Only two pitches left, we huddle into the belay, shivering and shuffling like ledge-bound guillemots in an Atlantic storm: the onslaught arrives. Water drips off my helmet and down my nose as another squall races down the glen at us, a slavering pack of hunting dogs come to ruin our fun. “As soon the rain stops this wind’ll dry the rock” I tell Steve, feigning confidence. “Aye, we’ll sit it out a while and see what happens” he replies.
Two minutes later, considerably colder and wetter and with no likely respite, we’ve made up our minds and start our descent. Belay devices wring a steady trickle of water from the ropes as we begin the abseils; stiff frozen fingers fumble with prussik loops and screw-gates. Touching down on rope stretch we pack our sodden gear and slide down the hill, to the bikes, to the car, home and to the warm fire. All the while the waves of showers keep breaking.
Tails between our legs, we spend the evening drying gear around the wood-burner and arguing the toss over tomorrow’s plans. The smart money points eastwards to a day in the Cairngorms, but emboldened by blind optimism we decide to drive into the storm again and see if we can punch through to a sunny West coast. Time will tell.
And we drive on.
Steve in similar post-Pillar shock and awe
Steve on the first pitch of Foil on the Main Wall at Diabaig