Barnbawn – November 2002

(by Kieran Kelly, from IMC Newsletter Winter 2002)
An IMC meet to the little Co. Wicklow crag.

The weather leading up to the weekend was torrential rain; the talk on the Pyrenees for the Thursday night was cancelled because of flooding on 90% of the arteries leading to Church Inn. The Bray Head climbing meet for the previous week was cancelled due to the weather; so what chance would the meet to Barnbawn have of taking place?

Every chance; the forecast was for good weather on Saturday and they were right, not only that, we had sunshine all day at the crag. The crag is located a few miles off the main road between Glenealy and Rathdrum and offers 17 routes graded from D to HVS (for full descriptions see the Wicklow guide book). The attraction of this crag is in the off-season, as it is a nesting place for a pair of Peregrines, so climbing from March to the end of July is taboo and with good reason. The Peregrine is renowned as a ferocious hunter.

   The Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus, is one of the widest-ranging birds, and it is found throughout most of the world. It is dark slate-blue above, with a dark cap and dark moustache, and pale blue below, with a whitish throat and neck and a barred breast and belly. It is found mainly in open country in coastal mountains. The Peregrine falcon hunts by diving on its prey from heights of several hundred feet. It feed on rodents seized on the ground or birds seized in the air. He kills or stuns his prey with the tremendous impact of his feet. During its diving flight it has been clocked at 175 miles per hour.
  (Colliers Encyclopedia)

The meet organiser was Kevin Hutchinson; there was a total of twelve who attended, ten climbers and two dogs, a lot of encouragement was given to the Dulux dog to make his (?) way to the bottom of the crag but he declined.

Gerry Moss was on hand pointing out the various routes and giving some technical advice on different aspects of climbing. As is usual, most of the group started out on routes below their usual level as a warm up, then progressed on to their normal climbing grade before pushing for higher grades.

Some of the routes climbed on the day were:

   Ooh! Aah! D 11m
  McGrath D 11m
  An Grianán D 13m
  Le Taureau Brun de Cooley S 13m
  Eye of the Needle S 23m
  Damp Start Crack S 14m
  Swing Low HS 12m
  Lineker VS 13m
  Bonsai VS 16m
  Scud Guys Die Young VS 18m

Most of the group were on their way home or to the local watering hole by 15.45, except for a few stalwarts who were treading their way through the “Eye of a Needle”.