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New Converts and Old Hands at Fairhead

Date: 22nd September 2007
Submitted by: George Carleton

On Saturday the 22nd September Valli, Dave, Michael and I met at Fairhead; it was Valli's and Michael's first time to the crag so Dave and I acted as guides.

We started off on The Fence VS 4c to warm up, much more pumpy than its neighbour The Black Thief. Dave and Valli then did Gerona 63m 4c, 4c, which they seemed to breeze up.

I led Michael up Taoiseach 69m 4c, 4c which was perhaps the toughest VS I've ever done. On the start of the second pitch there is a steep ramp which relies quite a lot on friction to climb, unfortunately the friction was in short supply due to a skim of algae on the rock. After a bit of huffing and puffing I got past this obstacle and the rest of the climb was grand.

Next on the agenda was Roaring Meg 100m VS 4c, 4b, 4a. To me this route has it all a steep tough technical pitch to start, a relatively straight forward second pitch where you can pick up the pace and an airy ledge traverse at the top of the third. All this makes for a very enjoyable experience.We climbed in pairs, Michael and I went first, just getting to the top as the sun disappeared into the west. By the time Dave and Valli appeared it was dark and time for a beer in the House of McDonnell where Valli produced a bucket of home grown produce which we got tucked into.

On Sunday morning Valli, Dave and I met for round two at Fairhead. First we tackled Pangur Ban, 36m arguably the best single pitch HVS on the crag, with a great bit of layback on the flake near the top.

Then it was off to Hell's Kitchen*** 66m 5a, 5a. Dave led the first pitch and I the second.

All in all a great weekend's climbing and a couple more converts to the Fairhead experience.

Photo of Route