Many will know and love this route its one of my favourites and in these days its great to be reminded of superb routes. There are a lot harder climbs on this cliff but this one is special. Ardverikie Wall – 550 foot/ 150 metre Hard Severe.
First ascent D.F.Lang and G.N. Hunter.
It was a neglected cliff for many years tucked in behind the Laggan road and missed by many until climbed in June 1967. It is said that the famous Tom Patey visited the crag in bad weather and unlike him missed its potential yet he had done a route here earlier . The first ascent was by a real character Doug Lang and Graham Hunter who during and incredible summer in 1967 where they climbed themselves to a standstill before publishing the climbs in the SMC Journal. Binnein Shuas is a lovely hill well worth a trip on its own though only 746 metres. The rock type is a mixture of pegamite and mica shist. This gives an unusual feel to the rock “requiring a different style of climbing”.
Access is easy with a bike and worth it for the journey home mostly downhill. The crag does not look that great from the distance but it is a fun place and the route over 550 feet looks steep and intimidating. I found it so on my first visit in 1975, Tom MacDonald climbed it with me Tom laughing at my attempts. I found it bold but I am a poor climber and there was little gear then. It is described as “a thin ribbon of grey micro granite” but once on it the journey begins. In these days the route was sparsely protected and the 4- 5 pitches give classic climbing and the views outstanding of the lovely lochan na – Earba and the Ardverikie Estate. This was all made very famous by the TV series filmed here.
It is worth the short stroll to the summit (a climb should always do this?) It is a place that at times misses the rain and on the various occasions I have climbed it once or twice in big boots and then the three Munros it was a grand day. Many novice RAF MR Rock climbers cut their teeth on this crag and we had a few wobbly leads at time in the rain but what a place to be. There are plenty other routes here and recently and new routes have emerged. I also had a few fun days in winter when the big hills were out we got a couple of winter routes in many years ago. I have been so lucky to repeat it many times every time and adventure and it can be a busy crag nowadays as its in Classic Rock.
I would have loved to have repeated thIs route again with Doug Lang who I met through the SMC he was a real character (who put the climb up in 1967 ) Sadly Doug was killed in an Avalanche in Glen Clova in 2011 he was 70 years old and was still very active and climbing well.
Doug had a mountaineering career spanning six decades and was one of Scotland’s foremost mountaineers.
Doug had been at the forefront of Scottish mountaineering for over 50 years. He is most well-known for the development of Binnein Shuas with Graeme Hunter in the late 1960s, and the first ascent of Ardverikie Wall – one of Scotland’s most loved mountain rock climbs. Doug was at the cutting edge of Scottish rock climbing during that period with first ascents of Falseface and Sword of Damocles on Creag an Dubh Loch.
As soon as we are allowed I hope to revisit this cliff and route and climb one of the best routes in Scotland and have a “dram” for Doug. I hope there are no midges. There are a couple of other routes for the middle grade climber Kubla Khan Hard Severe and Hairline Grooves severe. There are many more for the bold climbers and it is surprising the number of quality routes on this carg that was walked by so many climbers.
The book Classic Rock has a great piece on the route and well worth a read.
The SMC Highland Outcrops South is a great guide for this cliff.