Back to Logbook Archive for 2008 | Back to Home Page

Fairhead for February Hard Men

Date: 17th Feb 2008
Submitted by: Anthony Feeney

With the weather for Saturday expected to be cold and dry (as it had been all week) George, Pete McConnell, Michael Hassan and myself met up in Ballycastle for the first real day of climbing of 2008. Early starters all of us. Expecting to be scoured by chilly winds I'd brought extra layers, hats and gloves, which ended up being borrowed by Pete and Michael, and even brought the Trangia to cook up something hot. It turned out not to be so bad, especially once you'd abbed off the top but there was plenty of blowing on the fingers as the cold cold rock and initial fear factor conspired to keep all the warmth out of the hands.

Pete and I started off on Black Thief (VS 4b), the old favourite, while George and Michael made short work of The Fence (VS 4c) right next to it. Pete and I were a little slower, my initial super-confidence from all the recent wall sessions eroded about six moves into Thief. We blamed it on the first climb of the year and my pulled shoulder muscle but topped out soon enough and went on to do Fence. George and Mike finished Stone Mad (HVS 5a) by the time we got down to do another route.

I'd read the guide book and picked out the only decent 30m HS on The Prow which was called Foxy and supposed to start just to the left of Good Morning Judge (HVS 5a, 4a) which I was familiar with. But after trying 3 different starts I ended up on a dirty poorly protected line. Not hard climbing just thin on gear and heavy on greenery. I ended up slowly aiming for the exit of Judge, right at the big hanging block. After a 20 foot runout with the most recent bit of gear a very small friend I was glad to place a big hex and breathe again. I stitched up the rest of the route using my last runner and last bit of gear for the final top move.

By then George and Mike had polished off an E1, possibly Midnight Cruiser, all their hard wall sessions obviously standing them in good stead. Pete and I slipped off to the pub to watch the unfortunate Arsenal take a 0-4 drubbing from Man Yoo and Liverpool go down to Barnsley 1-2 (Bah!). We met George in Ballycastle afterwards and he described the bold start on Sabre Rattler (HVS 4c), a 30 foot section only protected by 2 small wires. Anyway it was good to be out and about, particulary as I'll miss PJ's birthday bash in Culdaff next week as I'm off to Liverpool for the Middlesborough match. Should have planned that better and gotten in 2 good weekends before March. Ah well. :)

Photo of Route