Back in the North West recently. Lots of good stuff: I got to hang out plenty with PJ, and hang out properly with his mate Richie who is a nice guy and knows plenty about me from PJ's gossip which is kinda funny. Had a nice brief chat with Ian Taylor in Ullapool, and a lengthier and friendly chat with Gary Latter at the Leaning Block. Had a really rather good curry in Ullapool, and then burnt it off by managing to do the Leaning Block walk-in without any rests (aided by plenty of drum and bass on the mp3 player, and walking in in my underpants - I may have looked like even more of a twat than usual, but who had the freshest bawbag on arrival eh??). Had mostly great weather, got some decent sun on my lardy body, and did okay on Mungasdale and Gruinard walk-ins too. Did some useful re-recceing of inspiring routes, and worked out a better racking system for my new gear-loops-just-slightly-too-small harness. Yeah.
Oh, climbing. Yes, umm, climbing. Well the routes I did in the end would have made a pretty great single mileage day. Over a long weekend, much less so. Mungasdale was too warm and midgy to get on my main inspirations, and I even ended up failing on E2 groove there, partly because it was truly fucking awful climbing, but really because I was too scared to push on and risk falling above gear. Leaning Block was mostly rather fine but late starts and team-of-3 logistics made it difficult to get on my main inspirations, and I ended up failing on Losaigh, partly because it was truly greasy as fuck, but really because I was too scared to push on and risk falling above gear. Gruinard was surprisingly good conditions despite light winds, but feeling jet-lagged due to the previous days ridiculous schedule precluded even looking at anything hard, Coupe Du Monde was nice compensation though. Ashie Fort was again very pleasant after managing to get there from Inverness by 2pm (!), and although I did one funky E3, I ended up failing on the Sick Whipper / Whipper Snapper groove, partly because the wind had just bloody dropped and it got too sweaty, but really because I was too scared to push on and risk falling above gear (albeit that gear was a collection of complete abstract bollox half-in cams and insitu RPs, but even so it was right next to me and 5 wrongs would have definitely made a right). Basically I am complete coward and even more so when conditions and team logistics aren't in my favour.
It's a bit dire when one starts thinking "oh it's just nice to be out in the fresh air with some good scenery and good company". Ugh. Whatever next, enjoying "nice long easy routes in the mountains"?? Therein lies the path of even fatterness, even weakerness, even punterliness. I had to make it back up by going to Ratho the day after and making sure I did a bit of beastmaking as a penance after doing my usual routes session. That route session included some of the usual falling practise but clearly I need to do it more and bigger as it's still holding me back.
Ashie route I didn't fail on: