Sunday 11 December 2011

Meeting the Queen

On Fat Boy Slim VI, 6, Ben Nevis the other day

How do I winter climb again?
After doing Anubis a couple of years ago I took a bit of a break from winter climbing. That route was a really nice piece of climbing and was very satisfying to climb. It was hard to find something good enough to follow it. I was also really missing bouldering and felt I hard to get some strength base together for climbing the Longhope. Last season I tried a couple of new routes that were maybe too hard, and then winter was over for me with imminent arrival of my daughter Freida. It’ll be interesting to see if I can find some good routes this season. I was worried that I would feel very out of touch with winter climbing. So I thought I better start with some basics at VI or VII. It certainly felt strange to be holding tools again and a circuit around my board tonight on them felt desperate. It’s always difficult finding the real stand out new routes in any discipline, but never more so than in winter climbing. I’m really into finding steeper lines but it’s a frustrating business when every climb on the mountain is in condition except yours sometimes. But I do know about two or three lines that might have the makings of great winter routes that I’d like to go at if they come into condition this year. I think a Birnam cave session or two could be in order first though!

Blink and you’ll miss it. MacLeod in a suit for the first time, for one night only.
It must have been some occasion, you must be thinking, to see me in a suit of an evening. Indeed! I was asked to go to London to meet the Queen, along with many other adventurers from up and down the land and beyond. We gathered at Buckingham Palace, for a glass of champagne and a royal hand shake to mark the centenary of the Scott expedition. I met many accomplished climbers I knew, some I didn’t know and spotted various royals and folks I’d seen a lot on the telly. Messner gave me some good beta about future projects too. It was a nice evening, and the trip was a nice way to spend a couple of rest days after a monster session at the TCA in Glasgow. 

Speaking of the TCA, it was my first visit and I was headless chickening as most folk apparently do on their first visit. It’s the best climbing wall I’ve ever been to, worldwide. I’m really chuffed to see climbing walls go to another level. I walked around all after noon repeating inwardly “I wish this was here when I started climbing”. I’m super looking forward to Christmas hols in Glasgow to get a proper feel for the place. It’s just too big to scratch the surface on your first visit. If you haven’t been yet, sort it out!

As I write I have the satisfied feeling of every upper body muscle aching from a good solid session on my board - hard problems, mileage, circuits and tooling circuits and then my rehabs. With work trips finally over for the year it’s so nice just to get down to the business of uninterrupted training.


  1. loving the bright green tourers, far better then the standard black!

  2. now that is an interesting collage of news in one article :)

  3. Nice suit! It looks great on you!