Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Kinda nice day in Knapdale.

Kilmichael of Inverlussa is 52 miles from Glasgow as the crow flies, but 97 miles as the car drives, and that drive dwindles from motorway, to dual carriageway A-road, to fast trunk A-road, slow trunk A-road, normal A-road, B-road, single track B-road, minor road, and finally 4WD track as one gets further out in the sticks. This is the sort of place that people who live in the arse end of nowhere go on holiday to get away from it all.

The location makes for an extremely long journey for a single day out, but exploratory lust sometimes demands such escapades. The lust was directed to Creag Nam Fitheach, Knapdale's justifiably premier crag, and the single day was generally very nice - scenery, company, climbing and quite splendid tan-topping weather. The "kinda" comes from the detractions of the drive and also the crag base, a chaotic and overgrown boulder jumble which rivals North Third as The Worst Crag Base of 2010 and is highly incongruous with the convenience of the climbing and tranquility of the setting - there is little option to lounge and relax, unless you are a small-footed midget who likes relaxing whilst standing on one leg on the tiny patio of stable ground formed by the lone flat boulder.

Other than that it's all very reminiscent of a mini-Tremadog in rock feel and features, minus the queues of Classic Rock ticking drones. Strong geometries, rough angular rock, and good climbing. In the end I mostly puntered and avoided a couple of inspiring but sterner challenges. Nevertheless, being Easy Trad(tm) it was Good Fun(tm).

I also had an interesting learning experience on something slightly trickier, a slim, thin, and awkward looking groove. I wasn't really sure about it but thought I'd just "give it a look" and see what gear I could get in the start. One of my few natural talents with climbing (aside from downclimbing and spending ages in awkward and cunning rests) is fiddling in good gear, and Lo! shortly I was surprisingly well protected. So then I thought I'd just "give the moves a look", and promptly took advantage of that good gear by poinging off. Disappointing as I was actually giving it a go, but I had the useful realisation that I had been quite non-committal initially, and although I committed when I'd sorted good gear, I'd still been pretty casual about the climbing. Part of me had realised "hey I'm safe I can give this a go", but I hadn't turned that into full determination and concentration. If I'd made a conscious switch from "give it a look" to "climb it" then I probably would have climbed it!! Something to note for the future.

The end of a nice day:

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