Maybe it was the fumes but I had a brilliant idea here.What these soaring cliffs really need are some monkeys or apes on them.The Rock Of Gibraltar is famous for its troops of Barbary Apes. Tourists flock to see them and they add loads of character to the cliffs.
Of course they would just die from the cold here in winter.Can,t have that.
Then I saw on TV recently folk in monkey suits pretending to be apes. Even fooled the real thing.So here,s my great idea. How about if we took some young local teenagers or unemployed actors /actresses who cant get a job in the nearby River City complex off the dole ,put them on a scrambling training course and got them to bounce up and down all over the cliffs above the road in monkey suits for the summer.I,m sure the tourists would flock here boosting the local economy.David Cameron and his glove puppet Nick Clegg would be delighted as its helping to adjust the unemployment figures and the Scottish tourist board and Alex Salmond could give humping "Brave "a wee rest.Great idea eh?
All the boulders here have routes on them and the large cliff behind has some of the most intimidating climbs in the country on it.
I always climbed sideways here to be nearer the ground. I was much happier that way pretending to be a crab.
For anyone interested here are the overhanging face routes up the cliff.If you click on any of the pictures they go full size folks.No really!
1. Requiem 46metres. E7. once one of the hardest routes in Britain. Took over 10 years before more than a handful of top climbers could boast to having climbed it.Now the hardest grade is around E11 or E12 or something suitably ridiculous.
2.Cyclops. E4. 3. Chemin de Fer. E5. 4 The Big Zipper E4. 5 Stonefall Crack Direct HVS.
Even some of the boulders have huge overhanging faces with routes where feet don,t touch rock at all til the top and these are usually done minus a rope.
For anyone visiting the area there is also a nice flat walk along the foreshore here towards the Erskine bridge that starts at the castle itself and runs for a mile or so,tarmac at first then getting rougher underfoot the further away you get.Plenty of wildlife and wading birds to see though.
The Leven drains Loch Lomond and is the 2nd fastest flowing river in Scotland.After days of heavy rain ,In spate conditions, its an impressive sight,flooding a large area of the banks and fields either side as it struggles to cope with being the only outflow from Scotland's largest loch.As you can see its now turned into a cracking summers evening.
Anyone who hasn,t walked along the edge of this long escarpment yet has missed one of the great delights of the central belt.Its fantastic,especially in springtime around May/June when the lower slopes are completely covered in a vibrant profusion of Rhododendron flowers,one of the largest displays anywhere in Scotland,part of the long forgotten and abandoned Overtoun house alpine garden trail.No doubt however if a National Park or other authority got their hands on it they'd have to wipe out this amazing yearly display as an invasive weed. Or maybe I,m wrong.
Had a great but uneventful run back to my house. Going back it was a lot quieter and I could power down on the pedals more.A great trip.
Still think the monkey suit idea would be a winner.Off to email the Prime Minister,s office right now as he,s always looking for new ways to get the unemployed earning their keep.Shit , I may even volunteer myself depending on the calibre of the actresses involved .I,ve always fancied myself as an action star.