Long live such autumns: clear skies, frost-cold rock and an orange-filtered low sun. Finally the bouldering season seems to have kicked into gear... I've been projecting at Dumby before the sudden sunsets above Langbank on the other side of the Clyde, and enjoying the pseudo-grit of Craigmaddie higher up on the moors for a change of geology. It seems everyone else is burrowing into their projects and enjoying what free time can be stolen in the shortening days. A full afternoon at Dumby went by in stop-motion oblivion as the tide crept up to the sea boulder from a low tide... no better way to dissolve the stress of deadlines and office life.
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