Edinburgh Cragging

There are some fantastic venues within easy reach of Edinburgh, and some a bit further away that offer more adventurous climbing.


Traprain Law

Traprain Law is just outside Haddington, about 25 minutes from Edinburgh, and gives some good lower-middle grade climbing in a rural setting. The downside is the crag is popular and polished. A good teaching venue and I use it regularly as it has lots of good routes for an aspiring trad leader.

Traprain Law info:







In Fife, the other side of Edinburgh we have the Hawkcraig near Aberdour – an lovely sea cliff that is great on a summer’s evening. It’s probably the nicest crag in the Edinburgh Area in terms of routes, outlook and experience.

Pain Piller – Aberdour Classic

Hawkcraig info:


Climbing at the Hawkcraig

There is also Rosyth Quarry, which is popular with groups and has a few nice routes. Some of the belay stakes at the top are a bit wobbly, so take care.


Lastly in Fife, we’ve the Limekilns which has had access issues in the past. These blocks of limestone have some fabulous short, but hard routes that are infamous for spitting off leaders….



Don’t forget Ratho Quarry which still has some good harder routes and some more recent bolted lines.

Ratho Quarry Topos:

Sport Topo 1

Sport Topo 2


Within Edinburgh itself there is a  Blackford Quarry which gives some bouldering and has bolt anchors on the right (east) side. The right edge of he quarry gives an excellent mini-adventure for little people!

City centre scrambling for little people at Blackford Quarry


Around the corner, Corbies Crag, on Blackford Hill  boasts a very fine easy route, Retromingent Ridge, and a nice VS, Whinchat – the finishes can be loose and belays difficult arrange.

Me belaying with
Blackford hill with South Edinburgh in the background


Further south, the cliffs of Berwickshire give sea cliff climbing at The Souter and Fastcastle Head – The climbing here is adventurous in flavour – with everything from a sea stack to abseil descents onto wave cut platforms above crashing waves. Some local knowledge when visiting these cliffs is definitely recommended.

The Souter


Fastcastle Head – East Arete


Further south still, we cross into Northumberland for some of the finest single pitch cragging and bouldering – at an hour+ driving, it’s still do-able on a long, midsummer evening after work.

Top of Flake Crack
Top of Flake Crack, Kyloe Out


Bowden Dors
Back Bowden Dors


Heading north into Perthshire brings us to the excellent crags of Craig a Barns above Dunkeld – an hour+ drive again. Polney Crag gives a wide selection of mid grade to low extreme grade routes in an impressive surrounding – with a handful of multi-pitch routes.


Girdle Traverse, Polney Crag
Andrew Briggs on the Girdle Traverse, Polney Crag….
…and 15 years earlier  on The Groove

Lower cave crag has a handful of excellent HVS routes, and Upper Cave has some hard trad and sport, as well as a couple of very good easier routes

Lower Cave Crag

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