Sunday, 6 February 2011
Real winter sun at Red Wall seacliffs.
This weekend I visited the third in the triptych of welcoming Aberdonian climbing couples I know. This was all rather pleasant: bRad, Amelia, Atlas (above) and Dido hosted me graciously and we went out climbing. Well, the people, not the cats. Although the cats could have done a better job than I did on Sunday. But first, Saturday. Winter sun, good East Coast weather (escaping the deluge in the West), and bird-free pink granite. These are other good reasons to visit Aberdeen climbing, and why I intend to do more of it this winter season. On Saturday we visited Red Wall, and lo it is RED and a WALL. It also doesn't have any shortcuts to the base of the crag apart from abseiling, certainly not wandering through the intriguing sport climbing quarry, and wondering how appealing a swim would be if we attempted the green bulging sea-traverse to the base. Eventually we established base camp - via abseil - and rattled off a few routes. Despite the short day, false start approach, late arrival of myself from Edinburger, and climbing as a team of 3, we still managed 4 good routes albeit with the second and third following the last route in something between dusk and pitch dark. I didn't tackle anything major - I have a general syke to do so but am cautious of the conditions and Aberdonian sea-cliffs in general - but did a couple of fun routes.
Sunday initially promised sun. Then mist. Then torrential rain. Then sun again. Eventually it settled on one of the few things that wasn't forecast - light cloud and cool grey temps. We had a look at the dramatic and photogenic Round Tower but alas despite no rain and little seepage, it was damper than a squid's snatch. The infamous coastal clag in full effect. Without sun and breeze and indeed any margin for error at this time of year, options were limited to sensible retreat, but it was a good recce for the future. Thusly we ended up at Transition wall, where I transitioned from someone giving a vague impression of climbing competence, to an inept bumbling blob of punterdom. I was fat and weak in ways which are hard to describe and impossible for mere mortals to comprehend. Anything which required a modicum of arm strength rather than crimping or compression left me beaten, battered, and belligerent. Oh and my skin was utter rubbish too. All rather perturbing, but it turned out to be a good workout, I suppose. God knows I need one!