Friday, August 18, 2017

Plato's Cave


In his famous 'allegory of the cave', the Greek philosopher Plato pondered the artificiality of reality in imagining how we could be fooled into thinking shadows on the wall (i.e. virtual reality) could be seen as 'real' life. I'm paraphrasing, of course. What has this got to do with climbing?

Well, I was pondering this myself recently while sitting on an artificial concrete boulder at the new Cuningar Loop bouldering park in Glasgow. Does it really matter that a boulder is made of concrete, surrounded by plantation and skirted with kind gravel traps rather than tree roots and spikey boulders? Isn't the 'real' thing so much better: the isolated erratic bloc deposited by geology's long-term aesthetic artwork? Well, yes, that's entirely up to you, but sometimes the artificial saves the day ... I was scuppered by Glasgow's cross-town traffic and turned back to my local artifice that is Cuningar to climb the blue circuit I had imagined as something akin to the real Fonatainbleau. With the wind shivering through the tree canopy and the sun catching the light-coloured moulding of the concrete, I was almost in the real thing. That was good enough for me - Plato can cast all the artifical puppet-shadows he wants, I'll accept the story it tells!

If you want to sample the bouldering park, here's an access topo for a representative 'blue' circuit of 22 problems between Font 3 and 5+. Dropbox PDF topo >>>

Or visit the Boulder Scotland companion website >>>

16 comments:

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