Thursday, 26 June 2014

Romantic Reality

 Iain putting the hours in cleaning the first pitch of Romantic Reality

Glen Coe; a romantic landscape steep glens, towering peaks, cascading streams and majestic stags, or a wet mossy midge infested landscape of choss. I have to say the reality of watched the heavy Glen Coe drizzle beat against the windscreen of the car did not feel overly romantic. Things were not going to plan. The forecast had been for sunshine, I had taken the afternoon off work to do a mountain E7 this evening, but I could not even see the mountain. I thought about taking a photo, but the camera was in the boot, it I would have got soaked getting it. So instead I stuffed the last of my sandwich in my mouth, wound the drivers seat down and went to sleep.

It had all started at the weekend, again the weather had not been as good as planned, so myself, Gaz and Iain headed down to the Tunnel Wall for a bit of a work out on the sports routes. However, while Gaz and I climbed, Iain had headed off on a bit of a cleaning mission. Four hours later, Gaz and I were finished, unable to pull hard any more. Iain finally reached the ground, his wire brush well used and his nut key worn away. The extreme rock route Romantic Reality was now clean. Iain and I made a plan to return on Tuesday evening to do it.
Myself leading the first pitch, not overly well protected at this point. 

I woke up, the drizzle had stopped, so thought I would wander up to the crag. I could at least get a session on the bolts. Arriving at the crag I met Iain in full waterproofs looking pretty damp. However, there was a breeze, the sun came out, everything was looking a bit more promising. It felt like our fortunes were changing, we decided to give the route a go.

Iain starting up the crux pitch.

A few hours later we were back done on the ground. I had lead a good E4 first pitch, and then Iain had dispatched the crux pitch, but not without a wee wobble and a bit of a slap. We packed up as the sun disappeared and the mist rolled back up the glen. Perhaps there is a bit more to the glen than just rain, midges and choss.

Climbing in this are the routes tend to get a bit dirty due to lack of traffic. Some routes which have been cleaned in the last year include;
Romantic Reality(E7) on Creag a Bhancair, cleaned by Iain Small.
In Seine (E3) and The Roaring Silence (E4) on the Bendy cleaned by myself and Tony Stone last year.
Quality Street (E3), Cruiseability (E5) in Glen Nevis were cleaned last year by Guy Steven and Tony Stone respectively. Also in Glen Nevis, On the Beach (E5) is very clean, and Aquarian rebels (E4) is not too bad at the moment.
Delayed Attacked (E3) on Binnein Shuas cleaned this year by Iain.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Island life

Over the years I have have numerous trips out to Pabbay and Mingulay. However, due to various other trips and an and an unfortunately timed interview (for a job I did not get) last year, it has been a few years since I was last out on the islands. It therefore felt great to get back there a couple of weeks ago.
Although the climbing has to be some of the best sea cliff climbing in Britain, there is far more to a trip out there than just the climbing (which is probably reflected by the fact that I only put one climbing picture up). I hope the photos below show what an island trip is all about for me at least.

Pabbay paradise in the sunshine. 

Aboard the Boy James, the boat which takes climbers out to the islands.

 Morning chilling on Mingulay. The crags don't get the sun until midday/early afternoon, so there is no point in leaving the campsite too early.
 Snoozing seal. Unfortunately the click on my camera work him/her up.

A puffin outside it nest, despite the colourful beak I always think there is something tragically sad about faces of these wee birds. 
Various strong people in a tent while it rains outside. 
Passing the time of day. Benno won this particular game, but did have a bit of a blister on his nose for the rest of the week. Photo Viv Scott.
Oh, and there is some of the best sea cliff climbing in Britain. Anna on the first pitch of the amazing Sula, E2. Photo Viv Scott.