Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Talisman - Creag a'choire Etchachan

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Remote crags at their finest
I've done very little but work and sit on my backside since our trip to Ailefroide in July. That sounded like the best reason to hit a multi-pitch rock route in one of Scotland's remotest coires, on a Sunday!

Calum had previously been into Creag a'choire Etchachan (pronounced however it happens to fall out of your mouth) earlier in the week to do Scabbard, a starred VS. He was keen for us to go back for the Talisman, a 3* HS. So myself, Calum and Alasdair met at the Linn of Dee complete with bikes at the leisurely hour of 9am.

I immediately regretted not buying a new mountain bike this summer. My trusty Carrera from Halfords is still holding strong after 17 years. That's right, I bought it when I was 10 years old and it still works! Much like Trigger's broom, it has had several new wheels and saddles but the frame is the same. Despite various upgrades it is showing its age, to the extent that; the brakes do not function as a braking device, and the inner tube is bursting through the perished tyre walls. 

A couple of hours pushing the limits of where bikes should be taken, across drainage ditches and over cobbles, we found ourselves at the Hutchinson Memorial Hut at the base of the crag. A feet dampening approach was swiftly dispatched....oh no it wasn't, because I am desperately unfit, now I remember! Sorry, 30 sweaty minutes later and we geared up.

The route was ok I guess, roughly speaking you have an un-protectable wide flake crack followed by a blocky ladder then a traverse with no gear. I did this bit. Calum then did the open corner to the 'awkward alcove' with an interesting move out. Alasdair and I kept the route entertaining by discussing various points of contact.....don't ask! 
Alasdair did the final arete to finish. Nothing special but not bad for a 3 pitch route with the crag to yourself.

The cycle out was preceded by being swarmed by hundreds of midges when retrieving the bikes from the undergrowth. Then I was nearly castrated on several occasions when my non-suspension bike was stopped dead in its tracks by a drainage ditch, rut or even small twig! Only one complete 'over the handlebars' moment, thank goodness.

Next summer I am buying a new bike. For the sake of my nuts, wrists and brain cavity.

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