"Hey mister there's an easier way round here!"

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Michael Tweedley - 05/08/2002

The story begins with a trip to Dunoon. The previous week I had managed to persuade Abel, the Spaniard to come with me to a new crag in Dunoon to try to send some new routes. Abel is a boulderer so I cunningly managed to persuaded him to be my belay chum for the day. I promised him bouldering, which there was, but being a soft lad he thought that the Mica-schist was a tad too sharp.

We went to the crag and I failed to onsight the route so I spent the best part of the day cleaning it for a future visit. We then top roped an arete and I vowed I would be back the following week.

Next Friday I managed to get Mike out climbing, which is quite hard as he is studying the art of playing games on his Mac. Chris the photographer was there, ready to take some decent shots as well. We headed of to my brothers in Dunoon and kipped the night there. I can tell you I couldn't get to sleep all I could think of were the moves on the arete..........SAD. I imagined grabbing the last hold and then sitting proud at the top looking at the brilliant sunny view.

I woke up at 6am, psyched, rolled a 'ciggy' then headed out to the porch, "FUCK, FUCK, AND DOUBLE FUCK", rain pissing everywhere. So much for the dream of sunshine, dry rock and a prize days climbing. Well it's Dunoon after all, and I am now thinking that I have wasted time, money and ruined the guy's weekend bringing them to this god forsaken hell hole they call Dunoon. I inform the guys and they seem quite glad and tell me that it is only six so we could get a lie in. Lie in my butt - we all get up and decide to head back stopping by Arrochar caves and then Dumbarton and if that fails go to the Glasgow wall..........PUCKER.

The Arrochar caves proved interesting. I wanted to see if Dave was trying to steer us away from a good bouldering venue but he was right, it's crap, but a nice place to go and have a laugh. I saw a couple of horses in a field frollicking, chasing each other and looking as if they were about to get busy. As we got closer the two horses were both males. I laughed thinking of the scene in Gladiator, a trader states that he was given a queer giraffe. I thought of the farmer grabbing a traders balls and saying "you sold me a queer horse".

We then headed to Dumbarton. It was Chris's first time outside, I suggested that he should look at the whole experience with a open mind. I tried to explain that although the place had a post Glastonbury appearance, it actually had brilliant climbing to offer. We got out the car and grabbed our food and walked in with our mats and Safeway bags.......... true Ned style.

The weather improved and we all started in our own ways climbing on different problems. Once warmed up things got really good and the problems felt brilliant, it was one of those days when everything goes well: feeling strong, climbing smooth and knocking off all the problems that felt hard last year...............This was brilliant. Chris was wandering around placing gear in cracks and testing it by standing on a sling. Mike was flying up a few problems on the sea facing wall by the west face.

Chris then started bouldering and was getting up some problems but finding it much harder than inside. On one problem he was going for it and topped out with his stomach on the top and legs and hands waving about in the air. I wish I had the camera at hand as it looked like he was swimming out to sea trying to reach Port Glasgow in the quickest time.

Then I heard the mighty roar and scream of the local Firestarters, the dreaded Ned...................."Hey pal any fags?". In my head I thought bugger of you little shit but then he said he wouldn't like roll ups. It turned out he had fags but they were "pure bogging". This was awesome - his banter had me in stitches as he was the cockiest, friendliest Ned I had ever seen. Him and his mates watched us and asked how much our camera was............................ I butted in, lying that it was about 300 quid, although he was nice I thought if we tell him it was worth 3 grand he would nick it. He was there also with a group of lassies and he seemed quite the stud-muffin with girls chasing him and stating that he was a "shag". Kind of reminds me of myself..........

We then met up with some locals and had a good laugh, they were rolling joints in true Glasgow style and we all ended up on Mugsy and the lip traverse into Mestizo. Casey was his name, stocky with a beard and shoes that were about ten sizes to big. This guy was like the TERMINATOR, when ever he fell off he had a one second rest then flew at the problem once more, his legs seemed redundant and he would just crank wildly slapping holds with all his might. He was strong as fuck and also had balls of steel. Finally he latched the hold on Mugsy and headed off up the groove, mud all on his feet and a sequence of green mossy shite to still get up. We all shouted that he had done the meat of the problem and to jump off, he seemed reluctant at first then jumped . Once he was on the ground he grabbed a mat and headed for a new problem to get stuck into, Supernator.

By this time a squad of older Neds arrived with spliffs and a carry out. They sat on a boulder and got mashed and looked as if they were having a laugh. This place really has loads of mad characters all just enjoying the delights of Dumbarton. Meanwhile behind a boulder not far away we were told that the stud was now having his tackle massaged by some girl, in fact we were then told he was getting a blow job behind the Shield. He then shouts out that he hasn't given her a shag yet. What a guy.

Myself, Mike and Chris then packed up and head of for the car. As we pass Casey and co we sit down to see mad Casey levitating up Supinator. He gets to the top and the faces of the spotters tell it all .......Thank Fuck he's up.

So if you're stuck for things to do or you're short of time head for Dumbie and you will have a good laugh - not just climbing but also looking and meeting all the locals. Pucka.

Information for routes can be obtained from buying a Lowland Outcrop guide. Alternatively you can visit Scotland Online and download an up to date boulder guide courtesy of David McLeod.

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