As predicted the weather gave us about 1 day’s climbing in total over the 3 day ClimbFest weekend but those of us with a hardy nature (I’m talking about “hardshell tents” of course) stuck it out for the full term.
Friday was mostly spent in McGrory’s, Valli had a bit of a fire going but it was mostly too wet to want to hang around outside much.
A few people headed to the wall on Saturday but for the rest of us it was back to the pub after a initial couple of hours at Dunmore Head taking beginners and new faces up various routes, the old classics like Orange Blossom and Tina’s Crack being ticked off.
The table we set up for the Nepal collection did a roaring trade, I was as surprised as anyone to see my old jacket go for €50! Keith as usual was in top bargaining form, outdoing the empty-pocketed Marty to grab a cam for £20.
To avoid the driving rain a few of us gathered in Keith’s mobile were Keith and Marty tried to outdo each other’s music selection and the banter and slagging was hilarious. Top funny moment was us deciding to go down and set up Marty’s wigwam, for which he drunkenly gave us all instructions and then lined us up to exit the van behind him.
“You all know what you’re doing?”
“OK, follow me!”
He then proceeded to trip over the lip of Keith’s door and go spilling out into the night while the rest of us buckled in two. Only his cat-like reflexes kept him semi-upright but he disappeared in a half-bent run around the side of his own van, where he may or may not have succumbed to gravity. We were too busy howling with laughter to see.
Anyhoo, once the mirth had settled we got the wigwam upright, weighed down with stones and with the broken door sealed with the crocodile clips from some jump leads supplied by Niall. There wasn’t a dry being inside but the craic and the music were great nonetheless.
Sunday was actually a better day than Saturday but we’d all decided on visiting the new wall. Most of the campers packed up their sodden equipment that had taken a severe battering during the night, to the extent that some spent the night in their various cars. Big Paul showed me the inside of his tent which was literally swimming in litres of water. A trip to Borderlands was required for some dry clothes. My 2 boys and their mate fared better having been in the lee of the wind and in a sturdier tent but everything was still tinged with damp and was just packed with a pitchfork for later drying at home.
The new wall was top notch, everything I expected and more and I had aching arms after leading about 6 routes. George and Gerry seemed to utterly exhaust themselves too. The kids loved it too and I expect to hear them all clamouring to visit again in the near future.
Sunday evening was a quieter affair, again back in Keith’s mobile for more banter. Monday dawned with blue skies and PJ and I set off to do Rhumdoodle at Himalayan Wall, while the others pottered about at Dunowen. Our route had briars, grass, muck and loose stuff galore but we cleaned it as best we could, in sparkling form it’d be one of the top Severe routes in Culdaff to my mind. Just a pity about the grassy 5m exit.
We all gathered then to end the day at Brasil Rock and I got to do a few routes I’d never tried before, like Alan’s Expertees (HS) and Capgun Corner (S). The weather stayed fine and even my rucksack liner blowing into the sea and boobing off towards Malin couldn’t put a dampener on the day.
For such a miserable weekend I’m surprised at how much we did manage to climb and of course the craic was top notch as usual. Great to see you all again, looking forward to these Tue / Thu nights now.