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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 skies threatened again and Ian's thoughts turned to ski-ing and not breaking ankles before his trip (don't worry, no-one will bag your projects while you're away, certainly not me!)

Meanwhile, Riche Betts has got around the Gairloch area and found some problems at Mellon Udrigle, that mellifluously named corner of delight on the west coast... some excellent V4 problems and more to follow in the area soon, here's a video link of him on a compact-looking delight at Opinan

Richie somewhere in the NW

The spring should see a host of new problems in Applecross, Torridon, Gairloch and Ullapool areas, bring it on!


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