Monday, August 17, 2015

Submerged Bouldering

Fancy bouldering underwater, floating up holds? Try 'The Ark' blocs at Loch Arklet, beside the Stronachlachlar boulders. Usually submerged, they emerge clean and smooth and rippled in late summer, when the thirsts of Glaswegians drain this feeder loch enough to reveal a pair of conjoined blocs. There are a few nice sit starts on perfect schist, with a tough wee roof on 'The Arklet'. Being 3 minutes from the road, they are a perfect summer's picnic venue, with often a breeze rippling the loch to keep the midges to the higher blocs in the bracken up at An Garadh.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer Bouldering on the Scottish coast

Escaping to the coast has been the only bouldering option in the summer heat, especially in a summer where the bracken seems to have gone Jurassic. The first video shows the excellent 'Wind Oyster' boulder problem on Gigha, and the second video is of the fine little Pinbain pinnacle at Girvan.

Good news for those new to bouldering in Scotland - the third edition of the guide is well under way and we hope to have it available by early 2016. These two new venues feature in it, amongst about 150 other venues. It's almost impossible keeping up with all the localised developments and this will be the last gazetteer of Scottish bouldering before it goes entirely fractal and into area guides, so email me your venue information if you want it featured >>>

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cochno Stones: Archaeology and Bouldering

High above the residential northern shores of the Clyde is a strip of sandstone geology outcropping all the way to Craigmaddie Muir in the east. It lies hidden under a mossy understorey mostly, and varies in consistency and quality, but was once the attention of neolithic archaeologists, until they had to bury what is one of Scotland's greatest rock-art sites.The 'Cochno Stone' was uncovered by the Rev James Harvey in 1887 on open land near what is now the Faifley housing estate. It is covered with dozens of cup and ring marks, grooved spirals, along with a ringed cross and a pair of four-toed feet. It was briefly a chalked-in tourist attraction until it was buried to prevent vandalism in 1964.

Rock-art these days is a kinaesthetic thing, recorded as bouldering on photo-video networks, rather than pecked out on rock plinths. I've always like the connection between the vibrant, fluid circles and lines inscribed on the rock and the modern tracery of bouldering; there is a long connection of being in the same place, despite the different physicalities, changed rituals and contexts. Bouldering is a ritual of uncovering climbing movement, moving on in stations to the next problem, a kind of sporting religion. Every climber knows the call, the Sunday bells of unclimbed rocks...

The Cochno Stones, as I call them, are nearby crags and blocs at Auchnacraig car-park which have seen the light after a rhododendron cull. Under their mossy garb are various gritstone-like problems complete with embedded river pebbles from an ancient flood. Drying out nicely and desperate for traffic, they sit at the entrance to Auchnacraig House by the car-park for the Faifley walks. Take a brush and go make some modern rock-art!

 Smithless Wall 6a

 Cochno Prow 6b

Punjab Buffet 7a+

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bouldering updates April 2015

Dan Varian visits Glen Nevis and confirms two hard lines by climbing them and filming them, no edits, no doubt... the first is 7c+ and the second the amazing arete of the Cameron Stone at 8a+.

Nice conditions at Reiff-in-the-Woods, Ian Taylor repeating The Rasper:

And Ian again on a nice looking line, Unknown Air, near Stac Pollaidh, which would have made a nice walk-off:

And a nice topo from Ian Rankin for the highball bouldering at Cairnrobin Point, which looks good, and incredible geology to boot:

Some new backwoods bouldering round Glasgow as things dry out in the good weather: