Family Days Out
August is generally one of the busiest months especially with families. But it also attracts thrill seekers looking to achieve some of their long-term goals. family days out
So It’s normally about now that I head up to the highlands of Scotland to climb the classic Old Man of Stoer. This year was no exception and I climbed this iconic sea stack 4 times with different clients. We also made another 2 ascents using our freelance staff again with different clients.
I never get bored of this, and each trip is different. This time I went a day ahead and rigged the Tyrolean traverse so it made things quicker. This stayed up for almost a week as with good planning and the clients booked near each other I was able to do this.
Climbing the OMOS
The first ascent was not looking good, as the weather had been damp the night before, but as we sat on the landward side ready to cross the Tyrolean, I could see that the 5a traverse pitch was soaked. This isn’t good as it’s slopey and requires a bit of grip to get across. Martha was unsure if the day would go ahead and I told her to have faith as it would dry and all would be good. We had an early lunch and sat it out for an hour or so. This also meant that the tide was receding and so we were able to nip round the back and do the easier approach start.
Can I have a go?
If anybody is reading this and fancies climbing the old man of Stoer. Here’s a few pointers. It doesn’t come under our ‘family days’ umbrella and there are one or two things that we ask for before setting sail.
It is possible with limited experience, although it is preferable to be able to climb up to and have seconded VS 4C as a minimum. The crack pitch (pitch 2) is 5a and quite thuggy. That said some clients rest on the rope on this whilst contemplating the moves.
An understanding of rope work is also good although not essential, but belaying and experience of is… As you will be required to hold the ropes and belay the instructor up the old man of stoer, which is the most important job in a climbing partnership.
For more information on this excellent adventure click here
What else? family days out
Lot’s of family days out doing cool things, and making trips to suit their location, needs and group size. This mainly consists of doing 2 activities in one day. For example a half-day Rock climb with some Canoeing, or some Scrambling with an Abseil. See here for more details – Here
I did manage to get a day off here and there, and headed up to the remote and seldom frequented Heron Crag. The plan was to go up hang out, and climb on my own using a rope and some mechanical devices to keep me safe. Sadly the belay at the top to anchor my ropes doesn’t exist except for a worrying ‘drop in’ from the top so I had to re think. Luckily there were 2 other climbers there who offered to give me a top rope/second and so I jumped at the chance!
Experience family days out
These guys had done lots of climbing throughout their lives and, Neil still is but had been a hard climber. Now older it was great to watch his technique as he hung in and worked out the moves whilst not getting flustered or phased by the hard move’s above him still to come. Remember a well-racked climber should always remain calm in a crisis. Ha, many times I’ve been ‘in a crisis’ and still a little concerned! His wife Claire was as smooth as he was and it was a pleasure to be out sharing the day with these guys. We climbed up to E3 and after exhausting the ‘drop in’ belay we called it a day.
Sea Stack formation: Here
The old man of stoer: Here