Thursday, 15 March 2012


The weather wasn't looking too bad on for wednesday, and as I had handed in an essay that morning, Joanna, Ted Angus, Lizzie Jenkins and I all went to Limekilns for the afternoon. It was abit colder and windier than I'd have liked but it was nice to get out all the same.
Limekilns is a curious small out crop of limestone in Fife. It is curious at there isn't any more of the stuff within atleast a 3 mile drive of edinburgh. The limestone used to be in the shape of a hill, but quarrying has turned this into two small buttresses, one of which used to support the flag pole for the near by Rosyth Dockyards. The blocks are shallowly tilting in a roughly North East direction, and show some nice signs of bioturbation. These include some algal matting and what I think may be Echinoderm fossils. I expect that the sediments would have been laid down in a very shallow warm ocean, probably when Scotland was around the equator. 
Joanna and I warmed up on the East Face traverse (font 6a+), while Ted and Lizzie climbed Red Flag (HS 4c). I also managed to climb Link Arete at font 5+.
Lizze seconding Red Flag
It was my lead next and I went for Forbidden Colours (HVS 5a). I had intended to do the direct finish, at E1 5c, but I hung around too long where the two route diverge, which meant I couldn't feel my fingers as it was so cold.
It was Joanna turn to tie into the sharp end next. She decided to go for White Ensign (VS 4c). Despite some hesitation at about half height, which she over came with abit of gentle encouragement from myself, she seemed to not find it too bad. I think this is only her second VS lead.
Because it was getting quite windy, and the wind was a southerly, I suggested we move to the other block, which is more sheltered, and I wanted to try a route on the sheltered north face of it.
My route of choice was Velvet Glove (E4 6a). Velvet Glove is one of the classic climbs in the Edinburgh area and features some well protected hand jamming up greasy, polished hand sized cracks. I attached my headtorch to my helmet, in anticipation of it getting dark whilst climbing. The route can be split into two sections. A starting, roughly E1, corner  leads to a short traverse out right into the hand jamming crack. I managed the E1 bit without too much drama but I hung around on the traverse abit too long, making the holds all nice and sweaty. When I'd figured out how to make the move out right, and then made it, my feet popped. I held this mini fall but got my head stuck underneath a small overlap on the traverse, which meant I couldn't see to replace my feet, and so slumped onto the gear. A few more futile attempts later and I decided I should leave it for another day, and so abbed to get the gear back.
I am abit disapointed that I wont be able to get the onsight tick on such a classic route, but I really need to start getting on hard things if I'm going to improve. I will definitley be back for this one.

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