Malin Head 13/14/15 September 2024

Malin Head 13/14/15 September 2024

I am absolutely convinced that Inishowen in general, and Malin Head in particular, will be a regular feature, year on year, as a “go to” event for IMC trad climbing aimed at middle grades.  The whole area is excellent for a trad climbing meet at any grade, but more especially for the “handier” grades for this intended first IMC taster event.

IMC hasn’t been there as such in recent times that I know of, but the annual Donegal Climbfest organised by local Colmcille Climbers (think Alan Tees) attracts all comers, and this year was based at Mayday Weekend where we will be based in September. I was sent there undercover on a scouting mission and here is what I found.

Basecamp of choice is a campsite, located in a remote corner of the field behind the Seaview Tavern The Seaview also does a well stocked food shop, petrol, bar-food, B&B, fully fledged seafood restaurant, full breakfast for campers, and the odd pint. Swimming beach right below the Tavern, well walkable. The set-up is rather like a modern-day up-market version of 1960s Jack Walsh’s in Glencar sur mer.

Google Maps for the Seaview,-7.3332977,17z/data=!4m9!3m8!1s0x488aac991b3c20e3:0xe607fa78bac223ee!5m2!4m1!1i2!8m2!3d55.3672432!4d-7.3311981!16s%2Fg%2F1vyk22qm?entry=ttu.

Some stats :

  1. 4.00 hours ex-M50,
  2. The whole climbing area of Inishowen is spread over a tiny footprint 30km x 15km, see map below.
  3. The median grade is HS with a good spread of classy routes below that, as well as above, see diagram below.
  4. At the immediate area of Malin Head itself,
    • everything is within 4km of the campsite itself,
    • has enough climbing to keep most parties going for many weekends, see diagram below, bring your bicycle?  
    • add that there are tourist tracks along the cliff-tops so getting around is unusually handy,
    • offshore rocks and deep inlets make it particularly easy to identify exact location,
    • there are excellent top anchors for easy abseiling everywhere necessary. 
    • and then, there is a coffee truck at the tower on top of the headland that does excellent coffee and even better pastries and brownies.
  1. The campsite is a large field out back of the pub, with a corner free to climbers, which is campfire friendly, is handy to the bar food and drink, and the bar is connected to both their B&B, restaurant, food shop, and petrol station. Swimming is off the beach below, 5 minutes walkable, this side of the pier.
  2. About 16 hours a day it is possible to sneak into the pub toilet.

From an organiser’s perspective, it runs itself, “just add weather”.

The rock is reported “grippy” when wet (I went cycling the one poor day we had this Mayday so I can’t say first-hand). I attach some sample photos of some climbing at easy grades (the ones as it happens we did), and I would have to say that the first ones, all on a route called “Cutting Edge”, show a route that holds its head up absolutely anywhere for sheer quality, at any grade, not just at V. Diff. They even have a headland with a crag where ropes aren’t really needed, or maybe use them and climb alpine style, which is how the locals train on it, called the Washboard Wall.

Climbfest 2023 Topo Guide

Enjoy the attached suite of photos.

David Walsh

P.S. Members with direct knowledge of the area and especially the climbing there, please make contact.

  • 1 Brand new Malin Head Guidebook of 100 selected best routes
  • 2 Malin Head Guidebook Area Covered 30x15km
  • 3 Malin Head Guidebook Grades of the 100 selected routes
  • 4 Malin Head - Crags in the immediate area
  • Cutting Edge 1 Abseil in
  • Cutting Edge 2 Pitch 1 Looking Upwards
  • Cutting Edge 3 Pitch 1 Looking Across and down
  • Cutting Edge 4 Pitch 1 Looking Down at
  • Cutting Edge 5 Pitch 2 Looking Up
  • Cutting Edge 6 Pitch 2 Looking Down
  • Cutting Edge 7 Pitch 2 Top of
  • Malin Head General View above Fitzgerald Wall Abseil
  • Malin Head Magdalen Carbolic 1
  • Malin Head Magdalen Carbolic 2
  • Malin Head Magdalen Carbolic 3
  • Malin Head Sunning Gael
  • Malin Head Washboard Wall
  • Malin Laundry Niamhs Route
  • Malin Laundry Galway Girl