Skip to main content

Craigmore Rubik's Cubes

Mark Dobson on Jamie's Overhang Left 6b -  a forgotten belter
The boulders at Craigmore are tiny, the crag routes only a few metres. It is a place for locals only, for top-roping, not meant to be seen as anything other than diversionary. Travelling rock-rats shrug and do a couple of the over-starred routes on top-route, maybe pull a few of the more obvious problems and leave, thinking it a heap of dank green esoterica best left to, yes, you guessed it - the locals.

That's all fine with me and I'm not going to praise it to the skies and rate it as Scotland's last hidden secret - it's not. It's a north-facing crag. That usually keeps the crowds away. Everything bad about it is obvious on arrival, mostly: it's boggy, muddy, vegetated, slimy, midgy, repetitive, confusing, dark, chilly, always condition-dependent. Most happily affirm it is deservedly forgotten and overshadowed by its big neighbour at Dumbarton. But I love forgotten places and I go there to get away from it all, or climb with a few friends who have put the same time in here.

Colin Lambton on The Art of War direct 6c

It's not always the big, shiny things that are valuable. I've sat under the last pine tree at Jamie's Overhang for hundreds of hours over the years: waiting for the rock to dry; or just catching the last rays as the sun dips west in the afternoon; or blankly staring at the wind in the leaves; or looking at the pinkness of my tips, peeling off little chalky flaps of skin. I know the dimpled nature of every hand-hold, the failure-pressures of tiny foot slopers, the windows of core-tension and when they're needed; the secret tricks of linking no more than four metres of rock. It's as intricate as a Rubik-cube and I twist it round and round, mixing up its endless sequence of colours. Clouds scud past in stop-motion. I'm not in the slightest hurry to solve it, nor  am I aware of any solution other than just doing this. What would you be trying to solve?

I've done every conceivable eliminate on this little leaning bloc, on its 12 holds, mixing and matching to my own satisfaction and moving in circles, always absorbed, never fretting about concretions such as 'lines' or 'summits', the 'sends' are irrelevant as I've repeated them so many times. It is a repetition of simple knowing. 

Craigmore in a dry, crisp spell, under the pines, is as meaningful to me as the alpinist's glimpse of an iced-up north face, or the trad-junkie's gaze on a 100m rock wall. This just happens to be a pine-needle-covered lump of leaning basalt a few miles north of where I live, in a quiet corner of a crag under a pine tree. It has a wide but modest vista of the Southern Highlands. I couldn't give a fig if people thought it an insignificant piece of mossy rock. In fact, I'd much rather they thought that.

Jamie's Overhang, the rockover move...



Comments

Anonymous said…
Nice.
Kevin Woods said…
Spot on with what Craigmore is about. (Except I hate to TR a route without a lead!) And yep... I'm local :)

Popular posts from this blog

Clyde Bloc Sport

Cammy Bell enjoying the summer evenings at Dunglass Currently we are developing the Stone Country Bloc Sport website to include a new series of area guides in pdf format, reworking Dumby and other Glasgow-radius crags with sport climbing included (so we'll have the new sports crags at Lomond and elsewhere...details to come!). These topos will also be available from the exciting new Betaguides website (due to launch in the next month or so - a complete database of bouldering in Britain). For the new Bloc Sport webiste I've been embroiled in all things Joomla, which is frying my head, so can't promise anything too soon, so I'll put the topos up on the blog as soon as we get them. Here's an example topo from the guides, which we will be producing in guidebook format next year - it's the Dunglass sport wall: Dunglass has been a saviour for me over the early summer, acting as a good training ground to get some basic fitness back. We have fully bolted the W

Plato's Cave

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

Timeline Walks of Scotland #Culbin Sands

The Moray Firth’s sand-bitten southern coast, between Findhorn and Nairn, is home to Scotland’s most cautionary tract of land. Now a wilderness of maritime forest, dunes, salt marsh and spits of sand, its human history has been dated to the Bronze Age, around 1300 BC, but it is a territory that since glacial times would have been mobile and mutable. The Laich of Moray is the fertile strip of plain squeezed between the foothills of the Cairngorms and the Moray Firth’s south coast. In Gaelic it is called Machair Mhoireibh (the machair of Moray), a perfect habitat for golf courses and rich arable farmland, threaded by the glacially-rivered straths of Nairn, Findhorn and Spey. Culbin is an old parish which is now buried under 28 square kilometres of duneland and recent forestry. Sweeping east of Narin and curving in to rise up to its greatest heights above the estuary of the River Findhorn, it is now managed by Forestry Commission Scotland, but it is notable that this is a humanl