As promised I took myself out and ran the Ring of Steall on saturday and couldn't see a thing. It was cold, wet, windy and the cloud was down to about 600m. Oddly, no photos were taken. I felt pretty good though, doing the round from the car and back in about 4 hours, and much of the ground isn't good for running. The compass came out a few times to make sure I didn't do anything daft and all in all it went smoothly. The initial ascent up An Gearanach felt good, despite going on a bit.
In stark contrast, Sunday was a truly georgeous day. The early(ish) morning mist was just hanging in the glen above Loch Linnhe and from our eyrie in Banff Crescent we looked down on it as it swirled and spiralled out towards the sea. After a very leaisurely start Blair picked Jones and I up and we headed to Tunnel Wall on the Buachaille. He had been working on Fated Path, a classic, long F7c+, earlier in the week and was stoked for another go. I was just along for the ride as belayer as I was fairly certain that with the easiest route being F7b there was nothing for me. However, the Fyffester put a rope up most of Uncertain Emotions (F7b) and I got involved. There is a lower-off about three quarters of the way up the route so he clipped in there, telling me that if I was getting there with ease I shouldn't worry too much about the top section. Hmm.
Looking along Tunnel Wall
Blair put a rope up Fated Path, top-roped it once and played on the moves a few times, ensuring they were all there, then was ready for the lead, or as he put it "I guess at some point I'll have to tie in to the wrong end".
I'd never belayed someone on a hard route before and was a little nervous of getting in the way or not giving enough slack or too much, but it went without a hitch. He made it look like a breeze. F7c+. Nice one Mr Blair. There was one moment when he gave a power grunt, but he never looked like coming off. Respec.
The only other sport route that I've seriously thought about red-pointing is Fogtown, a F7a at North Berwick. Over the summer I'd top-roped it with just one rest and felt that if I'd carried on I'd get it done one day. Uncertain Emotions felt about the same difficulty as Fogtown did then, though Uncertain Emotions is supposed to be no gift at 7b. Can't help but think that I should get down and get dirty on Fogtown. The only problem is that North Berwick Law is a bit of a shit hole and Tunnel Wall is about as georgeous as crags get. Oh well, nothing like a spanking for ones ego, as it were.
At the 3/4-way lower off after a fight