Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Pulling my finger out #2

Apparently I have been on this last weekend trip. Forgoing the inevitable delights of the North West, I headed back into the furthest North East and the hidden delights of the Caithness coastline, the only delights of note in this otherwise curiously soulless area of the country. The seacliffs themselves are a curiosity, reasonable of access, diverse of rock type, full of great routes and empty of fellow climbers. More fool them, because in my now 9 days total climbing in the area, I have concluded that it is really bloody good, for all the aforementioned reasons.

This last visit I have perhaps reached the pinnacle of my climbing in the area, as I managed to climb my longer-term desires of Occam's Razor and A Paddler's Tale. The former was particularly enticing in line, situation, and the promise of a distinct crux around a jug with rests before and after. It all went pretty smoothly, the crux took some working out but was reasonable, the rest after took a long time to get to but the finish was easy and fun. The latter was climbed pretty much by accident - abseiling down at the end of the day, it was still, midgy, and the rock was getting smeggy, the route looked steep and intimidating, so I only started up for a look, with the firm intention of getting scared and retreating into the adjacent chimney. Somehow I completely failed to do this and somehow I managed the climb. Quite a surprise and a real bonus after Occam's.

That was pretty much my raison d'etre for the 9 hour round trip, but in an extended weekend I also managed to fit in introducing Geoff to the delights of Mid-Clyth and getting a wee bit of mileage myself, introducing Brad to the delights of Ardmair and getting a wee bit of mileage myself (and a lot of inspiration for future visits, I'd forgotten just how relentlessly good Ardmair was), and introducing James and Colin to the delights of Loch Tollaidh and getting a wee bit of mileage myself. I probably could have kept my finger out and stopped bumbling around on mileage, but I was pretty knackered by the time I headed back West, so just coasted along on my Sarclet success and relaxed a bit.

Actually, the knackeredness was probably a harbinger of things to come. I now have the punterflu again, due to being too punterly. This is not particularly welcome at this time of year (or at any fucking time!) but I will just have to ride it out with a lot of rest and recuperation and a bit of training and a bit of getting back to the action soon.

Above: Chillaxing at SOFTmair on a bright and breezy day.

Above: The glorious Gruinard Bay (visited on a previous weekend), with about a dozen good crags in view!

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