Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Some spring boulders

Along with the spring flowers, it seems quite a few new boulders have sprouted with the better weather.

Nic Ward found some fine new Torridonian rock above the Sanctary cave at the Applecross bealach boulders, with a classic line:

Don't Mess with the Shek  7a/+ 
Pull on using the right arete and a small undercut in the middle of the face. Aim for the obvious sidepull above. Then a tricky move to a couple of jugs, which offer some respite, before a long reach to small holds and finally the top. Awesome!

Colintraive in Cowal hides some good boulders on the old road by the shore north of the village. About halfway along this road there is this giant, needs a little clean but some good looking beefy roof problems:

I had forgotten what a fine little venue Loch nan Uamh is. In baking Easter sunshine, it felt magical climbing over the peppermint waters on the rough feldspar'd schist, or smearing up the wave washed slabs...perfect therapy for a climber back to basics after a year of injury!

And a visit to Gigha will lead you naturally to the highest point of Creag Bhan at 100m and some fine leaning rock and slabs on the other side:

Richie Betts seems to have followed a tip off and found some awesome rock in Lewis in the wilds not far from Mealaval I think...

And a meet soon on Arran will reveal the whereabouts of these beauties:

And Dave the Mac seems to have found some few hundred new boulders, check out his blog!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Full Circle on the Munros

I still haven't bagged them all and I guess I don't feel that urge or itch - just being on the flanks of hills, in the bowels of corries, in deep lush gorges with no escape, in echoey stone shoots, or buffeted on the steep faces of rock, it doesn't matter to me where I am on the hill, I'm just happy to be out, like the stag who knows there are parts of the mountain for every season. The summit is for a peculiar kind of  beast and the odd and very British fad for Munro bagging is now a kind of institutionalised fever that is as popular as ever.

So what does a climber do when it rains, or tweaks a tendon, or is just sore and old...? Go for a walk...

I would recommend getting a good Munro guide and stomping around a few, you'll enjoy it and I guarantee you'll find some new rock. I was on Aonach Beag recently and was delighted to discover a tremendous face of rock high on the hill with only a handful of routes on it and in the corrie a host of largely untouched boulders (which I pawed as a zealot would a gold idol).

So what's the best guide to fit in a glove box or pack for that lost day? I was kindly sent a new edition of the excellent and essential rucsac guide: 'The Munro Almanac', largely rewritten by Neil Wilson who publishes under the InPinn imprint though the guide still sports a foreword by Cameron McNeish (and a dayglo'd younger self on the cover). This is still an excellent pocket summary and perfect for the likes of me who prefer to bag a Munro more accidentally than on purpose. Quite amusingly, after over a 100 years and the continual minutiae of promotion and demotion, the list has come full circle to Munro's original total of 283 peaks...

A copy can be picked up for 7.99 here...support your Glasgow independent publishers!