Dave MacLeod's 'Oceans' - the attractive orange scoop on the southwest face of the Eagle Boulder, has always repelled strong climbers, and appeared as a total mystery to most. Given 7b+, it seemed within reach of the indoor-trained beast, but this is Dumby and requires a more tenacious and arcane approach! It was good to see it reclimbed and classed as one of the best at Dumby by Niall McNair and Fraser McIlwraith, before the rain returned on Saturday 26th January 2013. They rated it a 'hard 7c' and one of the most unusual and classy of problems at Dumby. The first move twisting up to a poor undercut, then stepping feet through on poor slopers to a vicious cross-through to a crimp only leads you to a further, heart-fluttering power sequence to the lip... many mats and much spotting help secure this, which makes a lone ascent even more impressive. Now on the list of favourites to do, this approaches the magical formula in bouldering: poor footholds, masonic handholds, unusual moves, technique, torque, power and commitment all melded into one.
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