Sunday, 13 May 2007

The Anvil Bites Back...

Having come tantalisingly close to success last Saturday, I might have guessed my luck would run out this Saturday. Dave Redpath and I went back to the Anvil, he for another shot at his amazingly difficult project (8something???), me to complete Friendly Fire (F7a). The weather wasn't looking great for Saturday morning so we thought a late start would give the crag time to dry. This meant the traffic was heavy going through Glasgow, and we didn't get there until 2.30pm. Just as Dave switched the engine off, the fuel warning light beeped on. It was raining....a bit. Everthing looked wet. But it was brightening.... we thought, hopefully.

We cycled in; wow, was that an effort. Just a wee bit too much of Dionysus' finest libation on Friday night, and I was about fnished by 3pm. The top 4 moves of Friendly Fire were dripping water, and it started to rain again.

Then the attack started.

You guessed it. Midges. Lots of them. Vicious little buggers. And it's only May! I mean, come on, give us a break, eh? It's cold enough to still be wearing my downie, and there are MIDGES! This might mean the end of the Anvil season too, which is a shame, since I left my gear there.

I don't know which picture is best, so I'm going to leave both in. My hands look like they have chicken pox; and they're just about as itchy. My ankles and even my face have been attacked too!

We persevered. The air was damp, still and the sky overcast. But the rock wasn't too damp, and the roof was still dry. Dave made some impressive efforts on his project, while I dogged my way up Shadowlands with enthusiastic encouragement from Dave (F7b+ - or F7c, depending which bit of the Scottish Climbs Wiki you read. Either way it was very hard). I was surprised to be able to do most of the moves, although I need considerably more strength to be able to lead it. As a result of being feeble, I've left my quickdraws up there. So if you see them, please don't nick them. I'm going back to get them, with Skin So Soft and a midge net.

The evening mist settling in the valley above Lochgoilhead

Time flies when you're having fun. We didn't leave the crag until 8.45pm. We flew back on the bikes, which was much easier than the cycle in, and left Lochgoilhead at about 9.15..... remembering as the ignition fired that we were almost out of fuel.

Loch Goil

Loch Goil, mirror-like in the evening dampness

The petrol station in Arrochar shuts at 9pm. The next one, we thought, was Dumbarton, 35+ miles away. Hmm..... so we tootled along at about 45mph hoping that the guage was wrong, while Diff, on the end of the phone, had his googling and mapreading skills tested. Bless him, he found us a 24/7 petrol station in Jamestown, only 15 miles away. We prayed hard until we were at least within walking distance (well, I did!!), and following Diff's excellent instructions (we didn't have a map...) we whooped with relief as the neon BP sign appeared in view. ("Isn't the internet wonderful? Aren't mobile phones wonderful?!") We reckoned there was 30 miles left in the tank; Lochgoilhead to Jamestown is 31.1 miles. We probably were running on fumes! Incidentally, The AA Route Planner can show you all the petrol stations on your route!

More bites....

An epic day; we got home at about midnight. Thanks to Dave for driving, and for making me try routes I wouldn't have contemplated in a million years. If we have a sunny and windy summer I might be able to retrieve my gear!

By the by, I just noticed that the Avon website is selling it's magical Skin So Soft Dry Body Oil (aka Midge Repellant) for £1.50 a bottle. I saw the same stuff in Tiso for £5.50 !!


Dave said...

Hi Emma, you did very well on Saturday. A couple of months of training between AR2 and Ratho should be enough for you to see of something like Shadowlands. Hopefully more dry windy weekends ahead for Anvil visits this summer :)

Ian said...

When you buy some... get me some too ;-)