From 2 - 4 August a group of Belfast Climbers decided to roam west in a case of cross-club relations to join the IMC meet to Kilcar in Donegal. The day started off swimmingly by taking a necessary tributary off the motorway through various Antrim towns to pick up Kyle later than expected at 8am. However, soon we were back on course and Donegal was beck-oning. After a necessary pitstop for fuel and an unfortunate spinal injury in the water closet of Tescos we arrived at Slieve League to greet our IMC friends. Looking at each other to assess our sanity we precipitously headed to the belay to descend despite the stream of protestations from the Dublin crew. Kyle in a spate of delight started his ascent of Main Mast (E2), well known as one of the best multipitch E2s in the country. As Kyle went up his gear rained down as a karbiner and his phone tumbled into the Atlantic below; despite this his reign was not stopped and he safely reached a make shift belay (when he ran out of rope). Looking out towards Roaring Forties (VS) we spotted fellow BCC member Alistair. We greeted him with a flood of joy and enquiries over the climb – he greeted us by stating, “It’s been emotional”. However, soon the sun greeted from the sky, soon Main Mast was complete and soon the rock dried. Despite this, the IMC members had already departed Sail Rock for hot tea and more watery showers leaving the 3 BCC members with an ab rope and all the rock to play on.
Vicky and Jamie next decided to try Roaring Forties themselves with Vicky leading 1st and 3rd, Jamie the 2nd. Soon, they fully comprehended the previous “emotion” of Alistair. The rock was loose, crumbly and fickle- severe going on E6. Massive kudos to Alistair for leading the 2nd pitch (the most crumbly) in the earlier, less than ideal, conditions. The horrendous first 2 pitches gave way to a fantastic 3rd but, as Jamie summarised, perhaps not worth climbing the first 2? Meanwhile Kyle used the ab to shunt a few E5s etc on the face as well as take a questionable dip in the Atlantic in search of his phone. With our fun complete for the day we headed to the pub to join the IMC and reunite with Alistair for a fantastic meal before heading to the campsite for beer and slumbers.
The next day Jamie woke Vicky and Kyle early with a meek clamouring, “I want to climb”. Without much delay Vicky, Kyle, Jamie and Alistair headed to Muckross and were there for 9 o’clock soon to be joined by about 10 from the IMC. The steep overhangs of Muckross were intimidating for most. However, Kyle still managed to lead Cois Farraige (VS), Elvis twice (E3) and Stormy Petrel (E4) with very little difficulty. Jamie and Vicky were also successful with Jamie leading Tricky Dicky (VS), Primula (VS), The Barb (E1) and Elvis (E3) and Vicky leading Froth (HS), Nuts and Berries (HVS) and Joy of Frogs (HVS). Meanwhile Alistair seconded the most routes of the day and made some much appreciated coffee. Much banter was had with the IMC with shared climbs, a drone and chit chat. However, they might be perturbed by how willingly members of the BCC take their tops off as 75% of our cohort exposed vast quantities of skin over the weekend while a more civilised 0% of Dublin skin was displayed.
Overall a fantastic weekend was had and (hopefully) we shall have a joint meet with our new friends again soon!