I should have got around to this yesterday but there was just too much to squeeze into one day so here it is a day late. With Sunday off work and the weather promising to stay warm all day my friend and climbing buddy George and I decided to head northward for a spot of sport climbing on slabs which neither of us enjoy. Our thinking was lets do something out of our comfort zone and deal with whatever the route throws at us.
Advice: always read the topo carefully before heading out. I thought I saw Perth in the text so away we went planning to make a quick coffee stop and grab another couple of quickdraws for my small collection. Coffee stop, check. Two new draws, check. Guide book, check. Oh it’s not near here really at all, what! So back down the road a wee bit and across into the car park, really weird no other climbers about surely not on such a superb day. Another quick check of the guide book, oh yes that would be the nesting Peregrines!
Off to plan b destination – Ardvorlich. A quick skirt around to the other side of Loch Lomond and we arrive at the parking layby being careful not to block others in. A stroll up to the barn where we head up the path for access to the crag and the farmer is out cutting his grass. A quick chat between George and the farmer and he is happy to let us through and gives us directions up to the crag. Advice: follow directions on the topo and don’t listen to the farmer to avoid walking through ankle deep peat bog for 15 mins. Luckily for us there was a nice refreshing burn to cool the feet and give them a quick clean before trying to squeeze into our climbing shoes.
So we finally get to our little piece of rock with slabby easy 6’s on it. Ideallic spot shame about the midges. I have decided that maybe outdoor sport climbing is not my niche. It happens everytime I head out, totally psyched to get on rock get the first clip after much swearing followed by mild panic – cannot do the next one. To be fair there was a decent run out which I didn’t feel comfortable with.
Why do I do this? I can’t answer that one just yet but my theory is that it’s defo a head thing I can climb, I get out and do a trad route and all I think about is the moves and really enjoy the climbing right from the words ‘get your ass up that wall’. No protection, no next bolt I just climb and place a bit of gear where it looks good and safe. How can this be I do a sport route look at the next bolt somewhere above me and I shit myself, well not literally but I do definitely get the wobbles. Does this mean deep down I’m really a trad girl? A style of climbing I’ve only recently got into but loving it and the potential it has to take me places I need to go.
It was up to George to man up and do the job because it was quite clear I was just too much of a big girly girl on this occasion, and man up he did. Some superb climbing and dogging was required but 2 routes done and 2 ctr’s for me and I still managed to make a mess of my skin on the oh so sharp quartz and shist. A really good fun day out but next time it will be trad and climbing harder for sure.