Less Obscure Gems No 2 Red Handed


The neo-classic Red Handed lies on The Patio Boulder (NC 091 093) at Reiff-in-the-Woods which is at the east end of Loch Bad a' Ghaill, about 2km west of Stac Pollaidh. Across a small valley south of the parking place lies a prominent 15m square-cut buttress (The Ossuray Block). The Patio Boulder is the large heather-capped block lying just below this. It's not as far from the road as it looks and takes less than 10 minutes. Zig-zag down some steep slopes and go across rough ground.


1 Slimey Black Crack 5+

The left-hand crack on the steep black wall that faces the loch.

2 Crack Project

The high steep right-hand crack is still a project, but is usually wet.

3 Red Handed 7A

The brilliant arête gives one of the outstanding problems in the area.

4 Teewhuppo 6B

Start as for Breathalyser, make a move left, then climb straight up to finish. A highball on

immaculate golden rock. Probably easier than 6B but you might want a grade in hand.

5 Breathalyser 5

The obvious hand rail on the west wall needs a very steady approach.

Way, way back in the day, the bouldering citizens of Wester Ross strode across the land, safe in the knowledge that all first ascents were theirs for the taking. Until ‘The Jackal’ moved to Inverness. He picked some plums from the area and the locals got worried, so they gave him the Torridon boulders to keep him busy. That worked for a while, but a casual conversation about the Patio Boulder revealed a common knowledge of a ‘king’ line. One damp day, while the locals were all climbing at Moy Rock, The Jackal sneaked west and scrubbed the line clean. As he passed under Moy on his way home he turned off his engine and free-wheeled quietly passed…

But The Jackal had a problem. The king line was high and and needed more mats than he could carry on his own. It was clear that he needed a ‘Mug’. So he roped in an unsuspecting local who helped lug over the pads, but was then too tired to climb. The Jackal took about 3 minutes to cruise the problem that was obviously way too easy for him. Here’s the original first ascent footage. Those were the days.

Any here’s a more modern ascent from Gas Marshall.