High and Mighty – Bouldering in Scotland

Snow capped peaks, vast loch’s, and huge rock walls are some of Scotland’s most iconic natural features in the eyes of many an outdoor enthusiast. For decades, even centuries, people have explored and found adventure in these natural landscapes. Even today, mountaineer’s, climbers and water sports enthusiasts the world over travel to Scotland to experience some of the best of these activities. When it comes to bouldering however, Scotland is maybe not the first place to be spoken of. While Scotland may have miles and miles of rugged and untamed landscapes, it is a perfect entry to bouldering in some of the most spectacular locations in the British Isles.

Glen Nevis represents perhaps the biggest and most popular bouldering area Scotland has to offer. With Fort William at it’s foot and Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis to it’s north it is one of the most important glen’s in the country. It represents the epicentre of Scottish adventure, and boasts not only one of the country’s highest waterfalls in Steall Falls, but also some of the highest quality bouldering. Glen Nevis also has possibly the largest diversity of bouldering in the country, with short walk-ins to some very impressive boulders such as the Cameron Stone. Offering a good variety of boulder problems on excellent schist, the Cameron Stone boasts a range of problems starting at Font 5/V2, and culminating at the dizzying heights of Font 8B/V13 with Dave Macleod’s recent test piece, Gimme That Swing. The landing’s are generally good, if occasionally wet (a tarp here is very useful), and the boulder is certainly better enjoyed in sunny weather.

Close by is also the Heather Hat Boulder, which has a handful of problems well suited to combining with a trip to the Cameron Stone, or as a side act warm up for missions further up the Glen… Another 30 minutes walk up the hill will take you to Sky Pilot, Glen Nevis’ premier and most awe inspiring bouldering venue. While it may be the show case spot of the glen, it is also the most intense, with less than a handful of problems below 7A.

Further to the north is the venue of Torridon. Here you will find one of the largest and most varied bouldering areas in the country, not just the region. Sat just to the South East of Torridon itself, the area is one of the more beautiful spots you could hope to lace up a pair of rock shoes at. With grades starting all the way from Font 3, there really is opportunity for everyone to feel part of the landscape and enjoy the climbing. The sandstone rock is perfectly suited for bouldering, and the area boasts a huge range of features from slabs and arete’s, to overhangs and roofs. Torridon really has it all. Some classics to put on a hit list would be North Face Direct (Font 5+/V2) on the Ship Boulder, Launch (Font 4+/V1) on the Celtic Boulder, and then harder classics such as the iconic Malc’s Arete (7B) and the incredible Stokes Croft (8A). The area tends to dry quickly but be careful not to climb on damp rock, as damage is easily done to softer rocks such as the sandstone found here.

Moving back down south, Glasgow’s best crag. Dumbarton Rock. For years this crag has been widely recognised as the home of Dave Macleod’s historic traditional route, Rhapsody. The first route in the world to be given the grade of E11. But what many people don’t know, is that Dumbarton is also home to a vast expanse of bouldering. Dumby, as it is more affectionately known, is also home to Scotland’s first Font 8A/V11 boulder problem, Pongo Sit Start as well as a host of hard links from Scotlands own, the legendary Malcolm Smith. But while Dumby offers a historic flavour, it also offers an urban feel, as well as a great selection of lower grade problems, to cater for all audiences. The slick basalt rock provides over 50 problems at grades below font 6A! That’s an astounding wealth of climbing at a low grade range. From there another hundred or more problems go all the way from Font 6A/V3 up to Font 8B+/V14, in a good range of styles. While the rock type may make these problems feel more difficult, the skills and techniques learnt from this style of rock will certainly provide a more rich experience, and give a climber a lot more tools for future endeavours. The approach is negligible and the landings generally good. The setting is also spectacular with Dumbarton castle providing a unique feel as well as the close proximity to the ocean to it’s west. Dumbarton may not be to everyones taste but it’s certainly worth visiting.

Bouldering is one of climbing’s quickest growing genre’s, and with the minimal equipment and knowledge required, it is easy to understand why. Scotland is one of the most scenic locations in the country to enjoy this activity, as well as experience rock climbing as a beginner or intermediate. While bouldering in Scotland can be considered time consuming, it provides a huge reward if the conditions allow and motivation is there. To be be able to experience some of the countries finest natural landscapes through an activity such as bouldering is a special thing. So please, respect the rocks and the places in which you climb them. For more information on these areas, UKClimbing.com is an excellent resource, and will also offer links to other useful sources from guidebooks, accommodation, crag etiquette and directions.

We are a adventure tourism and outdoor education provider based in Edinburgh. We specialise in canyoningcoasteering,  hill walking and the 3 Peaks Challenge and deliver these adventurous experiences across Scotland.

If you are looking for additional information about adventures from Edinburgh, we have published a number of blogs:

  • Adidas Terrex Canyon Boot Review: here
  • Seland Verdon Wetsuit Review: here
  • Top 10 canyons in Edinburgh: here
  • The best hotels and hostels in Edinburgh: here
  • Hen Party Adventures Edinburgh: here
  • Stag Party Outdoor Adventures Edinburgh Essentials: here
  • SUP, A Buying Guide: here

If you haven’t already seen it, check out the our  Trip AdvisorYoutube channelVisit Scotland page and blog to hear about how others found their outdoor adventures with us! Equally, if there is any gear that you would like us to review, drop us a DM.

Intrepidus Outdoors

Intrepidus Outdoors specialises in Outdoor Activites Edinburgh. We are a adventure tourism and outdoor education provider based in Edinburgh. We specialise in canyoning, coasteering, mountain biking and hill walking, and deliver these adventurous experiences across Scotland and the North of England. The experiences that we provide take clients into some of the most exquisite, incredible and extreme environments the UK has to offer.

Mission Statment :

To deliver the highest quality adventurous experiences to entertain, thrill and inspire.

Outdoor Activities Edinburgh & Scotland

Our values reflect those of a business started by a small group of rock climbers and mountain bikers. The experiences that we have had adventuring, and our passion for the outdoors, has led us to choose a lifestyle dedicated to sharing our love for the outdoors with others. The approach that we take to the experiences that we provide, and the business that we run, is that of sustainability, and an unapologetic quest for quality.

For us at Intrepidus Outdoors, we recognise that our experiences kayaking in clean rivers, surfing on unpolluted beaches and climbing frozen waterfalls have contributed to who we are as people. Therefore, protecting the planet so that the next generation of adventurers can have their own experiences, is hugely important for us. We believe that for people, communities and businesses to make the choice to minimise their impact on our planet, they must first value the planet that we have. We feel that the best way for people to value our blue planet, is to have first hand quality experiences in nature. They can then see the beauty of a forest, feel the power of an ocean and learn to love what is outside our towns and cities, so that they then fight to protect them. We strive to through the products that we deliver make a small difference to peoples understanding of the impact that they have on our world.

Our experiences adventuring have made us who we are and Intrepidus Outdoors is a reflection of us. We provide real adventurous experience that we hope you will cherish.

Adventure Activities Edinburgh & Scotland

There are cities where stuff is happening all year round and where you will never get bored. Edinburgh is undoubtedly one of these cities. It’s an extraordinary place, full of history, festivals, impressive architecture and plenty of attractions you won’t find anywhere else. Not to mention that we are located on the door step of so many amazing adventures and outdoor experiences.

We would like to introduce you to this extraordinary city, giving you a full range of possibilities that can be found north of the wall! Edinburgh has a huge dose of beautiful history, world-famous festivals, fantastic attractions, adrenaline fuled expereinces and great food. Edinburgh is calling you and you simply cannot refuse its invitation.

There are a many outdoor and adventurous experiences to be had in Edinburgh. If you are a thrill seeker visiting Edinburgh and interested in a canyoning, coasteering or mountain biking adventure in Scotland, Get In Touch!

Outdoor Adventures Scotland

It’s no secret that Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. From the rural coastlines to vast mountain ranges, we have it all.

Whatever kind of experience you’re after you’re sure to find it here, so we’ve put together an adventurer’s guide to Scotland to help get you started. Our guide breaks down all the outdoor activities Edinburgh has to offer and many more adventures to keep you entertained on your holdiay.

To read more check out our adventures guide to Scotland [here]

Check out our Trip Advisor, Youtube channel, Visit Scotland page and blog to hear about how others found their outdoor adventure with Intrepidus outdoors and to see what we do!


2 Commercial Street
Floor 2


Phone: 0131 357 1990
Email: info@intrepidusoutdoors.co.uk

Opening hours

Mon - Fri
8:00 to 18:30
Sat & Sun
8.30 to 19.30