The Daddy Stack
Submitted by: Iain Miller
It was in the midst of a monsoon 7am on a Sunday morning that the troops gathered on the pier at Burtonport. Noble Brothers Alan Tees and Peter's Cooper and McConnel sat in the gloom as the vertical rods from the black sky rained down. There was hope, the forecast was good. Cha Cha.. :-)
The object of our desires was the summit of the 150meter unclimbed seastack, Tormore Island, approx 20 NM south of our rain lashed pier. Two of the party had made several attempts at taming this beast previously, so by default the approach of choice today was to be by RIB. Our noble stead was being Captained by Paul Bathgate, a veteran of nautical misadventures along the donegal coastline. Our noble stead it's self was a 76 mph monster of a RIB and we were on our way.
Now I'm not sure if my fellow cohorts knew what to expect when I mentioned using this type of vessel for an attempt, but apon setting sail and Captian Bathgate opening the throttle a tad, the white knuckles and blank expressions from the troops spoke volumes. Exshellent Mish Moneypenny, We were having mucho fun and we were only 30 seconds in to the adventure.
Ten minutes later we rounded the North end of Arran Mor into quite atmospheric seas and for the next 40 minutes we got a nautical kicking! Words can't describe the journey suffice to say it was emotional! :-)
As we arrived at Tormore it was under siege by legions of white horses, Neptune was furious! Our fearless/insane Captain navigated the channel seperating the stack from the land, sensory overload had already been reached and breached as we entered the cauldron of angry white sea. Some pretty amazing boat handling skills left four wide eyed fools on a non-tidal ledge at the bottom of the landward face of Tormore Island. With a "See you at Four" our boat and Captain screamed out of the channel and into the maelstorm!
And Lo, as ordered the rain stopped and the Sun came out. Happy Days :-) Lets cane the beast we cried in unison.
The first 45 mtr pitch was a V. Diff affair on superb quarz and growing atmosphere to an excellent block belay.
We were climbing caterpiller style, meaning as three met the next pitch is led while the fourth is ascending the last? Ehmm, kind of makes sense to me?
Anyways, as Brother Cooper came up, Brother Tees led off up the second pitch of slabby mixed ground to a lofty perch below the monsterous roofs.
Pitch three bypassed the roofs on the left and had a modicum of exposure as further mixed ground took us to a huge ledge and superb Peg Belay. Thankfully the discovery of this belay ment we could now defo get off this stack, a minor point of concern I had been pondering all morning! :-)
Brother McConnel powered up pitch 4, a vertical celebration of grass and mud, Oh and 2 rubbish runners in the first 30 mtrs, a rude awakening to Stack world. The summit ridge was reached and a solitary block belay in an ocean of green was had. One by One we scrambled the last 20 mtr grass ridge a spectacular summit. No-one said very much as savoured where we were. Simply Awesome!
Photos were taken and evidence of previous visitors sought, non found.Happy Days Indeed!! :-)
We made an abseil descent of our route, 4 45 mtr abseils using the now insitu peg belays, took us to the non tidal ledge to await our lift home.
Being last to ab, I arrived at the ledge to an ominous silence. The seas were now crashing either side off the channel and every forth wave threw thousands of tons of green on to the stack opposite us. This was absolutely awesome to watch, alas not so good for our travel arrangments, we had no sleeping bags!
"What do you think?" Asked Alan.
"Aw, it'll be fine." came my confident reply. Internaly I considered us to be Fucked, if you pardon my french.
For the next half hour we sat in quiet contemplation, and WHOOSH into the channel came our boat at 50 degrees to Port and riding a monster Greeny, full astern and Captain Bathgate and Crewman Mike Crowe got thrashed about in an astounding display of seamanship, our mighty vessel was getting an almighty kicking. Several passes of our ledge and the luggage was safely stowed. Then for the next 10 minutes the boat stayed in the center of the cauldron riding the chaotic seas.
"RIGHT, I'M COMING IN AGAIN, I CAN'T SAY IN HERE ANY LONGER, GET IN!" came our orders from Captain B.
And in he came, a single nano second later we were all in the boat.
"THANK F*CK FOR THAT!" our nautical maestro roared as we crashed through green to exit the channel and out onto the high seas.
Now that, Ladies and Gentlemen was a high end emotional exit from a stack.
The journey back to BurtonPort was bumpy, but in full daylight and sunshine it was excellent sport! Half an hour later saw us in Sheltered water between Arran Mor and Burtonport and Captain B gave the beast full throttle, 60 mph + and we arrived in Burtonport Harbour, a bit like flying on a very very low flying Plane.
WHAT A SUPERB DAY!
Big Thanks to Paul Bathgate and Mike Crowe, you crazy fools!