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Port a Doris

Date: 1st Feb 2009
Submitted by: Anthony Feeney

It was dry. It was clear. It was breezy. It was bloody freezing. Only 3 hardy souls made it to Port a Doris: myself, Mike Hassan and Martin Boner. Regressing to previous form (I blame the dithering kids) I arrived well after the other 2 and found them picking their way down the precarious grassy slope to the left of Circular Wall. They'd just completed Nelson Drive Special (VS 4b) which Mike described as "easy enough".

With a shiny new rack of rockcentrics and friends I was eager to get scratched, I volunteered to lead Dischord (HS 4b) just to the right of this. Martin went back to the car to fetch a second thin rope to match mine and Mike and I used his thicker one so that we could ab off it later.

Port a Doris was the scene of my first ever climb, the appropriately named Novice Outing (D), which I'd huffed and puffed up a goodly 10 years ago with Phil Magill (where is he now?). I was puffing for different reasons today, trying to warm the numb fingers. Half way up Dischord I reached a crimpy move that I refused to commit to as I couldn't feel a damn thing. I moved left onto what seemed easier territory only to find myself on the exit to Nelson Drive (would that be Caw Roundabout?) and yet another crimp. Slightly fed up I just went for it. It's a strange thing to trust your hands to work when there's absolutely no feedback!

A bunch of local kids had walked over the coastal path with Pol, Eoin and me and they were all now having fun sliding down the grassy bank at the end of the cove. I could easily see myself copying them on the treacherous grassy exit leading to the belay stake, way above the last of the rock.

Martin had done an "Iain Miller Special", soloing Cream Cracker (D) using ground anchors and a prussik and now helped set up the anchor for the ab. Back on the ground Mike studied the guidebook and the surrounding walls for a possible new route, eager to convert his excellence at the climbing wall into something historic. I'm not sure if he succeeded really, though there may be a poorly protected E1 yet to be climbed on the face to the right of Scarcasm.

The cold was really starting to bite now so I persuaded Mike into scooting up Storm Bringer (HS 4b) and followed him up quickly myself. Martin was pottering about on his own again on Toby Jug Wall (all Diff routes) and I flicked him the ab rope to descend and retrieve his gear.

Packing up and grateful of warm socks again I dreamed of hot chocolate. Mike offered me tea but I only drink that stuff in dire situations. As I left Mike was "new routing" again, climbing a face to the right of Novice Outing, another easy one. Martin and he can fill in details on anything else they managed.

Roll on Malinbeg next week. Pray for warmer weather. Failing that here's a tip: climb quickly then abseil down. There's nothing quite like a hot belay plate for warming the hands.

02 Feb 2009
Michael Hassan

Good to open the account for 2009. Didn't try the "poorly protected E1", but soloed a line on the face between Straw and Novice Outing. Hard Severe-ish.

05 Feb 2009
Alan 5/1/09

Good place to go at this time of year!

Photo of Route