A forgotten, windswept moor with broken old crags overlooking Inverclyde, it's a good spot to escape in the high summer. I'd be keen to know if anyone has bouldered here - Little Craig Minnan, in particular, was a terrific buttress with exciting problems over good grassy landings. There appears to be more rock in Muirshiel than I remember, as though I'd missed some vulcanism in the last decade or so. Buttresses everywhere... but sometimes the high contrast summer light makes them seem more substantial than they are!
In my palm, I roll around three small stones taken from the waters. One is a blue schist pebble, slightly chipped, another a perfect egg of sandstone conglomerate and the last a pink and white granite sphere. When I force my brain onto the rack of geological time, exploding it out into a thousand ‘civilizations’ or so (my attempt at imagining a million years), then multiply this by, say, 50, I just about get an idea of each stone’s provenance. I feel I am rolling around three small planets in untouchable orbits; three lost worlds of breathtaking beauty, shape and form; elegant worlds which have been crushed, eroded, rolled into one another and, briefly, given this current page of a pop-up book: there you go, this is your planet for now; turn the page another million years and another world pops up. Stones are border guards of the unknown and secretive territories; bureaucratic knots in our states of understanding deep time . . . ...for the full article, visit the E-books page
Arran Bouldering , a set on Flickr. The biggest, meanest, longest bouldering circuit? I'd say Arran has a good chance of winning this one. Hop the 7am ferry, get a bus to North Glen Sannox and walk up into Coire nan Ceum, do about 20 of the best problems there (mostly slabs but a few choice roofs up to 6b), then nip up the Witch's Step to the Caisteal Abhail ridge. This has some fine bouldering all the way to the summit on some isolated blocs and on small tors beyond. Drop down along the big arced ridge to the Cir Mhor summit and some architecturally challenging domino blocs with body-munching properties (and the Rosetta Stone, if you can find it). The silvery slabs on the south west flank of this hill have some compact rock and balancy problems. At this point you might want to stop for some lunch, you'll be about 40 to 50 problems in. Got enough water? I couldn't find those springs marked on the 1:25,000 map, though I was convinced I could hear bubbling water