Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Dismal End.

It is now mid-September, the definitive, quintessential, Indian Summer time. When the showery frustration and occasional mugginess of July and August give way to the settled mellow warmth of early Autumn, when the crags have slowly but finally dried and seepage is at bay, when the midges are satisfyingly dying out, when the second great weather window of the year opens and allows some of the best climbing times.

As I write this, the tail end of a fucking HURRICANE is ripping through Glasgow like a cataclysmic expulsion of weather god diarrhoea, spraying 5cm deep torrents of rain on 70mph gusting winds. Oh but don't worry, there is a good weather window coming for a couple of days.....and then it's straight back to pissing SHIT again.

The dismal end to a dismal summer that never even started. A summer where everything seemed deceptively stacked in my favour: Last year felt like a recovery year from DVTs, this felt like a year where I was going to really get into climbing and progress and enjoy. I had plentiful and diverse inspiration for further exploration and nearer challenges. Following last years's dabblings, I had varied and succinct places to visit: A week on Lewis, long weekends in Skye, Caithness and Ardnamurchan, weekends at Glen Nevis and Creag Dubh - remarkably little to ask for an entire summer in which I had plenty of time. I also had - eventually - plenty of keen partners to explore with.

Time. Inspiration. Fitness. Plans. Partners.

All meaning fuck all without any reliable weather (since April, apart from that couple of weeks in July).

Some people seem to get berateful or bemused at my dismay with this dismality. "But it's Scotland, what do you expect??" Well I expect something better than the coldest summer in Scotland since 1993....a climbing contact said it had been the wettest summer in Fort William for 25 years and given the astronomical amount of aborted attempts to meet up and climb, I believe her.

If I was only into going to the gym, training at the climbing wall, pottering on local crags, going swimming, painting toy soldiers, listening to drum and bass and techno and metal, playing computer games, playing pool, hanging out in cafes and occasionally restaurants, chatting shit online and offline etc etc, then SURE the weather wouldn't be a problem... But I'm not - I'm also, and mostly, and genuinely, into exploring crags all over the country and beyond. Exploration which requires more than the occasional dry afternoon to justify the journey and punishing petrol prices.

So, yes, this really does suck for someone with my tastes and inspirations. It sucks for all of us climbers. I hope the suckage comes to an end soon, with at least some respite.

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