Primrose Bay near Hopeman. A place of great beauty. Climbing and Aid climbing here in 1972 with the RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team.

The Moray coast is a special place and it’s great to revisit wonderful places. The Moray Way after Hopeman has some incredible coves and beaches to visit. Primrose Bay is one you follow the Moray Way past Hopeman and the Golf Course. You descend down to one of the loveliest Coves around. It has a lovely beach and wonderful sandstone cliffs. It is the ideal place for a picnic and to watch the famous Dolphins.

Primrose Bay be careful on descent of taking the path on the Quarry side.

When I joined Kinloss Mountain Rescue I climbed at bit at locally at Primrose Bay near Hopeman. I played and climbed here as a wee boy, where the caves and cliffs were our learning playground. Looking back I see this place great place with a climbers eye and Many years ago so much fun here. We practiced aid climbing here on pre placed bolts some that you can see the remains off. Nowadays it has great bouldering on the sandstone with no one about. I am lucky it is great to have such a place on the doorstep just a bit away from the crowds at Cummingston. Aid Climbing :Aid climbing is a style of climbing in which standing on or pulling oneself up via devices

Very old bolts !

I visited yesterday and we never saw any Dolphins. When it’s wet you can sit the cave between the showers listening to the noise of the stones speaking in ongoing tide. It is a grand place to be in a wild day with the waves crashing off the cliffs, outstanding views across to the Moray Firth in the distance. Yesterday there was an oil rig being towed across the Firth heading out to sea by a small tug, the Moray Firth is a busy place to be.

Stunning wall and a lovely lassie

From UKC “The sandstone ranges from damp, to dry but explosively soft, to pristine and permanently dry. Aid climbing stopped here in the early 70’s when it was realised what damage it was causing to the rock.

Beach level is varied which impacts the landings in the stacks areas. As usual please refrain from climbing on wet sandstone as it is prone to breaking.

As you descend to the bay, the stacks are on the left end of the beach and the throughhole cave, etc are at the right end.

There is one traditional climb on the cliff an E3 but we used to climb a few easy routes on the slab above the cave. This is where I did early rock climbing leads and abseils above the slab. It is fairly overgrown now.

Sandstone cliffs

The late John Hinde took us there on our first outing in 1972 along with my pal Tom MacDonalds who sadly is also not with us now.

Yet I have great memories of this area rock climbing swimming and to pop down two days ago was wonderful. It was so warm and sunny and no one about.

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.
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5 Responses to Primrose Bay near Hopeman. A place of great beauty. Climbing and Aid climbing here in 1972 with the RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team.

  1. Alan Airey says:

    I was climbing at Primrose Bay one evening in Spring 1978, with 3 other RAF servicemen, but not MRT. We then ventured across to Clashach Quarry that had some quite serious climbs at the time before been later blasted away. I was two thirds the way up a serious route that had turned into a blank sandstone wall when out of the corner of my eye I saw 2 bodies falling. One from the top of the quarry, who then had knocked off the other RAF guy who was sitting on a ledge half way up. Neither was roped as they were on an easy scramble, and it was just a simple stumble at the lip of the quarry for the top guy.
    I have no idea how I climbed that last blank section on the wall, but I shot up then back round and down to the quarry floor to assess the casualties. Both were in a bad way and there was much blood. As I was the driver I shot off to try and find a phone box to summon help leaving my climbing partner to do the best he could whilst I was gone. After what seemed an eternity an ambulance arrived with one geriatric driver in a serge uniform, we set off for the quarry from the top of the sandy track near Hopeman Golf Course carrying a solid wooden stretcher and I seem to remember no first aid kit or at least very basic. We were whacked before we even got to the quarry, then it was a simple case of scooping up the first casualty, carrying back to ambulance, dumping the casualty and repeating for the next. At least for the second casualty we had an extra person to help carry, my climbing partner. Then the ambulance simply drove away to Dr Gray’s Hospital with us following in my car. Once at the hospital I got a message to pop into the Police Station at Lossiemouth sometime to let them know what had happened.
    As for the casualties, I seem to remember a mixture of fractured skulls, broken pelvis, ribs, broken limbs and internal bleeding which led to quite a spell in hospital. Someone could so easily have died because of the length of extraction and lack of first aid.
    I still wonder why the Police, Mountain Rescue and SAR helicopter never responded, the RAF could so easily of lost 2 servicemen that evening. The next morning at Kinloss, I went up to the MRT table in the Airmens Mess and asked ‘Where were you lot all last night’, but they were totally in the dark because the MRT were never informed of the accident.
    Alan Airey

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s some story thanks for that – I was at Valley then !

      You did a great job


    • Can I use this story on my blog ?


      • Alan Airey says:

        Yes of course.
        I was never in the MRT but did climb occasionally with Cheeky Sinclair and Tom Macdonald in the past and travelled to the Alps with Terry Moore. I know many MRT names which is why I like reading your blog, always a good read. Knee problems cut short my mountaineering career very prematurely but led to other interests including wildlife photography which has taken me all over the world. I live in Forres work at RAF Lossiemouth and spend many hours monitoring whales and dolphins off the Moray coast.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for that some great names there hope we bump into each other one day.


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