the following problem, which is a vertical wall with a hanging right facing groove and a pointy jug at the top. Rock on this is solid, as it faces directly into the prevailing weather. Average kind of height. Slightly slopey grassy landing. No idea how hard this is - hard to see where the holds are standing underneath it.

Beinn an t-Seilich

Wallace woz ere... total cheese.

Beinn Narnain, Yawning Crag

From Yawning Crag eastwards for a couple of hundred metres to the obvious square buttress with the cave undercutting it's entire base there is enough rock littered about for a decent circuit, good for baking summer days. Highlights are: the flat overhang just west of the scree, immediately east of the long, low wall (about Font 8a?); the jutting block close to the base of Yawning Crag (in the Font 7a-7b range - needs another day's work on the patio); a couple of boulders a bit to the east, one lower down the hill and one higher up with a tricky looking left-facing groove; a cool-looking right-facing groove in the outcrop immediately down to the west of the square buttress with the cave in it's base... and the cave itself is, as of 21 November 2010, no longer a project.

There is a lot of rock up in the coire to the right when you're at the Narnain Boulders. I wasn't particularly taken with any of it, but maybe that's just my taste. There are two fairly amenable and fun-looking boulders quite close down towards the Narnain Boulders. The one at the back has a short right-to-left rising traverse.

Beinn Narnain, Creag an Fithich area

Walk up the Bein Narnain path from the Succoth car park. This goes straight up the hill 20 metres after the sign and the wooden fox by the road, whereas the path for the Cobbler goes zigzagging diagonally across the hill to the mobile phone mast. At the top of the trees there is a patch of more level ground for about 50 or so metres before you reach the other path that contours round the hillside. As you are walking across this clear ground you can see straight above you what looks like a wee slightly overhanging traversing wall. The path up Beinn Narnain continues straight up the steeper hillside about 10 metres to the right of this outcrop. It's not visible on this GoogleMap, but that's where it is.

It's mostly good quality rock - apart from the flake jugs in the middle, which look like they need a good wash - and it is unusually heavily featured. There's a particularly good-looking line with a couple of drilled (shock, horror...) two-finger pockets at the right-hand end. Good mixture of hard and easier stuff here. Perfect height, slightly higher at the left-hand end. Flat grass landing - seems a wee bit boggy, so taking a ground sheet would be a good idea. 10 metres up behind this outcrop is another steep wee roof with a right-to-left rising ramp/flake feature with a distinctive blocky hold at half-height. Very good quality rock, not surprising given it's a drainage line. Looks good - not too hard... when it's dry! Dunno how these haven't been done yet - it's not exactly a monster walk-in, and they do look good.

Beinn Narnain, Cruach nam Miseag, south side

The eye-catching boulder perched high up hanging over the top of a steep slab is a good 'un. Unfortunately, two of the best problems would be solos or top-rope problems because they hang out in space over the slab. Worth going up there for the arete, which is, as of 21 November 2010 an amazing Font 6c.

Beinn Narnain, Coire Feorline

Walk in as for the outcrop described above until the path that contours round the hill, and follow it to the right. Pass an intake on the left, then at the second intake at the end of the path go up to the left, across the burn, and up past a curious line of boulders and another just above them with a thick vertical quartz seam. Up the hill straight ahead of you is an obvious big boulder with a barrel overhang facing up into the coire, and a roofed groove on the end facing down towards you. The groove and the traverse across the top of it look easy, the arete looks good and somewhere around Font 6cish, the problem at the left-hand end of the barrel from the thread jug going up and slightly right looks Font 7aish, and there are three lines that I can see on the barrel - Font 7b to 7cish, and fingery. Not too high, OK landings if you have a mat - but there are potentially ankle-snapping grooves cut into the soil by the water.

Up underneath the crags at the head of the coire is a square boulder with a distinctive diagonal crack in its south side. I've no idea what type of rock this is - it looks and feels very like granite, but I don't think it is. This is an absolutely fantastic small person's boulder - if said small person is capable of walking in! Some small angular rocks in the ground around it mean that a mat would be essential for adults bouldering, but possibly not for small persons, given that the top of the boulder is about 3 metres from the ground, and pre-emptive spotting is therefore possible in most situations. The boulder jumble across to the left also seems well suited to small persons, and is more normal but mostly very good quality schist. I have not inspected the boulder jumble up and right from the square boulder.

A'Chrois, Coire nan Each

Walk in as for Coire Feorline until at the boulder with the big vertical quartz seam. Look directly up the hill in a straight line with the big barrel boulder and you can see a small knoll and a small, sharp bit of rock sticking out of the ground up behind it on the skyline. Walk stright up in this line passing these two features to the left, and keep going in the same line until you can walk round to the left into the coire. Along the way witness much geological weirdness: there are small erratics all over this section of the approach, some of which look for all the world like gritstone, but with characteristic scooped pockets. The biggest such specimen can be found as you come round into the coire, but is only worthwhile for a small person. Just by this boulder is a bit of rock that has very grit-like waves all across one side... most strange.

By now you should have noticed the main attraction further up the coire - yup, it looks like a large roof! Strange, hard, slightly red rock, obvious, good-looking sequence using two opposing press holds in a hairline crack in the roof - very butch moving through the roof and a couple of hard moves on miserable holds to get into the roof. Seems about 8A after a day on it. Not really necessary to lug a mat all the way up there - pretty friendly landing. I took a roll mat and didn't bother using it. Those Snap mini-pad things would be ideal. Very photogenic boulder with the Ben as the backdrop, and the view from this coire generally is stunning, as you can see down Loch Lomond and Loch Arklet. Slanting seam on the boulder just below and diamond-shaped boulder up to the left are good-looking problems somewhere in 6b-6c range.

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