When I moved to Scotland six months ago for my wife’s post-graduate education, I was excited to visit famous climbing destinations like Fontainebleau, Siurana and the Peak District. I had no expectations or notions of the climbing that existed just outside of Edinburgh. So when a new friend from the local gym invited me to go to Kyloe-In, I immediately answered yes, despite having no clue as to what “Kyloe-In” was or would await me.
Arriving at the small forest and hiking down the lush path, it felt as if I were in a world of Tolkien. The ten minute walk ended with us arriving parallel to a wall of rock, topped by moss, trees and their outstretched roots. Despite the beauty of the crag, I was completely surprised by my surroundings. The walls stood some twenty feet or taller. And as nervous as I was about topping out at that height, I learned quickly that most of the problems did not require a traditional top, due to both the height and amount of vegetation covering the rock. Exploring the short, rocky outcrop, Scott described and pointed out problems, including Monk Life. The seemingly blank wall was a route that had only been repeated eight times since it’s original ascent in 2003. At 8b+ it stood out with most routes being far from that difficulty.
The rock at Kyloe-In varies, offering razor-sharp crimps, sloping pockets, and even a few cracks on mostly overhung walls. The overhang makes all the routes there a touch harder, but also allows you to climb in nearly all the weather that Northumberland provides. Classics like Jocks and Geordies, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and the Yorkshireman line up and give you a chance to experience some of the best of Kyloe-In within fifteen feet of rock.
I was so happy to go to Fontainebleau this spring, and the Peak District and Siurana this past fall. But with few knowing of Kyloe-in-the-Wood outside of the UK, this beautiful little spot of rock allowed us to escape. That day we were able to enjoy the rock and each other’s company. Even with all the shivering from snow dripping off of trees and the occasional breeze, it was nice to be outside in the quiet with intervals of friendly encouragement and laughter. And we were in just one of the many small forests littering the hills of Northumberland. It left us to wonder what gems might be tucked away in another wood waiting to be found.
Ever-learning husband, climber, and photographer, from alabama to colorado to scotland