Boulder-hunting in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park - Loch Lomond hills (accessed from the A82)

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Loch Lomond East (accessed from Beinglas Farm)

Fairly obvious boulder (if you have binoculars) about here. Need to go in and check it out.

Obvious big diamond-shaped boulder up in the ridge is, apparently, cheese???

Coire Creagach

Access from Ardlui train station. Walk along the road to the south for 50 metres then through under the railway. Cross the stile on the left, walk through the gate and thence diagonally across the hillside towards the wooded glen below the coire between nan Coinnich Bhacain and Stuc na Nughinn.

The first wee heather hat boulder you get to is maybe OK for a bit of traversing. 100 metres straight uphill above this is a boulder with a good pillar feature on the front of it. Take care with the tiny birch growing in the finishing jug! There is a rather fine and significantly larger tree just by this boulder, and indeed much further arboreal interest in this glen for those who appreciate native species rather than the green carpet of death. As you walk round into the glen you can see an obvious blocky boulder up on the right. This has a worthwhile arete. As you walk up to this you can see a wee roof about a stone's throw away from it to the south. This looks really cool - all the holds on it are upside down! Looks like you could do a few variations on this. All these boulders described so far have good landings and aren't too high, and - with exception of the prow with the upside down holds - don't look too tricky. The rock quality is good.

From these boulders keep going 5-10 minutes in a roughly northwards direction towards where the ground ahead lifts up to form the ridge on the north side of the coire. Fairly obvious wee boulder jumble. One worthwhile line: vertical knife blade arĂȘte. Slightly dodgy landing - wee holes and steps, but not outrageous. Baffling looking problem. Shouldn't be super-desperate.

If you continue on the main path up into the coire (i.e. don't divert northwards to the boulders described above) about 20-30 minutes above the pancake shaped rock by the path is a water inlet/dam. About 100 metres past this is an overhang facing north, i.e. towards the ridge. Nice looking problem. 7b-ish? Lower half covered in slanting undercuts - very cool. Shelf-shaped boulder sticks out of the ground behind it, so even though it's not a particularly high problem you'd probably not want to be trying this without a mat - or alternatively do some patioing. Hanging boulder high up in the crags half way along the ridge - looks intriguing. Further up at the back of the coire (to the west) it looks like there are some large bits of rock...

Essentially, everything I've seen in this coire so far is of the almost-a-circuit-but-a-bit-too-spread-out variety, except the giant boulder described below which definitely has enough for a circuit in one small area. It's a big coire though, got to be more stuff there. Very pretty part of the world.

The main interest, however - certainly in terms of size - is the giant boulder here, and the boulder jumble behind it. You can see it up in the trees straight in front of you on the walk up from the road. Unusually, the boulder jumble has a few problems that don't have hideous landings... It takes about 30 minutes to get here. The rock is very good to adequate. Take a wire brush.

If ridiculous highballs excite you, have a gander at the distinctive cat-flap-in-the-ceiling feature on the main roof facing you as you approach the boulder. Hmmm... The long front side of the boulder has a hard project climbing the left-facing groove where the small boulder is sitting half in a hole in the ground. This starts at a two finger pocket - which seems to be the signature hold-type on this boulder. Left of this is the most eye-catching problem on the front face. Start in the larger left-hand stuck-on blob feature, shuffle rightwards, then span/slap to the other stuck-on blob feature to the right. Mantel this. Left again is the obvious right-facing layback crack/flake. Again, this has a two-finger pocket under the roof for a sit-start. If you're some sort of masochist, the fiendishly spikey wall immediately right of this crack/flake should be just what your tips will be looking for at the end of the day to send you howling back down the hill in agony. Left again is the arete at the left-hand end of the front face of the boulder. This would be good if that smaller boulder stuck in the ground was somehow magically dynamited out of the way. Hmmm... 30 degree wall on the south end of the boulder looks good at first glance, but I'm not sure it has anything doable/worthwhile.

In the boulder jumble immediately at the back of the large boulder there are two short overhangs facing each other. Good rock. At the back of the boulder jumble (go round past the front of the big boulder) there is a cool-looking rising right-to-left traverse, with potential for variations. Needs cleaning.

Lairig Arnan

Not a sausage! Shame, as there is what looks and feels like a wee outcrop of granite on Meall an t-Sagairt.

Gleann nan Caorann

Nice rock here and a couple of cool wee boulders, the obvious one over on the north side with an arete problem and the wee heather hat boulder sitting in a clearing in the trees below the track on the south side, the same distance up the glen, or very slightly further, relative to the boulder on the north side. There's a vertical-ish wall slightly higher up the hillside on the north side above the boulder with the arete that I didn't look at. The steep boulder a little way down the glen close to the north side of the stream is, meh - not really worthwhile.

Didn't go any higher up the glen. Good short problems with good landings, but you wouldn't cart a mat in here just to climb on those two. Worth taking shoes and a chalkbag if you go in for a walk, as it's a nice place with the native trees dotted about. Pity about the singing metal trees - dunno why they weren't planted in the Lairig Arnan, which is much less pretty.

Loch Sloy

John has a topo for Arrochar on BoulderScotland which has 'High Blocs 2' marked on it. There is a short-ish overhanging arete here with pretty solid looking rock, small incut crimps, two finishing variations, good landing. Also a very fun-looking easy problem on that curving pillar feature.

The project John has marked by Glue Pony is actually two problems right next to each other, sharing some holds. They both look more like test pieces rather than classic aesthetic sequences, though the left-hand one on the arete looks like a cool crux(?) move going a long way to the sloper.

Shame about the rock on the Bootcrack roof - would be awesome if it wasn't cheese.

The Wave has lost the only hold it had - maybe long into the future the great-great-great-grandchild of Gaskins and Ondra will... hmmm...

The project boulder up at the dam is so cool. Right up my street: steep but not too steep, small holds at odd angles - a really awkward technical board problem, in other words. Landing possibly needs a little trench-digging, but it's more or less good to go as it is.

Down the glen from the project boulder a couple of hundred metres is a high gently overhanging quartzy crimpy wall. Looks good. From here about fifty metres up the hill to the left there is another similarly proportioned boulder, more granitic rock on this. These look round about the 7A-B mark. Up the hill again by the stream, but below the waterfall is a boulder with a prow on the right-hand (west) end. This is the perfect shape for some meaty fridge-hugging action. It's not high at all, but it's definitely a two-pads-and-a-spotter landing. Good looking groove problem on the east end of the boulder.

From these boulders there is an old track leading across eastwards straight between the obvious two boulders on the grassy level ground to below the crags. Four good looking problems here, not too desperate: blunt, gently overhanging arete with an undercut pinch, steep low prow-hugging thing, bald right-facing layback arete, and a one-move, one-hold vertical dyno! Small positive left-hand crimp, not much of anything else - jump to the lip! Come to think of it, that bald arete might be a little tricky...

So much rock up the side of Ben Vane. Go up the standard path to the summit for half a mile till it levels out where all the bits of metal are sticking out of the ground. Slightly down and across the hill to the right along the old track there's an obvious boulder sitting on some flat grass. It's on the back of the ridge that's slightly separate from the side of Ben Vane, so you can't see it from the road in to the dam. It's just round the back of the left-most crags as you're looking across from the road. This boulder looks very like a hatched giant dinosaur egg. Nice flat landings, nice friendly height, and a mixture of middling to hilariously desperate-looking lines. Direct line up the front, diagonal crack, and the undercuts to the right of the front face are still to be done. Over on the main part of the hillside, slightly higher up and a few hundred metres along the hillside towards the dam is a boulder jumble. The first two you get to going towards the dam are good. Round on the main face of the bigger boulder, facing towards the dam, is a blob very like the stuff on the Blobs boulder down at the dam - only this one's the size of a small car. Good lines, flat landings. Problems look reasonably tricky, though there's an amenable-looking right-facing flake line on the other boulder facing back towards the dinosaur egg boulder. Much more stuff on this hillside...

Coire na Baintighearna

Pointy boulder on the easy-angled grassy slopes as you come round from Coire nan Each. Right by this is a low steep roof with a good grassy landing. It has an off-width slanting across it left to right, and a slopey lip with better holds up and left. Could be fun - need to have a play and see what's what.

Two obvious boulders across on the north side under the Little Hills. One to the west is almost very good, but doesn't seem to have much of a sequence. The one to the east does have a sequence, and looks pretty hard, but the boggy landing needs some trench-digging action.

The Little Hills

Two picturesque big boulders leaning against each other right on the summit. Too far up to justify going up there just to boulder, but they would definitely be worth incorporating into a traverse of Ben Vorlich or a circuit up Coire Creagach and down via the Little Hills. Because of their location they also make a good spot to stop for lunch and admire the view. Good landings, some big lines verging on soloing, and a low traverse. Fairly amenable looking lines. Good rock, well featured.

Ben Vorlich (accessed from Ardvorlich)

This is a first attempt at an ImageMap. You need an editor to work out the coordinates for you, otherwise it would be phenomenally tedious. The editor will produce a text file that you can copy into the edit page on SC, but it needs be an editor that can give you output in wiki rather than html format.

boulder fieldroof - too big for bouldering?overhanging wall below trackhuge square slab on Stuc na Nughinn that looks like it is sliding downhill. Small boulder jumble behindSteep buttress further back on the north side of Coire BaintighearnaSteep overhang
potential unclimbed bouldering on Ben Vorlich

The boulder-field on the sunlit section of the hillside in the centre of the photo has some nice rock, but the boulders are too small.

In the corrie round to the right there is a distinctive huge square slab that looks like it's sliding downhill. Pretty obvious in the photo. Big boulder at the back of this. Nice rock and two good lines, but horrible landings. Left-leaning roof directly under the crag above this has a nice gymnastic looking problem with a big undercut fang going diagonally up and left on good rock. Just about worthwhile if you were doing it as part of a circuit with the other problems on this hillside. Sloper traverse on the crag looks OK.

Around the hill to the north, and a little lower down there is a lone boulder with some very nice rock and holds along the back of it. A few good up lines and a traverse. Hard line on the prow on the north end. Not spectacularly aesthetic, just a power problem. Good landings, just a nice, normal boulder in an out-of-the-way place. This boulder is ten minutes along from the big boulder above Ardlui. It's all pretty spread out, but worth considering as a circuit on a long summers day.

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