Hawkcraig: Climbing on the coast

This classic Central Belt crag is easily accessible from Aberdour and offers some great adventurous climbing from Very Difficult (VD) to E2 6a. The crag is tidal, so a close look at the tide times charts for Rosyth is required to make best use of it. In my experience belayers are not keen on being perched on a rock as the tide moves in around them; however the routes to the far left are still accessible in high tide.

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I have climbed at this venue a number of times now and I must say that it is one of my favourite places to climb near to Stirling. From the back of the car park you follow a path through some vegetation to a clearing, from here you can follow the path ahead to access the top of the crag or turn right for a short way before taking a steep path left down onto the beach. Once on the beach, after a minute or two you will get your first view of the classic of the crag, Pain Pillar VS 4c, which is an excellent and exposed pitch with a bold start. When I climbed it for the first time I could not help but keep an eye on the unforgiving rocks at the bottom, but as you make your way up it gets better and better with good holds, gear and views across the crag. If you are feeling photogenic then ask a mate (not your belayer!) to take a picture of your silhouette as you climb.

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A happy Jessica topping out of Escalator (VD)

There is plenty to go at on this crag for new leaders; in fact I lead some of my first trad routes here and it was a great experience. Please be careful though as the top outs can be a wee bit loose and there are some very spiky gorse bushes that never fail to upset you. The flowers do smell nice though.

Not only is there some quality climbing to be had here but also some brilliant views of the river Forth and the Forth Rail Bridge, making this a very pleasant place to be for an evening’s climbing.

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Belaying on the last climb of the evening. Great view!!

Top tip – after climbing here give your climbing gear a good wash as sadly the salt water can damage it.

More information in the SMC Lowland Outcrops guide book and UK Climbing.

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