Monday, 19 October 2009

The End Is Nigh

Autumn in Gruinard Bay

Time keeps slipping by and the big weekend of the OMM is now just a matter of days away. My training seems to have worked out pretty well, and I surprised myself by managing to come in in 17th place in the Pentland Skyline race, taking 2hrs56. Later in the week I managed to knock a minute off my Loch an Eilein round, making my time now 18.56 for the 5km trip (being dragged around by freakily fit Stevie Hammond did wonders here). Race partner Duncan came up from Edinburgh for the weekend and we managed one last run in the hills before a week of serious rest. Now it's time to make the final tweaks and arrangements - what to run in, what to carry, what to eat, how to stay hydrated, how much vaseline Duncan's going to put on his balls. All the big questions.

Partners in crime: Harry and Stevie Hammond living the dream

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.

Blair cruising Freak Show (E5 6a) at Goat Crag with the Fisherfield Forest beyond.

1 comment:

steve said...

Silly question, the more vaseline the better surely?
Nice to see you on the pentlands, good luck in the weekend.