Iain Small on an onsight attempt on a recent E5 6c addition to Goat Crag
I've recently found that when one aspect of either my running or climbing is going well, the rest starts to suffer, and I've definately noticed my indoor climbing has gone all to cock now that my running seems to be going OK. Hoping that this wouldn't be the case on the real stuff I made use of a high pressure system hovering over Scotland, took a day off work and hit the road northwards to get some late-season rock routes done. Now, for those that know the North West Highlands you'll know that come sunshine or showers, this place is heart-stoppingly beautiful. What I hadn't expected was how much more spectauclar it is at this time of year: the kaliedoscope of autumn leaves, frosty white glens, golden hillsides, cloud inversions and clear blue skies, and with acres of rock to play on it could just be paradise. On day one Stevie and I joined Blair and Iain at Goat Crag in Gruinard Bay, where Stevie and I got a resounding spanking on the bolts while Blair and Iain showed us how to climb properly. On day two Duncan and I went to Stone Valley Crags south of Gairloch and had a great day on perfect gneiss trad. I managed to come away feeling pleased to not fall off Bold as Brass (despite my very best efforts), reassured that there's still some fight left in me.
I suspect that these will be the last rock routes of 2009 (unless winter stays at bay and we all do a big sun dance), and looking back over the summer, I feel fairly pleased with the way my climbing has gone. Here's hoping that I'll be able to look back at the race this weekend in the same way.