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Vertical Picnic

Date: 02/008/08
Submitted by: Iain Miller

A request came from GAA allstar coach and string fiddler, Noble Brother Desmond Oconnor, for a wee bit of guidance in the art of Vertical Pleasure.

 And so, we sat in the car at the An Port road end at 8am Saturday with absolutely lashing rain falling from the Black sky.

 "That'll be the rain on, then?" He asked knowingly.

 "Yep." Came the sagely retort.

 A quick drive down south to Malin Beg, nope, equaly grim. So an even quicker return to our starting point, found us in roasting sunshine, An port road was now much more inviting and hospitable. HURRA!

 "Lets go cane a stack" was the order of the day.

 The object of our desires was the unclimbed 35 metre stack immediately to the south of Berg Stack. (GR544887, compass fans)

 The elected method of access was to boulder hop onto Berg Stack and launch the boat from it's southern end to gain access to the tidal platform below the big chimney running up the center of the seaward face of our stack.

 As this was a bank holiday Neptune was chillin' elsewhere and the sea was gently lapping. HURRA!

 We arrived on the tidal ledge, warm, dry and in high spirits, the darkening of the skies and the rain was duly ignored as a superb cave and large ledge was found 4 mtrs up from our watery stance. The toys and the ever smiling Des came up and an imaginary brunch was had in our subterranean howf.

 With the rains gone and with the sun having donned his hat, we commenced upward.

 From the mouth of the cave, a groove of superb rock was ascended to a much smaller stance at about 20 mtr. A wee recce up the easy angled, loose block jigsaw above the groove rightwards was hastely retreated from. The steeper hand crack on the left was climbed and a final 3 metre deep grot grovel onto the summit ridge was made.

 A summit cairn was built on the summit, pictures taken and an abseil point constructed from a couple of very convenient blocks. We abbed back down our route to the cave, Des down climbed to sea level, rigged a belay and we began to lower the boat and toys for the return sea passage.  

 During this time a local fishing boat made a very, very close drive past, Des at sea level on the tidal ledge. Somewhere in the distance a banjo began to play and Des was sized up to "squeal like a hog, boy." Looks and nods exchanged and they drove away. :-) Oh, how we laughed!

 Neptune was indeed being kind, as the sea was flat calm and we made the return journey to Berg Stack with all the toys in one voyage!

 It was now low tide so we boulder hopped to land and deposited the vessel and all the excess deflowering gear. A spot of lunch was had and we boulder hopped back onto Berg Stack and climbed "The Wedge" an excellent 20 mtr V groove at about severe. Up came Des having now just completed his second ever route. HURRA!

 Alas, the tide had also came in, just far enough that a "Au Naturel" return to land had to be made, nudity on the first date.

 Is this a socialy acceptable modern phenomenon or simply a random act of males on the cusp of mid-life crisis? :-) 


Photo of Route