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Culdaff Capers

Date: Sep 25 2010
Submitted by: Anthony Feeney
A kid free weekend? Sunshine forecast for the entire 2 days? What could PJ and I do to fill our time? Well there was the option of walking aimlessly round Foyleside on Saturday followed by the Eastenders omnibus on Sunday but we decided to head for Culdaff instead.

Friday night we had din dins with Alan and Margaret and too many beers in McGrory's but we still managed to get up earlyish on Saturday. Marty had turned up and with Alan had decided to head down to Bunagee and Ballyharry Wall. There was talk of Himalaya Wall because Alan wanted to show us the cave underneath it, but there are some disputes with the local landowner and access to said wall is blocked.

Alan had led Marty up Ballyharry Buoy (HS 4a) by the time PJ and I followed them down, Marty sporting a helmet mounted camera and looking so much like a Doctor Who baddie that I could do nothing but laugh. I don't think he managed to film more than Alan's backside on the route. They left us the rope and PJ and I top-roped it, finding it stiff enough.

Valli arrived and after a bit of chat we decided to sneak over to the aforementioned cave, leaving Marty to mess about with ground anchors and prussiks on Honeysuckle (E2 5a). On we way we admired the twin pinnacles of Swann's Monument (VS 4c) and Pouting Pinnacle (VD). The cave was a mucky affair, you have to get right down on your belly (wear old or easily washable clothes) crawl along sniper style then ascend via a chimney to the main cave. Just above the chimney the words "ST. PA. DY. 1920" are stylishly carved along with a few sets of initials. Amazing place. We checked out the other (very green) routes along Himalaya Wall and then headed back up.

PJ and I left the other 3 and trundled over to Dunmore Head to have a go at Grecian Gift (VS 4c). No-one must have been at the crag for ages because the path in is heavily overgrown but we fought through the nettles and briars. The first horizontal crack and the big ledge of Diversion were also madly overgrown. Having reached the pockets at the top of the crack it then took me 3 goes to get the move out to the side and over the top. It's a cracking route though, a proper test of rock climbing skill. Valli arrived and cinched on to the middle of the rope and she and PJ made slightly better work of it.

There was time for one more route and I nearly chose Fluid Inclusions (HVS 5a) but PJ and Valli both reminded me of a 2 hour faff session on it once so I went for Bean Bob (VS 4c) instead. After all the pub was calling us. Well I got to the chimney with the stuck block and hung around "for absolutely AAAGES!" as Valli would tell me later. A hex popped on me, the next hex was moving around too much for my liking and my biggest cam was barely big enough. Anyway I eventually struggled over the top and hauled the other 2 up, glad to head to the pub and out of the stiffening chill wind.

On the bright sunny Sunday Alan, Margaret, PJ and I headed for the Urris Hills for a bit of combined hoofing and navigation practise. Alan has a plan to link up a series of great big coastal walks for an "Inishowen Way" and he wanted to scout the line between Crummies Bay and Leenan Bay. We followed the lower trail out of Leenan and lunched after a heathery mid section at the "Bite", where there must have been a huge landslip in the past. Great views over to Port Salon and Fanad Head. Alan continued to plunder about testing various ways over the shoulder from Crummies Bay and finding the site of a crashed 1941 Wellington bomber. We 3 consulted map, compass and GPS and did timings and pacings to the 417m peak and down to the 2 lakes and back to Leenan, Alan catching us up on the way back. No worries about his Himalayan fitness! A pint in the Rusty Nail capped a great day out.

So climbing, caving, walking, boozing and eating and all in great September weather. I can't think of a better way to spend the weekend.

29 Sep 2010

E2 5a ?? That's a funny grade. Hee hee.

30 Sep 2010

I'd say reasonably hard climbing, very little gear?

30 Sep 2010

I'm just winding Peter Cooper up.

01 Oct 2010
Peter Cooper

I'm so wound-up I can barely type, Pete. Be nice if it got a 2nd ascent, its 8 years since it was first climbed. It probably is 5b now, as some holds came off on a subsequent ascent that I did.

01 Oct 2010
Pete Smith

We'll have to persuade Kevin and Patrick to leave Crocanaffrin for a weekend and check your grades in Inishowen. There aren't many E2 5a climbers around Culdaff.

Photo of Route