I've been seduced into another project on the sandstone of the West. This time I'm in Applecross, or more accurately, Kishorn; trapped on the slope tumbling down from the chicanery of Bealach na Ba where a handful of boulders are strewn across the heathy hillside. A blunt arete, Dave Macleod's 7B Changed Days, points towards the leaden sky above as I lie back on the pads and apply another layer of tape and superglue to my bloody fingers, then, shivering, hat, scarf, gloves, gilet and downie are pulled close. I can hear the burn pouring from Coire nan Arr and a distant car on the Lochcarron road, perhaps on their way to a cosy cafe or a log fire and pub lunch. My flask will do for now. They're outside the bubble, I'm inside.
It's hard to explain what drives the motivation. Right now I'm cold, I'm uncomfortable, my ripped fingers sting, my bloodless toes are crying out for release and I'm trapped on my dry island of pads in a sea of snowy heather. I've driven for over an hour to be here and already I know that today isn't the day of success. Yet, I can justify it all to myself so easily - this is where I want to be. Inside the bubble.