Sunday 26 June 2011

Getting them in on Orkney

The soaring crack pitch of Mucklehouse Wall, E5 6a

Since completing the Longhope Direct, our trip on Orkney has been light of step but heavy of leg. The team are all feeling a tad fatigued from great efforts of rigging, filming and eating a lot of cake to replace all the calories that you seem to burn here. For me it’s been a lovely slow release and realisation that the route is done and I can wake up a little more to the sights and sounds of Hoy without the blinkering weight of focus on the project that tends to eclipse everything else.
So I’ve had a chance to squeeze in a couple of climbs in between filming the nature of the place a little more. I always felt that if I could manage to complete the route it would be really nice to make a film about it because everything about it - the scenery, nature and character of Hoy, not to mention the climb itself leaves quite an impression. Filmmaking is hard work to do well, so now the climb is done, the hard work begins again.
Myself and Guy nipped up the Old Man of Hoy the other morning before some rather more arduous filming. Andy and I also had a great evening on the 4 pitch E5 Mucklehouse Wall. You can see in the little clip below from my compact, you have to clean most of the sandy breaks as you go, and the top pitch was rather seepy but the climbing and exposure was just amazing. Once again the difference between new routing and just going cragging is massive. It’s just so much easier on the head to know that there are holds up there somewhere to go for because someone has passed before.
The nature of the movement here, and the approach to climbing generally couldn’t be more different from what I’m used to. On hard rock I’m just so used to pulling super hard on small holds. On a good bit of the sandstone here, if you are really cranking on a small hold, then you’re probably doing it wrong, or about to break the rock. It’s very steep, but you can’t really sprint - go to fast and a sandy hold will catch you off guard. A steady, confident pace yields the most reliable upward progress. 
I must admit to feeling a little sleepy from a combination of fatigue from the big effort of Tuesday, and the knock on effects of teething. It’s too bad as the coming days are filled to the brim with plans of filming, rigging, derigging, climbing, and walking with heavy equipment through the sponge bogs of of the Hoy hills.

Andy Turner, new route, Rora Head

Airy traverse pitch on Mucklehouse Wall

Perfect rock on Mucklehouse pitch 4

Guy Heaton starts up the Old Man of Hoy

Hungry mouths

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