Saturday, 6 March 2010


Thin balancy Birdman at Cummingston

It's 7.41 in the morning as I write this, and I've just got back into bed. Yes, you read that correctly. A criminally early start to go climbing in Torridon backfired with pouring rain and warm temps in the car park, so we turned tail and bailed out. What else is there to do than slip back under the covers? What will my re-shaped weekend bring?

Will it be like last week?

It's ironic that in the midst of the longest, coldest, iciest winter for years I'm more motivated for rock climbing than winter climbing, but I know when I'm onto a good thing. Night time temperatures dipped to -18.5 early last week, followed by two foot of fresh powder dumping on Aviemore. All it means is more avalanches for the poodles to set off and more days off from capercaillie surveying. Will it never cease?

Saturday morning dawned, I filled my flask, donned my thermals and down jacket and went off in search of sunny rock with Al and Richie. Cummingston, a.k.a. Cummy, a.k.a. Cummingdale, depending on which officionado you're talking to, was the venue, and with a brisk north-easterly from Norway whipping onshore, temps were perfect for sandstone sloper action. I've bouldered here on my own a few times but have always struggled to work out where the problems start and end, but with Richie 'the knowledge' Betts on hand the dispatching knew no bounds (almost).

Bringing out the cranking shirt on Little Bhudda

Approximately 24 hours after Saturday morning it was Sunday morning, and once more I was charging up the A9, this time for a day of congomerate pebble pulling. First up we trudged through the snow to the amazing sport routes at Moy Rock. This crag has so much to reccomend it: only 15 minutes drive from Inverness, south facing, long Euro-style pitches, and a good spread of grades. The more I climb up here the more I discover the brilliant diversity of the climbing and having only recently discovered Am Fasgadh and Moy I feel like I've had my eyes opened to the year-round rock route potential. I've got no excuses for being unfit anymore.

In the afternoon we explored the Firth-side Kessock Boulders, contrasting the morning's steady stamina routes with steep power problems. Who says you can't rock climb in Scotland in winter?

Kessock bridge boulders

No comments: