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Sunshine on Lith

The stubborn high pressure system that has been sinking cold air all over Britain has been a rare treat for lithophiles. The rock has been sticky as the sides of a freezer and the boggy approaches in Scotland have been rock hard, allowing an approach in dry trainers, though some comical Billy Elliot moments occurred on great tongues of ice and frosted top-outs.

Ben More Coigach Stone Pavement

I was in the sunny North West over New Year and continued development is apace on the red grit and on some obscure granite boulders. Even interlopers like myself can find projects galore. I enjoyed a session at the excellent Rhue Blocks, managing the crux crouch start to the Forge before falling off on the slab, by which point my skin was too shredded to continue!

Ian Taylor at Reiff in the Woods

In the south Tim Rankin has been busy repeating the harder Thirlstane classics and finally working out how Paul Savage's problems work best. He repeated Tied Up and Swallowed at a 'short-man's' verion of 7b+, mantling up to the crimp with the left hand and standing on the shelf to cross through to the break. Tim has also discovered an exciting cave with 'immaculate rock' and we await summer development!

Sun and Ice

Back in Glasgow, I visited the old quarry venue of Windyhill above Johnstone and found it to be an excellent bouldering wall, catching all the sun going and with grippy orange basalt. Most of the lines are straightforward but eliminating holds makes it a worthwhile work-out, good for a couple of hours strengthening the fingers and honing the footwork.

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