Charlie Woodburn is back from a fruitful couple of weeks enjoying some Irish trad climbing at Fairhead and the mini-Pembroke that is Ailladie (Burren), coming away with several classic E6's onsight, an E7 ground-up and a quick headpoint ascent of the Dark Side (E8 6c). He sent us the following account:
"Myself and Bristol’s most extreme painter & decorator Sash Coombes, spent a week in Fairhead followed by a week in the Burren, two places I’ve always wanted to climb but had never managed to go to until now. The trad climbing at both these crags is absolutely fantastic although very different – Fairhead being big, north facing, and having a brooding grandness to it and the Burren having a much smaller, more relaxed holiday vibe."
"We dodged some pretty crappy weather for the first few days, but after that managed to climb pretty much every day. Ricky Bell armed us with the ultimate Fairhead ticklist, and every single route we did is up there as one of the classics of UK trad. Major highlights were: Northern Exposure E5, Jolly Roger E3, onsighting the Littlejohn classic Above & Beyond E6, Born To Run E4 and Sash dispatching Face Value E4 in torrential rain!"
"I was keen to mostly onsight but was curious about having a look at some of Ricky’s harder lines too, so I had a brief top-rope play on The Big Skin (E8 6c), which I think is pretty hard. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get back on it due to various logistics and so ended up getting on The Dark Side (E8 6c) instead, which was nearer a project of Sash’s. The climbing on it is pretty straightforward physically but with a short sharp crux. The gear however is in some pretty hollow flakes in the lower half and then runs out altogether from about 50 foot below the top, so it’s a huuuuge runout but pretty chilled out climbing in a very cool position."
"In the Burren I was much more happy to fall off! Amazing gear, short routes and much more physical. We had a lot of sea mist and humidity so I was happy with the number of routes we did considering the conditions, including Ice Queen E5, Refraction E5, Damn The Torpedoes E6, Grey Dawn E5 all onsight and Very Big Springs E7 second go ground up."