Another Irish climbing blog starts!

Firstly, I should start off. I took a break from writing for a period, just wasn't psyched to do it for various reasons. I'm also quitting Facebook so if anyone thinks anything is of interest here, please feel free to share it out. I just won't be myself. Happy reading!


Irish Climbers:

Caroline Harney Ayton has just started her own - add it to the list of Irish writers I'm aware of. Two really interesting posts so far on what she's doing.

who else?

Colm Shannon - always psyched on Irish rock!

Dave Ayton - infrequent updates but usually after a big tick.

Trish Fox - just back from Rocklands in South Africa so suspect there's going to be quite a bit of inspiration here for a while.

Ricky Bell - always motivated of climbing in Ireland and doing extremely out-there routes.

And interestingly, is that all? I have a list of around 20 other blogs but almost all show the last post was at least 200+ days ago. Where did everyone go? Granted the world, and technology, has moved on and in many ways the new 'blog' is people posting incessently to Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/etc. However as a blog allows the opportunity to write longer-form, more thoughtful posts (as Caroline amply demonstrates in her first few, great, posts!) it's a pity if the concept of writing/blogging disappears. I think I'll use this new blog as an incentive myself to start writing more frequently again, I've been relatively slack in the past few months myself.......

 

So, what have I been doing?

Wicklow 100km - did the Wicklow 100 about a month or so ago. A great laugh and it turned out I was relatively fit from my daily 13km commute (in each direction) - I also don't do thinks half-assed so went pushed myself enough for what was a non-competitive event. It won't ever become my primary sport but it was a good laugh to go out for a charge across Wicklow on the bike. It also led to an interesting conversation on a future work opportunity.....

I oh-so-badly wish I'd been good enough to do the Wicklow 100 on this little thing.......

I oh-so-badly wish I'd been good enough to do the Wicklow 100 on this little thing.......

More cycling has since occurred and watching some climbing - knocked out a few fun cycles around County Clare, as well as joining into one of the big An Post events (constantly reminding me of how small climbing is - this event, with a €40 minimum entrance fee had at least 5,000 people taking part). Some days were glorious sunshine, others were soaking downpours where I probably would have stayed dryer in the sea! There's also been a very small bit of surfing and taking some fun photos of Naomi has she goes about her 2015 mission to tick off a pile of routes across Ireland.

Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. Wild and windy day....

Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. Wild and windy day....

Fanore, Co. Clare - never noticed this completely random road-side ornament before. Anyone know the history?

Fanore, Co. Clare - never noticed this completely random road-side ornament before. Anyone know the history?

Just another van in Clare. The era of camper vans is well and truly here in Ireland.

Just another van in Clare. The era of camper vans is well and truly here in Ireland.

Naomi rambling up ?Garbh? (I can't remember) - as always making easy work of the climb including the wild weather.

Naomi rambling up ?Garbh? (I can't remember) - as always making easy work of the climb including the wild weather.

Yoga in the Park - Naomi taught a class of 250-odd people. It was for charity (Laura Lynn Foundation) and it was so impressive to see the energy and enthusiasm from the crowd, and especially the organisers. Big shout out to Mark C for his lend of his drone, coming out to fly the drone (I wasn't too keen on learning to fly one over a massive crowd :) and then putting this cool little video together.

 

Climbing

Yes, you'll notice a lack of climbing on my part - I've essentially decided this year that I'm willing to admit I've lost all interest in trad climbing, and in particular Irish crags. I'm putting it down to just doing too much of it over the years, but a part of it is also a bit of historical legacy memories from watching some really bad accidents. To be honest, I think I've lost a lot of justification for reasons why to do a lot of trad - and route descriptions of 'safe-isn' falls do nothing to decrease my reasoning for putting serious injury on the line. If I'm honest though, I never really saw the point of doing this sort of thing (always climbing well within my limits, even on E5's - I remember getting to to the top of a couple and being very aware that it was barely a warm-up.....). Not taking away from those who are out there trying hard stuff, or even exploring for new stuff, but I can't make the justification/reasoning for why you'd do it.

On top of that, I've been a bit jaded recently. There was a few years of hard work while at Awesome Walls and Mountaineering Ireland. Working at the wall and managing a lot of tasks as well as writing the Irish Coaching Award (so proud of that, even if never will get any recognition for it!). What a lot of effort. So the past year has been a recuperation year - even if going back to IT has brought its own interesting challenges :)

 

 

So that leaves me in the situation where I've got bouldering to go at, and a route or two down in Wicklow Head! Still a decent amount which is great and my bouldering level is slowly coming up based off hard, consistent training (does anyone actually want to know what I've done, and do - I can write it up) to this point again.

That's two weeks old and is already out of date with respect to ability which is great. Nice steady, slow progress - the amusing benefit or learning for me in returning to IT for work is that the consistent hours make me much smarter about my training. I am definitely however an engine sitting up on blocks though - quite highly trained/tuned up, but haven't been fully integrated into the car/body yet so not putting the power/technique down well yet. It was evident in a short place on a 7a+ out on Howth and the new Rebel Wall (my opinion on that saga? I don't know if it did happen or not, but a call/text should have been made to ask clearance to try it and then gone and done it anyway - at least it showed respect for the community of people who are out there exploring. Again, only my opinion and I think all the people are amazing who are involved!). In short, I was feeling like I had real potential but will take a couple of sessions outdoors to learn how to apply it to rock. Again, looking good to start putting some time into some climbs if I feel like putting my mind to it. Fun times :)

I've also as usual got a few ideas on trips ready to go. Spain in October, November, and hopefully a longer trip in March with hopefully the new destination of Morocco to play on. New destinations await!!!!!!

Hope everyone else is enjoying themselves, getting out and about staying healthy in a positive sustainable way :)

Neal McQuaid