Took advantage of the high pressure drying out the gritty sandstone at Craigmaddie for a few hours bouldering before the skin could take no more. If anyone knows about Mason marks, have a look at the photo below and let me know what they mean. These marks are under the left sheep pen, next to (presumably) old quarriers' names 'A. Cairns' and 'J. Neilson'. I assume these guys, or colleagues, carved the mason marks onto the sheltered back walls of the caves, no doubt during long lunch breaks or wet days when they couldn't be bothered digging out the mill-stones.
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