The Anvil

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The Anvil is a massive free-standing boulder on the east side of Loch Goil, at NS 206 949. It is marked on 1:25000 maps as Uamh Innien, 6km south of Lochgoilhead. It is steep on three of its aspects, giving very intense climbing on good schist. A few of the routes suffer from seepage after heavy rain and require a few days of dry weather to dry out fully. In summer it seems to stay dry most of the time.


There is a good forestry track leading to the crag from Lochgoilhead. Bikes make the approach a pleasant 25 min ride, otherwise an hour's walk. Park at the shops in Lochgoilhead. Follow the road continuation past the bike hire garage. After about a mile (you can drive down this private road but parking is prohibited) there is a path leaving the road on the left. Follow this to meet the forestry track and continue down the loch. The Anvil is very slightly north of Carrick Castle on the other side, so when you almost draw level with this you should start looking for the crag through the trees on your left. It lies just after a long downhill section, 20m uphill from the track, look for an orange way marker on the left.


Routes are described right to left.

South Face

Dave Redpath on Crossfire F7c+.

The southface provides some excellent climbing on good rough schist.

Way Out West F6b *
Dave MacLeod
The right arete of the front face is climbed to a small ledge. Now head leftwards until it is possible to make another graunchy rockover onto the finishing slab.

Nu Mettle F7b
Dave MacLeod
A devious and technical line taking the short shallow groove leading rightwards into Way Out West. Some very sloping holds.

Hammertime F7b+ **
Dave MacLeod
A diagonal line heading rightwards across the front face with excellent climbing on rough edges and pockets. Follow Black Out for one bolt, then make a difficult step right to a pocket. Continue diagonally to eventually gain easier climbing and the finishing slab of Way Out West. Made to be climbed!

Black Out F8b **
Malcolm Smith 19/09/07
Start as for Hammertime then climb straight up to the top of the obvious flake. Span left to a sidepull slot then climb directly up the right-hand side of the shallow groove on poor crimps.

Crossfire F7c+ **
Dave Redpath 21/05/06
Follows diagonal crack lines which split the front face. Starting up Hammertime move left to a series of jugs. Where these end make a hard move into Spitfire, joining it at its first crux. After this keep moving left along a break until the LO of Anvilfire is gained.

Spitfire F8a+ ***
Dave Redpath
Climb easily to the large flake and gain a standing position on this using sidepulls. Move up to the undercut and shake before the first crux sequence, which uses the thin diagonal crack to gain a good hold up and left. From this point the usual method is to move up and left to the horizontal pod, from where the curious pocket/flange can be gained by reaching across to the right. The second crux is then to get the feet high and cross through to a two-finger quartz crimp with the left hand, before getting a good pocket next to it with the right. The alternative is to move straight up from the good hold to a small crimp for the right hand and then into the pocket/flange with the left. The good right-hand pocket can then be reached directly. A couple of easier moves then gain the lower-off. Excellent sustained climbing, with nothing much harder than Br 6b climbing... Well maybe ;)

Anvilfire F7c+ *
Dave MacLeod
The left arete of the front face. A technical section up the arete leads to a shake out by the last bolt. Swing left and rockover onto the hanging slab with difficulty and slap for the apex of the arete. Painfully technical.

West Face

Michael Tweedley making the FA of Shadowlands F7c.

Friendly Fire F7a ***
Richard McGhee
Brilliant varied climbing in a magnificent setting. Start at the arete as for Anvil Fire. Trend leftwards after the first bolt, making bouldery moves to a good jug. Rock onto the slab above to a hands-off rest before the final steep section. From the slab trend rightwards to good spaced jugs in the groove and keep cranking to the belay.

The Atlantic Strikes Back 15m F7c+ *
Dave MacLeod 9/04/07
The steep groove onto the ledge, then ramp above, gained with difficulty, leading right to the Friendly Fire belay.

Cowal Crusaders F6c
Dave MacLeod
An alternative start to Friendly Fire, giving pumpy climbing on good jugs. Start up the ramp on the left side of the face to gain the ledge. Traverse the slab rightwards to gain and finish up the steep groove of the previous route.

The Smiddy 15m F8b+ **
Malcolm Smith ??/08/07
The wall right of Shadowlands. Follow Shadowlands to the start of the crack before moving diagonally right along a line of very small holds (Font 8a), finish with a leap to a good hold.

Shadowlands 20m F7c ***
Michael Tweedley 22/05/06
This line tackles the impressive cave arete following an obvious crack. Starting in the cave move steeply on good holds to a small ledge. Using the large flange gain positive holds in the crack. From here a powerful sequence leads to better holds above.

North Cave

Dave MacLeod attempting Body Blow F8b+.

The north end of the Anvil provides some extremely steep climbing.

Fire Power F8b **
Dave Redpath 20/05/07
Climbs the right side of the Anvil roof, starting right of the short arete underneath. The meat of the route involves a short crux at the start of the roof (Font 7c+). Hard for the grade.

Heavy Metal F7b *
Dave Redpath
Join Fire Power at mid-height using the adjacent boulder and power out of the cave.

Blood Fire F8a+ **
Alan Cassidy 08/07/07
Starting up the corner. A sequence of four hard moves (Font 7b+, easier for the tall), leads to a line of better flat holds followed into Heavy Metal.

Body Blow F8b+ **
Dave MacLeod 22/05/06
Step off the halfway boulder and climb a Font 8a boulder problem to gain a good jug. Compose and then climb the awesome headwall with great moves. Hard for the grade, and unrepeated (apart from the climb described below) since Malcolm broke a hold at the crux.

Blood Diamond F8c+ ***
Malcolm Smith 13/06/10
Links the start of Blood Fire into Body Blow. Hard for the grade.

Hunger F9a **
Malcolm Smith 08/07/10
Links the start of Fire Power into Body Blow. Scotlands first 9a!

Dave MacLeod on Metalcore 8c+.

Metalcore F8c+ ***
Dave MacLeod 02/05/2007
Body Swerve start then follow the faint right-trending crack all the way to the peak of the Anvil roof.

Body Swerve 8c **
Dave MacLeod 08/10/2006
The left-hand roof route. About 8a to the flake hold then a really sustained bouldery section to enter the groove above. The finishing groove is easy (common to Amateur Hacker).

Amateur Hacker 6c
Dave MacLeod 09/06
Climb round the huge boulder and swing onto a shelf which lead to the slanting groove above. Balancy.


There seems to be a good sized boulder jumble around the main block, and the rock quality varies considerably.

Musical Block

The steep shady wall underneath the north cave. From right to left:

Easy arete Font 6a
The very right arete with a heather top out.

Whiskers on Kittens Font 7a
An attempt at the blunt arete bounding the right side of the steep wall. Right hand on the arete, left hand on a high crimp and go dynamically to the juggy break, finish back right. A low start looks the business!

Raindrops on Roses Font 7a+ vid
The next line on the left. Uses the same foothold as Whiskers on Kittens. Just right of the small boulder, pull on two great little side pulls and jump for a good-ish hold up and left. Top out direct. Again a low start looks desperate.

There's a couple more lines to do further left on the wall, which look good.

Other Stuff

Dredpath's Font 6? is a good there-and-back-again traverse for warming up, below the Anvil's friendly fire 7a. It can be extended with sit start, round to the right.
Michael Tweedley has been in action on the blocks above the Anvil. We need a wee diagram from someone in the know.

I've been up that hillside. Didn't find anything worthwhile - which isn't to say there isn't anything good lurking somewhere in those trees... TomCE 12 May 2010

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