Highland Rock Trips
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Catch the best of the spring weather, no midges, no fixed plans - this is a Highland road trip adventure like no other. Small ratios, expert local instructors and that friendly buzz that comes from supporting our independent social enterprise. All profits go to support our charitable work in Inverness.
What Makes this Trip Unique?
- Travel Light - We provide everything from our comprehensive stores. You just bring rock shoes, clothes, & personal items for the week.
- Road Trip - We're free to go where the weather's best: sea cliffs, mountain multi-pitch or valley cragging across the Highlands.
- Adventure - You could be bivviing at the foot of a mountain crag, sleeping in a bothy or club hut, or using a serviced campsite.
- Small Ratios - Small instructor to climber ratios of 1:4 & 1:2, means we can cater for all abilities, including lead climb coaching
- Value - The only extra cost is your food during the week. Our Highland Rock Trip represents great value
- Evening Lecture - Evening lecture from local climbers incl. Murdo Jamieson
- Social Enterprise - All proceeds go directly to our independent charity, helping others get into the outdoors
- Open to Under 18s - We are AALA licensed, so 16-18 year olds are welcome too!
Select the date for date specific details and to make a booking.
Highland Rock Trip Week 1 - Sun 9th Apr - Fri 14th Apr
Highland Rock Trip Week 2 - Sun 16th Apr - Fri 21st Apr
Scotland is home to Britain's most adventurous rock climbs. Amongst the classics there are simple, single pitch delights, esoteric conglomerate sport climbs, mind boggling seacliff adventures and remote, multi pitch, mountain testpieces. There is a rich history of traditionally protected climbing in Scotland, pioneers have pushed the technical standards over the years as well as innovating some of the techniques now used around the world on the most demanding climbs. This unique combination of features makes the Scottish Highlands
the perfect place to learn about rock climbing, and enjoy a memorable week away from the crowds found further south. We're excited to offer a unique 5 day course which distils all this into an unforgettable Highland Rock Trip.
Here's how it works: get yourself to Inverness for 5pm on the Sunday evening. We meet at Inverness Youth Hostel, where we give you dinner, have a social evening and plan out our week together. Everything is dictated by the weather - the beauty of this course is that there are no fixed plans. We start off with 2 days at 1:4 ratio with Course Director Robin Thomas in charge. The second night we're joined by local climber Murdo Jamieson who'll present an evening lecture. This would most likely be two days local to Inverness focussed on single pitch crags. For the last three days of the course you'll be joined by a second instructor. This 1:2 ratio means we can aim for multi-pitch adventures, be that on the sea cliffs, or more remote mountain crags. We have our own vehicle for the week, all the kit and in-depth local knowledge gained from decades of climbing all over our patch of the Highlands. You just need to be up for an adventure.
See here, a basic itinerary showing what your week could look like.
5 days' instruction, accommodation and all equipment included for just £800
(£100 deposit paid at checkout, remaining £700 paid via invoice)
How do I Book & Pay?
Select the week you want to book on to and book online. A £100 deposit is required to secure your place, payable online via card or PayPal. You will then receive an invoice for the remainder which is payable four weeks prior to the course start date.
How Old do I Need to be?
Minimum age is 16. We are one of a small number of climbing providers in the Highlands licensed by the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority. We are very experienced at looking after young people on our courses. This is an ideal opportunity for a teenage climber who is ready to spread their wings, perhaps moving on from indoor walls or a sport climber wanting to lead on trad gear. We think the social environment is important too: the freedom of a road trip, good craic at the campsite, chats in front of the fire, evening walks along the beach...
How Much Experience do I Need?
The Highland Rock Trips are open to anyone with an interest who is reasonably fit and in good health. Any previous experience will be beneficial but is not essential. We can cater for all technical abilities.
These courses are ideal for beginners or those who have climbed a fair bit at the wall and want to get outside. If you're ready to lead routes that's great, we can cover all aspects of basic ropework, belaying, gear placing, abseiling etc. If you're a keen boulderer who's never used a rope before that's great too - and we do normally try to build in some bouldering during the evenings too. If you have done literally no climbing before it would be worth doing a few sessions at a local wall in preparation.
What Will I Learn During the Week?
With a flexible approach we will start by looking at the basics of belaying and actual climbing in a group of up to 4 people for two days. During this period we will also aim to cover simple anchor arrangement and the use of the technical equipment. This will all take place on crags local to Inverness, the weather and individuals previous experience being taken into consideration when making final crag choices.
Following this we will divide into two smaller parties, with an extra instructor allowing a 1:2 ratio for the remaining three days. We will travel to one of Scotland's more adventurous areas and tackle some more challenging climbs, places like Glencoe, Torridon, Reiff and the Cairngorms are all options and the best one will be chosen after considering weather forecasts and people's aspirations etc. During this phase of the course there will be the opportunity to lead climbs, perhaps tackle some multi pitch classics, learn and practice some more advanced ropework techniques as well as relax and enjoy evenings around camp.
The general aim of the course is first and foremost to enjoy the climbing itself, to learn the techniques you will need with friendly and very experienced instructors and to enjoy the beauty of the Scottish Highlands at the best time of year.
What Equipment do I Need?
You can travel to Inverness with hand luggage. You literally just need a pair of climbing shoes, your clothes & personal items for the week . We provide everything else from our comprehensive stores:
- All technical climbing equipment
- All camping equipment incl. sleeping bags, stoves, rollmats, tents
- Rucksacks, spare waterproofs
What's the Deal With Food & Accommodation?
The first two nights we use Inverness Youth Hostel as our base, included in the price. Thereafter we'll be camping, using a mix of serviced campsites and wild camping as needed. You could be bivviing at the foot of a mountain crag, sleeping in a bothy, or using a fancy campsite with showers - it's all part of the adventure!
Food - We want to welcome you after your travels, so we do provide a home-cooked two course meal for everyone on the first night. After that, we've found it's best to let folks cater for themselves. Tastes and budgets vary: we will build in time to drive to food shops. As a small Highland organisation ourselves we do prefer locally owned independent shops over supermarkets! Some nights there might be a chance to eat out, and that's totally up to yourself. Other nights you might be eating boil-in-the-bag camping meals in readiness for a big multi-pitch mountain day.
How do we Travel Around the Highlands?
We use a comfortable modern 9-seater vehicle throughout the week. You just need to get yourself to the meeting point at Inverness Youth Hostel by 5pm on the Sunday evening. At the end of the week we can drop you off at Inverness Airport, train station or city centre.
What if the Weather's Bad?
We're expert at finding the good weather and dry crags. It would be very rare to be rained off for a whole week. We haven't picked late April by accident - this really is the best time of year in the Highlands. Poor weather options might include a lower-grade mountain route or one of our countless classic scrambles. We are all keen hillwalkers and mountaineers, so would generally prefer a bracing but adventurous wet hill day to going indoors. As a last resort we do have some excellent small indoor walls dotted around the Highlands.
Do I Need Insurance?
This is highly recommended. Your policy should cover cancellation as well as personal injury and loss of equipment. Many climbers are members of Mountaineering Scotland and/or the British Mountaineering Council, This gives you access to a range of member benefits including cheaper insurance.
How do I Find Out More?
Àban's friendly office team is happy to help at any time. We can talk you through all the details of this course: please enquire by phone (01463 830386) or email email@example.com
Course Director - Robin Thomas
I have over 25 years personal climbing experience from around the world form Arctic Norway in the north to Tasmania in the south. Over those years I have enjoyed all types of climbing from bouldering to Himalayan mountaineering, I have climbed thousands of extreme graded rock climbs, icy alpine north faces, icefalls in Norway and guided first ascents of 6000m peaks. I have been a qualified instructor for over 20 years, during that time I have introduced hundreds of people to the simple pleasures to be gained from climbing. I worked for over a decade for the famous mountain guide Martin Moran, employed by him I have guided first ascents on unihabited Hebridean Islands, on frozen waterfalls in the depths of Norwegian valleys and on mountains in Northern India. During that time I also worked on his infamous Scottish winter courses in Lochcarron every winter for ten years until he was sadly killed in 2019.
I have a particularly strong attachment to the mountains of Torridon and North West Scotland and a good knowledge of the climbs amongst them even contributing a few of my own over the years. The time I have spent on the mountains and crags has taught me so much about myself, and given me a confidence and self respect I doubt I could ever have found elsewhere. I hope to be able to share the benefits of this with others. As a Trustee of Àban I am particularly pleased to be able to lead these courses which demonstrate the spirit of adventure at the heart of this fantastic small charity.
Photo credits © Graham Wyllie