Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Adventure Tourism in Ireland

 And Sho, a week of visitors to Donegal from the United States and Canada. The weather was suitably atmospheric with high winds, the odd deluge and a tad of nautical rage from our old friend Neptune. Which off course, made finding suitable adventurous places to play out at a tad more interesting and made the already adventurous locations a wee bit more terrifying. :-)
 First up for a wee adventure were Bob and Dorothy from New Mexico and with a visit to Cruit Island we made an ascent of a classic or three. We ended a day of bright sunshine on the island with a full ascent and traverse of the mighty Cave Rave. The following day a sheet of very low laying cloud meant a clifftop walk along the Slievetooey Peninsula from An Port was a tad emotional with pretty much 20m visibility for the walk into Glenlough Bay and the Ends of the Earth Crag. The only solution to the crisis was a visit to the summit of The Realm of the Senses Stack overlooking the Port road End. Now, no visit to Donegal under large sea conditions would be complete without a wee play on Tor na Dumhcha this outstanding sea stack just off the Gweedore coast line provides an excellent day out getting very close to an angry Neptune indeed.

Extreme Ireland Film

An Port Bay, Donegal       

Sea Stack Climbing in Ireland

An Port Sea Stack Summit

 The following day Alex and Zee from Toronto, Canada came for a wee play on the coast and with a swift sea stack summit en route to Ends of the Earth Crag, the day was set, for the sea was ramping 20 footers from the West. Thus making this a super atmospheric location to abseil onto a hanging ledge above the rage on Ireland's most remote climbing location. A strange anomaly exists at this crag as when the sea is pounding a fissure at the high tide mark sends explosions of atomised salt spray, at times higher than the crag with a resounding sonic boom. :-)  

Tormore Island, Ireland's Highest Sea Stack

Cruit Island Climbing

 Our third set of troopers were Josh and Clayton Sloan from Minnesota and they came to play on a day of UBER low spring tides. Which allowed us to climb two of the An Port Road End stacks with a coastaleering approach from Triple Arch Stack onto Fortitude in Distress Stack. This was the 2nd ascent of Fortitude in Distress stack and pretty much guaranteed 1st USA ascent of this mildly scary summit.    

Sea Cliff Climbing in Ireland

End's of the Earth Crag

Gweedore Rock Climbing

 Donegal Sea Stack Climbing is by far the most adventurous commercially activity in Ireland by a very long way and there is no requirement to have ever rock climbed before. All that is really required is a sense of adventure and perhaps a sense of humour.
 Lend me your eyes and I'll change what you see. :-)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Donegal Island Adventure

 An Sho, with many cunning plans for a wee bit of an adventure over the May Bank holiday weekend, the weather gods were having it large with a spot of low cloud and a hint of wind as the annual Climbfest, kicked off on Cruit Island. There was an excellent turn out with climbers travelling from all over the country to attend. A new wall got developed with routes from VS to E2 and several other new lines recorded on the existing crags of Golfers Crag and Farmhouse Buttress. Once again excellent work by Alan Tees and his team on another well organised Climbfest weekend.

Tyrolean Traverse Film

Donegal Climbfest

Climbfest Camp Fire

 On the Monday of the Climbfest as the crowds were beginning to thin in the low laying crowd an altogether smaller team of International players donned the thermals and went in search of vertical pleasure. A team of five from Singapore, and two teams of two from Omagh and Dublin went to play. We split into two sides with one side taking to the sea and the other trying to avoid it. :-) One Side heading to Traderg wall and descended to sea level where Neptune was very much in attendance and with a modicum of white watered rage we made a team ascent of "4 April Fools."
 Alas by this time the sea was by now bouncing proper and so we headed to Albatross Zawn to the shelter from Neptunes Ire. The Albatross Zawn provided excellent sheltered rock with all players getting up several routes and Princess Katy taking the yellow jersey on her ascent of a VS jamming crack as the sun came out.

Happy Ladies

Cruit Island rock Climbing

Donegal Sea Kayaking

Cruit Island Rock Climbing

Rope Coiling Lessons

Rock Climbing in the Sun

Topping out in the Sun

Cruit Camp Fire

  The morning after the day before and a rapid turn around in the weather, all hill walking plans were abandoned to favour of a Tyrolean Traverse across the Albatross Zawn. 
 "A Tyrolean Traverse is a method of crossing through free space between two high points on a rope without a hanging cart or cart equivalent." to quote Wikipedia.
 The rigging for the a Tyrolean especially one that spans a 50m+ stretch of sea takes a wee while to set up and involves a lot of prior planning if you wish to avoid swimming. :-) An hour or so later and 14 independent anchors, 100m of semi-static, 120m of dynamic, 20+ HMS karabiners and an assortment of softwear, our creation was ready for airtime and so John Mallon and myself took flight to test the fear factor of the beast.  
 It was now the turn of our international climbing team and so one by one everyone took flight across the zawn. This was a most excellent way to finish a four day stay on Cruit island. 
 This two day adventure holiday was organised in conjunction with Mark, Donna & John of 4 Elements NI 

Tyrolean Traverse
Mid Air Acrobatics

The Exit Point

Tyrolean Across the Zawn

Cruit Island Tyrolean Traverse

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Donegal Rock Climbers Guidebook 2013

 And Sho, after a bit of a technical struggle (for me) the Donegal Rock Climbers Guidebook 2013 is now on sale, it is a wee bit of an experiment in Ireland as this is the first rock climbers guidebook to be released in the form of an App. At present it is only available through Apple for the I-phone, but very shortly it will be ready for android users too.

A Wee Sample of the App

Home Screen

Donegal Map

 The amount of recorded rock climbing in Donegal is vast and would fill many books, this guide is a select guide to the county and covers all the best areas, islands, crags and routes.
 The App contains just over 1000 of the best rock climbs in Co Donegal and all the routes are featured as lines on photo topos. I've used a shade over 200+ photo topos and they were taken from the best angles to allow the user to best identify their chosen routes. To assist the first time visitor to each area and in the location of individual crags a series of crag topos were used where there is a group of crags in a specific small area. The crag topo's were taken from the best angle to get as many crags into one shot as possible.

Grade Chart

Sector Details

Crag Details

Google Earth

Crag Overview

Crag Topo

 The guide uses your phones in built GPS to allow the user to locate all the individual crags, islands, ferries, car parking, recommended camping spots and as much helpful information as I could think of as the entire guide is designed for the user/climber who has never before visited the county. 
 The actual crag topos are fully interactive and all routes are clickable links to highlight the line and display the route descriptions.

 In addition to the select guide I have produced a series of 21 definitive guides to the entire county, each is a sectional guide and is in PDF format. These definitive guides are all linked into the home pages of each chapter in the app and are available as free downloads from the Donegal On Line Guide.

 The most popular of these definitive PDF guide downloads are

 Cruit Island Guide   A 70 page guide to Cruit Island

 Gola Island Guide    A 44 page guide to Gola Island

 Donegal Sea Stack Guide   A 48 page guide to the sea stacks of Donegal.

 Malinbeg Guide    A 26 page guide to one of Donegal's original climbing areas.