I’m not sure sport climbing and Scotland are two things that are immediate obvious matches when you mention either in conversation, however, from my perspective, they are a match made in heaven!
Sport climbing in Scotland is relatively young – say, twenty years or so. The tradition has always been to make use of the more adventurous mountains, crags and sea cliffs, but sport climbing is definitely finding its place and there are now bolted crags the length and breadth of the country.
Sport climbing is a bit like climbing at the indoors wall, and is perfect for an afternoon or evening – especially in Scotland, since we have daylight to around 10pm in the summer months! It’s also perfect for learning how to lead climbs, and that’s really my reason for discovering this new love.
I’d been climbing for a while, but a broken hand last year really put me out of action – I spent the summer doing long, but pretty easy routes, and I only started getting back into rock climbing properly at the start of this year – weekly trips to the indoors wall had me addicted again, and I decided it was time to get myself leading.
As soon as the nights got longer and the weather improved, I was out there at the nearest bolted sport crag learning the art of lead climbing – which believe me, is no where near as easy as it looks – I’ve had falls, wobbles, slips, lots of vertigo moments when only a few meters off the ground, forgotten how to tie knots, the list goes on – and I’ve got the bruises to show for it!
However, I am completely hooked and a new obsession with ticking off bolted crags in Scotland has begun! Sport climbing is a bit of a double-sided coin though – I’m leading at a lower grade than I second, and that brings both challenges and annoyances, sometimes at the same time – but of course, it’s an excuse to spend more time outdoors in a bid to keep going up!