Monday, 22 November 2010

Holy Buck

Time was short this weekend. All activities centered around a mad dash to and from Glasgow on Saturday night to the Buck65/Holy Fuck gig at King Tut's - Sarah was working on both Saturday and Sunday so we had to be there and back in one night. A bit of a mission but it was well worth it. There's a bit of a Canadian band invasion over the next few weeks and there's another night-raid in store when the elusive and truly god-like Godspeed You! Black Emperor play at Barrowlands on Dec 8th. It's no exaggeration to say that seeing them will be the realisation of a life ambition. Oh yes.

So, not enough time on Saturday to head oot west (and not much decent weather) and not enough wakefulness to join the Am Fasgadh Sunday session. So, I took a gamble with a local venue I'd been keen to explore for a while, the Creagan Soillier boulders at Laggan. Mike gave them a brief write-up in his local guide, saying something about them making a good wee spot if people made the effort to climb there and keep them clean. So, armed with several wire brushes (the Homebase Value set is a bargain at £2.98 for three different sizes), ipod, flask and gardening gloves, I was all ready for a voyage of discovery.

Now, I'll admit that in my keenness to get out in the past I've been guilty of cleaning and climbing on some pretty desperate bits of choss, and my fear was that these would be just another non-venue - dirty, small, eliminate - but in all honesty, I was impressed. Set on the slopes below the broken crags of Creagan Soillier, above the oft-driven through village of Laggan is a small boulder field: cleaved from the hillside, debris from geological history. Most of the blocks are too small to bother with, but amongst them are five or six big beasts, worthy of bouldering note anywhere, let alone the backwater of Strathspey.

I spent Saturday hiding from showers under a blank highball leaning face - a project for the travelling wad - with more convenient lines up either side (although sit-starts will bump them up to meaty grades). Between showers I took a few strolls around, checking the other blocks for the next visit on a dry day.

And Sunday was the dry day. Blinking through the fug of sleep deprivation, a looming cold and fatigue from trying the same move fifty-times in a row the day before, I staggered back up the hill to the blocks. So, I had a bit of a circuit boulder - working my way through the boulders, trying lines, failing on most, getting up others. The only problem I kept coming up against were damp mossy/licheny top-outs. I did what I could, but next time I'll do more brushing and less climbing. It won't take much though, and with a bit of publicity and the passage of more feet this should become known as a decent, accessible central Scottish venue. If only...
Where I hid from the showers for most of Saturday: Two well-chalked holds and lots of steep blankness.

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