Maggie Coll

Discover Rock Climbing Course (5 Day), Glenmore Lodge

I was lucky enough to attend the 5 Day Discover Rock Climbing course at Glenmore Lodge with the support of The Neil Mackenzie Trust. I’d started to Rock Climb briefly before COVID but only ever indoor climbing, so I was really excited to take rock climbing outdoors and learn plenty of new skills along the way.

Glenmore Lodge itself was fantastic with excellent food and facilities (you can’t go wrong with a daily 5pm cake and debrief) and there was even an indoor climbing wall which our group used several evenings during the week – because can you really climb too much on a week’s climbing course?

There was four of us on the course altogether and the first two days we had one instructor, while the remaining three days we split into groups of two with one instructor per pair. The level of instructing and coaching was really amazing, and I thoroughly enjoyed the week.

The first day was an introduction to outdoor climbing; we went over skills as tying in a figure eight knot and best practise belaying from both the top and bottom of the crag. We climbed some nice routes in the Cairngorms and focused on climbing using our legs which was interesting as it wasn’t something I’d thought about much before.

Day two we headed to the Moray Coast to a small place known as Cummingston. Cummingston is a semi tidal sea cliff of soft sandstone; this type of rock was very different from the day before with some sandy topouts and we had some fun climbs. Today we were focusing on setting up good anchor points at the top of crags, we went over clove hitches and started to learn the techniques of setting up abseils and abseiling down routes.

Day Three was a big day and one my favourites. We split into our two smaller groups and went to Huntly’s Cave for a day of climbing where we got to experience our first ever multi-pitch with the instructors leading. It was a wandering route and I found it challenging in parts, so I was delighted to make it to the top.

 Day Four we headed to Dunkeld to a nice crag known as Craig a Barns (Polney Crag) for some more multi-pitch climbs and practised setting up our abseils and abseiling down.

 Day Five – sadly our last day! We headed back to Cummingston for some final climbs. We spent time focusing on placing gear as well as getting some good pointers and helpful tips on removing gear. After a day of climbing, we ended our course with some bouldering fun to round off a superb week.

Discover Rock Climbing (5 Day) – Glenmore Lodge

 A huge thank you to The Neil Mackenzie Trust for the opportunity to take part in this course. I learnt so much and I’m really excited to put these new skills into practise.