Canadian Lassies in the Land of Scots: NMAG Trip Report

By Cora Skaien and Nicole Barrette

Pre-amble: In late 2016, we decided to apply for the Neil Mackenzie Adventure Grant (NMAG). We were looking for an angle that could be considered unique and exciting, and that is when we came across the Ladies Scottish Climbing Club. In 1908, the Ladies Scottish Climbing Club (LSCC) was established and its purpose was and is “to bring together women who are committed to mountaineering in Scotland and to encourage an interest in all aspects of mountaineering at home and abroad”. It is the oldest all-women’s mountaineering club that still exists today and they published a centennial book in 2008 to highlight their journey (“Rising to the Challenge: 100 Years of the Ladies Scottish Climbing Club”). We purchased this book and read about their exploits, and planned an entire climbing trip centered around the idea of repeating many of the first all-female ascents outlined by the club in their early days, including January Jigsaw (5.6, 5 pitches, Glencoe area, first female ascent 1940 by Esmé Speakman), Eagle Ridge (5.6, Cairngorms area, climbed by Nancy Forsyth in 1941 as the first female to lead pitches), and Mount Suilven (North Scotland, class 4 scramble). We reached out to the club directly and arranged to join one of their weekend outings while we were in Scotland, and also received advice on good objectives and places to explore. We also gained intel from a friend of Cora’s, Martin, who had done his undergrad at Glasgow University, and he connected us with a community of climbers in Scotland for information and opportunistic meetups. To demonstrate how small the climbing world is, one of the people in the group named Carol was the person we had chatted with the most from the LSCC. Additionally, our friend Jake Jones (VOC member, friend and avid outdoors-person) had returned to Manchester and was going to join us for the first part of our journey. We were all set with valuable information and connections and planned our trip for August 2017. What we did not know at the time, is that we would experience only 4 days with any amount of sunshine and even fewer days that had no rain during our three week trip…

Read more on Cora’s blog where all the pretty photos are.

7 12.5 Jonnie



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