Caithness Climbing

Climbing in The Far North of Scotland



7 miles West of Thurso on the A86, take the turn off for the Forss Business and Technology Park. Park at the mobile phone mast and walk towards the shore keeping the perimeter fence of the Technology Park to your right until reaching a pair of double gates (700m). From the double gates, aim NNE for a small tower building with external stairs and a mast on top (200m), then walk NE down stepped, slabby ledges for 30m to a small stack on the wall edge, just beyond which it is possible to scramble down onto the non-tidal ledge. The first wall is immediately NE and the others follow to the NE. Wall 4 is 30m NE from Wall 3.

General Info:

The rock is Caithness flagstone (sandstone) and the texture of old beaches is usually underfoot. It can be snappy but the cliffs described have been well weathered by the mean northern seas and winds. They are coloured black by a coating of lichen. There are many easy bouldering lines and the trad lines are being developed. Seals, otters, even dolphins and whales can be sighted here, along with a myriad of bird life.

Sunshine is predominant in summer evenings and the place is ideal when the east coast is wet or when a few hours are available waiting for the Orkney Ferry.


Wall 1

5m high, NW facing

1. V0+ Blunt arete
2. V0 Shallow groove with small roof

3. V0 Layback start up the arete

4. V1 Groove direct, avoiding large ledge on left then layaway the tiny left facing groove and right facing flake

5. V0 From the right of the ledge, the crack above

6. V0- The groove with a good in cut flake

7. V0 Head straight for the yellow flake

8. V1 Directly up the centre of the wall to the left

9. V1 Right hand side of the stepped arete avoiding the big ledge

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Wall 2

5m high, NE facing

1. V0- Crack on the right of the wall

2. V1 Narrow wall between the cracks

3. V0- Deep crack splitting midway into twin cracks

4. V0+ Directly up the crack line in the upper section of the wall

5. V0 Centre of the blank middle wall (standing start)

6. V0- Crack on the left of the wall

7. V1 Centre of the blank left wall

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Wall 3

4m high, NW facing

1. V3 Left side of the right arete. Crimp just left of the arete above the horizontal break, then reach up and layaway a 2 finger slot to another crimp and the top

2. V1 Up the small left arete past the horizontal break to a handrail on the top wall. Follow this right as it rises to the top.

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Wall 4

6m high, NE facing

1. V0 Crack on the right of the blunt arete on the right, avoiding big ledge
2. V0+ Twin cracks left of the blunt arete
3. V0 Crack peters out towards top
4. V0 Crack springing from horizontal break
5. V3 Up to the break then layaway the short, shallow groove and under cling the overlap to a mono up left then easy ledges and smears
6. V2 2m left, follow steps to a triangular groove and follow a thin crack
7. V2 The right facing shallow groove direct
8. V0+ Crack leading from horizontal break then going diagonally left
9. V0 Left crack
V1 (Standing start) Grasp the break and get your feet high then stretch for a hold and easy moves to top.
11. V1 The corner then layback the crack to an awkward topout.

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Geo Buila

Directly East from the previous climbing area lies Geo Buila. The following route lies on the East wall and starts from a tidal ledge.

1. Forss of Nature 8m E1 5b Raymond Wallace, Rob Christie, Dominic Pain 04/07/06

Layaway and jam the steep, sustained crack in the centre of the black wall.

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