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Dutch Luck - The Needle

The recent break in winter had coincided with a few Dutch friends coming to Scotland to sample Scottish winter climbing. While they were somewhat unlucky in regards to winter climbing it has provided some remarkable rock climbing weather and conditions. Over the last week we have managed to climb on mountains, crags and sea cliffs of various aspects with generally brilliant weather and conditions however Wednesday was in a league of it's own.

At the head of the Idyllic Loch Avon basin stands one of the most impressive bastions of rock in Scotland. The Shelterstone is 270m high and towers up to a spire from a great base of slabs. A real Minas Tirith of granite. The Needle was first climbed by Robin Smith and Dave Agnew in 1962 and was the first Extreme graded climb ever done in the Cairngorms. It is as classic as routes get and one of the most sought after routes of it's grade in Scotland. Getting dry rock and good weather in February is ridiculous when you consider it faces no…

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