Thursday, 1 October 2015

Moray's Finest

Just back in from finishing off a short and fiery love affair on the Moray coast.  On Sunday Mrs M and I headed down to see what all the fuss was about at Primrose Bay, a supposed Cummingston 2.0 with a prettier sandy beach and clutch of recently developed boulder problems. Something for everyone.  We weren't dissapointed.

The hidden sandy beach is flanked by orange sculpted cliffs.  They have the appearance of the Grampians in Australia, but sadly lack the structural integrity.  However, hidden through a cave in a second pebbly bay I found the crag classic: Amateur Acrobatics.  I think Hamish Fraser and others have been developing problems here for the last year or so, and from what I saw this problem stands out as THE line.  That's one of my complaints about this coast: it doesn't really have that many lines, just lines of holds, and more often than not you jump off at an arbitrary jug.  Not this one though.

Here's Hamish on it:

And here's Bettsy:

I was on a flying visit on Sunday so didn't expect too much, but got dead excited when I linked into the crux after a few tries.  That was it for that session though.  The crux seemed to be using a high heel to flick round the lip into a big slopey pinch thing, but I couldn't hold the swing. Again and again and again.

I was so impressed and excited (and the weather, tides and fickle coastal conditions were too good to miss) so I came back with the lamp the next night after work. After failing to hold the swing for the umpteenth time I started asking questions of my sequence and rapidly realised that the burly heel could be replaced by a cheating kneebar, which made the reach to the slopey pinch thing static. Hamish, I apologise wholeheartedly for ruining your creation with wack beta.  Blame Alex Barrows. Still, by the time I'd worked this out  I was so goosed that I still fell off with my fingers tickling the top-out.

After two days of rest I was back again tonight.  I had the lamp, but really I was racing the sunset as I had a dog in tow that we're road-testing and might be re-homing.  I didn't want it to get dark and then lose her on an unknown beach.  Fortunately, things came together nicely and I topped out as the blue Caithness coast disappeared beneath an orange burning sunset.

All told, I probably drove the best part of 300 miles doing three round trips to Primrose Bay in the last 5 days.  And for one problem.  But was it worth it?  Without a doubt.

And I didn't lose the dog.