Submitted by: George Carleton
On Saturday morning bright and early Peter McConnell, Gaby Aiken and I met at Ballycastle and made our way up to Fairhead.
We headed for the Prow as you do, hoping to get in a few good VS’s. We had barely taken the gear out of our bags when it started raining. A few other more sensible souls abandoned the idea of climbing straight away. Not us, I went on to lead The Black Thief in the rain, and for a time I lost sight of Pete and Gaby below me as the mist rolled in.
Having come so far we didn’t want to give up on a days climbing too easily. I suggested heading over to the small crag where at least the climbs were shorter and more manageable if not drier. I had forgotten the midges can be particularly bad amongst the trees at the base of the climbs there and they were.
The rain eventually eased off and the rock came back into condition. We did a number of climbs at the small crag – Pitchfork 16m S, Bullrush 14m VS, Fuschia 18m S and Lir’s Scoop 18m VS.
By about 5.30 it was dry enough to consider doing a longer route, none of us fancied the walk back over to the Prow so I suggested doing Burn Up at the Grey Mans Path a 3 star 75m HVS. Pete was game to give it a go so off we went.
It is a fantastic route, very sustained with an interesting (hard) crux at the overhang before the belay ledge, not that it gets much easier after that.
We were both happy to reach the top, and agreed it would have been better to do it earlier in the day when we had a bit more strength in our arms.
Gaby was waiting for us at the top, where we quickly threw the gear into our bags and headed for home.