On the rock again at Redhythe Point – Portsoy – The crag of the Yellow Lichen!

Redhythe Point near Portsoy



I am feeling a lot better every day I get a bit stronger but have to be very careful as sleeping is still hard I am awake at 0400. I went to the last of the Spirit of Adventure Lectures at the Findhorn Foundation on Wednesday night by Steve Bowens who rowed the Atlantic 3200 miles with 3 team mates. It was an unsupported trip and a great insight into an incredible endurance and mind-boggling journey.  These lectures have been organised for a local Charity Outfit Moray and the speakers give their services for free!

“Outfit Moray is an award-winning outdoor education charity based in Lossiemouth, providing carefully tailored programmes of outdoor learning and adventure activities for schools, youth organisations, families, communities and adults. It our purpose to actively develop potential, making a positive difference to the lives of others, through accessible and affordable outdoor learning and adventure. We value volunteers and have developed unique training and development opportunities to enhance their skills, encouraging them to use outdoor adventure to change lives.

Our Bike Revolution Project, now in its third year, refurbishes bikes donated by the public, selling them at affordable prices to encourage people to get cycling. We also maintain and service bikes, provide training and cycling activities. All proceeds help support the work of Outfit Moray.”


These lectures were sponsored also by the local Windswept Brewery. What a great chat and it opened my eyes to another incredible story of man struggle against the environment.   It was an incredible chat and thanks to Steve and Al Gilmour for given of their time for the local kids of Morayshire. I get exhausted by 2000 each night and was pretty rough next day. I had already planned with the great weather hopefully a wander on to the rock for a short climb. I managed to chat to a good  friend  Jimmy Coates who lives in Burghead and convince him to go climbing. Jimmy was more than happy to get a break from all his DIY and we got a few hours out rock climbing on the Moray Med.  We both enjoy the  lovely Moray Coast  and near the town of Portsoy on the Moray coast, Redhythe Point is a very good crag. It is a great place  for those getting into Rock climbing  and even leading rock climbing (or recovering from an operations) as well as providing sport for the more competent. Although partly tidal, many routes can still be climbed throughout the day. More like quartzite than sandstone.

It is covered in the 2003 NORTH EAST outcrops guide ( CAN I HAVE MINE BACK PLEASE DAVY WALKER.)

2015 Redhythe Apr

Directions & Approach

On the west side of town Portsoy, follow the signs to the sea level swimming pool (now defunct – ask a local)past Kingdom hall and then a wee road takes you to the Coast and park in the large parking area.  We had a  wander about as usual always go up the wrong road walk west along the coast until you arrive at an abandoned target shelter, and then bear right along a vague path to the top of the crag – 15 minutes easy walk with great views.



The cliff is easily accessible  from the road and the routes though not long many routes can be climbed in a day. The rock is can be accessed on a clam tide and the rock in place is covered by a brilliant yellow lichen and nesting sea birds are not on the climbing cliffs.

Lichen – Lichens may be long lived, with some considered to be among the oldest living things. They are among the first living things to grow on fresh rock exposed after an event such as a landslide. The long life-span and slow and regular growth rate of some lichens can be used to date events (lichenometry). Many lichens are very sensitive to environmental disturbances and can be used in cheaply] assessing air pollution    and depletion of ozone, and metal contamination. Lichens have been used in making dyes and perfumes and in traditional medicines. Few lichen species are eaten by insects[] or larger animals. They are very beautiful on the sea  – cliffs.

The rock is metamorphosed sandstone, perhaps quartzite and can be sharp and care as always must be taken. The tide was out and we set up a small abseil it is easier for me. The views are stunning and how I love this coast, no dolphins today it was a bit cold and dull and my camera was not working well. To get the harness on again was great and to abseil down and feel the rock at your feet is so wonderful. I will remember to take some rope protectors as the cliff has some sharp edges!  The rock and I keep going on about it has so much bright yellow/orange lichen and is a wonderful situation. It is like climbing on a yellow-orange carpet and takes a bit of getting used to, when wet it is deadly but not today, Jimmy is so organised and we were soon down at the ledge with the waves lapping at our feet.

Jimmy thanks for a great day!

Jimmy thanks for a great day!

We managed a few climbs and I loved it, the feel of the rock and my poor climbing even on easy routes left me buzzing. The holds are big when needed and there are some incredible holds some take care as always but what a lovely place to learn to climb again and we saw no one, It was ours on our own. Jimmy was ever patient with me and we moved along the cliff loving the wee problems and the beauty of this place. No dolphins today but a few yachts bouncing on the rough sea.   I had enough after two hours the body was sore after all these months of illness and we had a bite to eat and then a wander back along the cliff edge. I was feeling great and after these past 6 months of pain it was refreshing to be out and a little bit active again.  On the way back my thoughts when can I get out on the big routes again my mind was racing but soon brought down to earth with texts from Yvette mt stepdaughter to take it easy!!!! We had quick stop in Portsoy what a beautiful place and then back to Burghead and the sun was out and the Moray Med incredible with the sea shimmering in the sun. Magic day!


From the guide-book “The climbing is really fun and though short the routes the situation is so special with the sea and the noise of the waves. I enjoy it here but you still have to watch with the odd brittle hold and fluted features provide good climbing in the easy to middle grade routes.” A great place to take the pressure of busy cliffs like Loggie Head and Cummingston?

We climbed on the Plateau face which is in the sun and the yellow lichen was so colourful even though it was a dull day.

Early night Golf today at Newtonmore!


About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Friends, Local area and events to see, Rock Climbing, Views Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

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