John : Climbing Instructor and Guidebook Author


Pictured above is Snibe Hill as seen from near the summit of Craiglee one evening last summer. It may look idyllic but you can't see the midgies. Photo courtesy of David McNicol.

Introduction    Craignaw is a great wee rocky hill in the middle of the Galloway Hills.  This page has details of the climbs on the south facing slabs and buttresses at Snibe Hill, which is located right at the southern end of Craignaw. The crag is nicely situated and is generally sunnier, less damp and less midgy than others in the Galloway Hills. Gear placements are also easier than on other Galloway granite crags. Forr some reason the cracks at Snibe Hill are less flared. The crag will generally be dry enough to climb just one or two days after rain.

Pictured above are myself and Linda Biggar on the second pitch of the excellent "The ArÍte", HS (or VS?) 4b, ** on a cracking Snibe Hill day, May 2010. Photo courtesy of Stephen Reid at Needlesports.

Access  The access is long and will take about 2 hours entirely on foot. To get to Snibe Hill (G.R. 464815) park at Craignecallie at the end of an unmarked road around the west side of Clatteringshaws Loch. Then walk or bike about 4km towards the Backhill of Bush bothy along good forestry roads. When the forest road turns north towards the bothy cross a short section of recently felled forest to reach the Cooran Lane and the large floating bog of the Silver Flowe beyond. The Cooran Lane is very deep in places and mostly uncrossable, but there are good stepping stones at approx. G.R. 476814.  Snibe Hill is on the southern end of Craignaw and can be reached quite easily (and obviously) once you have got over the Cooran Lane.

 There is also lots of good winter climbing on Craignaw for which we have a separate page.

There is also more good rock climbing on perfect rock elsewhere on Craignaw, see our separate Memorial Crag and Craignaw Slabs pages. 

Point of the Snibe

Pictured above are the Snibe Hill crags

Pictured above are the Snibe Hill crags from the south, showing the main climbing areas. These are described below form right to left. As usual I have only described the routes that I have personal knowledge of.

Wisdom Wall & The Seven Pillars

The first area when approached from the east is the steep clean looking Wisdom Wall, about 10m high with two short hard routes. It is just round the corner from the Seven Pillars area.

Just round the corner is the wall known as the "Seven Pillars of Wisdom". This has the best of the easier climbing, it is very steep and juggy with generally good gear.


The Main Area

To the left again is the main area, with the very obvious ArÍte on the left and the clean wall of the Uncarved Block on the right. Particularly good here are The ArÍte itself and Walk on Hot Coals. The ArÍte takes a very devious route, on both sides of the fine arÍte, which has now been climbed direct at about E3.

the main area, with the very obvious Arete on the left and the clean wall of the Uncarved Block on the right

On the left side of this area, just out of picture is an area of more broken rock. The climbs are however still good, but the lines are less clear. Eau de Goat, VS 4c, * climbs the first dry rib, belaying at a small pinnacle, Cat Goat Your Tongue, VS 4c climbs past the obvious overhanging block, then Cornarroch Chimney, VD, * climbs a bit further left still, with excellent rock at the top.

Mike Gennaro on the excellent Springs of Enchantment, Main Area, Snibe Hill.

Mike Gennaro on the excellent Springs of Enchantment, Main Area, Snibe Hill.

James Kinnaird 4m off the ground and already past the crux on Silver Sand, VS 5a, Snibe Hill.

James Kinnaird 4m off the ground, but already past the crux on Silver Sand, VS 5a, Snibe Hill.

The Philosophers Stone

Further left and pictured below is the impressive blank 15m wall of the Philosophers Stone with Beltie, a sustained, E3 route up the central thin cracks.

the Philosophers Stone with only one hard, E3 route recorded so far.

We climbed a new route here in May 2010:-
If its hard at the bottom, its turf at the top, S 4b, 20m, J. Biggar and M. Gennaro,  FA 30th May 2010.
Start at the obvious clean white cracks down and left of Beltie. climb these (4b), move left to avoid a suspect pillar, then climb the arete above more or less directly.

Below the clean face of the Philosopers Stone are the Lower Slabs with two good VS routes. Starting just right of these, a long but very broken ridge gives the excellent Bambi, 60m,  HVS 5a. It climbs the lower arÍte, traverse some very easy ground, then up the steep but juggy upper arÍte - see topo near top'o the page.

The Pearly Goats

Still further left  (west)  is another area known as the Pearly Goats, with several good climbs at VD to E1. There is a good VS 5a up the right rib (Faa Harder), description below.  Little Egypt is a good HS/VS 4b up the twin cracks about 10m right of the Faa Side.

The Faa Side 45m VD  First ascent 2005
The ridge at the left end of the crag. The first tier is climbed mainly on cleaner rock on the right and leads to a grassy platform with a big boulder. The second and third tiers are climbed on the left side by a crack and slab respectively. The climb includes the slabby buttress of clean rock lying just above the main ridge.

Faa Harder, 35m, VS 5a, * J. Biggar, L. Biggar, FA 23rd May 2010
Start 4m right of Faa Side at a short steep wall leading to a scooped ledge. Climb the wall (5a), then easy ground for 5m until a tenuous toe traverse can be made rightwards back to the ridge. Climb up to a grassy platform with a big boulder. Climb the slab above, starting left of center, but finishing on the right.