Monday, 7 August 2017

Dead language at St Helen's

Someone climbed a new problem at St Helen's and called it Dead Language. I assume it was a reference to the fact that I had given Gaelic names to the initial problems (see John Watson's 3rd edition of the Stone Country Guide to bouldering in Scotland, pp. 76-77).

It’s a joke. Not the wittiest, but I get it.

To be clear though, Gaelic is spoken by at least 50 000+ people in Scotland, including 6000 people in Edinburgh and another 1000 in the Scottish Borders. A dead language, on the other hand, is spoken by no one alive.

Also, contrary to common belief, Scottish Gaelic was a dominant language of Scotland during several centuries, including around St Helen’s area and the Scottish Borders. In fact, the nearby parish of Old Cambus is an alteration of the Gaelic Allt Camais, which means ‘burn of bay’.

But the reason I started to give Gaelic names to these problems has nothing to do with local history. My son is a fluent Gaelic speaker and was with me when I first visited the place.

When I asked him about potential names for the boulders, he came up with latha-saor (‘free day’) because we were on holiday, and with Tha mi nam shìneadh (‘I am in my lying’) because I was lying on the ground trying the sit-start of the problem. 'Tha mi nam shìneadh' is actually the name and the first verse of a poem that he learnt.

We're used to Gaelic haters. They are plenty of them in Scotland and they always come up with the same predictable jokes.

So predictable, that Gaelic speakers have made a game of it - the anti-Gaelic bingo.

Guess what, 'Dead Language' is top of the league.


Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Ìosal, St Helen's bay, near Siccar Point

I was back to St Helen’s recently, an area I’ve developed back in 2014/15. 

I took a break from climbing and hadn’t been there since the release of the third version of Stone Country Press' Boulder Scotland.

I was glad to see the place has received some traffic – the Latha saor boulder was heavily chalked up, especially Ìosal ( which means low in Scottish Gaelic).

A recent comment from Andy Shanks on one of my previous posts confirmed what I already thought - this latter line is an eliminate.

Here are the holds I've used:
Ìosal, 7b

The true line would be to traverse low, rightward, all the way to poor holds, finishing up Tha mi nam shìneadh (7a) but that was beyond my abilities.

I’d love to know if someone sends the whole traverse and what method they use, so if that's your case, please let me know!

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Bouldering near Edinburgh - Roslin Glen

What makes a good problem?

Solid rock, nice setting, dry conditions, safe landing and a cool line, easy to read and that will involve both technical and powerful moves.

Roslin Glen has a bit of that: