Dave: Ken, Myself and friends have just been way for a week climbing at Fairhead in Northern Ireland. I would like to give a massive thanks to Sean McBride for allowing camping and access to his land, and for making our stay so fantastic, we enjoyed the many interactions and chats all sharing similar values and views of the world today. If you want more luxury than camping, he does have a nice cottage recently converted for hire, ideal for climbers.
I would also like to thank the Dal Riada Climbing Club & Mountaineering Ireland for organising the meet, the atmosphere at the crag was brilliant, being able to chat to fellow lead climbers to your sides makes the venue feel a lot less intimidating and people to help you identify the tops of each crag makes for a more efficient day.
The climbing is like all the best coastal crags of Skye (Neist’s Financial Sector, Rubha Hunish, Staffin Slips and Kilt Rock) all packed into one even higher mega crag, I was impressed! I would recommend being happy climbing E2 or above on the Skye crags before a visit, we did some easier routes, but HVS felt like E2 and a few E1’s felt like E2. There is gear almost on demand if you have a big enough rack for the 40m pitches so none of routes felt bold, but they were all steep, long and some very sustained.
For me the route of the trip was An Bealach Rhunda, it wasn’t the hardest or steepest climb, but every pitch was outstanding adventure climbing, any route accessed via a 90m abseil is going to feel adventurous. The first pitch for me is what dreams of made of, 37m meters of jamming between volcanic columns whilst bridging between the cliff and a free-standing tower. Some large hexes or a big cam could have been useful but despite the sustained climbing it never felt insecure. The second pitch was sensational, climbing on top of the pillar and climbing steeply up to a mega party ledge to belay, the final pitch was the easiest but was a true adventure pitch weaving a way to the summit behind another pillar with a great crack in the head wall to finish.