At last the sunshine is here and those crisp autumnal mornings are back. I drove over the Dukes Pass in a kind of hysteria, like a prison break lost by the hounds. Having been camped indoors for a month I was a little giddy with the sudden fine weather and the prospect of some dry rock. A reliable roadside venue can be found on the Achray Blocs below the overgrown crag beside Loch Achray. Though limited, the main bloc has some fine movement and always seems to be dry, hunkering as it does under giant beech trees.
Red squirrels bounced around like rusty springs as I set up the paraphernalia: tarp, mat, chalk bag, rags and brushes. The holds were attended to, some moves rehearsed for warm-ups. Clapping chalk into the autumn air in this little rocky amphitheatre, I felt energised enough to climb the main arete - a superb sequence from the sitting start. Energy is vital to bouldering and I always feel the atmosphere, the 'spirit' of the landscape and your inner buzz (without being too much of a crystal-swinger about it), is crucial in any climbing. If you don't generate or find this first, you won't measure any real success. For the first time in ages I regained the point of it all, locked away in a private world for a few hours of climbing 'without purpose'.