Magical Mystery Tour

(by Gerry Moss, November 2010 to January 2011)
New-routing at a secret crag somewhere in Ireland.

Episode 1

The Government ministers aren’t the only ones running around like headless chickens. Half the time I don’t know whether I’m coming or going, either. Like last Saturday, for instance. Perhaps because it was still dark when we started out, or perhaps it was because Margaret drives so fast that everything goes by in a blur. Then again, it may have something to do with the fact that I get so comfortable that I keep nodding off. Joe was no use, at all, at all, – slept the whole way.

Anyhow, we arrived at this smashing crag, but I don’t know where it is, so I can’t give you any reliable information on its location. We did get chatting to a couple out for a stroll in the hills, and they had lovely soft southern accents, if that’s any help. But no, they did point out that they were blow-ins, so we’re back to square one. All I can tell you is that there was lots of unsullied rock, and we got busy and sullied some of it.

Four routes so far – 3 at VS and one at Severe, and each of us got to put up a route on good, solid, steep rock, with small, sharp holds, well protected where it is needed. I’d give you more details only I can’t find my notes. I’ll take more pictures the next time, if we can find our way back to it, because there is lots still to be done.

I wish I could be more specific – honestly. It’s no shame to be growing old, but it does have its drawbacks.

Episode 2

Tricky old weather on Saturday. Fine and dry, but as temperatures hovered around the four to five mark, it was a bit on the cold side for trad rock. Unless, of course, you knew of a sheltered, south-facing, sun-catching crag. No problem!

So, just as dawn was breaking, Margaret, Joe and myself set off, driving north (or was it south) along frost-fringed roads, heading for our secret crag in County Watway.

We were greeted with blue skies, sun-kissed rock and temperatures bordering on the balmy. Way to go!

As we sat on top, there were several deer (or were they extra-large rabbits) foraging in the woods below the crag, while we gazed out over low, and not so low, rolling hills, and a large lake (or was it the sea) glistening in the background/foreground.

This suntrap is a larger, steeper, more in-your-face, version of Barnbawn, with sound rock and good friction. The climbing is often steep and technical, with small fingerholds, calling for neat footwork and a good eye for gear placements. So far we have a batch of solid VS routes and a couple of easier ones and, as yet, we are only nibbling at the fringes.

This is Magaret, enjoying new-routing in fine conditions.

All this, and only an hour from Dublin. No, wait. I’m forgetting that I dozed off for an hour. Or was it more? Or less? Hard to tell. Trouble is, I cant see my watch without my glasses, which I always leave at home. Anyhow, I cant get the hang of these digital watches – I’m still trying to put mine an hour forward for Wintertime. Or should that be an hour back? Who cares.

Never mind. Full details of this fine crag will be available for your enjoyment shortly.

Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life…. Ah, yes. Clint Eastwood in The Sound of Music. You can’t beat the classic movies. Or was that John Wayne in Mary Poppins?


Here’s looking at you, Sid. 

Episode 3

We were back there again this Saturday, once more in glorious sunshine.

It was here the poet had in mind when he wrote:

No cold wind blows there, No biting snow’s there,
Tis a hidden haven for boats and men,
There’s buttery cream there and honey-bees teem there,
All around Mavourneen’s Glen.

On a busy day we each got to add a new route to the collection.


I would really like to tell you more, but my two climbing partners have threatened me with all kinds of violence if I say a word. It’s no shame being old and feeble, but it does have its drawbacks. However, I’ve decided to be brave and give you a clue. Study the following carefully: