Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Glen Doll

Bouldering in Glen Doll (South Esk river), Angus

After a highly interesting CPD about style in translations in Perth on Saturday I enjoyed the great outdoor on a sunny Sunday, something that had not happened in weeks.

My original plan was to go bouldering in Glen Clova, but granite is not exactly the most enjoyable type of rock when the sun is baking. Instead I decided to go and explore Glen Doll. Although I did follow the guidebook directions, I did not have a proper OS map and I am not sure if I found the right place. I did find a nice little outcrop in the shades though - little from a route point of view because some of the problems I did were easily over 5m/15ft height.

I first had a couple of unmotivated lazy tries at an awesome roof prow. Looking easy enough, with very solid holds, it has a good grass landing platform. My excuse for not committing is that I had no spotters and only one mat. Moreover, I promised my wife not do highballs on my own again.

My attention then turned to the slightly overhanging wall to left, which seemed to have two nice break lines, probably as high as the roof but easier looking – so I thought anyway. After a bit of warm-up and the inspection of the top out via an easy descent to the right, I tried the main break line in the middle of the wall. I don’t think it was harder than Font 6a but with the height it felt much harder. I used a mixture of some shaky footwork and excitement self-control technique, if such a thing exists.

I guess that was my promise broken, and since it was broken there was no point stopping there, so up I went on the second line. This one might have been easier, had I not decided to swap feet at the wrong moment. The next second I hit the ground hard and felt some pain at my wrist: nothing was broken but a seriously bleeding cut chilled my excitement for more highball.

It was time to move on a less dangerous game. I climbed two other problems further left, as shown on the picture. It is worth mentioning there is a possible sit-start to the second line but it must go at a very high grade given the size of the crimps....

Finally I must confirm, as I was pointed out by my kind hosts that very same day, that there were no midges although it was June, it was very warm and there was no wind. So here’s a tip for the summer: stay East!