Climbing Club Trip to Mull

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Achievements, Personal, Wider Curriculum

What better way to spend four days of the summer holidays than basking on rock in 20OC with clear blue skies and not a breath of wind, trying to find a dry place to practice abseiling, wild camping on a remote west coast island, or climbing a Munro? Four pupils from Charleston Academy Climbing Club and 3 staff managed to do it all and more on the summer trip to Mull.

This trip was run for pupils who have been regularly attend the Charleston Academy Climbing Club that were looking for a bit of adventure and to further their knowledge of climbing on rock. The aim of the 4 days was to climb a variety of routes on the small island of Erraid (off the South West corner of Mull) and to walk to the Munro Summit of Ben More (the only Munro on an island out-with Skye).

Day 1 was a lot of travelling for the group. Firstly to Oban in the minibus then across to Mull on the ferry followed by a wild and wiggly single track drive to the bottom of Mull. Then there was short walk across a peat bog to finally reach the destination of Traigh Gheal beach on Erraid where we set up camp for the next 2 nights. The crags near the beach were basking in evening sun so the ropes and gear came out for an enjoyable climbing session.

The forecast for day 2 looked good until mid-afternoon so we had an early start to make the most of the favourable weather. The group set up the ropes and spend all day climbing a variety routes with plenty of rests in between to enjoy the sun and stunning views. In the end the weather was good all day into the evening so climbing continued until early evening.

There was an early start on day 3 to allow plenty of time for the ascent of Ben More. As we travelled east the rain became heavier and more persistent before become a torrential downpour. It turns out that this was the end of Hurricane Bertha hitting the west coast with full force. We decided that going up to the highest point of the island in these conditions was not wise so spent the day visiting different parts of Mull. The weather continued and even the shared enthusiasm of all the group to get some climbing done wasn’t enough to beat the wild weather and after an aborted attempt to do some abseiling on the sea cliffs we headed to Tobermory campsite. Fortunately the weather abated and we had a pleasant evening in Tobermory admiring the views while tucking into fish and chips on the pier.

With a strong desire to complete the objective we had another early start to attempt Ben More. The weather was much more encouraging as we headed to the car park. Although there was cloud on the summit, there was no rain and very little wind. In 3 hours we summited Ben More with a short stop on the summit for photos before experiencing the excitement of a fast descent down the footpath. After a short drive we were checked in waiting to return to the mainland. The drive back from Oban was interrupted at several points for photo opportunities of various iconic views.

There are more photos on our Climbing Club Facebook Page.

There are more photos on our Climbing Club Facebook Page.

With a strong desire to complete the objective we had another early start to attempt Ben More. The weather was much more encouraging as we headed to the car park. Although there was cloud on the summit, there was no rain and very little wind. In 3 hours we summited Ben More with a short stop on the summit for photos before experiencing the excitement of a fast descent down the footpath. After a short drive we were checked in waiting to return to the mainland. The drive back from Oban was interrupted at several points for photo opportunities of various iconic views.

The 4 pupils and staff had a fantastic trip full valuable of unforgettable memories. They traversed peaks, scaled cliff faces and enjoyed what the west coast offers in abundance…spectacular scenery. As the cars left the school to enjoy the final few days of the holidays the overwhelming feeling was that the next trip needed to be bigger and somehow better. The sights are set on Skye.

A special thanks to Mr Nairn and Miss Massey for coming on the trip and helping the pupils (and me) have such an amazing time.

Charleston Academy Climbing Club aims to give pupils a wide and varied experience of climbing by organising events that will challenge and develop climbing skills and promote enjoyment. For more information about the climbing club, see Mr Richards.

Mr Jonathan Richards, Technical Department

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