01/01/2013 16:43:00

Words by bena

Loch Grannoch Crag

 

(NX 535 686) 250m SE facing, (SMC Lowland Outcrops Guide 2005, page205)

Loch Grannoch Crags as seen from near the Lodge.

LOCH GRANNOCH CRAG consists of four groups of slabs lying in a splendid position on the hillside above the sandy beach at the southern end of Loch Grannoch. However although the rock is good, the shortness of the climbs together with the long approach means they are unlikely to prove popular except with instructors based at the Loch Grannoch Lodge. Park as for Clints of Dromore, then continue on the track, turn left and take a forest track past Meikle Cullendoch. Then take the next left and left again to the lodge (1½ hours but much quicker by bike). Follow a vague path through woods to the crag (a further 15mins). Some routes were recorded in 1981, the remainder in 2002, though some, particularly on Lodge Buttress, had obviously been climbed before. Please note that there is a ban on climbing on this crag from 15th February to 30th June due to rare birds nesting.
 
LODGE SLABS are the lowest slabs on the right. The left-hand slab is climbable anywhere at about Difficult, but the right-hand slab is more interesting. Spike Slab (VD) gains and climbs the ramp above the big spike. To the right, Wall Left (S 4a) takes a vague crack, Wall Centre (VS 4b) goes via a niche and Wall Right (HS 4b) take a crack to ledges and a wall. Just right again the striking right-slanting diagonal crack is taken by Diagonal 1 (VS 5a) which crosses the obvious central crack line of Centre Crack (VD) before finishing up slabs on the right. Just right again, Diagonal 2 (HVS 5b)
 
 
Lodge Slab - click on the picture to see the routes.

gives a hard start up a faint line of tiny flakes before crossing Centre Crack and then finishing up the upper of two diagonal faults. Diagonal 3 (HS 4b) starts at the foot of Centre Crack and follows the lower fault in its entirety, and Diagonal 2.5 (E1 5b) climbs boldly and slightly artificially up the slab between the two faults. All the routes are 10 - 15m long.

Madman's Slabs, Goat Slabs and M Slabs - click on the picture to see the routes.
M SLABS lie 60m up the hillside above Lodge Slabs and gives some very clean but short (8m) routes. The centre of the white left-hand slab is taken by the very bold Kid's Stuff (E2 5c). Kids R Us up the arete to the left is Very Difficult and Kid You Not (MS 4a) climbs the short wall to the right. The remaining routes lie to the right of the vegetated central groove. M1 (VS 4b) takes the thin wiggly crack on the left and M6 (VS 4c) the excellent right-slanting diagonal crack starting at the same point, whilst M62 (HVS 5a) follows M6 until it is possible to step left into the upper crack and boldly follow this.
 

Chris King on Bypass (HVS 5a). M1 (VS 4b) takes the thin crack on the left, M6 (VS 4c), the diagonal right-slanting crack, and M62 (HVS 5a) starts up M6, but moves left into the bottomless upper crack. Detour (D) takes the cracks on the far right.

Chris King on M6 (VS 4c), M62 (HVS 5a) moves into the left-hand crack.

 

Right again, Bypass (HVS 5a) takes an unlikely line up the blank-looking slab, and at the far right, Detour (D) follows the clean cracked slab.

GOAT SLABS lie 50m to the left. Stemlines (E2 5b) gives a sustained pitch up the thin triple crack system on the right of the main slab, whilst Goat Slab (HS 4a) climbs the unpleasantly vegetated left-hand side to finish up the wall/arete. The inaptly named Goat Grooves (MS 4a) starts up a subsidiary slab on the left, before crossing heather to finish up the pleasant upper slab. All theses routes are 25m long.

MADMAN'S SLABS are situated 200m to the left again, at the far side of an open gully. Black Ball (25m S 4a) gives rather vegetated climbing up the centre of the large dark convex slab on the right. To its left are two prominent clean ribs. Right Rib is an 8m Difficult, whilst Left Rib (10m VD) starts up a steep crack then more easily follows the rib above. Up and right of the ribs, Shortie (S) is a pleasant if heathery 12m wall leading to the foot of the upper slab where Captain Madman (VS 4c) gives a good 25m pitch up the thin right-slanting crack just right of the vegetated crack.

  Donald Gibson on the first ascent of Goat Grooves (S 4a)
(Andrew Fraser)
HISTORY
Andrew Fraser and Donald Gibson visited Loch Grannoch Crag in April 1981 and recorded Left Rib, Shortie, Captain Madman, Goat Grooves, Goat Slab, Kid's Stuff, M1, M6, and Bypass, though many of these were named later by Reid and King. However, it is probable that some lines, in particular many on Lodge Slab had been climbed before this by instructors at the Lodge. Certainly John and Linda Biggar had done several of them by the time Stephen Reid and Chris King visited the crag in 2002, when they repeated all the existing routes and added several others, including Diagonals 1, 2, 2.5, & 3, Kids R Us, Kid You Not, M62, Detour, Stemline, Black Ball, Left Rib. They also named the easier routes on Lodge Slab: Spike Slab, Wall Left, Wall Centre, Wall Right, and Centre Crack.
 
 
  Andrew Fraser's first ascents diagram of of the 1981 routes at Loch Grannoch Crag. The routes are 1) Left Rib, 2) Shortie, 3) Captain Madman, 4) Goat Grooves, 5) Goat Slab, 6) Kid's Stuff, 7) M1, 8) M6, and 9) Bypass, though only routes 3 and 6 were named at the time.  
 
 
Loch Grannoch
 
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