After yesterdays easy day I got a call from two old friends right in the middle of the Champions League Final ( they both hate football) They wondered if I would fancy a mornings climbing at the local Duntelchaig which is very near Inverness. I climbed here a lot when I joined the RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team in my early days in the 70’s. We had some great nights after work when this was a busy crag. We often got back pretty late coming off the crag at night through the huge boulders at the bottom of the crag. The crag is only a few minutes walk and is good quality gneiss which can produce a wide variation of technical climbing and routes. The cliff is in a magic spot with the trees and Loch and very few people about even on a bank holiday. Even though it is so near Inverness it is rarely busy and a real hidden gem of an area for a wander. The loch supplies some of Inverness’s water and is a place of great beauty. The crag has a bit of a reputation for midges and wet tricky rock after a rain shower but not today. The crag has been climbed for many years and the wee 200 foot v/d Drum was first climbed in 1937 by R Frere of Savage Slit fame in the Cairngorms. John had an RAF Kinloss MR Team team guide about mid 1960’s with some great information on it. It was full of some of the ex troops – John Hinde, Ian Sykes, Gordon Ballentyne and Jim Craig.
I remember artificial climbing on this crag many years ago. Many of the routes were put up by locals with Inverness Climbing Club and Glenmore Lodge prominent. It has some really hard modern routes but seems to be out of favour for the local bolted crags.
We had an adventure finding the route and wandering all over the crag, it was a bit wet and the boulders and caves were interesting. The route was a bit dirty and wet but still good fun and the body ached even after a short day on the crag. The views were magic across the Loch and to climb badly with no one else about on a Bank Holiday is special We savoured the views at the top enjoying the views of Ben Wyvis and the greenery of the trees at this time of year is superb. The morning finished with lunch at the lovely Dores Inn at Loch Ness a magic meal in the sun and then home to listen to the Scottish cup final.
I found a few old photos of some of the old boys on the First ascent of Slings in 1966 – It is now a E1 – 5b climb with two stars! The late John Hinde is action a great man and sadly missed.