Monday, September 19, 2005


Guy Robertson on 'The Aberdonian' V8 ss


On the main area, Tim Rankin added a hard sit start called The Aberdonian, which he says is an unmissable problem if you’re climbing to that level and in the area. The stand-up is easier, but also classic status amongst the problems here. John Watson added a link-up on the Bad Buoy - start up the Bad Buoy sit start to the break, traverse right to a crux cut-loose and desperate little nubbin sloper to rock up the flake problem above the mezzanine. Glasgow Bhoy V6 pic...

Tim Rankin has further devloped the harbour area, mainly round the big stone of the Bad Buoy Boulder and Dave’s Roof across the wee bay. Hopefully we’ll see a complete topo for Portlethen in the near future, as it now has hundreds of excellent gems. The best problems are Pete’S Lip - the full lip traverse of the boulder skipping over to the smaller boulder to finish along that; the seaward arete of Moon Lightning and the steep central wall from a sit start (Bad Ass Buoy/Glasgow Bhoy).Thanks to Tim for all the development here! He describes the access to Portlethen thus:

This is the collective name given to the boulders and small walls situated either side of the beautiful picturesque fishing harbour on the north side of Portlethen village. There are three main areas of interest all with there own charter and a trip can easily combine a visit to all 3. Also they have contrasting features and aspects making them a good choice in unpredictable weather when it would usually be possible to find something to climb. The three areas are; The boulders and walls on the right side of the harbour as you look south dubbed Rankin’s World. The long low roof of Dave’s Roof on the opposite side of the harbour (the left side as you look south) and the scattering of boulders on the foreshore, north east of the harbour. All three areas are very easily accessible and Rankin’s World can boast the shortest approach in the area being 30 sec from the car! Drive to Portlethen village, take the first left down past the play park, continue down the steep narrow road through the village until a private road leads right down beside a deep inlet. Park in the lay-by on the right not the turning area further on, if there is no space drive back into the village and park sensibly. For Rankin’s World walk down the road to the bend and cross the barrier in the south east corner and head down the steep grass slope with care, at the bottom cut back left below a steep brown wall (“Dusk till Dawn�). It is also possible to gain this area from the harbour at low tide by skirting it on the right. For Dave’s roof continue down the road and take the steps down to the harbour, skirt its left edge to the roof, 3mins. For the foreshore boulders follow the road to the white cottage, continue east on a grass path until a large undercut boulder is found (The Clam) 5mins.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Acapulco Zawn - Dawros Head, Donegal

Acapulco E3 5c Acapulco Zawn - a wild traipse over a storm-smoothed wall, moving boldly between thin breaks until forced out over the sea... this photo was taken in 1999, I believe. A perfect sea-cliff route.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Temperance V5 Dawros Head Donegal

Bouldering out of a blow-hole on a wave-cut platform, up stepped overhangs, the crux of this was maintaining body tension and hanging the slopers long enough to reach a three-finger crimp and wind-eroded jugs in the seams of schist above... I spent a good hour trying to find the balance and still my body enough to keep the hand on that left sloper... too much momentum meant falling over, too little power meant a slip back into your own gravity: a bit like the balance in surfing a wave - rock is a static wave that has to be surfed upwards with the same attention to balance and control.

The Famine Road

Meta Bouldering

Metadolerite. what the hell was that? I flicked through the South Donegal appendix to discover it is an igneous intrusion, but very, very old. An original intrusion into very old schist, this itself had been metamorphosed several times into a dense smooth gabbro of sorts, with rough faces and unbreakable holds, even the wee edges were like diamond. There was sea-washed schist as well, smooth and faceted, or rippled into finger jugs where baby periwinkles lodged under the fingernails... sea-bouldering in Donegal is elemental. Traipsing out over zawns, heel-hooking out along wave-cut platforms, hanging to a nugget-hard residue of the earth's previous thoughts. Seals raised curious buoy-like heads, sniffed the air for human sweat, curious at the odd struggles. A russet mink sniffed along the ledges, oblivious and upwind, then vanished into the rocks somewhere. The machair is bitten down by late summer winds, the heather dessicated, mushrooms shrivelled in dry cow pats, asphodel like a small stellar explosion... everything is shaped by the wind and the salt, hardened honeycombs of life hanging on to the fringes. Bouldering hangs on to the fringes of the climbing world, a rare machair of short-bitten movement and evolution to a dessicated habitat - skin peels with salt and chalk. It has its own season, its own eye needed to spy out the movement in those overhangs, the hidden aretes of sea cliffs, the deep-water solos that thicken the phlegm, everywhere following the random lines of geology and erosion. Surfing the hard edge of erosion, the slow wave of rock collapsing into beetling overhangs, if you watched long enough. Like the late summer flowers on the machair, we are spits of colour in a relentless surge not of our own.