We’re thrilled to see how well Lowland Outcrops has been received so far. A long-awaited release for many, we know a lot of climbers out there have been itching to get more out of the Lowland area with this new guide. However, for many more, the Lowlands area might not be one you’ve visited yet at all. Whilst it’s often neglected over its more photogenic counterpart up north, it offers a wealth of excellent cragging near Scotland’s largest cities which shouldn’t be missed.
In this article, author Topher Dagg takes us on a tour of the Lowlands to explain in detail exactly where the guide covers, from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Ayrshire and the Borders, and everything in between.
Dumbarton is of course the well known spot, with world class technical test pieces and hard bouldering. But it’s worth noting nearby Dumbuck, which also provides a small selection of savagely steep sport in the upper grades. Both are easily accessed by city public transport.
North from the city lie the foothills of the Campsie Fells. These small but beautiful hills offer several options; the small basalt outcrops of Craigmore, with great trad and boulders in a quiet rural spot; Dunglass, home to sketchy trad and a good small sport wall; The Whangie, in a great position with stunning views, poor rock andhistoric routes; Craigton, featuring short trad which has recently developed more as a bouldering escarpment, and the recently developed sandstone boulders of Craigmaddie, with a wide grade range, great friction and views over the city. These and other smaller crags are generally accessible by bus to one of the smaller towns in the area, and then a walk of a few km.
To the east lies Auchinstarry, long a mainstay in central belt dolerite trad. This is easily accessible by train to Croy on the Edinb-Glasgow express. The car park area provides a 5m walk in, making this a popular crag with beginner groups, whilst further round the quarry bowl and pond edge the rock quality is variable, offering star routes up to E5.
It’s worth noting south of the city is Neilston Quarry, also very accessible from parking (and train to Neiston), and also very popular with beginner groups, with polished basalt and low-mid grade routes.