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Date: 18/04/09
Submitted by: Iain Miller

And sho, after 5 days of gentle Easterly breeze and light patter of minimal drizzle, Neptune was at one with himself, thus allowing the west coast of Irelands Maritime freeboard to resemble a mill pond! HURRA!

And from the shadowy hinterlands of the mighty Ratho stepped forth Noble Brother Simon Tait, and to the mighty Cnoc Na Mara we went.

For those who hath not understanding Cnoc Na Mara is a 100mtr "Sharks Fin" monster stack climbed by it's superb landward arete last year. Our cunning plan was to climb it's untainted seaward face, alas it's seaward face is guarded by the FULL fury of Neptues wrath as it's close proximity to Tormore Island causes monster tidal "certain death" action. Simply put it has considerable character and atmosphere! :-)

Anyways, we arrived at An Port to the unusual sight of absolute flat calm sea, sorted the toys and headed North. Upon arrival at the first glimpse of Cnoc Na Mara from the clifftops Noble Brother Simon emited the sounds that confirmed we were indeed reading from the same hymn sheet.

"Fucking Hell!" he stated gracefully whilst looking down at the beast.

Sorted! Let's go cane the beast was the consensus as we descended the steep wet early morning slopes to the access beach at the entrance to Shambala. Upon arrival at the final steepening directly above the beach, Brother Tait threw himself to the ground and began to accellerate at 9.81m3 then dropped out of sight. From prior knowledge this was not good, I dropped the toys and scrambled down to look over the edge and there was Simon cat like wrist and ankle deep in peddle scree and mud above a "no more climbing this year" drop!

"It's OK" he uttered "I can still climb!" A star performance from a man so nearly taking the parrafin budgie home.

We arrived at the beach without any further acrobatics and began to sort the toys. The sea was absolutely flat calm and so we declared a direct 450m sea passage from the North end of the beach to the seaward tip of the beast as the approach of choice. With myself on engine duties (wielding the paddle) and the incredible bouncing boy at the stern on static line duties we set sail.

We alighted the vessel with great ease in mirror seas, solod the first 25m pitch to a humongous platform below the seaward face, brought the boat up, rigged the static and sorted the toys.

The first 45m pitch followed a right trending groove to the left of a monster recess, followed by a cheeky wee steep corner and we were on a superb ledge above the void. From the centre of this ledge a steep left facing corner was followed and we were on the summit ridge with a hint of exposure and tad of atmos for good measure. A further 40m of scrambling along the summit ridge and we were on the summit. HURRA! Just Simon, myself and a swarm of flies, it was time to descend!

We descended the route using a hint of guile and two abseils off peg and block belays.

And thus in due course we arrived back at the beach in record quick time!

As the sea was so well behaved we left the toys on the beach, took the dingy and paddled through the cave running through the stack and then paddled 500m or so out to sea, taking pictures of future escapades.

Flat calm sea's clear, blue skies and not a breath of wind was the surreal order of the day! :-)

20 Apr 2009

Paraffin budgie? Where do you get them? I had to Google it to find out what it meant.

20 Apr 2009

:-) Endless tomfoolery, Sir! Simon is currently an E5 leader so I was keen not to be hauled wailing up such a route, not on the first date! :-0 This beast fitted the bill perfectly! One day in the distant future it will all make perfect sense!

Photo of Route
Cnoc Na Mara - The seaward face of the beast.