Saturday, 30 May 2009


On the 16th and 17th May EICA: Ratho coaches Neil McGeachy and Neill Busby ran a trip to the sport climbing Mecca of Malham Cove for Scotland South British/Scottish Junior Team members. For all of the kids, this was their first trip to a crag notorious for fiercely technical routes that are almost always hard for the grade!

Over the two days the young climbers tested footwork and route reading skills on a selection of routes and after a bit of time adjusting to the new challenges of climbing outdoors, they soon started ticking of some of the classics the crag has to offer.

Rachel Carr made a highly impressive sport climbing debut , managing to on-sight 'Begozzi and the Ledge Lizzards' 6A+ as well as top roping a selection of 6C's and 7A's. Callum Forsyth also made an impressive start to his sport climbing career, by top roping a selection of classic routes from 7A - 7B. Eleanor Hopkins was on fire as always making swift work of red-pointing 'Frankenstein' 7A+/B, as well as top roping a selection of other 7A & 7A+'s. Jonny Field carried on from a successful debut season to outdoor sport climbing last year, with numerous on sights of 7A+'s & 7B's including 'Yosemite Wall', '7th Aardvark' and 'Something Stupid'.

As a climber and coach, I was truly blown away by how easily the young climbers transferred their indoor climbing skills to real rock with such ease. Especially at a Crag as technical as Malham Cove!

After the weekend crowds had dispersed and the youth had returned home to the joys of exams, Buzz and myself hung around for some more Malham action. We spent the first day on the upper tier where we red-pointed 'L'obsession' 7C+ and 'Toadal Re-Call' 8A, both of which were extremely good quality and well worth seeking out. On the second day we stayed on the cat walk and used our time ticking some classics such as 'Tremalo' 7C, and some not so classics, such as 'Just not in Lust' 7C, 'Angel Gabriella' 7B+.

Despite the terrible weather and huge crowds at the crag, a fun and productive trip was had by all. If you have not been to Malham before, get your ass down there as it is without a doubt the best sport climbing crag in the UK!!!!!!! Plus it has the added advantage of staying dry in even the heaviest downpour!

Friday, 29 May 2009

Helpful advice

make the most out of your day at the crag

no pain no gain

Finding a belay can be tricky sometimes

Smile for the camera

Its important to maintain flexability

Dressing up like Rod Stewart makes you crank harder

duct tape is useful in many situations

Always campus on steep ground

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Quickdraw club at Blackford Quarry

Today Martin and I were at Blackford Quarry with the perants of the Quickdraw Club. The objective was to look at top roping as a follow on from the bottom roping of the previous sessions. We started rigging so they were out of the system and using Italian hitches, an all new concept for all but one. After using these to do a little climbing, we moved on to put themselve into the system. This will lead into things later in their program. This went well, building nicely on the new skills they had all remembered well from the last session. Overall, another very productive session.

The weather was nice too!

Friday, 15 May 2009

Gordale, by Mhairi

McGeek, Greg, Damien, Pamela and I all went to Gordale on Monday. The Ratho crew (apart from Damien) had the crag to ourselves which was awesome. McGeek got straight on Huecool (8b) and had a few goes working out the moves. Looks like he will get it soon. Greg got on a "classic" 7b+ called Revival and managed to pull of LOADS of holds. He decided that it wasnt that classic and therefore ditched it altogether. Damien and I did a really short 7b called Last Dog, but it packed in the moves and was really good fun. Pamela redpointed a 6a on the other side of the crag and she was pretty chuffed.

Day 2 - McGeek and Pam did some funky trad stuff which looked good fun whist Damo Greg and I put a rope up Dog Point 7b+/7c. We worked it on a top rope and are psyched to get back next week for some redpointing action! McGeek had a few more goes on Huecool and thinks a couple of days work will do the trick. He's a machine!

It was my first time at Gordale, thought it was an awesome crag, well worth a visit and a good wee trip overall.



Thursday, 14 May 2009


We have just gone and purchased around 1.5 tonnes of new holds from a new climbing hold company called CORE. They are all in white as we don't have many in that colour. Master Buzby (Head Route Setter) and the rest of the team are pretty psyched by these holds. They seem very friendly on the skin (good for training on) and there is a lot of variety in shapes and type of hold (crimp, jug, sloper, etc). So far we have set 2 x 5's, 1 x 6a, 1 x V4 and 1 x V8. Climb the new routes and tell us what you think of them. Also for those who are wondering, we are on a mission to complete the top-rope wall and fit it full of fantastic, fun new routes and then we will be ready for the main lead wall.

Also new to Ratho is the introduction of some of Scott Muirs interesting new real rock holds (Dream Holds). We have set a number of routes with these as well varying from 5 - 7a. Tell us what you think of these too. They are meant to resemble the texture and quality of Grit, Sandstone, Gneiss and Gabbro (common rock types found throughout the UK).

Catch everyone later...


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Team Trials Domination

Last weekend EICA: Ratho hosted the British Team Trials (the event to pick the future youth climbers for the Edinburgh Europen Cup). The event was dominated largely by us Scots. In the Youth C Female category we had the top 3 positions! Eleanor Hopkins was the victor in the end with a very strong performance, showing us all just what hard work and determination can do. A super final seperated Eleanor and Nikki Addison (Scotland North) which Rachael "The Beast" Carr missed out ony by points. In the Youth C Boys, Dylan Mckenzie held a strong and very "different" performance to secure his 3rd place. It was different as he dsplayed his amazing use of the figure of four technique to complete his second route : P

Female Youth B saw the famous Jaime Davidson crush her way into 4th place, again missing out by points to secure a superfnal position. Male Yout B saw the young Ice Champion Stevie Addison fight his way to 6th place, a respectable position and i'm sure we will see a lot more to come from this promising young climber (especially towards the Ice!!!)

Female Youth A saw Ellen Mcaskill float her way to 4th position with some very nice climbing on the new wall while drifting in only one position behind was Edinburgh local and Alien Rock fanatic Jessica Mcaskey!!! Male Youth A as always was the strongest competition with 6 British Team Member fighting for 1st place and as usual, on top came Jonathan Stocking seemingly floating up the routes (what is this kid on?). Coming on a very close 2nd place was Ross Kirkland who on the final route looked like he simply could not fall off!!! In 4th we had Paul "Sharma" Williamson and in 6th place came Edinburgh local and fellow Watsonian Jonathan Field!!! Lets not forget though... everyones favourite, CALUM FORSYTH!!! The young ratho prodigy who will one day be ripping the place apart no doubt came a very respectable 9th place, especially considering the competition. I would just like to input that Calum onsighted his first 7b/+ the other day at Ratho showing us just what he's capable of if he remembers the sequence :P

In Female Junior we had no competitors but in Male Juniors "I" (Robbie Phillips) got 1st place followed by Connor Robertson (fellow watsonian and Alien Rock Freak) who undoubtedly could crush any moves on any of the routes single handedly... if only he had the stamina to do more than 3 moves :P "Get of the boulders Connor and onto the routes!!!"

Thats all from the Team Trials for now...

The BLCC's are the next British Competition Event and will be being held at EICA: Ratho on the 18th and 19th of July. Applications are on the BMC website,
everyone should give it a go (even for a laugh, its great fun).

I will be competing in the Seniors so I look forward to seeing you all there!!!


P.s. I would just like to thank Will Carroll (fellow Ratho climber) for the fantastic photos.

Friday, 8 May 2009


Just starting at Ratho within the next week or so, there will be tick lists available at reception and from the arena notice board. The tick lists are designed to show climbers of varying levels a selection of Ratho's best routes of the grade. Not only is it a tick list, its also a ticket for a raffle that will be held every month. By completing the tick list (signature of belayer needed next to every climb)you can then hand it in to reception and get the chance to win some cool prizes. More information to come later in the week...


Thursday, 7 May 2009

ta for the invite

now i will have to go and do some interesting stuff to put on here?



Sunday, 3 May 2009


Today Martin and I were at the Hawkcraigs with folks from the Quickdraw Climbing Club. The aim of the day was to give the kids an opportunity to climb outside and experience a range of route types, whilst the parents got the chance to see and discuss the rigging that was set up. This made a good follow up to yesterday. Everyone had the chance to try a range of climbs from VDiff to HVS. Most of the climbs gave the group a different challenge than they would get at the wall, Cracks being the hardest. These days are going to be a great way for all involved to experience more of the sport and help improve their all round skill level.To find out more about the click on the link below.