Sunday, 27 July 2008

Hurrah, I'm back, and with the best V.Diff in the country! 24th -26th July.

Just back from my best trip this summer so far, very very happy, such a fab time was had!

Thurs 24th - Drove up to Chris's for a fairly late (for us) start of 8am. It was nearer 9.30 we left after sorting all our gear, me deciding I was starving and needing some food (bowl of cereal and left over divine chocolate cake from one of Chris' daughters b'day) and Chris needing some coffee. I then reckoned I might manage to go on a bike with all our climbing and camping stuff to save a bit on the walk in to Bheinn a'Bhuird so bikes are bunged in the car too and at last we are off!
Plan was to walk in, find a spot to camp, then walk in to Garbh Coire of Bheinn a'Bhuird and climb Squareface, a 3 starred classic V.Diff and one I had seen pictures of in Classic Rock and wanted to climb ever since. The walk in starts at Invercauld, but we were going to bike up to the Fairy Glen, or the head of Gleann an t-Slugain but I really struggled with the bike and sack and it hurt my back to ride, but I gritted my teeth and managed as far as the end of the woods but no way I could cope with the rougher track ahead. Bikes were ditched in the woods and the walk in began.
Really enjoyed the walk in. The Fairy Glen is real pretty and with a bit of imagination you could imagine the litter away, and picture the King of the Fair Folk with his enteurage having a merry wee party amongst the trees. (By the end of the trip, Chris was positive I was on drugs, after my ramblings about faeries and spotting animal shapes in boulders! There is an amazing, gigantic frog shaped boulder up above the Clach na Chlerich and then I discovered one that looked like a car and decided I was going to give up climbing and become an SS or Stone Spotter and start guided tours etc. I'm not on drugs, honest!)
Finally we arrived at the foot of the walk up to the Clach. We were going to camp up in Coire an Dubh-Lochain but decided against lugging all our stuff up there and decided to pitch our tent on a wee flat, grassy ledge next to the river. A bit close to the path, but hey ho! After a brew and a wee gear sort we were off for Squareface! The walk up to the 'Sneck' was free of clag and we could see the top of Ben Avon and the wee tors and pinnacles. It seemed other wordly to me, and I could well imagine we were on Mars or some other planet! I remember feeling similar on MacDui a few years back.
After a wee much about on a wee pinnacle boulder, we headed down to Garbh Choire, one of the most isolated corries in the Cairngorms. The walk down to Squareface is pretty minging, slippy loose and steep mud, mmm, nice! But the route, oh the route, it looks just stupendous! You can see the top as you pass by, then see more and more of it and you wander downwards. Getting more and more excited now, and nervous! And all the usual thoughts of, 'oh shit, I don't wanna do this,' are going through my mind! The 1st pitch isn't great tbh. The 3rd pitch is the crux and I had wanted to lead this pitch, but so did Chris! He had been there previously and done the 2nd pitch so really didn't want that pitch again, so I caved in and gave him the 3rd pitch, but happily enough as it gives me a good reason to come back and climb it again :o)
What a marvelous, marvelous route! It lived up to all I thought it would be. My only disappointment with it, was it was far too short! Only 90m, god I could have done with 3 times that much, the climbing was so beautiful! All my fears were over as soon as I peaked round the stance at the top of the 1st pitch, and onto the main face, before me lay a path of beautiful V.Diff climbing. Steady, easy, with just a few moves to make you stop and ponder for a moment or two and then up to a nice big belay ledge with a text book thread and bommer hex placement! And the 3rd pitch didn't disappoint. Some nice moves up to a lay back flake and a few moves of laybacking on a huge, juggy flake in a wonderful position and then up to the wall above. Only a few moves to go and the route will be done. I stop, I tell Chris I'm not moving. I'm grinning like a big cheshire cat, I don't want this route to be over, I've enjoyed it so much! I'm buzzing! I've really needed a day like this, a day of good climbing and sheer enjoyment!

Fri 25th - After a pretty crap nights sleep, we're up early and off back up to Garbh Choire to climb Cumming-Crofton route, a severe. I don't know much about this route, other than it's inclusion in Classic Rock and feel pretty indiffirent about it. Chris is raring to go however! The walk up the Sneck is windy, and windier and windier, until past it and up to the plateau I'm nearly blown over a couple of times! We're thinking that with the wind being easterly and the crag facing West, there will be shelter down in the Corrie. Wrong! It's gusting down there too! Chris had mentioned not climbing if it was too windy, which I was very thankful of! I didn't want to disappoint him by saying I didn't want to climb in strong winds so was happy that he brought it up! The West Face of Mitre Ridge is one impressive cliff face and home to routes HVS and above, with Cumming-Crofton taking the easiest line up at Severe! Having seen the route, I still felt indifferent to it and thought Mitre Ridge at HS, looked a far better line. Moot point anyway, as far too windy to climb. I feel bad for Chris, as this is the 2nd time he has walked in all this way to do this route but been foiled!
A slog back up the grassy and muddy slope takes us back up onto the plateau, where we dander over to the summit of Bheinn a'Bhuird itself, before dropping down into Choire an Dubh-Lochain for a reccy at the routes there. There is a starred severe called Polypody Groove which looks quite nice and as per guide book there is still a bit of snow at the base of the route! There is also a starred Diff called Slab and Arete which looks a lovely and clean route to take to the summit of the mountain! Then it's downhill all the way to the tents, a quick brew, pack up the tents and we walk back out to the bikes. I struggle on the bike again and get too scared to free wheel it downhill on the slippy track, but get back to the car eventually! We heat up some chilli that I had made previously, and eat sat at the benches in the carpark before driving up to Ullapool. I'm impressed with Chris, I can tell he's knackered but he's soldiering on! Finally find a spot to camp, it's tents up and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Sat - Another pretty crap nights sleep as we'd dossed to near to the road and there seemed to be a lot of late night traffic of the large lorry variety! A quick bite to eat whilst walking about, as the midgies were a tad annoying, and then we were off to Reiff. Hurrah! I didn't think I was going to make it to Reiff this summer, and a spontanious visit had me really excited. The view as you turn into the Coigach area road to Reiff and Auchaltibuie really is one of the best in Scotland, with views of Stac Pollaidh, Cul Beag and the amazing nose of Sgurr an Fhidhleir opening up, with Suilven away in the distance to the North. This view never fails to take my breath away! I'd love to come climbing here in winter, if it's ever in nick, must be simply amazing!

The sun was shining, so it was a climb in t-shirts and shorts kinda day! I started off on a Severe called Slanting Corner which was straight forward enough,the Chris led another severe called Skel which involved some thin climbing up a slabby wall. Then I led a lovely severe called Midreiff which I thoroughly enjoyed! The rock at Reiff is simply superb! So clean and hard, with lovely features and such amazing grip :o) The routes are always interesting and varied too. Then Chris jumped on a VS called Puckered wall which is a real fun route! It starts off really steep and overhanging but with big jugs and pockets to heave up on! He managed to get 2 bits of gear in and then was up and off, putting in a brilliant thread just after the crux start. I fluffed up the moves though and ended up with the wrong hand on a crucial flake and didn't have the strength to match hands and swap them over, taaaaaaaaake, bollox! :o( I must remember when I go to lead this route to have my right hand on that flake! (though I can't picture if that will work, or through me off balance. I might have to have a play about on the starting moves again before I ever commit to leading it) I've come to realise that the thing with VS leading that is needed more than anything else is a good, confident approach. Seems much more important than anything else but it seems to be something I'm all too lacking in! I'm sure I'll get there though eventually with some hard work, as V.Diffs and severes used to be terrifying to me but all seem pretty straight forward now, with the odd one still giving me a spanking!

The past couple of days were starting to catch up with us by this point and I was getting more knackered, spaced out and mentally weary. One more lead though? Could I be arsed? Aye ok. Tried a severe called Xyles, but remember what I just said above about the odd spanking?! This severe is nails!!! Felt more like top end HS to me! I got in a couple of ok bits of gear just below the crux, but there was nothing above and then when I stretched up onto my tippy toes I could only just get half my fingers onto an okish hold. Could see a better one above, but way too reachy, god damn! Up and down like a yoyo I was. When stretched up for the ok-ish hold I was far too stretched up to see what to do with my feet! Nup, couldn't do it, downclimbed and then gave the lead to Chris, who found the crux pretty tough also! Glad it wasn't just me! Found it tough on 2nd too, just really reachy, and even past the crux it's still sustained with not brilliant holds! Def never a severe!

Decided to finish off on a V.Diff as I didn't want to end the day on a sour note, having failed on a lead. So went up a tiny thing called Something Borrowed, which was pleasant enough but a bit scrappy and pointless, and felt quite steep for a V.Diff but that was maybe the tiredness, rather than the route.

To finish off the evening, we spotted a rare sighting of a Sea Otter diving about the water and chattering away, brilliant!

Quick dash back to the car to ditch climbing stuff and then we drove down to Achaultibuie to the cafe down there, for some more water. Decided to treat ourselves to some fish and chips and boy was that a good move, mmmmmmmmmm, mmmmmmm, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! It was the best fish and chips I've ever tasted! The batter was so crisp, and the chips very juicy and the fish very fresh. No grease whatsoever! Had a wee side serving of locally produced salad leaves too, very very nice!

Back to Reiff, grab our camping stuff and then a 10min walk to a wee sandy bay where we camped for the night. We had a wee silly moment and a fit of the giggles kicking about sheep poo, trying to clean an area for the tents. Funny how random things like that seem so much more amusing when you're sleepy and a bit out of it, lol! Had a wee wander about and a play of some silly wee boulders where I found a wee fun problem that even had Chris trying his 1st 'sitting start'. It involved pulling up and over a nose, squat over the nose and pull up and onto the top. You really don't want to fall onto the nose, esp if you are a bloke, lol! Back to the tents where I fell asleep pretty quickly, getting a much needed good nights sleep!

Sun 27th - Up around 7.30 ish to another day of sunshine :o) We managed to eat our breakfast in peace as there was a bit of a breeze and no midgies! Didn't last though, the wind dropped and the midgies were awful. Not so bad though as we were ready to leave for the car. By the time we'd walked to the car, the sun was blazing and the midgies gone, brill! We had decided last night to have a look at one of the tidal areas (me trying to be brave!) Wandered along to The Orange Walls area for a look at Tystie Slab, a 3star V.Diff. The bottom ledge was a bit seawashed with just a tiny platform to stand on and belay, hmmm, not that brave thanks! Chris didn't like the look of it either thankfully. The slab descent down to the platformed area was much easier than it looks! The slab is at an angle that you can just walk down no problem as the rock is so grippy. There was a HS there called Meikle Neuk that looked like a good line and had 2stars which Chris really wanted to do.

We warmed up with a V.Diff called Deep Crack, which goes up one wall, crosses over the top of a slab and onto a second wall above. This created a lot of problems!! Firstly, I found the route quite awkward but finally got up onto the slab, walked across a horizontal crack and put a bit of gear in the wall above, only to be stopped by rope drag from below! Had to cross back over, lean down and remove my last bit of gear and then go back across to upper wall. Then I had to do some serious rope flicking as the ropes kept getting caught in a wee groove! Aaaaarg, then I was up and down placing gear in a strenous position, the V.Diff was overhanging!! Finally made it to the top, set up a belay, after more faffing when one of the ropes got caught in anther groove and took an age to get out! Then the 2 ropes were utterly tangled and I ended up having to untie from one to untangle the mess! As I brought Chris up, one of his ropes got caught in the rock also and he ended up untying from that one too! It really was a nightmare and we both got a bit grumpy! It's a damn shame because it was a great wee route (atleast I thought so, Chris wasn't so enamoured!) but it was marred by the walk over the slab at half height!) Better rope management would have been to only clip one rope on the wall below with a VERY long extender on the top piece and to only use the other rope on the wall above.

Back to the HS. What a wee epic we had on this one! Chris got to the crux and was up and down, up and down. He finally managed to get a bit of gear directly under the crux, and another to the right side. The moves were damn hard though and Chris ended up sitting on the rope, needing to have a good think about it! He eventually committed but still struggled with the moves and I could see it was tough for him! Not all over though as the top out seemed quite exciting too! He was finally up and safe and my hands could stop sweating for him!

My turn! Up the initial corner easily enough and to the crux. This involves moving over right on tiny tiny crimps (unless you are a 6 foot giant with huge reach and a large stride!) There was a German climber in the same area as us who had done the route earlier. He was a strong climber, trying E1's and 2's and even he found it tough! I ended up sitting on the rope and just swinging over to the right rather than make the moves. I'm just not stong enough to do moves like this! The top was exciting but easy enough with good holds, a stupendous position though! We reckoned the route was no way correctly graded at HS, I've done VS's which were easier and Chris reckoned a lot of the HVS's he's done were easier!

That was it anyway. It was getting later in the day and we both had to be home fairly early.

We made possible plans to come back in a couple of weeks if the weather is good enough. Maybe, maybe not, more mountain routes still calling.

Fab long weekend, and much needed sunshine and brilliant climbing in fantastic scenery, happy happy!

A bad day leads to a bad month - 22nd July '08

I've been out climbing a couple of times, both times involving me being scared and lacking the confidence to do much else but only second stuff or gibber my way up easy leads.

Went out last week to Clashrodney, with the intention of checking out Central Buttress as I was told it's far back from the sea and I wanted to give this area another chance. Pah! Didn't like it one little bit! Don't know what it was about the area as it was far back from the sea, so the fear wasn't something I could put my finger on. I think it's just the whole atmosphere in this area, it's not the most friendly place, quite dank and dark in the usual Aberdeen seacliff manner. Chris led a V.Diff chimney called Chisel Chimney which was quite spicy for V.Diff and then Jonathon led the severe along from it called Quick Corner. Chris and I had a look at the VS there called Capital Wall which looked nice but was a bit bold to start.
We then moved on to Cairnrobin point where Chris led Glaswegian Snotter which is actually a superb HS! I had always thought the start to be too bold and scary to lead but having seconded it, I now realise the start is VERY easy, no need for gear and you can get a good placement before the exciting part! One I will def go back to lead (well, maybe.......if I can be bothered with the seacliffs again!) Jonathon then led a severe called Scratch which was pretty delicate and off balance climbing, I didn't enjoy it one bit!
Jonathon also found his 1st bit of gear, a number 5 wallnut, which he got by soloing up to the side of Schoolboy alcoholic!

Tues 22nd saw Jonathon and I drive up North of Dunkeld to have a nosy at Creag na-H-Eighe which we were both very disappointed in. 99% of the lines are indistinct crap and far too vegetated for my liking. The one route which *did* look nice had a rather large wasps nest on it!
We drove back down the road to Dunkeld by which point I was getting too hot and bothered and in a 'I can't be arsed to climb' kinda mood! Jonathon led off on Kestrel Crack, which he did nicely as ever and I led the 2nd pitch as I'd never led that one before. It was getting hotter by the minute and the heat was starting to give me a bit of a headache! Next we had a look along the crag for another route and I went along to have a serious look at Spirocheate, but just not feeling confident for the run out at the top! Back to Beech wall, but not feeling confident about that either. Where has my confidence gone!!!? Jon led the 1st pitch, having a wee wobbler on the starting moves, but pushing through anyway and led the crux in very good style indeed! I struggled up the starting moves, flew through the traverse which is the bit I remembered being hard previously, and then got into a fluster at the crux and yanked on the in situ cam, hauling myself up on it, poor style!!! Especially as I know I can do so much better than that!

Time to call it a day. We ab' down Hairy Gully and bump into Adam (the laddy is getting about!) Dave, Ellis, Alexi and Neil are there also and I'm surprised to see Dave leading (well done that man, proper climbing at last, lol!) I'm in no mood for chitchat though as I've lost my bloody car keys! Search in my rucksack and pockets a million times, no joy. Search the base of the routes we were on, no joy. I'm sure my keys were in my jacket pocket (now open) which had been stuffed in my sack all day but they ain't there now! I ask Jon to go back to the car and see if I've been stupid enough to leave them in the door. Not quite, they are sitting behind one of the wheels. Some kind soul must have found them and put them there for me, thank you who ever you are!! xx
Much happier, but still hot, bothered and dehydrated with rapidly deteriorating headache, we head back to Dundee.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Heart of The Park Challenge - 13th July '08

Not done any climbing whatsoever since last week. RB is on holiday and we've been busy with other stuff. I did however have a race on Sunday, between 12-13km.

This was the Heart of The Park Challenge in Braemar as part of the Junior Highland Games and involved hills, mud and water, brilliant fun!

The weather was perfect for it, if just a little on the hot side. Race kicked off at 12pm and took the runners out of Braemar Memorial Park, and up through trees, through a gate and up a hill to the Morrone Indicator point. I found this bit tough, I hate hills so soon on a run or race and I felt a bit dizzy and wanted to quit. But I believe wanting to quit is normal in every race that one does!

Next was a downhill section, great, I love the downhills and managed to overtake a few folk here. Then I can't remember the exact order of things but we had to run through a caravan park and through the River Claunie, which was about knee deep. Then we had to run round a field, onto and across the A93, Glenshee to Braemar road. Into a wooded area, up hill and into Coire Feragie. This was the highlight of the race! Bogs, deep, muddy bogs! There were 6 flags placed in the bogs and you had to touch each flags or were disqualified. Wardens all around to make sure there was no cheating! The bogs varied from knee deep to thigh deep and I nearly fell over backwards in the thigh deep one and had to use my arms to brace myself, ending up with legs AND arms caked in mud!
Another up hill section which was tough, due to being weighted down with all the mud, where I was over taken by some of the folk that I had managed to overtake previously. Then a gentle undulating section around Creag Choinnich and downhill off the path, through the woods itself, navigating fallen branches and tree trunks!
Then down onto the Ballater to Braemar section of the A93 and a slog past the Shell garage as you approach Braemar, off the road and down by the River Dee, across a wooden bridge and then a short run along the riverside. Then you had to cross the Dee itself and this section of the river was about waist deep on me and totally baltic! My legs were numb, my knees were numb and my feet were numb! Then another path alongside the river where I managed to overtake another 2 folk, and up onto a landy track, through another boggy section and through the river Dee again! Again about waist deep on me! A steep scramble up the river embankment saw me put my mountain skills to good use and overtake another runner but then there was another hill! I had no energy for hills at this point and slowed to a fast walk, letting the girl I had overtaken, overtake me, but the couple I had overtaken before the river crossing still hadn't caught up yet. Managed to trot up and over the brow of the hill, then along a track, back into the park and a home run through the park and back to the start, hurrah!
Not sure of my placing yet, but the winning female time was 58mins and my time was 80mins, so quite chuffed with that.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

A Downward Spiral

Well, what started off as a good week, got worse and worse and ended up with me totally gripped with fear down on the sea cliffs at Meikle Partans.
Monday and Wednesday were good days, seeing me run 13 miles and climbing 5 routes at the Deceptive Wall on the Aberdeen sea cliffs, one of the nicer cliffs on the coast. Jonathon and I met up with Chris and I kicked off the evening leading a V.Diff which turned into a solo when I couldn't see anywhere to put gear. Chris then led a HS called Yawn Pillar which he thought a bit dull, but that I quite enjoyed.

Then Jonathon led his 3rd ever trad lead and flew up it no problem whatsoever. His confidence and climbing ability for one so new to climbing is brilliant to see!

My turn again, a Severe called Untroubled Blue, which is a fantastic wee line with fairly reachy and small but positive holds. To finish off the evening, Chris led Waves, a brilliant wee HS with a move over a wee roof.

Thursday is when things started to go just a little pear shaped! I had arranged to go climbing with Adam at Dunkeld and was keen to do Beech Tree Wall and have a look at a VS called Ivy Crack that had been recommended to me. Adam had arranged to phone before lunch time, but I reckon his idea of lunch time and mine differ somewhat, lol! By the time he called, I really wasn't in the mood for climbing but went along anyway as I hate letting folk down. I jumped on Kestral Crack to warm up and had a bit of trouble figuring out the best way to get off the ground! Then I wobbled my way up the slab and got stuck at the overlap below a giant flake. My gear was ok, but I just couldn't figure the moves and didn't remember it being that hard previously! Up and down, up and down, before Adam convinced me to traverse further right, under the flake itself and up a series of ledges. Hah! No way! There was nothing for me to hold onto going that way! So, back my way, but just a little right of my original spot, there's a good hold, up I go and bingo, there's the jug. All that faff for such a simple move!! Bung a couple of good cams in the flake and 1st pitch done. Eejit that I am, I set up the anchor for Adam leading through, instead of me leading on, couldn't be arsed sorting it out, so told Adam to lead through on the 2nd pitch. Had a look at Ivy Crack on the way back to the sacks. It looks a very nice route, but pretty reachy for a short ass! I didn't have a proper look at it though, I'll probs have a better look when I'm with Chris.
Adam wasn't sure what he wanted to do. I don't think either of us was keen to push things. Adam only likes pushing his grade when he climbs with those harder than he does and my head wasn't in the right place really either. Adam went for Bollard Buttress Direct, which was my 1st Severe lead a few years ago and my memory of it was as a straight forward route. But Adam was up and down like a yoyo and placed about 7 bits of gear on a short stretch of the route! When I got to the bit he'd been unsure about I could see why! How the I managed to lead that as my 1st ever severe is beyond me! I nearly fell off seconding it, climbing like a twit, just couldn't seem to read the rock at all.

That was us for the day, we spent too long on our respective routes, too much time looking around, too much time faffing. I did spot a lovely looking VS though called Spirocheate which I'd love to lead when I ever get the balls for the run out slab at the top!

Fri night and Chris and I are off to Cummingston to climb on the sandstone cliffs. Both Chris and I are keen to lead Centre, a brilliant looking VS4b. But I just can't get into the right frame of mind at all. I'm feeling all hormonal, have a bit of a niggling headache and a brain that feels like mush or cottonwool. I just can't climb. My hands touch the rock, and I just stare and don't know what to do, don't know how to progress upwards. Feel tired, back hurts, brain is dead. Not good. Chris takes over and leads a severe to warm up. I struggle on second, find it tough on my arms, pumpy, overhanging, strenuous. I feel shaky, like a tentative beginner on her 1st route outdoors. But I get up it! It's not a great route, quite dirty with sand.

We go to have a look at Centre. What a line, utterly fantastic! The sort of line that screams out to be climbed! But I can't do it, not today. I've lost my get up and go completely. I feel numb inside, completely drained of focus and resolve to do anything about it. Chris leads the route in superb style, and I feel that I should feel eager to follow what has to be one of the nicest single pitch VS's I've seen, but I don't feel eager at all. Just a sense of dread, a sense that I don't really want to be here doing this. I make a mess of it! Miss a crucial hand hold, keep trying to hold on to a ridiculous rounded hold just because it has chalk on it (Chris used it briefly to place gear or something I think) I'm out of balance, foot on some wee edge that feels too small in my mental state, to be of any use and I fall off, swinging out into space. I scream out in frustration!!!! And I fall again, and I fall again. Chris asks if I want lowered off and this brings out a little of my spirit that seems to have disappeared for a day off and I refuse to be beaten! I see the hold I missed, a positive, triangular niche, grab it, reach up for the jugtastic edge of the roof, swing over, feet up and thug my way upwards. It's not over yet though. I'm still making really hard work of what should be an easy corner and slab above. Finding it too reachy, I feel too stiff and awkward, not really enjoying it. Pissed off to make such a mess of such a lovely route. I don't feel worthy of it.

Next we just toprope a final route for the evening. It's a VS5a called Left. Chris flies up no problem whatsoever. I'm paranoid about everything!! I check my harness, I check my knot, I worry about the toprope on sharp edges (it's sandstone ffs!!!! there are no sharp edges!!!) Sometimes I hate being a woman, hate my moods, my cyclical nightmare! Anyway, I climb the route no problems at all. It's tough, strenuous, but I cruise it! Do I feel good about it, do I f*ck, I'm still feeling crap about falling, I'm just feeling crap full stop. Berate myself for all the nonsense in my head!
It's a beautiful night. Camped out on the beach, trying to chill, a glass (OK, a mug) of wine (I can hear Chris laugh at my suggestion of just a wee glass before asking for my mug to be filled, lol!) Don't feel fully relaxed though. Feel stressed, feel sorry for myself, feel annoyed at myself for feeling sorry for myself. You getting the picture yet?! Don't sleep well. Back hurts, painkillers, muscle relaxants, still can't sleep. Feeling anxious for no reason at all.

Morning. Plan was to either go to Cairngorms and climb down in the Loch Avon Basin or to drive up to Torridon and climb on Beinn Eighe. Tell Chris I can't do the mountains today. I just don't have it in me. Still feeling crap, more crap than yesterday if that's possible, lol! I feel guilty, feel that I'm letting Chris down. He says he doesn't mind, but I'm paranoid he's just being polite. Oh ffs, get a grip! I hate this, I hate these thoughts and feelings, they are not me!!! I'm being taken over by a simpering, anti-Sonya, grumpy, negative, soul-less blob and I have no control over it. I can't shake myself out of it! We go to Logie Head instead. We have a look at the Tidal and Star Zones which are normally blocked off by the tide when I've been to Logie in the past. Chris likes the look of a severe chimney but it's filled with bird shit, mmmm nice! Back to the Embankment where Chris leads a severe and then leads the VS, Poacher. He does it brilliantly, really does and he's pleased as punch! I feel a bit emotional, ffs, simpering, sentimental fool! I still can't climb it though, lol! Sit down to have a brew, Adam, Mel, Amanda, Alan and a guy called John turn up. I'm quite amazed to see Adam so far from Dundee! He must be feeling adventurous today, lol! We don't hang about for long though, our (Chris's) objective done, there is nothing left here we want to do.
Down to Meikle Partans and I just fall to pieces. As soon as I get there, the sea is just too much, I feel sick and dizzy. We have to scramble up and then down to get to a HS that Chris wants to lead. I make myself do it. I'm scared, I wobble my way downwards. Chris can see I don't feel so good today and puts in an anchor for me. After an initial hesitation Chris quietly leads the HS, sets up a belay, whilst I'm getting more and more gripped below. I really don't want to do this route, I really don't want to back off from doing this route. 'Climb when ready!' God, I can't do it!!! I feel so sick, so scared. I can reach the crucial hold to get off the ground but it's pushing me outwards and all the while I can hear the threat of the sea below me. It sounds mean and aggressive, dark and so fucking primal. It sucks away at me, consumes me, just too much and I can't deal with it, not today. I have to get Chris to 'ab down for the gear. I fucking hate myself today! I scrabble back up and sit on the rock, shuffle downwards slowly to the sacks. I want to cry, I really do, I just want to sob and let it all out. Let all what out I really don't know, all my fear and frustration maybe. But I don't, I don't let myself cry. I don't want to embarrass myself. You don't cry just because you back off a route. Is that why I wanted to cry? I don't know, just don't know. Tears are for little girls anyway right? Not for grown women, certainly not grown women who climb. What a load of pish! I have my pride though, I'll keep my tears for myself in a private moment if need be.

I tell myself it's OK. It's just the sea freaking me out, and freaking me out more than usual because of my sensitive mood today. I'll be OK to belay Chris on the VS called The Bridge because it's not so close to the sea. I have to scramble up a few ledges first to the belay stance. I don't want to! I don't want to let Chris down though! He's climbing so well, ticked off 2 of the VS's he wanted to lead, if he can get this 3rd one, it will have been a great weekend for him. I have to belay for him. I try, I really do try. I get up there but I just feel awful. I don't feel comfortable at all. It all feels foreign to me, unnatural, foreboding. Chris can tell immediately that I'm not comfortable and he tells me to come down. I don't need any persuading. I have to be helped down, that is how bad things have gotten. Back on the ground, my sack won't sit still and keeps falling over, I push it down roughly, grunting in disgust, pissed off.
Paranoid again, that Chris won't want to climb with me again now he sees what a crap climber I am, how easily I can be scared off. That I'm a moody cow, that's affected by her hormones and just can't climb. Right now I wish it were next week. I know that tonight I will feel fat, I will feel ugly, I will feel greasy and unwashed even after a bath! My back and belly will hurt. I'll curl up with a hot water bottle on my back to try and soothe the feeling of a hot knife slicing into my lower spine and the feeling like my spine is collapsing in on itself. I'll curl up with my hotwater bottle, take some painkillers, sleep it off and either tommorrow or the next day, I will be right as rain. I will be bright and happy again, laughing and smiling inside and life will be good :o)
I've made a descision today though. That when I'm feeling hormonal and my back hurts (which comes for a day or two every month without fail) then I'm not going to climb. I'm going to have those days off and just chill, lock myself away, maybe spend some time in the garden which is really needing some T.L.C.