When nature calls.
Submitted by: Iain Miller
At a very, very early hour of the morning, noble sister Caoimhe Gleeson and myself left the car at the An Port road end and began the loooong walk North. Heavy rain was forcast for approx 3pm, our mission was a 60mtr unclimbed leviathan 4.5km North of the road end. Each carrying our beasts of burden we plodded Northward.
We arrived and set up base camp at the headland to the North of Glenlough bay, just beyond "The End's of the Earth" crag. We were indeed, far from the madding crowd. In blue skies and flat calm seas we set sail and paddled for approx 500m around the next headland to the North, passing through a shoal of mackerel, who appeared to be trying to fly. A fresh offshore wind allowed us to sail past the next headland and we continued to paddle landward into a monsterous gothic channel flanked on the seaward side by our 60mtr twin headed stack and on the landward side by a huge sweep of quartz cliff, starting at 50m and rising steadily to 200m in the middle distance.
We allowed the dingy to drift for a while as looked around us in awe, our eyes the size of saucers!
Something big did a very rapid swim-by the boat, so we paddled swiftly to the huge platform in the sea arch under the stack. Whilst getting sorted on our platfrom a couple of seals were leaping out the water in the channel. One of them stayed and watched us for the rest of our time on the stack! I could be wrong but I get the sense it was laughing at us?
We racked up and rigged the toys for a shpot of coastaleering as we traversed at sea level for a couple of hundred metres to gain the southern tip of the southern summit. A 60mtre scramble on immaculate rock took us to the southern summit. A brief down climb and we were on a block belay in the col between the twin heads of the beast.
The final 35m pitch to the main summit stands testament to what adventure climbing is. The climbing was never difficult, but alas the rock, the lack of gear, the remotness of our location, the seal directly below us laughing it's whiskers off, the puking fulmars off to our right and finally the multitudes of Fulmars, Razorbills, Cormorants, Gannets and Arctic Skuas, who all began to scream at each other from as far away as 500m away from our stack. All we required was a flying Unicorn and a talking lion and thus our journey to Narnia would be complete.
Standing on the bald gearless summit 60 meters above a very relaxed Neptune in a location which can easily be considered "out there," sensory overload was well and truly reached and breached.
Words fail me.
Alas it was time to descend as in the far distance a wall of heavy black rain was travelling in our direction.
Our descent was by a shpot of guile and a tad of short roping, and all to soon we had retraced our route back to the mighty vessel.
And so we repaddled back to base camp and began the looong plod back to the car, all the while the skies were growing ominous, until 500m before the car the forecast tropical downpour arrived.
And in true inane fashion, standing in the monsoon an excellent end to a truly excellent day.
06 Jul 2009
Any photos of the skuas?