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LEWIS SEA-CLIFFS, Pabaigh Beag:
Pabaigh Beag (NB 099 389) is one of a small group of islands, lying on the
sheltered southern side of Loch Roag, approx 1.0km NW of Bhaltos, guarding the
southern entrance to the Loch. Access is by boat; enquiries should be made at Circebost pier. There is no naturally occurring water on the island. There are several sheltered camping spots on the island. There can be many nesting birds on the cliffs and disturbance should be kept to the absolute minimum. There was no evidence of land based animals.
There are 23 routes on the island. For those with a sense of adventure a visit will be worthwhile, as lines remain to be discovered.
The climbing areas are described, working clockwise from the north-west.
Mas Sgeir Wall Area:
This extends, on more than one level in several sectors, from the NW corner of the island to the NE corner. Locate a notch in the skyline on the NNW of the island across a broken boulder field after contouring above Geodah Dubh. Access to a non-tidal platform can be made by scrambling down a gully, turn left and scramble across the tidal outflow of a short through cave to arrive at The Scottish Block (non-tidal), so called because its western profile looks like a map of Scotland. Access can also be made by abseil down the slabby face if sea conditions prevent access from the descent gully. The first route starts from the ridge on the right-hand side.
Aberdeen 12m E1 5b. Keith Archer, Paul Headland. 14 Jun 2013.
Start on the right arete of the west face. Climb the arete to a niche, then make awkward moves to exit on its right to reach the base of the corner system. Climb this until a move left gains the top wall.
Alba 16m VS 4c. Keith Archer, Paul Headland. 9 Jun 2013.
Start at the left corner of the buttress, climb direct to good Friend placements, then move across to the “west coast” and follow it without deviation.
The Last Four Things 16m VS 4b. Paul Headland, Keith Archer. 9 Jun 2013.
On the slabby northern face of the Scottish block. Begin at the crack on the right corner. Move up to the slabby upper section and trend left across the slab to exit on the upper wall at the left side.
4th Birthday Route 14m VS 4c. Paul Headland, Keith Archer. 15 Jun 2013.
In the centre of the slabby northern face, climb through a short series of overlaps.
Once established, trend leftwards to exit on the left-hand arete.
The Rievers 16m HVS 5b *. Keith Archer, Paul Headland. 9 Jun 2013.
This route follows the deep, black blocky V-groove between the Scottish Block and the outflow from the through cave. Finish through the overhanging slot.
This is the area of black non-tidal slabs and cracks immediately left of the descent gully.
Distant and Found 16m VS 5a *. Paul Headland, Keith Archer. 9 Jun 2013.
Gain and follow the elegant corner formed by the black slab and wall on the right.
Flame Resistant Rainwear 15m H.Severe 4a. Paul Headland, Keith Archer. 14 Jun 2013.
Climb direct up the stepped arete of the slab which forms the corner of the previous route.
The Bradbeer Legacy 14m H.Severe 4b. Keith Archer, Paul Headland. 9 Jun 2013.
Start 1m left of the previous route and climb the blocky corner to the thin crack.
The Famous Five 15m Severe 4a. Paul Headland, Keith Archer, 09 06 13 From 1m left of the previous route, climb the steep wall on large ledges to a platform, then continue up the grey wall above.
This is the area of black non-tidal slabs immediately right of the main descent gully.
The Romp 15m Severe. Keith Archer, Paul Headland. 14 Jun 2013.
From a platform on the right sidewall at the base of the descent gully, climb a square cut niche to an intermediate ledge. Continue up the buttress on the right.
Mas Sgeir Side Wall:
This is the large, grey non-tidal wall bordering the Dubh Slabs. Access can be gained by traversing the base of Dubh Slabs or if sea conditions prevent this, a descent can be made 20m further north from the main gully down slabby ground.
Black House Blues 12m VS 4c. Keith Archer, Paul Headland. 14 Jun 2013.
This route begins near to the left arete of the wall. Climb the crack and then a right-hand corner system to reach the upper wall. Climb this to the top.
Mas Sgeir Wall:
This is the largest wall on the island. It is accessed by a low-level traverse from either the main descent gully or the Dubh Slab access. Tidal.
Wild Atlantic Son 22m HVS 5a **. Keith Archer, Paul Headland. 10 Jun 2013.
A wide crack cane be seen high at the right end of the main wall. Start below and right of this at a platform. Climb up trending left until an exposed pedestal is reached beneath the final exposed wall. Climb this with elation!
Master Chef 24m E1 5b **. Paul Headland, Keith Archer. 14 Jun 2013.
Further left is a blocky wall. Climb past several small ledges to a large platform at the base of a left-trending narrow slab. Climb on to the arete of the slab and onwards up the slab and short wall above.
Raven 24m HVS 5a. Keith Archer, Paul Headland. 14 Jun 2013.
Start 5m left of the previous route at a large platform, below a slab and overhang.
Climb the initial blocky wall, then gain the slab via an overlap. Climb following the right corner until the overhang. Traverse left under the overhang, continuing the line to the top.
To access the next route, traverse the base of the wall and cross to the small islet.
Traverse its ridge and drop down to a large barnacle-covered jammed block.
Beesley Street 25m VS 4b *. Paul Headland, Keith Archer. 10 Jun 2013.
From the jammed block, follow the arete of the large black slab, then move onto the slab to finish.
Geodha Mor Area:
This is the large geodha on the east side of the island. There are several sectors all of which are non-tidal, but can be affected by heavy swell. The first area described is the east facing wall at the end of geodha’s northern edge.
This is the tidal end wall of the geodha. It is accessed at low tide by a short abseil down the centre of the wall to a non-tidal ledge just above the sea.
Gwilym’s the Daddy Now? 16m VS 4b. Paul Headland, Keith Archer. 10 Jun 2013.
From the ledge, climb rightwards up a stepped ramp to the centre of the face, then continue direct.
Marc O’Polo 15m VS 4b. Keith Archer, Paul Headland. 10 Jun 2013.
From the platform, climb the left side of the wall direct and exit through a corner niche.
Geodha Mor Slabs:
This is the large sweep of slabs on the northern side of the geodha, accessed by an abseil down the right side of the slabs. Watch out for loose rocks. Non-tidal.
Climb if you Will 22m VS 3b. Paul Headland, Keith Archer. 9 Jun 2013.
From the ledge two-thirds down the slab and 3m from the adjoining wall, climb cracks through a short wall, then a loose slab above.
Geodha Mor South Wall:
This is the area of non-tidal overlapping ledges at the south side of the entrance to the geodha. Access is by a short abseil down the wall from two-thirds of the way from the left end to a prominent black ledge above the sea.
Feeding the Rat 12m Severe. Paul Headland, Keith Archer. 13 Jun 2013.
Traverse 2m right from the belay ledge and climb to the first notch on the left end of the skyline.
Spanking the Moles 15m Severe. Keith Archer, Paul Headland. 13 Jun 2013.
Traverse 5m right from the belay ledge and climb to the second notch in the skyline.
Only 24hrs from Lincoln 20m Severe. Paul Headland, Keith Archer. 13 Jun 2013.
Take a right-rising traverse of the whole crag to exit up the third and final corner with a short wall above.
Mamol Wall Area:
This is the small buttress just north of Geodha Dubh. It contains just two routes both of which are non-tidal.
Struay Lass 16m Severe 4a. Paul Headland, Keith Archer. 11 Jun 2013.
Climb the wall on the right side of the buttress.
Way to Blue 15m HVS 5b. Keith Archer, Paul Headland. 11 Jun 2013.
Start 5m left of the previous route and climb a short wall to a ledge. Pull onto the upper wall (crux) and follow a pink band of rock to the top.
LEWIS SEA-CLIFFS, GALLAN HEAD, The Truillich Headland (SMCJ 2003):
Knight’s Move 40m H.Severe 4a **. Steve Lenartowicz, C.Humphry. 11 Jun 2013.
Down and right of Thinner Better. Ascend a scoop rightwards to a traverse line which is followed rightwards to the prominent groove. Climb this to the top.
MANGARSTADH NORTH, Eilean Geodha:
Note from Ian Taylor: Clockwork Orange (E2 5b, SMCJ 2013) is the same route as Sea Pink (E3 6a, SMCJ 1978). A recent ascent thought E3 5c **. The line shown on topo from FA in SMCJ 2013 is actually Deep Blue.
UIG AREA, Aurora Geo:
Should have gone to Kilnsey E6 6b **. Jacob Cook, Ralph Burden. 15 Jun 2013.
A right-hand alternative line to Romancing the Moose. Climb the right-hand corner of the sea cave until feet are level with the first overlap on the Romancing the Moose headwall. Quest off leftwards to reach a dirty looking crack and a break in the centre of the headwall (gear). Blast straight upwards, taking a line about 3m right of Romancing the Moose, moving slightly left into a groove at the top. Reasonably well protected.
Wireless in Wanderland 20m E4 5c **. Ian Taylor, Tess Fryer. 16 Jul 2012.
Start at Director’s Corner and traverse hard right to a left-facing corner. Follow the corner to a roof, then make bold moves up and right to gain the right side of a pinnacle flake. From the top of the pinnacle finish steeply just left of the arete above.
LEWIS HILLS, Uig Area, Euscleit Mor:
This is point 85m on 1:50,000 map, NB 066 312, alt 40m. Cross the weir at the north end of Loch Suaineabhal to the line of west facing crags, 5mins approach, with descents down either end or a central grassy gully. The rock is of good quality gneiss with areas of coarsely crystalline red pegmatite.
Practice Rib 20m V.Diff. Eve & John Mackenzie. 21 Jun 2013.
Immediately right of the grassy gully is a rib and slab. Climb a juggy overhang, then up slabs to a ledge. Continue up a slabby arete to the top, initially delicate.
Solstice Pillar 25m H.Severe 4b **. John & Eve Mackenzie. 21 Jun 2013.
A striking red pillar is the most obvious line on the crag, well right of Practice Rib. It is much easier than it looks and climbs the pegmatite wall on generous holds to a scoop before continuing up the wall via a crack to a ledge at 15m.
Continue up the easy rib to the top.
Suainabhal, West Face:
(NB 07096 30616) Alt 30m Although this looks retiring from a distance, the crag forms a fine concave sweep of slabs leading to walls and a nose. It lies well left of the existing West Slabs scrambling route and is reached by a 15 to 20 minute walk after crossing the weir and following the loch side to the upper of two paths that run beneath the crag, to a small and narrow stony gully that leads to the slabs base, small cairn. A very prominent but shallow right-facing corner and wall that forms the third pitch and the deep groove right of a prow that forms the fourth is clearly visible from below both just left of the final nose.
Descent: Either via the narrow gully closest to Suainabhal (the second one) close to Creagan Gorma, which has a scrambling section (the first one requires an abseil off a block on the left), or continue right to join the West Slabs scrambling route to the top of the hill.
Arcadia 100m HVS 5a **. John & Eve Mackenzie. 26 Jun 2013.
A very enjoyable and well protected route once above the slabs, possibly even three stars for variety and position. Move right from the little gully under the undercut start and begin just left of a pair of parallel dark water streak marks.
1. 25m 4a or 4c Either take the crack on the right at 4c or the much easier shallow break just left to move up slabs to a short wall. Climb this to reach a grey slab and go up this.
2. 20m 4a/b Move up and slightly left over blocks left of a honeysuckle bush to move left onto a ledge below the steep wall and right-facing corner.
3. 20m 5a Climb the crack right of the corner to move left into it on top of a huge hollow flake and continue up to a curved overhang. Move right, then up and right to a hidden airy stance below a deep but hidden groove; a fine pitch.
4. 10m Climb the deep blocky groove to an overhanging crack and move left below this to another hidden eyrie.
5. 10m 4c Above the stance is a wall split by a right-trending flake-crack. Climb this to a ledge.
6. 15m Finish easily up the nice rib to a large grass patch.
The climb continues up by Grade 2 scrambling for a further 50m or so via a steepening rib and easy angle slab to the shoulder where the descent gully lies on the left.
NORTH HARRIS, Giolabhal Glas, Lochan Crag:
(NB 15365 02677) Alt 350m North facing A clearer approach to this crag is as follows. Park at the car park by the new houses and cross the Ceann an Ora bridge and keep to the right-hand (south) bank of the Skeaudale River. Rough moraine hummocked ground leads up Glen Skeaudale for about a mile below steep slopes to where a left-slanting heather rake just west of a small ravine is followed up steep ground close to small outcrops until a line of crags runs west across the hillside. These crags form a broken lower tier to the hidden Lochan Crag whose far left boundary is marked by a prominent pinnacle on the skyline. Contour under these lower crags to their end, then scramble up leftwards to the broad terrace below Lochan Crag. Allow about 1hr 30mins.