|Date: April 20th
Submitted by: Anthony Feeney
PJ and I decided to forgo the running for one weekend and packed up the tent for a jaunt to Crohy Head, praying for
a dry day. I'd never been before but PJ reckoned it was a nice camping spot with an easy walk to the cliffs. Getting
to the camping spot however was a bit of a kerfuffle, the online guide gives a map reference of B740060, which is
100m out to sea, the directions talk about driving towards a mast, which remained unseen, and there were a couple of
left turns missing completely. But with the help of 2 Donegal maps (the cliffs are sort of on the edge of both) we
found the little jetty and were soon marking north across the cliff tops.
The online guide that we printed out was pretty decent and we indentified the main crag, the cave and possibly the
Red Wall area. The tide was well in though so only this little bay full of white stones and a layered reddish rock
wall at the back look accessible so we headed there. Might have been Red Wall but we're not sure.
When we got there this one route up a dark corner onto a blocky ledge an then up right under an overhang looked
doable, so without any further consultation of the guide we got set up. It turned out to be a pumpier move than
expected to get started and get high enough for some gear, but the finish was straight forward despite some loose
stuff near the top. It might have been Muscles to Start (S) but when we descended and tried to look for other
routes, everything else was quite overhanging, so we were less confident of knowing exactly where we were.
The wind had picked up quite a bit and the sea was full of huge rollers that crashed onto the cobbled beach,
creating an amazing thundering mini-avalanche noise as the waves retreated. I started another route that required a
leap to the first hold and a bit of a grasping swing onto a ledge but the wall above was so overhanging I was
leaning out quite a bit and sturggling to go any further. Cue a swing back down and a drop to the cobbled beach,
praying I wouldn't snap the ankle.
So we trundled over to the Pinnacle Area but again this was awash with tide. We did have some fun on the way over
though, there's a huge black split rock that the waves come thundering in under creating an enormous water spout
that I just had to get close to and inevitably get soaked.
So then it was back to the main crag and a hastily assembled abseil in the buffeting wind, I think we were hoping
for shelter from the wind down in the bay but it was just as bad down there. And again the tide was so far in that
most climbs were inaccessible. The corner VS 4c Space Walker was dripping wet and awful looking so we tried to find
My Fair Lady (HS 4b) or Maggie's Last Munro (S). I ended up smearing up something and going right into a corner which then ran out of holds and gear, tried to traverse left, got stuck on a tiny ledge on the arete and again neither holds nor gear apart from a dodgy cam in a wide mouthed crack.
I was about to back off when PJ announced that we'd be calling for the heli if I did because the tide was so far in this was the only route out of the bay and besides she was "effing freezing". Duly scolded I did what any brave climber will do when his damsel is in distress: I cheated. I got PJ to swing the abseil rope over, hooked up a prussik with a karabiner and smeared up with this "moving protection". Above this I managed to get some gear in and the prussik proved too bloody annoying to keep sliding up, so I reverted to normal climbing mode. As a final kick in the teeth though I got two eyefuls of soil from the wind just as I topped out and spent 5 minutes trying to blink it all out and the rest of the weekend scraping black bits from the corner of my eyes.
PJ fared better on the route, starting further left than me after watching my struggle but we both agreed the bits we'd shared felt about HS, so maybe it was My Fair Lady we finished on. Anyway, back to the campsite for beers and a fire, a jaunt to the pub in Dungloe, a night time circuit of Machaire and the coast road as we took a wrong turn coming back and then an attempt to cook burgers and pork kebabs in the pissing rain dressed in full Scottish wet weather gear.
An inauspicious start to the year but it was good to be out and we'll be back to make further deposits into the old climbing account. Crohy would be a cracking spot in better weather and with lower tides, I'd recommend anyone to go and try it. How do I submit an update to the driving directions???