Showing posts from January, 2007

Bolt Holes and Boulder Books

Ali Coull cranks out another V7...Boltsheugh In a winter such as this, more an extended wet autumn, sunny days have been at a premium, but the NE bags the best of the rain shadow days and glorious sunshine on dry rock is a strong lure away from the dreich overhangs of Dumby... a couple of phone calls from an A90 layby and I found myself basking in the sheltered sunny rock bays of Boltsheugh at Newtonhill. Always a good local bolt-hole and training ground, the sports walls are now more regularly bouldered, including the excellent eliminate traverses and straight-ups... Guy Robertson was quick to point out the many 'illegal' holds I was using, but hell, I didn't mind, it was dry, the sun sank slowly like a lost flare and my eyes hurt to look at it all, no wonder really... Updates on the next Stone Country books: Stone Play - a global collection of bouldering writing and photography - should be out in May, just finalising a few last articles and photos, then it's off to

North West Bonanza

Ian Taylor at Rhue The red gold that is Torridonian sandstone is being mined in a hurry, lots of ancient Greenland pebbles being popped from their mother stone by scrabbling little rubber toes... winter up here, between the frenzied fronts of painful hail (which can bruise your ears and lips), provides windows of flash-pump traverses and numb straight-ups, hardcore heaven for the masochistic boulderer. I dug Ian Taylor out of his winter slumbers and persuaded him to don beanie and show me the local sites - a tour of Rhue blocks, Ardmair and Reiff in the Woods led to no ground-breaking problems (we wilted off Richie's 'Main Issue', too cold and scaredy to go for the dyno!), but the highlights of the day were The Forge V4, Skinshredder V5, Corkscrew V5 and Ian repeated his own excellent solution to the pebbled arete that is Clach Mheallain V6 (little stones in Gaelic ie. hail)... a very hard supple hip and heel lock being the secret. Then it darkened blue and black, the skie


A recent post on Scottish bouldering dyno's had me trawling through my video collection and I found a few interesting ones and it made me think of the great Gill era of American dynoing and the whole ethic of using dynamic moves to bypass difficult static sequences. There are those who swear by 'static' methods and sneer at these athletic shortcuts of dynoing as a form of cheating gravity, or giving in to a lack of forethought. these are usually hardbitten trad climbers, who naturally wouldn't countenance a full on throw half way up Torro, or on the Etive Slabs (though I know people who have fallen on the slabs and attempted to turn and run down to the ground). Dynoing is mostly a bouldering art and fits it perfectly, allowing impressive 'parkour-style' solutions through gravity's well, without the threat of crumpling groundfalls or nipple-grating slides. Boulder mats allow a little more adventure in this respect as well, so it's not unusual for bouldere