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Errigal - Eastern Gully

Date: 17th March 2010
Submitted by: Columba McLaughlin
 Woke up to a pleasant St. Pat’s day and thought that an excursion up Eastern Gully on Errigal would be entertaining and if time permitting, an airy scramble on the NWMC Ridge (North Ridge). (I must get a note to Webmaster Pete to correct the anomaly between these names). Anyway, for the first time in donkeys years I parked at Errigal’s South East ridge carpark and headed for the col between Errigal and Machocht. I dropped down from the col to access an upwards slanting ledge that eventually abuts onto Errigal’s Eastern Face at a point almost directly below ‘The Crescent’. This ledge is a an adventurous access point in good snow conditions but in non-snow conditions it is very heathery, mucky, airy, narrow in places and requires a little bit of care in the final 50 metres before the scree slopes of the Eastern Face.  Eastern Gully is not easily seen from a distance but is very well defined when you are in it and it rises directly up to Errigal’s twin summits. However, access across the steep scree slopes of the Eastern Face requires care. The scree slopes with large rocks and boulders are relatively stable as long as you dont dislodge any of the boulders. I noticed a lot of evidence of large boulders having fallen from above. The scree slopes with smaller stones and boulders were very unstable and at times un-nerving. Nonetheless, I eventually managed to reach the edge of Eastern Gully and I dropped down into it. Initially, the bed of the gully is very much like any other: a running stream, loose stones and pleasantly angled. On this occasion there was the occasional pitch of some old hard snow in the bed.  The main interest in Eastern Gully is the short steps and there are a few of these that provide a nice scrambling atmosphere. This was what I came for and I really relished it. All too soon the stir in the blood decreased and the last 60 metres of the climb was a bit of a trudge. I took a Bogman’s Friend (Ice Axe in summer time for the uninitiated) but never needed it. This is an excellent excursion is good snow conditions and of interest to those who enjoy a ‘Wet and not so Dirty outing’ at other times.  I met a few people on the summit but then decided to down climb the NWMC Ridge and scramble up it again. A nice finish to a nice day J

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