To mark the march of time I'm compiling a list of 2012's finest. The fire is glowing in the grate, the glass has been charged with an Ardbeg (the bottle's close to hand). Time to reflect.
Book of 2012: The Children's Book, A.S. Byatt.
It was a fierce contest with Ross Raisin's God's Own Country but Byatt clinched it. The Children's Book follows the fortunes of several families over the tumultuous 25 year period around the start of the 20th Century. Personal stories of individuals set against a backdrop of the changing times: the Arts and Crafts movement, Queen Victoria's death, Suffrage, the rise of European Socialism, the First World War. A complete novel.
Tune of 2012: Bob Holroyd, African Drug (Fortet Remix)
Listen to this loud.
Trad Route of 2012: Megaflake, E2 5c, Creag Rhoda Mor (aka Supercrag).
As single pitches go, this provided everything. Long, sustained, brilliant rock, terrible rock, good gear, shonky gear, exposure, and a tricky finish. And all on a sea cliff in Wester Ross, surely the finest place on Earth.
Sport Route of 2012: Snowflake, 7a+, Goat Crag.
The ego was tempted to go for Jam Sesion at Terredets but that was just a lucky holiday tick. Snowflake was an affair drawn out over several visits, requiring a fair effort. Besides, the climbing is just plain fun, yarding on the biggest holds in the Highlands, and still getting pumped senseless.
Boulder of 2012: Road to Domestos, 7A, Scatwell.
This one was hard to pinpoint as there aren't really any problems from the last year that really stand out. Despite probably bouldering more than ever, I'm constantly trying problems and rarely succeeding. This one got the top spot as it was something I'd tried a few years ago and couldn't fathom, then tried again last Spring but didn't finally see it off until this Winter. Great rock, classic moves and a lovely spot, but not a king line.
Spanking of 2012.
Where to start? As an occasionally lucky boulderer, getting a kicking is a regular feature of my climbing. The list of things I've tried and failed on is doubtless longer than the list of successes. I think this award will have to go to Malcolm's Arete in Torridon, purely as it's the problem I've had my sights set on for ages, tried hard on, and still can't do. No doubt it's hard, and harder the shorter you are (I'm not that short, but definately not tall!), it's very conditions dependent and, recently, it's been drenched. 2013 is the year.
Run of 2012
I've not run as much this year as normal, in an attempt to climb more, but I did have a few good days out. The best (and hardest) was an attempt to link the last two Northern Cairngorm Munros I'd not done: Cairngorm car park to Beinn Bhreac via the Saddle and Fords of Avon, then up Carn a Mhaim via Derry Lodge, then back across the plateau via Ben Macdui and down the Goat Track. The last 5 kilometres back to the car were messy.