Monday, 11 June 2007

Soft Rock #3

As promised I made my way out to Mallaig on Thursday, ready to catch the CalMac ferry to Rum on Friday. I was helping Justin Grant with the Sea Eagle 'chick' tagging, both on Rum and then on Canna on Saturday. I use inverted commas because even at 6 weeks old these beasts are bloody enormous. Bigger than a fully grown Buzzard. I was there as the rope-access safety guy, helping to set up the abseils and give a hand with admin in the nest if needs be. Check out this photo of Justin getting a DNA swab on Canna: I'm really indebted to both Justin and Martin Carthy for inviting me along to help, and for supplying me with food, drink and a bed.

It was so nice to be back on Canna, seeing some of the old faces and places and getting to see what its like at a different time of year. I'd like to go back with some more time and see if the bouldering on Coroghan beach is still rocking it up. The basalt is mainly crap but I managed to find some wave-scoured blocks that were worthwhile. Ive even got a wee project out there and all, but I think its a bit too far to travel for one boulder problem!

After the Sea Eagle on Canna we walked over to ab in to the Golden Eagle nest. If there was more than one chick we were to take one for the Irish re-introduction programme. Lets just say it was a beast of an ab. Now - climbers, I know what you're thinking - an ab is an ab, how exciting can it be? What we weren't aware of was the fact that this crag was overhung at the top by a good 5-6 metres, and the vast majority of it's 90m length was spent free hanging. Thank fuck there was no jumaring to be done! As we abbed past the nest we could see there was only one chick, which was great because there was no way we were going to get near it - not without a lot of swinging, some dodgy gear in crap rock and missing the ferry. Justin took this picture of me on the way down:
I got back to the burgh last night after sitting on my arse for the 7 hours back from Mallaig.

This morning Jones and I went out for a run in the hot, hot, heat in the Pentlands. Its a nice wee round that I do lots when I'm training for the Original Mountain Marathon. Thats in November. We were training for the Saunders, which is in the perishing heat of July. Oh shit. Infact I'm quite worried because something is up with my left knee. It started out fine but towards the end of the run it was killing me and I've been hobbling ever since. I've got the frozen peas involved at the moment so fingers crossed it'll go away. A very similar thing happed when Jones and I were up on the Cobbler the other week. I hope it doesn't spell a big rest because that would mean the end of the Saunders and maybe screw up mine and Duncans chances in the A Class of the OMM. Ha!

Oh well. I think Chris and I are gonna get some cragging action tomorrow eve. Dunno where but I doubt the County, what with how long it took last week. We'll see though. Psyche.

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