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Showing posts from March, 2007

Zealots and Serums

Perfect late March spring weather, cool mornings and sunny afternoons, the friction still good on the rock, everything dry and crisp - Scotland owes us a few weeks of this after the winter!

Malcolm Smith has done a variation 8a+ at Dumby called the 'Serum of Sisyphus', which climbs the Perfect Crime start and then escapes up the Good Nicks crack.. an easier alternative (well, more achievable I guess) than finishing up the desperate Sabotage. It's another good addition to Dumby, which now has a feast of 8a and above problems. He gives this variation three stars...he should know! Nice one Malc.

On his return from Spain, a lean Dave MacLeod has also completed the full cave traverse of the Home Rule boulder to give Sosho Font 8a+..., the boss sequence into Hokku 8a... it's an awfully long problem Dave, you sure it isn't harder? Seems like the 9a Spanish roofs have made this seem more achievable for Dave - it went very quickly on a fine evening in March... another excelle…

Cullen Caves

Just before the crux throw on Flower Power, Font 6c+, Cullen

The forecast was for blizzards and I was sipping tea in Inverurie and wondering if I'd get a weather window to get back to some projects in Moray... thankfully a lull before the storm was forecast, with a worryingly warm 13 degrees tipping the scale out of the boulderer's comfort zone... still, it would be dry on the Moray coast I figured, before the icy squalls from the counter spinning vortices of a NE low pressure and a SW high pressure put paid to any comfort... I made my excuses, zipped up through Huntly and Keith and found myself in the dark quartzite ears of the Cullen caves.

There is remarkably good bouldering here, but it's steep and only for troglodytes who like to work their biceps... the first cave was still damp and needing to dry a little (it's a good summer venue when the quartzite dries out) so I headed round to Jenny's Well and St Stephen's cave... here a delightfully steep orange wall …

New Shoes at Brin

Put My New Shoes On - Font 7c - Brin Rock

Ben Litster has been beavering away at Brin and succeeded on the hardest problem to date on a wall of clean rock just up from the 'other' project roof... Ben took advantage of breaks in the weather and in between shifts at work - it's a slopey traverse that requires hard heel-hooking and powerful technique. He calls it 'Put My New Shoes On' and it's a hefty Font 7c to complete. Here's what Ben says...

'It's a slopey frictionless traverse of a boulder. I think it's about font 7c but if your taller it'll be easier because you'll be able to keep your heel on the only bumpy part on the route. All the stupid grading stuff aside it's a fantastic wee climb on immaculate rock with some really cool moves! It's very brutal on the heel of your shoes and actually ripped the heel clean off a pair of mine so I had to get new ones to do the route...'

Good effort Ben, let's hope you get the other p…

Hokku

Hokku - another Font 8a from the machine MacLeod Pic Hotaches

Hokku, Dave MacLeod's new Font 8a at Dumbarton, is aptly named...it's a shorter part of his longer cave project under the Home Rule boulder and is named after a Japanese form of poetry that reflects seasonal moments. It was certainly seasonal: pissing it down, everything was dripping and this was about the only dry thing to climb in Scotland...from a large sharp jug at the back left of the cave, an innovative and desperate sequence allows the central roof 'handrail' to be gained and then the jugs leading to the finish along Mugsy Traverse (itself Font 7b). The full link-up will be a wild adventure and at least 8b+, but in the meantime Dave was happy to name and grade the 8a version, which may be a popular alternative to his original and more extreme vision! The race is on for the second ascent...
The Hotaches team were out filming. Dave Brown had a key-stones cop moment and nearly did a backflip descending th…

The Trossachs - In Praise of the Victorian

'The use of Loch Katrine to supply Glasgow has its origins in Victorian times. In the early part of the 19th Century, a mere 30 public wells - and a handful of private ones - provided the city’s only sources of water. In 1848, after a second outbreak of cholera again decimated the poorest inhabitants, moves began to bring the water supply under municipal control in an attempt to overcome the growing public health problem.
Five years later, John Fredrick Bateman - a civil engineer of considerable contemporary repute - concluded his study to find the best potential source for Glasgow, recommending the high quality water of Loch Katrine. The House of Commons passed the necessary bill in April 1855. The resulting supply system took three and half years to complete and involved the construction of a dam on the loch, 26 miles of aqueduct, a similar length of trunk mains, 46 miles of distribution pipes and the Mugdock storage reservoir at Milngavie. Queen Victoria herself officially opene…