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Showing posts from June, 2009

The Sky Handbook

The Sky Handbook has just been published and it's everything to do about the sky above, not Skye the island as some have thought! It's a book from my other life as an author and writer, and if you think you might want to buy one as a gift or for yourself, follow the link below and thankyou in advance!!

THE SKY HANDBOOK This book is ideal for a gift...and anyone interested in the cosmos, the stars and our planet's future. It's perfect for the intelligent child (is that not every child?!) and for any adults who are confused about the stars and climate change etc (that would be most adults)...this book will clear things up!!

It introduces the mysteries of the universe to us, covering: the origins of our universe; the stars, constellations and solar system; astronomers; our atmosphere and weather, phenomena from the Aurora Borealis to tornadoes; flight and space exploration; pollution; climate change and more!

John Watson is an author, publisher, climber and keen …

Just Published! - 100 Years Ago

This is a centennial nod to grander times. In a light-hearted note and with top respect for the first generation of climbers (see the pic below, now that's bold), I came across some useful (and not so useful) notes from Claude Benson's superb 'British Mountaineering', published 100 years ago.


It includes a chapter on bouldering no less, though they did call it 'rock gymnastics', as though they were slightly ashamed of the low-ball games of blocage. The book is a delight throughout, capturing the lost nuances of climbing as it was with no little humour and some sage advice. What is most encouraging is that not much has changed - Claude is still obsessed with gear and like a safety-Nazi 'floorwalker' he bores rigidly about techniques (quite rightly, of course, we want to pursue risk safely you know). He does witter on a bit about the 'tweenie maid' (mmm, enough said... ) - reassuringly, however, he suffers the same frustrations we still do today:…

Arran Bouldering Update

The Arran Roof Boulder -left wall (right now done!)

On an earlier spring visit to Arran in late March, Niall McNair missed the ferry due to it leaving on British Summer Time instead of McNair-time, so he nipped back up the road to the Corrie boulder roof project. Right of Chris Graham's ealier left hand roof problem, this one was despatched before the next ferry. It goes at about Font 7b+ and is the hardest on Arran to date. He named it, rather drily, 'BST'. He also despatched the hanging arete by the fence on the giant Clach Dhruim a Charn at 7a+.

Elements 2

Pete Murray is back making a few more vids of Scottish climbing and bouldering, this time with the mighty HD camera in tow. We'll be producing a spin-off series of 'How To' films that illustrate the techniques to solve Scotland's top 50 or so boulder problems, 'condensing the story of these classic lines into a simple, concise story which reflects the intensity and brevity of the movement itself' (Pete's words). The HD vid of 'Gorilla' at Dumbarton Rock can be viewed on his Vimeo site.

Blue Skyes and Bloody Stones

Angus Murray on Central Wall of the Duck Boulder

Skye Cioch Face - note the huge white scar of rockfall on the Eastern buttress...

On a recce trip to Skye scoping new rock walls and giant stones, we stopped off at the Lagan burn to quench gargantuan thirsts. I stared again at the Duck boulder, trying to squint its erratic-topped form into a duck (failing again - it looks more to me like Tom Weir's hat with a bobbble on it). We meandered up the classic lines - I had forgotten how good these highballers actually are - all possible in the heat due to the rasping friction of the gabbro. Here's a short topo and descriptions for anyone wanting to stop off on the way down from the Cioch Face.

Dunkeld Bouldering - an Electric Feel

Electric Feel Font 7b+, Dunkeld Cave Crags

For some the purity of a bouldering line and the clean tight power of a short piece of rock motivates more than the sweaty walk-ins, hot belays and meandering thoughts of a mountain route... in this spirit, in the cool Font-like dappled shade of Dunkeld woods, Mike Lee worked out the high voltage positions of his project to give Electric Feel Font 7b+. It is an isolated problem, but maybe all the more focused and classic because of this. It's an attractive scooped wall with lightning bolt features just down the hill rightwards from Marjorie Razorblade buttress at NO 020 438. Well done to Mike for climbing such a tough line in the searing heat we've had the last few days - I can vouch that this is a class modern addition and probably the best boulder problem in the area.