Salisbury Crags

From ScottishClimbs

Jump to: navigation, search

From a guide originally by Tom Charles Edwards.

The South Quarry at Salisbury Crags is the best place to climb outside in Edinburgh. It's not the kind of place to go if you want to tick routes or problems that your mates will have heard of, but it's a very relaxing place to climb and it's good for your technique - particularly if you're a cellar dweller... There's a video to accompany this guide that can be found on the media page of this website.

Thecrags map.jpg

Look over the city and what do you see?

What keeps climbers from the rock? Relatively few Edinburgh climbers seem to even recognise the existence of the beautiful natural feature deforming the urban monoform right in the heart of their city. Even when Salisbury Crags are glowing in the evening sunshine, and the horizon extends to Stirling, the Lomonds, the East Neuk, the Lammermuirs and the Pentlands, they are often deserted. Where are these climbers? Choking and sweating in Alien's spectacular kaleidoscopic blobiness?

Tc salisburycrags1.jpg

Outwith cultural and economic contexts climbing functions as a resolution of the emotions and the social and physical environment through the catalytic application of stone to body and mind, though mediated and vitiated within these contexts it often functions as no more than another form of sports entertainment defined in terms of market forces. Thus climbers set weekly training schedules as working towards a perpetually postponed fulfilment through frequently unachievable goals; earn climbing trips as a reward for keeping the nose to the grindstone; commodify and market climbing 'destinations' to potential customers; define local crags in terms of exchange value rather than use value; implicitly copyright routes and problems as the inalienable product and creation of the climber (and a capitalisation on their investment of time, physical and mental effort and money); and undertake the enclosure of the natural environment through the naming, grading and claiming of first ascents and the ownership of projects.

Indoor climbing and training have a prominent place in Edinburgh's climbing culture, but when the focus shifts to the rock technical ability is always a limiting factor - even for the strongest. This particularly affects young climbers who need to develop the techniques that will underpin or undermine their efforts in later life.

Tc salisburycrags2.jpg

Climbing at the Crags decreases the doublethink necessary to live in a city. It provides an opportunity for regular unmediated interaction with the rock: few lines, few defined problems and no grades - just rock with lots of holds and a good view. The predominantly slabby nature of the climbing and the profusion of small holds are ideal for improving technique, particularly as many of the best moves and the best rock are far enough from the floor to develop mental control but close enough that failure won't be terminal. This makes a useful contrast with plastic jug-swinging and ledge-shuffling, but - as in indoor training venues - the moves themselves are the aesthetic objective rather than the lines. Weather permitting, I can walk 20 minutes from my flat and be climbing. Edinburgh is the place I call home and I can climb here, on the side of a beautiful hill, watching the sun setting over the city. How lucky am I?

You are here: Scotland > Lowland Outcrops > Edinburgh Outcrops > Salisbury Crags
Personal tools