From the Dibidil path all the way up to Coire nan Grunnd under Hallival lie hundreds of the cleanest boulders in Scotland in a wild lunar landscape of volcanic scale . Pristine 'allivalite' rock which feels grippier than gabbro - salt and pepper coloured, sculpted for the climber, generous grades on ridiculous angles and some big lines and perfect boulders... I hope to get back in the summer with Hamish Fraser who is working on a complete guide to this astonishing array of blocs.
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