Ratho Quarry

From ScottishClimbs

Jump to: navigation, search


Ratho Quarry was the scene of much controversy when plans emerged to build an indoor climbing arena in the quarry. Some routes were lost, and climbing wasn't allowed during the construction process. Now climbing is allowed, although the quarry has changed (not least the new descent route). The construction process, and climbing hiatus mean you need to look out for loose rock.

Great for HVS - E3 climbers. Mainly trad.


Directions & Approach

Not difficult at all. Go to the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena.

The Lothain Buses X12 service goes to Ratho village from where a pleasant 10/15 minute walk along the canal gets you to the centre. The service runs 4 times an hour, to Ingleston park & ride, but only 2 buses an hour continue to Ratho village.

Alternatively the First Group 27/x27 service stops at Wilkieston from where the centre is a brisk 15 minutes along a fairly busy road.


Unless you wish to use their facilities, do not access through the EICA: Ratho. Either:

  1. Head towards the centre main entrance from the carpark, but take a right-turn via an access track. Follow this down, then back up until you reach the east (right) side of the centre, where a set of external stairs allows you to access the quarry floor.
  2. Head northwards (towards the M8) from the carpark, traverse the quarry edge clockwise until a monstrous fire escapes stairway is reached above east wall. Open the gate then use to access the quarry floor. Gate currently locked and anticlimb paint applied (The latch can be jimmied with a nut key). Please do not damage the fence around the top of the quarry.


There have been access problems in the past, mainly while construction work was carried out, but there are currently no restrictions.The climbing areas are now gated and a sign informs you that you are climbing at your own risk.

The Climbing

Ratho topo2.jpg

With all the construction that has happened in and around the quarry some routes are loose and in need of a clean, these are marked where known, though the majority are fine and most have been re-climbed.

  • A West Wall
  • B Black Wall
  • C East Wall - Left
  • D East Wall - Right
  • E East Bay

Descent: Use the very obvious staircase or ab from one of the stakes. Please do not ab from Ratho`s roof!

A: West wall

West wall topography
West wall topography

Alan's Groove HVS 5a

Monkey Puzzler S
The short wall left of the arete, followed by the grassy ledges and corner system. Pleasant, easy climbing.

Chalk and Cheese E2 5a *
The arete. A stunning line. Nice climbing, but poorly protected. Take care with the upper section.

Jungle Rock VS 4c *
The wall and corners right of the arete. Quite bold at the start. Now clean and free of vegetation.

The Plums of Ratho F7a+ *
The wall left of The Grapes of Ratho. From the ledge climb the wall by a series of increasingly tricky rockover/mantles to small overlap where the wall steepens. Make a couple of fierce pulls on small crimps to easier ground and run it out to the belay. The route will need some traffic before the grade settles as a few fragile edges remain.

The Grapes of Ratho F6b *
Nice face climbing with bolts! Possibly 6b+. Scramble to ledge then follow bolt line left of the big corner to a chain.

Diverticulitis E3 6a **
Very thin, very sustained, very technical bridging. Eases off once the ledge at 2/3 height is reached. Rarely flashed. Cleaned and climbed 2012.

Alopecia E4 6a *
The striking arête. Possibly E5 6a/b for those of a normal stature who have not extended the first peg. Start as for Welcome To The Cruise and move left to the arete. Arrange kit and press on via a hard, bold move to the first peg. Another butch move leads to a rest. Finish up the arete past a peg on the left with another tricky move.

Welcome to the Cruise E2 5c **
Bold climbing a long way above gear.

Ane Ledge E3 5c *
The arête and crack line leads up to a very comfy ledge. Have a wee rest and continue up the arête via a couple of bold, bouldery moves to glory, very exciting. Finish up Shoskred or WTC

Shoskred HVS 5a *
The grooves just right of Ane Ledge. There is a choice of lines at the start, middle section and finish. Probably VS 4c for the easiest line.

Between Contracts HVS 5a **
Start just right of Shoskred, layback the flake, then surmount two giant blocks. Follow the chimney and crack straight up then swing right onto the arête resisting the temptation to use the main crack of "Cracking-Up", swing back left to a ledge and exit straight up.

Cracking Up HVS 5a

Quick Pull HVS 5a
The corner is best reached by traversing in past the base of cracking up on good ledges/turf. Use the chimney to gain the upper corner and a cleared ledge to finish on.

Slow Strain E2 6a
The arete to the right of Quick Pull climbed 2012.

Buzooka 7b+
Left of Pettifers Wall.

Pettifer's Wall E4 6a **
Top out cleared and climbed 2012. Will definitly need brushed and inspected before another attempt.

B: Black Wall

West wall topography

Sedge Warbler E2 5b **
The swing round the arête at the start can be avoided by starting direct up the crack. The last 2 metres of the route are pretty loose and chossy.A better finish is by the next route.

Time`s Last Gift HVS 5a *
The groove and ledge system starting about 5m right of the arete. Finish up the short arete below the gap in the gorse. Slightly harder by the groove and chimney direct variation.

Up the Creek E1 5b
Desperate offwidth with good protection in the crack to the left.

Pete's Wall E1 5b
The blank looking black streaked wall, very thin features force some very interesting moves. Possibly E2 5c * due to critical loose holds and gear placements.

Artho E4 6a/b *
The obvious corner at the right side of black wall, start up pete's wall, go up to the roof then go right to finish up the corner.

C: East Wall - Left end

East Wall topography
More East Wall topography

Ourobourus Eliminate E3 5c

Ourobourus HVS 5b *
W. Jeffrey, C. Craggs 1976

Shear Fear E2 5c **
A good route up the twin flake cracks a few meters right of the tree on Ourobourus.

Strongarm E3 6a*

Wally 3 E4 6a *

Wally 2 E4 5c

Wounded Knee F7a+

Cornered E1 5c

So it Goes E2 5c
Loose rocks at the top section of this route.

Fledge VS 5a
No bad, but could do with a brush.

D: East Wall - Right end

5000 Christmas Trees E2 5c *
Needs a clean!

Business as usual E3 6a *
Needs a clean!

Danger no Entry VS 4c
Up the tottering ramp. Nice climbing but pretty scary.

Mon VS 4c
Fallen down a bit? Looks much harder!

Pull the Other One E1 5b
Needs a clean!

Beanpud E1 5b **
Thrutchy and desperate. Great fun if you like that sort of thing.

Election Sickness VS 4c
Looks pretty hard and unprotected now.

Rock-a-Boogie VS 4c *
Best VS in the quarry!

Rebel Without Claws E2 5c **
Nice climbing. Short and cruxy!

E: East bay


This Septic Heil E5 6b ***

Gruel Brittania E3 6a ***
The pillar with a crack running up its right side. A classic and quite hard for the grade.

Jumping Jack Splat E3 6a
The obvious ledge system with a lonesome peg for protection. Clip the peg and make some very weird goey moves up to the large ledge. Run it out following the smaller ledges to the platform above and gear, exit left.

The Lone Groover E3 6a *
The right corner of the East bay. The lower half looks easy.....it isn`t! A variation steps right and up from the half-way ledge to follow a thin crack left of Wally 1. This has the decency to look hard.

Wally 1 E2 5c ***
The flake and cracked wall right of the obvious corner. Nice, technical climbing. Now clean and free of vegetation.

Blue Rinse E1 5b *
The groove right of Wally 1. Recently cleaned and possibly now E1 5c.

External links

You are here: Scotland > Lowland Outcrops > Edinburgh Outcrops > Ratho Quarry
Personal tools