Sunny Valli Crag
|Date: 19 Sep 2009
Submitted by: Anthony Feeney
Sligo is a bit of a drive and the weather forecast wasn't great but tales of previous years' get togethers at Valli's prompted me to go down this year, if only for the craic. The last time I'd been down was for the great Ben Bulben abseil when George, Valli and I decorated helmets all evening after admiring the new abseil bolts on the crag. Strangely missing now...
PJ and I arrived almost together in the middle of the sunny afternoon with a scattering of children and found George to be the only other 'Ciller to have driven. He was leading Valli up an E1 (possibly Don't Touch That Tree), while Dave soloed a Severe line on the far left of the crag. We set up on Colmcille Corner HS 4b, a route befitting my first climb here. It may have been the previous night's 5am shenanigans (a few pints my arse) but I made a complete hames of the crux move and Dave delighted in describing my features as he glided up Don't Touch That Tree himself.
PJ followed in better fashion and then we headed to OX Stair VS 4b, after borrowing a few large friends from Valli for those deep wide pockets at mid height. Like nearly all routes on this wall you have to be happy to climb a fair few metres before finding gear. Straight forward climbing, mediocre gear.
After that Valli recommended another VS 4b Fraternity but the sun set just as I started and I backed off onto Muck On Top a nice Severe. George led Orange Hat HVS 5a (note online guide is wrong about position), calling it an excellent route once he'd worked out the crux moves. We found Trevor mooching about on top having found the crag at last, a 3 hour drive from Portstewart followed by an hour of driving about on the road below watching us climb but unable to work out how to actually get to the crag.
In the evening we had a typically fully loaded BBQ with all the trimmings putting Valli's wheelbarrow to good use. A few of her friends turned up and the conversation wandered aimlessly and pleasantly around the fire until George's rotund posterior overweighted a wooden chair and he collapsed in a heap. Cue slagging. Later Valli's new kitten decided George's lap was the best place to curl up. Cue more moggy related slagging.
A leisurely breakfast next morning in more pleasant sunshine saw us at the crag just before noon. PJ and I set up on Part Man, Part Biscuit VS 4c another route with a blank start. After getting some gear in on the middle section I was about to faff and place a semi dodgy cam when I figured "What's the point?" and just climbed out, cursing loudly at the thin placements. Nice climbing though.
Orange Hat was next as George and Valli both declared it worthy of star. Another blank start and an "Oooh Mummy" moment before reaching the crux. George described his sequence of moves but I found that I could reach past the hard side pull and get my fingertips onto the mantle ledge. Some delicate balancing gained the ledge, stood up and it was wee buns after that.
It was 2pm now and time for the long drive home and we packed up just as Marty and Mary arrived, having changed their minds from Ox Mountain. Someone else can fill in the rest of the Sunday's action.
23 Sep 2009
Shome mishtake shurely?? Where's the rest of this report?
24 Sep 2009
Sorry not as long winded as usual. I should have filled in more the about the kids painting, hens laying eggs, Owey eating Dave's steak and all the other non-climbing related stuff. ;) George, Valli and Dave were so prolific that I can't rhyme off what they climbed and I dunno what happend after 2pm so...