Tormore or Less
Submitted by: Alan Tees
Having had a number of half (possibly.75) hearted attempts to reach/climb Tormore without success, when Iain Miller suggested another go, I jumped at it. Marty would of course swim out (ballock naked) and Bill, walk out at low tide (accompanied by the late Haskett Smith). Iain was somewhat vague about the sort of craft we would employ, insisting that the crossing was a mere 40m at most. I presumed he had sussed it out, and discovered a different approach, after all, his recent track record has been impressive for this type of thing!
I camped at Port on Friday night, Marty arrived later, and Iain at 6.15 AM. We packed up and left by 7.00, leaving a message for Bill to follow. It was hot and we were carrying a lot of stuff. When Iain started to descend to the stony beach I had been on before, (Twice) I realised that there was no new approach, and it was going to be a long and difficult process across steep and loose ground, to get to the separating channel.
On the way down, all our eyes were drawn to a much more spectacular (and accessible) stack, and plans were suddenly changed!
Iain had an unsuccessful attempt the previous weekend, was keen for another go, and seemed to have it figured, so Marty and I were content to slipstream.
A description of the climb is in Iain’s report, but can I just add that this is the most amazingly spectacular piece of climbing I have ever done in Ireland, and well done to Iain for leading it. It was never difficult, but was bold, exposed, required constant care, and thoughtful rope technique.
Bill fortuitously arrived just in time to take photos from the mainland (our shots of the stack from the stack would not do it justice).
Iain left that evening, and Marty, Bill and I suffered the midges until about 10.00 PM before fleeing to our tents.
On the way home I called at Tommy’s house (the local man what knows everything) and braved his dragon of a wife, to see if he knew the name of our stack. Tommy was helpful, as far as he knows it doesn’t have a name, but “Did you climb Tormore”? No we didn’t. He went on to tell me about a boy/young man who crossed to Tormore to collect eggs during the famine, and who got stranded due to the weather, and starved to death. Apparently local men crossed to the rock when the weather settled and buried him there at a grassy area called Borraidh Bo Cahal. He wasn’t sure where this was, but the only place with any soil would appear to be the top! This story is also in Bill’s Haskett Smith Book.
Finally, I think I have found an excellent campsite in Glencolmcille, for the Colmcille Climbfest 09. Just have to talk nicely to the local GAA