Bray Heads

(by Gerry Moss, September 2007)
Climbing at Bray Head, Co. Wicklow.

Well, our Indian Summer is starting to slip quietly away. Tuesday last looked like being the end of the settled weather, so myself and Liam made the most of a sunny morning with a quick trip to the sea cliffs on Bray Head.

A gentle breeze and a low tide meant trouble-free access to the foot of the climbs in the Pulpit area on Bracket Wall (routes from Diff to HVS).

As this area is north facing, it is free of nesting birds, and is always clean as a consequence.

Though only a short distance from Dalkey, climbing here is a totally different experience to the quarry. All the climbs are accessed by abseil and, as there are no trees or gorse bushes around, abseil anchor points have to be selected and made secure. In addition, good belaying techniques and rope management are important. Lessons learned here will stand climbers in good stead when they visit bigger, more serious, sea cliffs.

The rock here is a type of slate – dense, dark and smooth, with excellent friction when dry. Protection is usually available, handolds are often small and sharp, and footholds sometimes rounded, so the emphasis is often on good footwork.