The Thirlstane

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The climbing is slightly highball although all landings are onto the sandy beach. The crag is also succeptable to high tides and if the tide is in some of the problems may not be accessible. The right hand side of the cave (looking from the sea) stays dry at the landward end during most rain, although a head torch may be required to see.


Directions & Approach

From Dumfries follow the A710 Solway Coast road to a left turn signed to Southerness. Take the first left turn at the right hand bend, signposted Arbigland Cottage. After short distance take a right turn (marked 'Powillimount') this is then followed to the sea. The crag is a short walk eastwards along a shell strewn beach.

The carpark has ben fully resurfaced this Aprli 2009 there are granit posts in place not sure if these are for signs or parkin merers. Using the carpark on a Friday night is dodgy as well as it’s a well known dogging hotspot!

This is the first view of the crag and is handy for warming up.

The Climbing

The Pocket Problem Font 5
Climb the wall with the use of both pockets

Pick Pocket Font 6A
Same wall but without either pocket.

Yellow Slab Brit 4b*
Climb the slab directly and then over the roof above.

Warm-up wall – font 3 to 5
Traverses and short walls, excellent at high tide for some shallow water jug pulling.

The Main Wall

A short walk further east and you will come across the main wall and cave entrance; there are a few good trad routes here.

Left Arete Very Difficult
The juggiest V. Diff in the world (probably), wobbly block at half height.

Thank You Irene E5 6a*
A sensational eliminate of Good Night Irene, with poor protection. Follow Good Night Irene to the large roof, then cross the widest part of the main roof using a pinch for the left hand and a small hold on the lip.

Good Night Irene E2 5c*
A fine sustained climb with spaced gear. Start 2m left of the cave. Pull over a small roof, and then move up to, and then left underneath the larger roofs (friend 3 or 4), to finish up a short groove (crux).

The Ramp Difficult
The obvious right to left ramp.

There are many, many more trad routes here, see the SMC Lowland Outcrops for more details (page 223).

The Cave

This is now the entrance to the cave looking out to sea contains 3 highball problems and various short eliminates.

Grade Obsessed, Font 7A

Traverse & Up Font 6A*
Traverse in from sitting and finish up Problem 1.

Problem 1 Font 5C*
Climb the smooth groove on sloping holds.

Shrinking Violet – Font 7B+**
The blank wall on the left hand side, just inside the cave. Climb the wall direct from the crack, see if you can work it out! It's not as hard as it looks. Font 8a from sitting.

Half Arete Font 5
Sit start at the base of the arete and climb to half height.

This is the left hand side of the cave looking in from the sea.

Jihad Font 7A***
Start at the beginning of the slopey shelf. Traverse left until you reach a good pocket with your left hand, straight up from here, traversing left to finish. Excellent!

Jihad, Font 7A***

The impossible blank wall directly right of the Jihad shelf is the most prized project at the Thirlstane and is so far unclimbed.

What's Holy about it – Font 7B**
Traverse in from the sea and finish up Jihad.**

Crack House – Font 7A+
Traverse from the start of Jihad and continue to the sea entrance. Unfortunately involves a nasty finger change in a sharp pocket; hopefully someone can find a better sequence?

Nitro – Font 7A+***
Start as for Jihad, match slopey shelf, lunge for break, compose youself and go over a round finish.***

Bad Sneakers – Font 6A
Take obvious good pocket with right hand and slopey pocket with left, pull up footless and cross over for good pocket on top of break, top out.

Tied up and Swallowed – Font 7C***
Start from obvious hold on slopey shelf. Take bad crimp with right hand, rockover and grunt your way to the break.

Chinese Democracy – font 8a***
Paul Savage (2000)
Traverse from sea entrance on edges and pockets 'till slopey shelf is reached, then do Tied up and Swallowed. Hard to explain the start, but nearly sitting at the entrance!

This is the right hand side of the cave as seen from the sea entrance.

Hardcore Superstar (white) – Font 7B+***
Although eliminate, this problem is awesome. Start at the sea entrance on good pockets, come in footless along the good break, drop down to slots and crank under the roof to a pocket continuing well into the cave. Once a blank wall is reached span across on bad crimps (crux) and finish up the tight goove of Endrina.

The Bad Seed – Font 6C***
Start under the roof right of Eazy Roof on an obvious pocket and crimp match. Make blind moves to slots around the roof lip, then up to a good break.

Eazy Roof – Font 5**
Climb the roof left of the flake crack on good holds.

Lateral Thinking – Font 6B
Start to the left of Eazy Roof under the widest part of the roof. Pull up footless, get foot on, finishing on crimps to better holds.

Insect Kin – Font 7A
Start under the roof on a pocket beside the bad seed, traverse the break under the roof following Hardcore Superstar until good crimps are reached and a top out is possible.

Endrina – Font 7A
Start under a wide roof halfway inside the cave. Pull up at the back of the roof on slopey holds, move round to the front (difficult) slapping footless to good holds that lead into the tight groove.

The complete traverse of either wall is also yet to be climbed and would be the finishing touch to Dumfries & Galloway’s premier bouldering venue.

There is also a problem called FATWA that was climbed by Mark Katz and graded font 7c but I have not managed to find out the location of this problem yet. Paul Savage has also climbed a problem called Virtue and Vice graded font 7a which has not appeared on any topo I have seen, so unfortunately I don’t know the location of this problem either.

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