|Date: 8th - 9th Sept 2007
Submitted by: Geoff Thomas
So - what did you do at the weekend - Oh I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know-not much. You know how the conversation goes; name a few routes, some might get a reaction, but get this..............
To get to the Skeldrin More is an awesome adventure. I had heard rumours of the great sea stack When Alan first mentioned Ã¢â‚¬Ëœthe inflatableÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ I thought big thing like a rib - Mr Tees rarely does things by halves. So by the time the rather small bag came out of his car I was trying to put the doubts to the back of my mind, thinking to myself good thing come in small packages.
Duly inflated after a brief phone call to locate the pump , a special delivery via Andrew and Peter T and there it was: €50 worth of prime sea going fury. Several microns of robust plastic between us and the sharks, well sharp rocks anyway.
I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see the first plastonauts across - Pete being keen as always to show me his latest discoveries [Shark Bait E2 5c - nice little route but a bit htin on gear maybe]. Dave looked remarkably sheepish on the second run, sitting in the plastic bathtub, his sack between his knees while Alan rowed valiantly against the breeze. Of course dear reader you are seeing manly oars in great sweeps. This was far more propelling a childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s paddling pool across the waves with two teaspoons. Now you are probably also seeing a vast sweep of open sea. No. The channel is only about 10 or so metres wide and fortunately protected from most of the swell but even so the plastic bathtub was only just up to the job.
Alan was very glad, having made three runs to hand over to Commodore Cooper. Alan asked him if he had rowed before and he answered - yes a bit. I now know he was being extremely economical with the truth. At this point we pause, dear reader, to fill in the character of Peter C. Note: names have not been changed to protect those for whom the cap fits). The pride of Glengad is deeply schooled in all matters of the sea So I got in, the bathtub sank closer to briny and we set off with the commodore at the controls. Several turns round the bay later we were back where we started - just a little wetter. I looked up at Alan who laughing so much he was ringing his underwear out. At the fourth attempt with the teaspoons and the paddling pool we made to within a couple of metres of the stack. Pete dug in little too deeply and one of the spoon-oars snapped. Oh Flip thought I; and wondered if you can be dashed against the rocks, how long it might take to sink in a plastic bag for that is was it had suddenly become. Anyway, quick as a flash Captain Cooper - for he was rising in my esteem now with each stroke of his obvious seamanship made a grab for the two pieces and brought them aboard. I was also quick witted, but without the obvious sea dog traits and so grabbed the two pieces and tried to stick the two parts together with sea water. With great seaworthy-ness Pete used the remaining spoon/rudder/oar to get us close enough to grab the rocks to grab a hold and get us ashore. And so we landed; and I thought - oh flip how do we get back - and then thought no more about it and got on with scrambling to the top of the stack to get to the climbing. Anyone who has been to Malin will know the quality of the rock is good and the Skeldrin More is very high quality indeed. The route Dave led, Tales from the Abyss, is excellent - at least two stars in my book. While I was waiting for the snail to reach the top Alan appeared looking mildly perturbed. The wind was picking up and so was the swell. So after some excellent climbing, we were all ready to leave. The Scramble down was just a tad Ã¢â‚¬ËœAlpineÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ and the terrain at the top looks very similar so it is important to remember to turn landward at the right dead seabird. Pete disappeared down, using his local Donegal inbuilt GPS system, but forgot that the rest of us did not have this local expertise. Fortunately we just caught site of the infamous navigator, - we were on the right treacherous slope and thank goodness not heading for an early bath.
Once we found the ramp, a tricky step down the chimney brought us to the right bit of sea. After a short debate Commander Cooper (notice how quickly he rises through the ranks) again showed his seamanship. By a due process of Ã¢â‚¬Ëœits your fault- you fix itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ he was elected to swim the channel with a rope so the rest of us could cross. Unfortunately the rope wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t quite long enough so he had to tread water for a bit while we tied on another. This was of course no bother to the sea dog.
Once he reached the land he insisted on getting dry and putting his clothes on before tying off the rope so we could get across - how selfish!
So cheers to everyone who made this such a hugely memorable day.