Nobody does roped climbinig at Castle hill any more and now I can see why.
On a recent trip South I picked up a hitch-hiker called Sky, a young, vegan, hippie from the States. We ended up staying in each others company for a few days and since she was a climber and into seeing the 'energy centers' of the world I thought I'd take her to Castle Hill for a spot of slabbage.
On Some Faraway Beach, 16, is agood introduction to the area so we made our way there. We walked around a corner and there in the narrow bit, complete with natural guard rail was mum, dad, a push chair and a small child of indeterminant sex. The child was, screwdriver in one hand, rock in the other, belting out a carving in the rock, a rather large, deep carving of indiscriminant form. I want to kill it, I want to kill it.
Realizing that they probably didn't know any better I said "Hi," and calmly explained that the child was effectively vandalizing a senic reserve. Sky gave a few examples of heavy fines and hangings for similar acts in the States. While the child kept chipping the parents looked pissed off and said that the child was only expressing artistic ability. At that moment a football sized lump of limestone broke off and rolled away from the child's feet.
I want to push, the parents over the bluff behind them! Thete was a pause and I decided to climb to escape this madness. We harnessed up and I took off up On Some Faraway Beach. Distracted by the climbing the vandal family ceased their activity and observed, father passed comments like,
"A good way to get yourself killed".
For goodness sake!
The climb went without incident, on reaching the top I setup a sling and biners for a toprope. Just as I was finishing a young rabbit hopped, soft ears flopping, out from behind a boulder, I called to he lowered and the rabbit took fright and ran off the cliff, tumbling down the slab, gaining momentum, to land, thump, in the push chair. Wow.
All hell broke lose on the ground, the horrid child was wailing, father was
saying I should watch what I was doing, mother was yelling 'You've killed it! You've Killed it!" Sky was looking pale. There was a gut wrenching moment when Sky, becoming pre-occupied with the rabbit-corpse let go the rope and left me to plummet the final few meters to the ground. Nobody cared. this mad group of people had become totally focused on the rabbit and my apparent cruelty at having forced its flight from the top of the cliff.
Figuring that if I removed the rabbit from sight folks might start to recover I picked the small, warm, bundle of fur up off the push chair roof with the intention of throwing it over the bank. I managed to say "God, it's only a rabbit" and moved to hurl the pathetic body when I was descended on by the whole group. Everyone spoke at once.
Mum. "You can't do that. you have to try and help it."
Dad. "Bloody hell! Don't you think you've done enough harm."
Sky. "Chris, you can't just do that, we need to try and help it, it might still be
Child. "Wwaaaahhh wwaaaahhhh!"
Me. "I don't believe this, this is crap". After minutes arguing the whole procession is
headed hack to the car park, I'm carrying the rabbit-corpse in a scarf. I've been bullied into "seeing this through properly" the meaning of which I'm not sure, but I think it has something to do with the police, a vet or maybe a doctor, a herbalist and a press reporter. This is crap.
Towards the cars a couple are approaching. A man, balding, walks towards me smiling and asks me what I have in my hand. I show him, the rabbit and everyone tells him how cruel I am. "It's only a dead rabbit" I tell him, hoping I'll meet some sane person.
"As it happens I'm a vet" he says. I'm astounded. He relieves the funeral procession of its small, scarf casket. "This is a hare, not a rabbit. Hang on". He heads back to his car and rummages in the back.
The vet returns with the corpse and a syringe filled with blue liquid. I think to myself hell! It can't he dead-he's going to blue-juice it. The needle and then the blue liquid disappears into the small, limp, ball of fur.
We all stand in a circle looking down at the... All of a sudden-risen from the dead-the hare convulses, finds its feet and is off. This is horrible, every few bounds its front left paw rotates into the air and shakes spasmodically there for a moment before it resumes its flight. The child's jumping, pointing "Look! Look! The rest of us gasp. "That's amazing. What was that stuff?" I ask.
The vet turns to us,
"Hair restorer with permanent wave."