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Letter to Sharon Shannon

Date: Ist and 2nd April
Submitted by: Alan Tees

Dear Sharon,

It wasn’t scheduled to be a big event!

Obama had another engagement, the wife was in Wales, everyone else had to work, and I forgot to invite the Tatler.

Just me, you, and your squeeze box then, to celebrate my retirement at Malinbeg, and co-incidentally to check out a few routes for the Climbfest.

But you didn’t show up did you?

So it had to be Valli.

Valli, by her own admission, doesn’t play the concertina well (or at all in fact) so I brought my guitar, and she brought two dogs who have been known to hum a bit!

The rendezvous was at Donegal Town, and we set off westwards, four in the front, and my guitar and a mountain of stuff in the back of my wee red Landrover.

I tried to drive all the way in fifth gear, as every time I tried to change, I ran the risk of losing my left hand to a very unhappy vindictive Muck (Valli’s dog) who sorely resented being on the floor, while that upstart Owey (Valli’s other dog) reclined on Valli’s lap.

Both hands, mercifully, arrived safely, otherwise I would not be available, if required, to support you on your forthcoming European tour. Hint Hint.

Being (arguably) smarter that the average pensioner, (and definitely smarter that the last bunch of colmcillers in the area), I suggested that, rather than ferrying the firewood up the 30,027 steps from Silver Strand, we carry the wine and firelighters down, and have the bonfire on this wonderful beach. And so it came to pass.

In the absence of your own good self, I had to provide the music. Unfortunately Valli’s dog Owey, being obviously tone deaf, absconded and wouldn’t come back until I put away the guitar,

Does that ever happen to you?

Anyway, we weren’t late in bed, but Valli emerged very red eyed, as her supermarket tent flapped and rattled in the wind, (more than just a Lidl), keeping her awake all night.

We were at the crag at 8.00 AM and started from the South End , climbing Rig Jig, Keel, Pugwash, Ancient Mariner, Shark’s Back, Skipper Curran’s Corner (Fallen) Wreck of the Hesperus (even more wrecked) Lemon Solo, Dolphin’s Dump, Jetsam, Below Deck, Captains Table (Valli mutinous), then lunch.

After lunch, First Mate, Second Mate, (Valli very mutinous) Main Brace, and finally the first half of Cutlass (Cutloose more like) the top having fallen. 16 routes in all.

At this stage the weather was glorious, so we spent a leisurely hour taking down the tent, drinking coffee, (a beer for me), and then we met Roger Curran (the nice man from the local GAA) and told him about the party- (if he hadda knew, he woulda went).

We had a quick look around the campsite in Glencolmcille, a walk on the adjacent beach (Valli agreed the campsite was ideal) and then we set off for Donegal Town.

It was the same pantomime with the gearstick on the way back, only this time in fourth, (better on the hills)

Decided to go back to work on Friday. Retirement is too much for me.

Sorry you couldn’t make it, but I was wondering what you were doing on the weekend of 2nd 3rd May.



Photo of Route