So it is now November. The days are a lot shorter, climbing time is limited, the temperatures are cold and options restricted. I'm busier and my time is limited and I've given up on getting up North and getting more trad done. So what the fuck does the weather do?? Get totally awesome in the North West. A whole fucking summer waiting for half-decent half-dryness, and now it's pretty much past the point of pointless, there's several days of sunshine up there.
Still as mocking as this respite is, it is respite nonetheless and thus must be as vigorously seized as one would seize a passing cat who is hoping to sneak by without getting pounced on and having it's tummy mercilessly rubbed and nuzzled. Given the time of year it was mostly seized and sandwiched between bouldering pads. Just like the passing cat should be...
The pre-match friendly was at the Inchbae Erratics. These are indeed erratic but then again isn't most of Scottish bouldering. This area had the usual pre-requisites of absent approach times and a useless map, but also curiously accurate grades and definitely deserved star ratings. The erratics are scattered over an unerratically and consistently boggy plateau, and although spread out, the problems are really rather good - strong lines and good moves. It could do with more development and is a good stopping off point en-route to Ullapool.
The main game took place firstly at Reiff In The Woods. It was supposed to be at Reiff By The Sea but this was hampered by that same sea leaving landing pools and a slight lingering damp. There were hardy souls climbing trad there, which was nice to see. RITW is a classy little spot - roadside but with stunning views, sheltered in trees yet exposed to sun and breeze, jumbled together but with plenty of strong lines. Indeed the lines were stronger than I was!! We made little headway on anything challenging until trying the cool "spot from sitting in the car" thin wall/arete. After a few goes we were both close and it was almost in the bag - and after a few goes the "unbroken sunshine" forecast pissed on us and it was almost dusk so no chance of it drying, arse bollox knob etc etc.
Secondly for variety it was the well-reputed Highland sport venue of Goat Crag, one of the triptych of classic animal-themed Scottish sport climbing crags. I still think it would be great on a summer's day to catch the morning sun at The Elephant, shelter from the afternoon heat at The Camel, and finish basking in the evening at Goat Crag. Or maybe the other way around to catch the shade. Anyway, the weather was great at Goat Crag, utterly unlike my climbing. Not only am I fat and weak, after a mere few weeks away from roped climbing, I'm back to utter gaylordistic cowardom, arse bollox knob etc etc.