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Well the summer finally arrived last Friday for our Intro rock climbing course 
in the wonderful Gap of Dunloe for 7 workmates from Cork.

The day began cloudy enough alright but soon the sun began to poke through and it wasn’t long before it provided us with the perfect day!!!

We began the day by covering knots and  how to tie ourselves into the rope.Everyone picked this up pretty quickly and once this was mastered we set about learning the vital skill of belaying.

Belaying refers to the technique used in climbing to exert friction on a climbing rope so that a falling climber does not fall very far. A climbing partner typically applies the friction at the other end of the rope whenever the climber is not moving, removing the friction from the rope whenever the climber needs more rope in order to be able to continue climbing.

Soon we were climbing some of the superb climbs on the wonderful mountain crag of “Bothán”. I had already been up here earlier on before the gang arrived and had set up ropes on the mighty fine climbs of Agent Orange, Private Investigations, Baldy and the classic Spider …
Really fantastic to see a group who had no real previous climbing experience  and now climbing such difficult and challenging routes as these!!! 

When muscles began to tire we took a break from the climbing  and went to the TOP of the crag where the group got to do an abseil for the first time!!! A few nervous moments as each one clipped into the rope and walked backwards over the edge of a 40ft sheer drop and controlled their own descent down the  vertical sandstone cliff face….Everyone felt a fantastic sense of achievement (and a huge sense of relief!) when their feet finally touched the horizontal!!! The day passed so quickly and soon it was time to wrap up. With exhausted forearms and sun kissed faces we return to our cars with everyone still buzzing from such an exciting and amazing day in such a truly wonderful setting. Already making plans to come back again and next time do the full day course….They just couldn’t get enough!!!  The midgies even stayed away for us,so a perfect day all round.. 

An altogether different day today, Sunday 22nd as I returned to the “Reeks” for our traverse of one of Irelands biggest and toughest horseshoes-the Hags Glen circuit.

I was guiding two friends from County Cavan on their attempt of this massive route.Unfortunately we were unsuccessful and on reaching the summit of Cruach Mhór we decided to abandon our attempt on safety grounds due to the severe gale force winds and pelting rains and we beat a sheepish retreat back to Cronin’s Yard and made plans to return again and have another crack off this irish classic mountain trek!!!!