Sunday, 27 January 2013

Scottish bouldering...

As winter continues and inspiration ebbs and flows and swirls around as chaotically as the weather does, my knowledge of the diversity of Scottish bouldering grows in proportion to the pile of printouts, mini-guides, hidden online topos and cobbled together problem listings that I now carry on many an expedition into the wilds. Whilst Scottish Bouldering provides a characterful and occasionally accurate exposition of the vast breadth and variety that Scottish bouldering has to offer, further investigation into the murky, secretive and highly insular covens of local scenes reveals that SB could just be one volume of many. Consider for example:
  • The Rankin Boulder @ Galloway
  • Dam Boulders @ Glen Lednock
  • The full amount of bouldering in Glen Croe
  • The full amount of bouldering in Glen Nevis (600 problems in the local guide, most of which are easy and trivial bollox tho, but my own explorations revealled enough potential)
  • The full amount of bouldering in Glen Clova
  • Monkey Boulder @ Cambusbarron
  • Erraid @ Mull
  • Laggan Boulders @ Dalwhinnie
  • Farr Boulder, Scatwell Boulder, Loch Meig boulders, the full amount at Brin Rock @ Inverness
  • Optimus Prime Boulder @ Cammachmore
  • Sharma Roof @ Aberdeen
  • The full amount of bouldering in Torridon
  • Sandstone boulderfield @ Sheigra 
Bear in mind these venues vary from a singular boulder with just a couple of awesome lines, to full venues with a full awesome circuit. And that's ignoring the un/under-developed potential of the Trossachs, Cuillin Boulders, Carn Liath, Tollie Crag, Creag Nan Shomarlie....oh and the other Inner and Outer Hebrides...
Another full guidebook?? Yes please. A definitive guide?? Yes definitely. Would John Watson be up for the monumental task?? Maybe not if he has any sanity left. But it would be nice to see all the greatness of Scottish bouldering compiled in full and in-depth - at the same time one could easily reduce eliminate bollox like Lower Boltsheugh, Wolfcrag Quarry and Agassi Rock to footnotes, along with micro-blocs micro-venues like the Luath Stones, quality should take precedence over locality.  
As always it offends my sense of fair play that Dumby and Porty are so myopically over-subscribed whilst most people I know haven't even heard of some of the fine venues above. Despite the weather and the midges and the vast amount of travelling and the under-used rock and cleaning required and highly disparate climbing scenes, Scottish bouldering is excellent as a totality and should be celebrated as such. People should be promoting the value and virtures of new and rediscovered venues, not leaving the information to languish just as some of the boulders do. And for those who want solitude and hidden blocs there is always the next hill, the next glen...

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