Book Content

Someone once said that the success of the Classic-Hard-Extreme Rock series was that they made the climb the star.   With Big Stone Country we want to make the crag the star. The core purpose of the book is to profile Scotland’s best mountain crags.  In so doing we want to inspire people to go climb on them, in summer and in winter.  We want to do this through the personal impressions and first hand experiences of climbers who know the crags intimately and have a passion for the places. 

We want to try and make the book relevant by making the focus primarily on more recent developments and the established modern classics.  While you could say we’re aiming the book at the “contemporary traditionalist”  we’re hoping also to reach out to climbers who maybe haven’t experienced the particular pleasures of Scottish mountaineering.  While it’s in no way intended as a guidebook, it should have enough information to give the reader a good understanding of the context, layout and type of climbing to be found on each of the crags described.

The basic structure of the book as it’s currently conceived will comprise four main sections each based on a distinct geographic area, as follows:-

– North West Highlands
– Central Highlands & Cairngorms
– South West Highlands
– Islands

Each of these four sections will have an introduction – including a basic description of the layout and location of the main mountain crags, a bit of geology and ecology, the climbing and its history – followed by the individual crag sections. 

Each of the crag sections will comprise four sub-sections as follows:-

     – The Place
     – The Cliff
     – The Climbing
     – The Story

The content of these four sub-sections is pretty self-explanatory.  Each cliff section will also include very brief descriptions of 2-4 selected routes, and a photo topo of the crag in question.

So how have we selected the crags and routes?  Although it’s always going to be subjective (and no doubt the source of endless debate!) we’ve tried to consistently apply the following criteria when selecting crags or routes for inclusion:

  • Long – i.e. typically multi-pitch, and approaching a full rope for any single pitch inclusions;
  • High – i.e. on what is generally accepted as a mountain crag, with a bit of a walk-in etc;
  • Wild – i.e. within an inspiring setting of wilderness and mountain grandeur;
  • Quality – i.e. only routes most climbers agree are the best;
  • Trad – i.e. climbed by at least one party from the ground-up using natural pro;
  • Modern – i.e. at a reasonably high standard – typically Extreme or grade V and above;
  • Aesthetic – i.e. following a good, strong line.

Having said all of the above, this is still, quite literally, an ‘open book’ so we would appreciate your comments here if you have any!


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