On Saturday morning the usual rainy start had been replaced by blue skies and beaming sun. So I jumped in the car and headed for Dundee to pick up Dougie and Mike Shorter. We drove up the glen to the crags around Clova and proceeded to get stuck into an awesome days trading.
Dougie started the day off by cruising up “Guinness” which was a fun little E1 that definitely packed a bit of a punch. After that Mike did “Alcopops”, another E1 that got sent with very little effort. Whilst Mike was leading his route, I ventured off to another part of the crag to familiarise myself and look at some routes that I was keen to get on later in the day.
Once Mike and Dougie had abbed back to the base of the crag, I warmed up on the awesome E4 “Stella” which was home to some cool face climbing and good but spaced protection.
After that we all moved over to the upper part of the crag (Upper Doonie) and Dougie made short work of another E1 “Vindaloo” which put up a bit of a fight, but he sent it onsight in the end.
The route I really wanted to get on takes the blunt overhanging arête directly below the final crack of “Vindaloo”, which is called “D.R.I” and goes at E6. Mike had done the route a couple of years ago and after giving my some awesome Beta, I tied into the sharp end and got on with the job at hand!
I climbed up into the crux section and strenuously placed the blind wires that are your last protection for the hard climbing, then proceeded to retreat back down to the platform to psyche myself up for the committing climbing that was to follow.
Not knowing if the gear that I had placed would even hold a fall, and even if it did, would it stop me from hitting the spike/ledge below. But I took a deep breath and committed past the runners and into the balancey/techy climbing up the face of the arête. Thankfully after struggling to find a good foothold, I eventually managed to pull through and found myself rocking up onto the slab and ending the difficult climbing. Then it was just up the final crack of “Vindaloo” and the route was sent. Mike went on to second up the route and after we both had abbed back to the bags, we all headed home feeling good with an awesome days cragging in the sun.
The next day I teamed up with Neil McGeachy, but much to our disappointment the weather was pretty suspect, with high winds and heavy showers throughout the day. But we headed up the east coast regardless and decided to head to the little sea cliff venue Johns Heugh.
After I warmed up on “Jaded Ledge Lizard” E4, it was apparent that the conditions at the crag where definitely a fair bit less than optimal! All the holds up the steep face where really greasy/smeggy and it was not impossible to relax on the holds because of this.
But despite the naff conditions we managed to get a couple of routes ticked including Neil making short work of “Arrhythmia” E6, which I would be keen to go back and do on a day with better conditions.
All in all it was a good weekend, and it was fun to get back on the trad routes for the first time this year. Let’s just hope for a drier summer than what we’ve had so far.