|Date: 24th May 2009
Submitted by: Anthony Feeney
The doctor said "No physical exercise for a week" after the laser eye surgery on Wednesday but I figured I'd head to Cruit and maybe do a Severe or something. Sure that hardly counts as exercise. And aren't they always banging on about apples and the like? What do they know? Alfie, Mike, John, our Marty and girlfriend Karen hung around Cruit golf club in the showery rain for hours while Helen, PJ and I were permanently approaching Dungloe according to our texts. We eventually got there at 1pm, timing the blue skies perfectly. A quick pitch of the tents and we set off for the crag on the left of the main beach, which contains Albatross (HVS) among others.
There was a stiff breeze and heavy seas (poet don'tcha know it) which put the start to Albatross out of reach, much to Mike's chagrin, so he leapt onto Best Possible Taste (HS) instead. He made the left traversing crux start look so easy that Alfie was momentarily reassured that it would be wee buns. Not so! Meanwhile PJ was persuaded into leading Raising Sand (S), followed by myself, Marty (on his first ever climb) and John. Despite a shaky leg Marty managed it well, having a perfect climber's physique: 5" 8', biceps like cooking apples and a torso you could fit through a letterbox.
I'd been on Best Possible Taste before, funnily enough after another showery morning, and remembered it as a deep sogging wet crack. No different this time round. The traverse onto the start of the crack is the best move on it, starting from a layback you reach round left to lumpy holds on the upper parallel cracks, trust your weight and walk over the lower crack. Brilliant! It goes downhill from there, left foot jammed in a wet crack, right foot smearing on the face and hardly a dry hand hold to be had. Reminded me of that Mournes route requiring an alpine boot and a rock shoe. Still, the letterbox sized grooves were perfect for number 3 friends and the whole line was easily stitched. PJ went next, making a more athletic job of it than I and John followed her. I've never seen a man so happy to finish a route, part terror and part elation at mastering it etched all over his face. Or was that just the crow's feet?
Mike and Alfie tried a few other routes I think, though Mike still had time to come over and ask me "Are ye doing that route AGAIN?" as I jammed and smeared BPT. But the options were exhausted and in the evening light we headed to the other side of the beach. With no guide book and only a vague idea of me climbing there before I suggested we just rope down and pick some obvious lines. A newcomer Cian arrived and within minutes I had him trembling over the edge of his first abseil in years. With Alfie's printed pages we decided we were on a ledge with 2 Diff exits left and right. But by the time I got down Mike and PJ had already led a new HS line, to be called Distractions. I started up something that Mike would later claim as a new HVS (Ballad of the Wood Thieves?) but horrified shouts from Alfie and the inexperienced Cian made me move over to the Diff.
Diff my arse! I couldn't see any other way up, but when you're leaning slightly outwards, smearing off a flake with the right hand, reaching up left to hand jam onto the next ledge I wouldn't call it a Diff. Severe more like. So either we were in the wrong area, the route was initially led by an E-master or I was off route (and therefore on something new). Who knows? It was an enjoyable couple of moves made all the more funny by Cian removing the biners from the gear and leaving them on the rope as he seconded without cleaning. What had Bren Whelan taught him? Alfie had to hold the 3 friends in his mouth as he climbed which made for interesting conversation. "Mmpphllaacckmmpphh" etc.
Back at the campsite Marty had discovered a friendly builder who let him take a load of plank offcuts from the site of a nearby new house. They would make a great fire but I could see we'd quickly run out so after the standard BBQ and burnt offerings we traipsed over to gather more. On the way he admitted there was no such friendly person and what we were up to was questionable thievery. Ah well it added a thrill to the proceedings and at most we denied a workie a decent night by the log fire.
We set up the fire on the beach just over the edge out of the wind. Gathering the chairs close enough for heat meant putting up with the slope of the sand and there was many's a drunken collapse as someone leaned out too far. What followed was one of the most uproarious nights craic I've had since the last uproarious night's craic. Young Thomas, energised by an afternoon's sleep, was busy digging holes to bury his Mum while the usual singing, stories joking etc. went on. It was only when the iPod batteries ran out, we'd had enough of Helen's ditties (yes that's spelt correctly), we couldn't find a lighter for the "fegs" and a minor bicker broke out that we decided not to pursue the dawn and just go to bloody bed. Alfie had disappeared there long before accompanied by Vasquez, a cute Portuguese who'd recently been shaved...
Half way through the night the fire was burning low but the fun was firing on all cylinders so another criminal venture to the wood pile was undertaken by Ray Charles, Constable Nobody and the Monkey Child. Since it was now apparent that laws were being broken I've changed the names of those guilty parties to protect their identities. There are careers and pensions at stake!
Next day was wet so we just went home. Via the bar.
26 May 2009
I hear someone left a handy DNA sample for the guards. :)
29 May 2009
Parts of yer report remind me of our escapade in Lough Belshade when I started Waterloo (S) and ended up on Flyover (HVS). Ahh but yer kids (Sheltering out of the rain) though it was funny.