Friday, 15 June 2012

Discover Donegal

 It's been a funny old week in the sun kissed uplands of Donegal, a hectic start to the week with a race around all the remaining rock climbing locations being photographed while the skies remained blue, for the forthcoming Donegal Rock Climbers guidebook.

 Come Wednesday and Patricia Choque arrived in the county having taken an epic bus journey from Co Cork. She had heard a wee whisper that the sun was shiny in the far north west and came to play out for the following three days.
 First up on the itinerary was a Dunlewey to Dunlewey horseshoe circuit of the Poison Glen. The normally boggy approach through the glen floor was baked dry and so we raced dry footed through the glen and up into the hidden corrie below Ballaghgeeha Buttress. No sooner had Patricia mentioned the possibility of seeing any deer than a herd of 20 trotted by about 30 meters away, whilst a couple of stags bellowed in the distance and so, we pressed on.

Errigal from Poison Glen

Descent into Poison Glen from the South West

  We arrived at the far end of our circuit on the summit of Slieve Snaght to an outstanding view in all directions with a crystal clear view down the coast to Tormore Island, Ireland's highest sea stack and I strongly suspect Co Mayo in the far, far distance. 

Approaching Slieve Snaght summit

 The following day a call for vertical pleasure was made and so we headed to Cruit Island for Patricia's first ever outdoor climbing experience. After romping up the first a half dozen V.Diff routes, a request for something a tad more taxing was made and we ascended a further 4 routes up to hard severe. The ante was raised on the last two climbs by adding a modicum of atmosphere in the form of an abseil above the ocean and a hefty jug haul through a 40 degree overhang. 

"Aquamarine" above the flat calm Atlantic

"Splits" Far West Buttress

Top Out of the overhanging chimney

Coiling the rope whilst Oscar observes

Post crux on "Crackn Slab"

 And so, having properly romped through 10 routes with massive smiles all round, we went for something entirely different, we went underground. "Subterranean Innovation" is a route devoid of holds, gear, stylish climbing or a view. Once again the ever smiling Patricia thrutched up the ever narrowing groove to the summit.

Squirmfest climbing

 The following day a visit to Shambhala was the order of the day, and sho, a coastal walk along Ireland's most outstanding coastline of An Port to visit the viewpoint overlooking Cnoc na Mara and Glenlough Bay was our mission.

An Port Bay, Donegal

 Mid afternoon we were joined by Brian Forrest of North West Sea Kayaking, and so Brian and Patricia went for an ocean paddle whilst I stayed on Terra firma guarding the coffee and towels! :-) 

 A most excellent three days in the Donegal uplands was had, with Patricia currently planning her return visit as Cnoc na Mara once viewed is now very much on the menu. :-)





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