Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Excellent Easter at Ultimate Ullapool...

A long overdue update from Easter! After a semi last minute panic not having anyone to climb with (the usuals being offshore / new-ish parents / away / winter climbing and other such strangeness), the weekend was saved by The Tightest Shorts In Ratho (you know who I mean ;)). A veteran climber who had slightly intimidated me by his seeming seriousness as much as the shorts, but turned out to be good company with the all important SYKE as well as safe climbing.

So we had a long weekend that went something like this:

Moy - amazing weather, did several good routes including some challenging and pumpy ones.
Reiff - amazing weather, did several good routes including some of the harder trad I've done this year.
Ardmair - amazing weather, did several good routes including some decent challenges.
Mungasdale / Post Crag - amazing weather, did two good routes and failed on one only due to missing a finishing hold.
Glemarksie - amazing weather, only did one route but yup it was really good again.

You might notice a theme with the weather....I think it was both the best conditions ever in the Ullapool area, dryer than Asahi Super Dry, crisp and warm in the sun and icy in the shade, and the most beautiful I have seen the area, with surrounding snowcapped peaks providing the ultimate backdrop to the mellowly sunlight crags and heather. Although warm in the sun, it was bloody freezing at night (literally, -4'c some nights), and I was very glad of Short's SMC membership getting us into the revamped and swanky Naismith Hut. A snip at £9 a night, and with morning views like this:

Climbing-wise, this was one of my best early season starts ever. I think I've learnt from last years concept that I will live up to challenges if I actually tackle some of them, and combined that with decent bouldering strength and some residual mileage from my Morocco trip, so I felt both a bit confident, and a lot motivated. I did some mighty fine routes and have the scars to prove it. Apparently there aren't any resting jams in the top break of Cleopatra's Asp at Reiff, but no-one told me that so I concocted some anyway and did the route by the skin of my teeth and that's about how little skin I have left on my hands. The only slight niggle was an over-confident school-boy error on the excellent Scoobie Dubh at Post Crag - at the top of the warm-up route, I speculated on having a quick look at the rounded finishing holds but SOMEHOW decided not to do that. An hour later I'm sliding off a desperate slap onto the impossible sloping top....all of 4 bloody inches from a finger jug. NOOB. Learnt my lesson from that one I hope.

Hopefully this good climbing will continue. I'm sure the weather won't, I'm sure climbing partners will be variable, I'm sure things won't go as smoothly as one good weekend, but if I stay uninjured, keep doing the crucial falling practise and fitness training, I might do pretty well on what inspires me. Tendrils crossed.

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