Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Stone Country Book Orders 3 for 2

Just to let everyone know we are doing a special 3 for 2 summer offer of Bouldering in Scotland/Elements and Stone Play for a limited period offer of £40.00, for all of you who might not have the full collection!

This includes Pete Murray's DVD on Scottish bouldering - a 40 minute feature on the spirit of bouldering in Scotland, as well as the new Bouldering in Scotland guide and last year's Stone Play - the Art of Bouldering.

Even if you have one or two of these publications, you can take advantage of the offer to stock up on early Christmas presents!!

Check out the main website for other special offers and forthcoming books!

I've also added some new bouldering topos to the Stone Country website.

Wake Up and Have Your Corncrakes - Mull bouldering

I came to Mull to further scope out the fine bouldering around Fionnphort on the pink granite walls, one of which contributed the template to our own Scottish Climbs website. This is a place for summer bouldering, meandering between perfect walls and slabs, dancing along the beflowered crisp machair, climbing to the endless accompanimant of skylarks and corncrakes (by 5 in the morning these were 'bloody corncrakes').

Fionnphort is idyllic for long roaming sesssions of climbing in the easy movement and sudden puzzling positions into which granite slabs lure you... the climbing is either enjoyable or simply impossible due to the blank and rounded nature of the slabby domes. Here and there are some good cracklines and the occasional nodule pokes out to provide a resting foothold or a thankful hand feature. Most of the time the body is poised on fulcrums of balance, hoping the granite crystals won't crumble, or you piano-finger larger crystals to inch over that mantle.

There are hundreds of short solo walls and crags awaiting the bolder boulderer, around Kintra just to the north and at Erraid and Fidden to the south. Listen out for the famous corncrakes - you can't mistake them... they sound like some hopeless car-jacker touching two live wires together - krek krek! krek krek!

I've put a topo of a fun 'yellow' level circuit on my main website on the topo page.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Mountain Weather

Cir Mhor in May

Well, what happened to spring? It just seems to have jumped straight into high summer, but the ones we remember from long ago: mild winds, hazy sun, crisped grass and no rain... how long will it last, and without midges to boot? Maybe this will be the trad summer we have been waiting for!

I took a day off working on the new Font guide to head over to Arran, the large boilder plate slabs of granite gleaming like broken mirrors. The streams bubbled in full jacuzzi mode and confused buzzards circled high on the unseasonable thermals. Expecting a rash of parties on Cir Mhor, we were surprised to note only one other party on South Ridge. We meandered up West Flank Route, enjoying the sunny belays and cooling updrafts of air, listening to the endless cawing of ravens. Looking down over the vast U-bowl of Glen Rosa, the boulder fields caught my attention and it was tempting to go and look at a few unclimbed (but probably holdless) roofs after the route, but it's too warm for bouldering now and the body yearns for long sequences of dry rock in fine situations, which Arran provides.

Angus Murray on West Flank Route

After a lazy start on the second ferry over, the walk-in and climbing had eaten the hours and it was 5pm already, so we stomped back down, foodless, as the ravens had stolen all my baby-bels and a stack of four pancakes from my rucsac. The new path makes for a quick descent and we had time for the obligatory and welcome pint in Brodick.

Clouds over Glen Rosa