Monday, 24 October 2011
Scottish winter season has started - well I could see snow on the distant Lomond hills, and the chance of any reliable last minute trad reprieve is diminishing. So it's time to head down to the B&Q timber yard to construct the biggest possible bargepole that I won't be touching any snow plodding gully bashing bollox with.
So, yay, bouldering season. God bouldering is soooooo much easier than trad. Less time required, less organisation needed. Less stress, less mental challenge. Less seepage, less crag logistics. Okay so conditions are an issue, but getting good friction is scarcely more challenging than getting some sodding dryness. Less reliance on keen friendly partners who are a Scottish scarcity, too.
To demonstrate the latter, I nipped off down to Northumberland for the weekend. I'd rather be getting immersed in Scottish bouldering and have nipped to Glen Nevis but 5 days constant torrential rain (WTFingF) stopped that idea before it could fart out of my brain. So a misanthropic mission to T'County it was. The forecast was good and the bunkhouse is good and the choice of venues and problems is good.
Shaftoe is possibly the most extensive bouldering venue in T'County and somewhere I definitely needed to explore, so I combined a good meander around most of the main areas, with the occasional pause to do the occasional problem, the most fun being the hugely overgraded classic wee Slapper. There's plenty of good varied lines there with usually excellent landings in a good open situation - one for return visits, especially in colder conditions as it was rather balmy there.
The next day of course started with constant rain. Hurrah :(. After a bit of driving around to confirm the day's planned venues were definitely out, I ended up popping past Back Bowden on the off-chance the roofed over bits were dry. It was raining there too when I parked up but after disappearing for a stroll and a mighty log, I felt perkier and the breeze seemed promisingly fresh so I continued the stroll to the crag. Despite it's "unusually sheltered location" that same breeze was blowing a bloody gale and lo the rain stopped and I bouldered some more until my fingertips said "fuck this shit" and I left and drove home.