Skip to main content

Mountain Weather

Cir Mhor in May

Well, what happened to spring? It just seems to have jumped straight into high summer, but the ones we remember from long ago: mild winds, hazy sun, crisped grass and no rain... how long will it last, and without midges to boot? Maybe this will be the trad summer we have been waiting for!

I took a day off working on the new Font guide to head over to Arran, the large boilder plate slabs of granite gleaming like broken mirrors. The streams bubbled in full jacuzzi mode and confused buzzards circled high on the unseasonable thermals. Expecting a rash of parties on Cir Mhor, we were surprised to note only one other party on South Ridge. We meandered up West Flank Route, enjoying the sunny belays and cooling updrafts of air, listening to the endless cawing of ravens. Looking down over the vast U-bowl of Glen Rosa, the boulder fields caught my attention and it was tempting to go and look at a few unclimbed (but probably holdless) roofs after the route, but it's too warm for bouldering now and the body yearns for long sequences of dry rock in fine situations, which Arran provides.

Angus Murray on West Flank Route

After a lazy start on the second ferry over, the walk-in and climbing had eaten the hours and it was 5pm already, so we stomped back down, foodless, as the ravens had stolen all my baby-bels and a stack of four pancakes from my rucsac. The new path makes for a quick descent and we had time for the obligatory and welcome pint in Brodick.

Clouds over Glen Rosa


Popular posts from this blog

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

Timeline Walks of Scotland #Culbin Sands

The Moray Firth’s sand-bitten southern coast, between Findhorn and Nairn, is home to Scotland’s most cautionary tract of land. Now a wilderness of maritime forest, dunes, salt marsh and spits of sand, its human history has been dated to the Bronze Age, around 1300 BC, but it is a territory that since glacial times would have been mobile and mutable. The Laich of Moray is the fertile strip of plain squeezed between the foothills of the Cairngorms and the Moray Firth’s south coast. In Gaelic it is called Machair Mhoireibh (the machair of Moray), a perfect habitat for golf courses and rich arable farmland, threaded by the glacially-rivered straths of Nairn, Findhorn and Spey. Culbin is an old parish which is now buried under 28 square kilometres of duneland and recent forestry. Sweeping east of Narin and curving in to rise up to its greatest heights above the estuary of the River Findhorn, it is now managed by Forestry Commission Scotland, but it is notable that this is a humanl

Scottish Bouldering #New Glasgow climbing wall: The Prop Store

The Glasgow branch of The Climbing Academy (TCA) is just about to open its new bouldering and lead-climbing centre on Glasgow's north side. Its south-side twin ('The News Room')  is already a popular bouldering centre, but the new site will bring fresh inspiration to climbers on the north side of the Clyde. Situated in Maryhill, not far from the West End, this new centre is named after an old BBC prop warehouse, so it's been named ' The Prop Store '.  The centre feels roomy and spacious with a long profile. The holds and panels are super-grippy and there are some free-standing boulders to mantle out as well as an impressive offering of angles, roofs, slabs and subtly sweeping walls.  There is also a section of lead wall with auto-belays for top-roping practice, and a training centre upstairs. They should be open this December, but here are some preview shots.