Thursday 18 June 2009

The Scottish Midge.

So we got the ferry from Larne in N. Ireland to Troon in Scotland on the 11th of June.
We spent a couple of days helping out with my parents new house. Jess learned how to plasterboard and practiced her delegation skills when it came to the plastering.

The house is starting to look house like (rather than building site like as it was when i last visited).

From there we drove north a little hunting good weather.
We had hopped to climb on the Etive Slabs in Glen Ettive but the weather would not play nice.
We stopped for the obligatory GlenCoe picture before driving on to Fort William and found a break in the weather in Glen Nevis.
We got one very good climb in. Storm, HVS 5a on Cavalry Buttress before getting chased off by rain and midges.
Fantastic 4c middle pitch (Dunk had pitch envy cos it was mine ho ho ho!).

Midges ruled the rest of the day keeping us in the van and even found a way in during the night leaving us scurrying to block midge leaks.

The next day we were booked in to The Ice Factor in Kinlochleven to try a different sort of climbing.
It was actually surprisingly easy, as long as i remembered to forget any sort of footwork associated with rock climbing.

When our forearms eventually gave out we returned to Loch Awe-side to the parent's house.

The next day my parents had the day off so after a little debate over what to do we all settled on a boat trip exploring the many runis on the little islands up and down Loch Awe.
You should be able to see our trip here.
(My phone battery ran out on our way home so you don't actually get the last bit...) (I would just like to say I don't condone this high level of geekiness - Jess)

Our next destination is still a little undecided. The weather forecast *nearly* looks good enough to head up to Ardnamerchan but we will probably decide for sure when we are on the road.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

From Dublin to the Scottish ferry.

Having sorted out the last few bureaucratic bits and pieces in Dublin, we hit the road on Wednesday heading north to Scotland with a couple of pitstops on the way in the Mournes and Fairhead to get used to the damp weather and midges waiting for us over the water.

We stopped at Pidgeon in the Mournes to climb a few quality E1s. Dunk rattled through Castrol and Yellow Brick Road with style. Typically, it started raining as I (Jess) headed up my first Mournes E1 - Phantoms. Then the midges came out to feast on poor Dunk who was stuck belaying. We ploughed on.

Once finished, it was time to do a legger to escape the dreaded midge. We headed further north to camp in Murlough Bay for the night. Murlough Bay is a fantastic spot with spectacular views of the islands of Rathlin, Islay (where Dunk and his single malts are from), Ailsa Craig and the Mull of Kintyre. You can also see Fairhead. Dunk managed to negotiate the van down the tiny track with multiple warnings of road subsidence until the poor van bottomed out on a particularly high bump and had its waste pipe ripped off. Oh dear!! So we decided to stop there for the night.

I led up a friendly VS to warm us up (although it was bloody cold especially belaying in the shade) and then Dunk headed up a classic E1 line on the Prow - Midnight Cruiser. 5b moves kept him working all the way up.

With the E1 in the bag, it was time to pack up and hit the road to try to make the 5.30 pm ferry from Larne to Troon and to warm up!

Monday 8 June 2009

The Irish Leg!

So with a cheerio to work and college, we finally set of on Friday, 29/May.

We made a quick pitstop in Arklow to drink some bubbly to celebrate the eventual start of the trip before heading to Waterford to visit Daithi and wee Ailbhe and Manus.

Having got those nice people's seal of approval on the van (and leaving Jess to mind the kids while Dathi and Dunk make some van modifications) we set off for Co Clare to meet various other climber types. Poor Dathi had to stay home playing happy families.

Co Clare was fantastic. Beautiful weather (Dunk even got his shirt off), good company, beer and a van to keep the midges out! Bloody midges! There was climbing at Aillidee, Murroughkilly and swimming at Fanore and it was all topped off with the first cup of tea in the van.

After wearing our very unfit arms out on the good Clare limestone, we caught the ferry to Kerry.
We pottered about Kerry for a few days. The Beara Peninsula was nice. Fantastic weather again and lots of rock although our tired arms did not allow climbing that day.

From there we went on to the Gap of Dunloe to pull on a little sandstone. Met lots of local climbers on our first evening out who kept showing up again over the next few days. For any climbers who have not gone to the Gap yet,it's definitely worth a visit. Unfortunately we did not take many pictures while there.

After Jess drained her arms pulling her first E1 of the season (Fat Boys Don't Fall at Brennan's Leap), we decided to tire the legs out on Howling Ridge, Carrantuohill. Luck was with us as all the showers missed us while actually on the ridge. However, there was a bowsy of a hail shower waiting for us on the summit.

Fuelled by sugar we took the long way down along Knockbrinnea Ridge with views back over the now sunny Carrantuohill. The descent saw Jess' legs become jellified and there was a fabulous cold shower 10 minutes out from the van. All in all, it was a great day.

That evening we headed for Dingle/ An Daingean for a fish and chip supper and to take advantage of the bizarre free wifi on the pier.

After a morning trip to Play At Height (climbing wall) in An Daingean Sunday saw the end of our time in Kerry, now Jess' new favourite county.
Back to Dublin to visit Ross and a v.pregnant Izzy for a bit of dinner so Dunk can go to the tax office on Monday.

Probably heading to Scotland around the middle of this week (probably taking a wee trip to The Mountains of Mourne and Fairhead on the way to the ferry...)

Saturday 6 June 2009

Leaving work.

one day dunk decided to quit work.

(actually he had been telling people he was going for about a year at this stage.)
it was quite a strange experience as i'd been there 6 years which is an unnaturally long time for me to be employed.

obviously me leaving work involved drinking and ice cream.

there were lots of other pictures taken that night but they have mercifully gone missing.
i'm sure they will appear in the comments section...

so anyway, enough about past lives and on with the trip...