Submitted by: Iain Miller
And sho, once again we find ourselves at An Port, Noble Brother Martin Bonner was in attendance and the object of our desires was An Bhuideal. This was the third attempt this year at the beast. The skerries that sit to the North of the stack create conflicting tidal surging causing monster nautical violence.
An Bhuideal (The Bottle) is a 50 meter twin headed quartz stack, which sits about 200 meters from the land.
Our tale begins with Brother Bonner assuring me he was an excellent swimmer, we shall return to this fact later. :-)
It was in awesome sunshine that we descended the very atmospheric 200 mtr ridge to the North of the beast. A tad of route finding shenanigans and we were on the lonely wee beach at the bottom of the ridge. The toys were sorted and the boat inflated in silence, the 300 mtr static was flaked and the boat launched. The sea passage involved a 200m paddle along a channel of calm, whilst 20mtr out to sea a series of skerries were being battered by 4mtr white water violence. Finally the last skerrie was reached, the static rigged and a return journey was made and we stood in silence looking down into the Pits of Hate.
Between us and the stack was a 20 mtr sea crossing in which 2 converging tidal surges were creating an awesome vortex, absolute and certain death for the unwary sailor, but awesome to look at never the less.
Launched the wee inflatable from the landward side of the skerrie and paddled around to skirt the vortex to reach the landward face of the stack,
"Lieutenant Dan was always shouting at God, THEN ONE DAY GOD SHOWED UP."
and thus I entered "The Realms of Chaos," a mental state in which you stand between this life and the next, the walls of your mind crumble and you realise that you are indeed truly alive. The short journey involved paddling into an area of calm, whilst looking down and into the 3 mtr deep vortex, a few mtrs away 6 mtr high white water crashes onto the skerrie walls under Martins feet. A well timed hop and a skip and stack was reached, static anchored and a return journey along the static, we both reached the base of the stack! HURRA!
We were on an excellent non-tidal ledge at the bottom centre of the landward face, we had a 200mtr lifeline of 6mm static running from us back to the beach, the sun was out and the climbing above looked truly awesome! Thank Fuck for that came the collective sigh!
The first 25 mtr pitch was on superb brown quartz, smooth rounded holds and just enough gear! This took us to an exposed wee ledge on the landward arete. The second 25 mtr pitch was on immaculate white quartz and as the rock steepened the holds got bigger and more rounded, every hold was a climbing wall jug!! A final steep 5mtr bulge of imaculate jugs and we were on the summit. HURRA!
A cairn was built and the abb rigged, a 50 mtr abb down the centre of the landward face and we were reunited with our mighty vessel.
Now then, the return journey was very similar to the above, Alas, and mystery surrounds the actual sequence of events. But imagine if you will, a fully clothed Brother Bonner furiously doggy paddling 3 mtr from the vortex, whilst facing a 6mtr wall of white water violence over head. During which I am in the water logged boat with 2 massive dry bags full of toys wearing only a pair of swimming shorts. Brother Bonner turned to face me, he too entered the Realms of Chaos. A quick clip and we were hauling along the static to the sanctuary of dry land!
The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist.
An Bhuideal - Route takes skyline arete on left of main stack.