A very wet Sunday in the Arrochar Alps, so I put the running shoes on and took the long escalator-paced track up to the Allt Coiregrogain in horizontal, soaking drizzle. I'd been tipped off by Tom C.E. that there were some impressive blocs in the hanging glen between Beinn Ime and Ben Vane. He isn't wrong! Some giant stones with attractive, steep walls and flying aretes... the usual bogs might be an issue, but a dry week might make them just about approachable, if you like 5km walk-ins with big mats. Some nice camping spots, so perhaps a dry spring trip would see some big lines climbed. Apologies for the retro-style photo - the phone battery was so low, this was the only camera app that would work.
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