Rock Climbing

shoes on a summit

Rock Climbing is the name given to activities carried out on steep rocky ground where security is usually managed with ropes and associated equipment. Movement can be in any direction: climbing up or down, abseiling or traversing. This may be done as an activity in its own right or as a component of other adventurous activities.

Modern rock climbing activities with groups normally consist of single pitch climbs, abseiling and/or some controlled scrambling or bouldering. Rock climbing in an educational setting usually involves the rope passing from the climber below to the top of the cliff. In the event of the climber letting go of the rock they cannot fall as they are always protected by a rope from above.
Even with modern techniques of safety management there is no escaping the exposure and at times isolation of the cliff environment and activities of this nature therefore require careful management.

Individuals wishing to further their rock climbing experiences in the North East of Scotland are in an environment which has much to offer. The sea cliffs and inland outcrops are ideal areas to develop the interests of the individual who wants to become familiar and competent with rock climbing and mountaincraft in its traditional forms.


Qualifying Awards

For further information: Mountain Leader Training UK

Single Pitch Award (SPA)

This is a national award for supervising rock climbing activities on single pitch crags as defined by the scheme. Single pitch crags by definition:

  • are climbed without intermediate stances
  • are described as single pitch in the guidebook
  • allow climbers to be lowered to the ground at all times
  • are non tidal (many sea cliffs still fit into this category)
  • are non serious and present little objective danger
  • present no difficulties on approach or retreat, such as route finding or scrambling


The award holder is proficient to give basic instruction and supervise group rock climbing sessions on outdoor crags and man made climbing structures.

Care must be taken to ensure that SPA holders work within the scope of their award.

  • If any doubt exists about the suitability of a crag within the SPA remit, then further advice should be sought from the council’s Adventurous Activities Consultant.

Mountain Instructor Award (MIA)

Holders of this award are competent to supervise and instruct all aspects of rock climbing throughout the UK in summer conditions. There is a strong emphasis on teaching and leading proficiency.


Mountain Instructor Certificate (MIC)climber

Holders of this award are recognised as able to work on any crag or mountainous terrain in the UK at any time of year. The award encompasses the instruction and teaching of winter climbing as well as training in teaching and instructional methods


Association of British Mountain Guides

British Mountain Guide
Full members of the Association of British Mountain Guides (and holders of UIAGM Carnet) are internationally recognised as competent to instruct and guide all aspects of climbing and mountaineering worldwide.

Recommended Reading

Rock climbing                                         Libby Peter
Manual of Modern Rope Techniques Nigel Shepherd
Climbing Handbook                               Fyffe and Peter
Climbing                                                Fawcett, Lowe, Nunn and Rouse Rock Climbing Ashton