The end of the Australian Adventure

The last couple of days of our Australian Adventure were held in Sydney. We stopped in a hotel right next to the harbour so it was perfect for all the main attractions.

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge
Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

Despite the expense (and it was very expensive!), we decided to do the harbour bridge climb. It was good, but you can’t take your own camera. You get one group photo included in the price, which I am sure they make sure is rubbish, and if you want any more you have to buy them. You have to wear romper suits and they are so afraid of anything that might fall on to the cars below that everything has to be attached to the suit. Our guide was good fun and the three hours went very quickly.

A great view near the top of the bridge
A great view near the top of the bridge

They obviously know the repuation of rufty tufty climbers…

The obligatory Climber's Cafe
The obligatory Climber's Cafe

We also took the 30 minute ferry ride to beautiful Manly to check out the beach and do some more body surfing.

Manly beach
Manly beach

On our last morning we went to the botanical gardens. Very beautiful. Check out the fruit bats!

Fruit bats
Fruit bats

It was all a bit sad to leave Australia, but we’ll be back…

Arran – South Ridge, Rosa Pinnacle

Terry had a plan – to make tracks for the Isle of Arran to climb the Hard Rock classic, the South Ridge of Cir Mhor (the Rosa Pinnacle)…

The kats left the Lakes on Saturday morning with a fantastic forecast further north – while the south of the country enjoyed the rain, we headed for the forecasted sun in Scotland. We made it to Ardrossan with just 10 minutes to spare before the ferry left for the Isle of Arran. Phew, the 1st leg of our journey was complete.

The team (Paul, Pete, Laetitia & Terry) at Ardrossan ferry port

Arran ferry

Paul’s excitement at landing on Arran!

Our bags were very heavy and we must have looked an amusing sight as we cycled from the ferry port to the Glen Rosa campsite. We were told it was very busy as we booked in, but when we arrived there were only 10 tents there. So we pitched up next to the river.

Pitching tents at the Glen Rosa campsite

With the long daylight hours we decided we didn’t need too early a start – we left the campsite at 9.30am and cycled towards the route – the weather was ominous! Most of the mountain was cloaked in heavy cloud…

Cycling to the Rosa Pinnacle (Cir Mhor)

The track deteriorated pretty quickly, but we continued to push our bikes until we got to the deer fence. Only to be overtaken by the walkers we’d just cycled past.

After a long and steep walk we eventually got to the bottom of the route. The weather hadn’t improved! There was much debate, should we opt for the easier Sou Wester Slabs? But we resolved that we should try the route we’d come for. After all this was what we had come all this way for. We started preparing for an epic…

Shivering at the start of the South Ridge
The ‘S’ and ‘Y’ cracks can be seen near the top of this much foreshortened picture

After the first couple of pitches (with teeth chattering conditions) the clouds appeared to be clearing – possibly aided by the gale force winds blowing up the valley. You might have thought this wind could have propelled us up the route but instead it just made us shiver and slowed our progress, but at least it eventually took the clouds away.

Paul and Laetitia smiling as the sun makes an appearance before the ‘S’ crack

The friction on the beautiful grey granite was amazing. We’d reached the first test, the ‘S’ crack, this produced some grunts from Paul. This is immediately followed by the infamous ‘Y’ crack. Which Terry savoured, but Paul demolished in the fine style of gritstone climber!

The guide had rated the ‘Y’ crack at 4c. However, we’d read varying reports ranging from 4b to 5b. We thought it nearer the harder end of that scale – especially with a gale, carrying packs and with the temperatures. But at least it was now sunny and still dry…

‘Y’ Crack

After having successfully dispensed with the ‘S’ and ‘Y’ cracks, welcomed the passing of the dark clouds and the arrival of the sun (but sadly not the departure of the gale) we enjoyed the remainder of the South Ridge and ate our lunch before tackling the last (not to be missed) Rosa Pinnacle continuation to the summit.

Terry high on the Rosa Pinnacle

Laetitia on the amazing slab before the summit!

An awesome trip!

:star: Car – Ferry – Bike – Camp – Bike – Walk – Climb – Eat – Climb – Walk – Bike – Eat – Sleep – Bike – Ferry – Car :star: