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Mournes weekend (Report Number 2)

Date: 21st /22nd April 2007
Submitted by: George Carleton

The Mournes meet started with a late breakfast at Meelmore Lodge coffee shop with Sandra, Pete, PJ and I, then a forced march to the Bearnagh slabs with Sandra singing show tunes all the way.

Anthony appeared a little later being very lucky to have found us considering I told him we were meeting at Lower cove, which is where we had intended to go. He headed to the only crag he knew in the Mournes which just happened to be Bearnagh slabs (jammy or what?) The rock on the slabs was fantastic, the friction and the generally easy angle of the slabs allowed for fast, fluid movement giving the belayer a job feeding the rope out quickly enough. A number of HS's and VS's were knocked off before getting psyched up enough to give Zen E1 a go. Actually I suggested doing the route before sheepishly stepping back to let Anthony and Pete do the leading.

Pete led the technical section at the top of the climb and made it look much easier than it was. Back at the camp site being too windy to cook it was decided the best thing to do was head for the bright lights of Newcastle to get fed. Anthony caring nothing for the conventions of traditional evening attire looked like a cross between Ali G and farmer Barley Mow, but shame eventually made him ask Sandra to drive us back to the camp site so he could change. After a good meal, too much wine and a lot of loose talk about climbing being a head game (which it is, as well as being an arms, and legs, and not falling off at the crux game), it was time to get under canvas and listen to the wind trying to blow my tent down all night. The next day was drier than expected allowing for another morning's climbing. Sandra had to head home early, leaving PJ, Pete, Anthony and me heading for Spellack. The rock was not as good as the day before being a little damp and slimy in places. This being the case and being tired and just a little hung over we thought it best not to try anything too hard.

I started up a HS which gave me a real thrashing, I was sweating, cursing, praying, my legs had a life all of their own, in all I was not having a good time. The only consolation for my shameful performance was that Anthony had an equally nerve racking experience following me up that wet frictionless groove.

Rereading the guide, the climb turned out to be an HVS which helped to wash away the shame of a poor lead.

PJ and Pete left shortly before Anthony and me who stayed to do a couple more climbs to rebuild our confidence.

A great weekend.

Photo of Route