If Heineken did Trad Meets – they’d be nothing compared to IMC weekends away! Dave Walsh led this adventure of a lifetime and he kicked off our first briefing by reminding us that islands are special places and that we were lucky to be there – he is right sometimes so!
There were so many amazing things about this weekend but to cut to the chase – the highlight for 5 of the less experienced climbers – was that every single one of us got to put up at least one new route. And that was a first for all of us. True there were sleepless nights – but only because we tossed and turned thinking of publishable names for all the new routes.
But back to the beginning…. wake up to sunshine, walk 3 mins to swim in a gorgeous sandy cove over-looked by Grace O’Malley’s Tower, meet and laugh with like-minded loonies to say Aye Aye to each other and plan for the day ahead. Then cycle along a grassy road through fields with rolling green hills on your right and the glistening sea to your left (though it was a route that weirdly seemed to be uphill on the way there and uphill on the way home!) Enjoy being followed by the sound of a cuckoo every morning and stop at the freshwater spring to fill your bottle, then leave the bike by the field gate (no lock) and hike down to the sea cliffs and the medieval promontory fort. See native brown hares dart into the distance, carefully pass a pair of nesting Shags with chicks, and watch gorgeous guillemots flitting by. And ye haven’t even started to climb!
At the end of each day, right beside the accommodation at the port (camp site, B&B, self-catering apt. – your choice and all within a few mins walk) there was a hopping pub that served up food, pints, and live music. Some of us weren’t sensible…
Honestly if ye get the chance to do any of these weekend meets – don’t miss out! They are generally based around the most stunning locations in Ireland (poss the world but we might be biased), the group dynamic is relaxed and fun, and there’s typically a cool mix of climbers of all abilities and ages.
In golfing parlance this would have been called a Pro-Am with the Pro’s – Dave, Gerry, Paddy, Brian and William mentoring and cheering on the enthusiastic and grateful amateurs – Andreea, Tim, Jill, Colm, Niamh and myself. There were supporters too as Patricia and Dervla joined us in the evenings to hear the glory stories.
Thanks so much to Dave and all Pro’s who for some reason refer to themselves as “the pensioners” – is it me or does that lack a certain element of creativity? And I don’t think it’s a term that would occur to anyone watching them climb. The boy Gerry Moss was in great form too btw; first out-the-door scouting brill new routes and last off the cliff-face every day.
At the end of it all – I’m left with two questions;
What’s the secret sauce Gerry?
And Dave – when’s the next island meet?
Do yourself a favour – don’t miss it!
PS The Pro’s are compiling the climbs and more info on that will follow.