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10 things I learned at Gartan

Date: March 9/10
Submitted by: Geoff Thomas
Keith Monaghan is fond of saying that every day is a school day and he’s someone that really shouldn’t be disagreed with. So with this in mind I thought I would give a flavour of what I learned at the spring gathering.

1. Iain Millar is a great enthusiasticator.
[– well English is my second language!] He really did a great job of getting the palms moist and the sap rising. Even though some of his routes are as loose as his marbles at times he did get me thinking it was about time to get back on the water and try some [1?] of the more solid stacks. Time to get back on the PVC but not into it! Are you reading this Alan? I think maybe most of the walkers in the audience probably thought that he’d dropped in from another planet – not another island.
2. A kilt is not essential.
A spring gathering is nothing like a highland gathering and so no American or posh English accents were heard. Except of course for mine. But as I keep telling people I’m from Wales even though it doesn’t sound like it!

3. Them Donegal boys are harder than a box of nails.
Climbing at Cruit [Traderg wall] was a masterclass in climbing in the cold. Patrick and Kevin never flinched as the arctic blasts blew across the bay.  Me – I just shivered. Colder than Scotland!! Patrick easily knocked off the E2 – an excellent effort given the conditions. Young Adam’s enthusiasm wasn’t diminished either on Lust for Oil – the future of the club looks good. Me I’m looking forward to visiting during the Climbfest – should be warmer!!
4. Paul Swayles is awesome!
Paul was pointed at a project on the outrageously overhanging RH side of the crag. Unaware of the fact that it was raining, not hard, but persistently, nonetheless he showed off his amazing strength. If only the top hold had been dry then Cruit would haave its first E4. He’ll be back – no doubt.
5. The AGM is [sometimes] QI.
Although I did fall asleep a couple of times I don’t think I was snoring. Really though, it’s great to see that MI is able to influence things at the highest levels and is doing great work.
6. Alan knows almost as many fine young women as Dennis G!
Alan really did miss his vocation as a stand up comedian. He gave a great talk on the first twenty odd years of the club including the enigmatic and curious incident of Catherin Destivelle and ‘the black guy in the white mac’ – You had to be there!
7. The new wall will be massive, really, really massive - eventually.
Elusive drawings were on show of the new ‘will it won’t it’ wall. Remember you heard the name first here! It will be BIG, it will be international, Adam Tinney will make   great use of it, but we’re going to have to wait until 2015 to see it in the flesh or in resin most likely.
8. Irish hills and crags are not long for this world.
Peter Wilson’s talk on the Sunday morning was Outrageous! I really thought that all our crags and hills had stopped moving about 12,000 years ago. No, no, and no again. Peter showed us that most hills are slipping slowly downhill – rather like my waistline. Really though he showed us all how the landscape is still dynamic, changing from the impact of massive peat and land slides for example. Also fascinating for anyone who has climbed in Scotland or the local hills in winter was his account of the effect of needle ice.  Rock sorting is very visible on the plateau of Muckish for example. s for Fair Head, -I’ll be surprised if it’s still there in the morning!

9. A massive thanks to Ursula and all her staff for their contribution to the weekend. No job was to small, no effort too much – thanks from all of us to all of them!

10 Couldn't really think up to ten. So I’m off to embaywatch now!

23 Mar 2013

Couldnt' have put it better meself! Yeeze might have further to travel for the next one.

Photo of Route