Sunday, 27 June 2010

Cloud Mist Rain Drizzle Fog and bird poo

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?


  1. I think she must love you a lot, i cant even get my wife to come near the crag let alone frezze at the top.

  2. No offense to this Longhope route post, but I keep checking back hoping that it will be bumped down to number 2 on the blog.... Come on Dave - the climbing world is waiting... tell us about the Indian Face!


  3. Dave ... Indian Face! Indian Face! Indian Face! Give us the news!

  4. Pete Hart29 June, 2010

    Awesome achievement on IF, Mr Macleod. Give yourself a pat on the back. And maybe a cheesecake?

  5. Anonymous30 June, 2010

    Surely the admirable and long-suffering Mrs Macleod holds the solution to this fulmar problem, Dave? As you probably know fulmars can only spit a couple of times; after that they just yarp at you. If Mrs M abseils down and pokes this creature about half an hour before your scheduled arrival at this hole, she should easily have time to jumar back up and get out of the way after being covered in fulmar gob, and then the coast will be clear for you. Sorted.

    Just trying to help, you understand.