Showing posts from December, 2012

Skye (a land of myth much-missed)

In the early 2000s, a mysterious stranger began claiming a number of hard ascents, first in Glen Nevis ( The Morrighan, Jupiter Collison ...etc.)and then on the Isle of Skye ( Extradition, It's Over etc.). In particular, the boulders of Coire Lagan held some great-looking lines which began appearing on a local blog featuring photographs of a lithe-looking climber on very steep lines, but usually static on one of the jugs and never on video. Many climbers had visited and tried the lines, coming back claiming they were futuristic and impossible. Dave MacLeod walked away from the mythical ' It's Over ' with its wee undercut holds and obvious-but-out-of-reach double-sloper. The forums, for a year or two, were alive with debate as to who this stranger was and how the hell he had got so strong. The legendary O'Conor blog , its posts notably created in the dark hours, like some intricate verbal death-star, has mostly been dismantled by its shamed owner, who was, at

Archipelago Review

If you're interested in landscape writing, perhaps the finest collection can be found in the biannual literary magazine ARCHIPELAGO . It is published by Clutag Press and collects the best of landscape writing and poetry from the likes of Michael Longley, Tim Robinson, Robert Macfarlane and Seamus Heaney. Issue 7, Winter 2012, contains a section from our very own Rathlin: Nature and Folklore , an extended version of 'Foorins and Cuddens' telling of the isanders' seabird-fowling and natural climbing skills akin to the 'guga' hunters on St Kilda: '...some descended on homespun ropes from cliff tops, the ropes secured to an iron stake driven into the turf, or, in the case of one famous nineteenth century climmer (island name for a cragsman), from a rope tied to the leg of his horse.' There is some terrific writing in this 'journal' of poetic landscapes. I liked Katherine Rundell's 'Ghost Storms', describing a Scottish storm &

Perfect start to December

There is no better feeling than cyan-blue skies and the first winter shroud laid down on the distant Highland tops... the rock conditions have been perfect and holds which were soap-bars in summer now feel like emery boards. Craigmaddie and Craigmore have been in good condition, with new link-ups and traverses for the locals creating grade confusion - everything in these conditions feels two grades easier, which is why Font grades can feel so hard in the heat (they tend to be graded for the 'magic day' of perfect friction). Craigmaddie now has over 50 documented problems, from Font 2 through to Font 7c, with the sunniest winter aspect in Central Scotland. This makes it a glowing and popular venue for those who can't afford the petrol for 'The County'. For the Central belt boulderer, this venue offers an under-rated alternative to Northumberland sandstone and you can get over 6 hours of sun in mid December, if your skin lasts that long! Colin Lambton ha