Monday, 4 June 2012

Wet bottoms and timetrials

The weather gods of Orkney have not really been smiling on us lately.  For months we have had cold northerlies and miserable weather.  This means not much climbing and when it is on, I seem never to be here.  This week however, I was in Orkney and the sun was shining…..

Linda and I toddled off to Roseness to meet the rest of the climbing club at the Cornquoy carpark and walked over to the crag.

IMGP1153 Lighthouse spotting

I started the day with a little light observation before climbing up after Chris and Ian.  It was an easy route until the top few metres were the rock was much smoother.  Chris told me to ‘trust my feet’ and I made it safely to the top. 

IMGP1154 It’s a race!

Having climbed that route, we moved to the left onto something a bit harder.  This had a chimney and an overhang and everything!  Ian led, I watched.

IMGP1171Ian leads 

Apparently it was my turn next, to climb and collect the gear in as I went up.  I wasn’t fussed about getting nuts and cams out, I was fussed about the actual climbing.  I’m not very good at that!  Anyway, I set forth and was really chuffed to make it to the top, although I did forget about one of the nuts.

IMGP1172Ho Ian! Got a crane? 

We tried a few more routes before it was decided to go and investigate a route Don, Linda and Keith were doing round the corner.  This required a short traverse over the sea. Well, I had to bridge between the crack and the ledge but I chickened out and went back and then found myself arse first in the sea.  Loud expletives were uttered.  I wasn’t fussed about being wet but I did get my chalk soggy and my trousers and shoes were soaked!  After a bit of grumping, I dried off a bit and belayed for Colin as he tried Don’s new VS route. I followed….

Soggy trouser climbing (photo: Don Husband)

After a well deserved bite to eat, it was decided to call it a day there.  The wind was cold and my trousers were very wet!  We’d had a fun few hours and I achieved more than I expected. On the way home,  I climbed up the lighthouse.

IMGP1183 Lighthouse view across Scapa Flow

Of course, I will be missing the next two climbing sessions, I have some kayaking to be doing!

After a day standing in a field, I was itching for a little bit of boating this evening.  I decided it was time for another timetrial this time from Scapa to Holm due to the wind direction.  My housemate has gone to Croatia so boat wrangling is a challenge, however, the lovely, lovely Mackayak agreed to be boat taxi and co boat wrangler.  Thank you!

IMGP1235 Ready for the off at Scapa pier

There was a bit of wind blowing as I set off and a fair amount of wind chop in the flow.  This was fine but it made getting into a rhythm really difficult as sometimes there was no water there when the blade went in!  The beamish wind and slightly differently angled chop also made for a lot of corrective strokes when all I wanted to do was go in a straight line!  Where the chop got bigger, the boat wanted to surf down the waves, I wanted to go across them at 30 degrees.  It was quite annoying!  My boat loves to play in that sort of water, but I didn’t want to play today!

I paddled into Holm Village and saw Mackayak there waiting for me on the shore.  I landed and pressed the stop button on my watch.  1 hour, 22 minutes and 50 seconds.  I was disappointed with this as it was only very slightly faster than my previous time and was wind assisted.  Timetrialing in water that isn’t flat seems to be a little bit more tricky!

IMGP1236 Boat taxi for Northern Kayaker!


  1. WTG quite the day! Love the last climbing shot...very mission impossible! Maybe all the climbing slowed the arms down a bit for the paddling...but no doubt will build upon the results!

    1. You'll have to translate WTG for me! Is it like WTF but less rude? Climbing was Sunday and paddling was Monday, with a day on site teaching the students in between. I just couldn't get into a low cadence long stroke at all last night. Perhaps paddling an Avocet doesn't help my quest to go in straight lines quickly!

  2. WTG (Way to go!!)

    Yeah the avocet is sure not a fast boat..but man is it fun to paddle!