Sunday, 27 June 2010
Michael and myself on the Longhope route, just before the cloud and rain ended the day’s play.
The crux pitch linked, I headed back to Hoy with Michael, Claire and Diff for a shot at a redpoint of the route. Time was limited, and weather and work appointments gave us one chance. The day before I walked in with Diff and we rigged ropes out in space above the crux pitch, coming in a various angles to get stable for filming. Before we left, the rain came out of nowhere and we sat in the shelter of a cave before walking out, with the sinking feeling in my head that the sea-salt encrusted cliff would be absorbing all the dampness and conditions would be too poor for the 8c pitch.
Nonetheless, we set off early from our doss the next morning into rain to have a look. It was still raining at the foot of the route three hours later. But we sucked it up and started going up pitches. Michael was doused in bile twice by the evil fulmars, myself only once, but the grim yellow slime ran down my neck as I wobbled onto a ledge. Things kinda went from bad to worse. A belay on an arete in the wind had my teeth chattering once again and higher, while having an discussion with a razorbill stood on my thread runner on the vile crack pitch, I noticed the clouds overhead dropping. They were whizzing over the top of the wall, and quickly obscured the top 100 metres of the wall. The damp air had turned the thick coating of lichen covering the vile crack into viscous goo, adding a tinge of green to the yellow fulmar bile already spread over my clothes. The writing was on the wall.
As we made our abseils, the sight of Diff 300 metres above spinning in a whirlwind of mist and space above us as he stripped the filming ropes was quite a sight.
Timing good conditions, partners and the fitness needed for this climb is damn hard to pull off. Back to the waiting, and training game.
Michael, still looking cheery after a long day
Claire feeling the chill after 8 hours on the edge of the cliff in a gale, filming our ‘progress’.
Diff - it was this big?