The final round of the Scottish Tooling Series 2009 took place at the Ice Factor in Kinlochleven on Saturday 5th December. There were 59 competitors - a superb turnout. Since this was also the Series Prize Giving it meant that we had lots of extra supporters including Anna Wells grand-parents who were great fun and were happy to wear helmets so they could get the best view of their grand-daughter in the final. Flying axes were not going to put them off!
5 hours of climbing flew by and left most of us with arms a bit longer than we started with. There were 2 routes on the outside of the building, 3 in the ice room and then a variety of top-roped and bouldering problems. It is always a difficult job but once again the route setters managed to cater for climbing abilities ranging from the novice intermediate to the super talented. Time and again we walk away feeling amazed that the whole cross-section of the competitors feel they got exactly what they came for. Brilliant!
The day had all the tension and noise effects that any good final should have. There were some amazing gymnastic displays and some cracking falls, all ending with smiles.
Two finals needed a Super Final. The competitors didn't disappoint though and, even in a state of exhaustion, they managed to get higher than most of us could get when we were feeling fresh. Dylan McKenzie and Steve Addison (Jnr Male) both came up to Andy Turner still buzzing with adrenalin to thank him for setting such a fantastic Jnr Final route. The female finalists were less grateful as the hanging log proved too big an obstacle for all three hence the super final. Anna Wells managed to find enough energy to take the first place for the day - a great performance.
The male vets and male sports were as unpredictable as ever. Steve Johnston only just got into the final in 5th position and then proceeded to win the event in outstanding style. Ruairidh MacKenzie is the reason I am not scared of being in the vets camp. His agility was outstanding and he took away first prize.
Is there a better venue to host the final event of the series and the Grand Prize Giving? I would have to answer no. The Ice Factor maybe a challenge to get to compared to many other places but that is nothing new for climbers; we travel miles to get a good day's climbing in and that is exactly what we got at the Ice Factor. Well done to Jamie and his team and celebrity guest route setter Andy Turner.
Thanks also to Danny Goodwin who has made a great video of the day and to Lukasz Warzecha for taking some cracking photos. He is a professional photographer so anybody who needs one just visit his website on www.LWimages.co.uk.