Saturday, 19 June 2010

Pabbay Mingulay 2010

On the 4th of June a team consisting of Alex, Rob (DMM/ Ex-joe's), Helena (PYB), Rich (Ex-joe's), Sam Underhill, Gyles Elliot, George Ullrich, Ian Wilson, Blair Fyffe, Gareth Marshall and Ian Small went to Pabbay/Mingulay.

Although the trip had a bit of a false start, we managed to catch a ferry eventually. On day one we managed to break the huge truck we had borrowed, and thus had to return to Llanberis for no Tea and no Medals.

The gigantic truck (after it had broken down)

After a wacky races style ascent of the country the next morning we caught the 4pm ferry from Oban to Barry.

Who are these guys????.....The're not with us.

Already the spirits were high and the excitement was pretty apparent. Only Gaz, Helena, Ian and Blair had been to these uninhabited remote Scottish Isles before and were all keen to build the excitement with talk of brilliant 100M free hanging abseils and amazing rock.

After camping the night in Barra we met up with Donald the boatman at 9.
As we approached Pabbay you could tell everyone was getting twitchy. Everyone was grinning from ear to ear.

Rob taking a moments R & R

Day 1 on Pabbay: After setting up camp we all headed up and over the hill to the main climbing areas. As we descended down and round some crags the great arch cam into view!..................Wow!

The first route to be climbed were going to be down on the Poop Deck. I geared up for an exceptionally steep looking E1 and started to climb. About 5 meters to the left I could see Rob making his way up another 3 star E1. He looked solid. I however was definately feeling the decisive flash pump. Good holds but man it felt steep.

After groveling my way over the top I was slightly concerned as to whether this holiday was going to consist of me having mares on E1's the whole time. eek!

After a couple more amazing routes we decided enough was enough and we had to get on a route over by the great arch. We decided on the priest. The route was way more steady than those on the poop deck and a lot easy to read. Phwoo! maybe the holiday was salvageable!

A route called Eu-i won the vote for the next days climbing. The group split into two teams. One to Pink walls and one to Grey wall Recess.

100M abseil into grey wall recess.

Abseiling into the cathedral like crag of Grey wall recess is definately very intimidating. 100M of abseiling is a long time to consider the steepness of the crag and the distance to the ground.

As our team moved up through the initial steepness, we began to realise that the holds on this cliff were winners all around. Amazing climbing up a brilliant wall! The next three pitches also excelled.

Rich on Eu-i E2 5C

After topping we were soon comitting back down the ab rope for another.
This roiute was called Mix master Snipe. What a name!

The climbing up this section of wall was again absolutely awesome. Big holds, steep, Brilliant moves, good gear and amazing quality rock.

We returned to camp very late!

Next morning we headed out for another day on the great arch. This time to do one of the most famous routes in Scotland...... Prophecy of Drowning.

Rich on the middle pitch of prophecy

Before climbing this route we wondered how on earth a route like the priest only got two stars.
Our expectations were high for prophecy. It didn't disappoint.
After making your way up the lovely juggy slabs at the bottom the route suddenly hits you with a mass of exposure as you pull wildly round a corner into a hanging groove system. You then move up this with as much style and composure as you can muster and belay in an awesome position level with the roof of the great arch.

After a quick middle pitch you start making your way up to the obvious bulge in the corner (crux). Although this has good holds it still requires some concentration to make it look controlled. (nice one rob!)

Rich just reached the belay after the crux pitch of Prophecy

The route finishes up a fine wall on good holds.

We returned to camp ready for a restful afternoon and a quick climb in the morning before the boat arrived to take us to Mingulay.

The Place to camp on Pabbay!

Arrive Mingulay! The obvious choice for the first days climbing was to be the crag Dun Mingulay. With classic routes ranging from E2 up, this crag was sure to up the anti for the holiday. Myself and Rob managed three routes this day! We started with the classic E3 Voyage of Faith. We then moved onto an outstanding route called Sula (Only E2 on the crag). This proved to be the best route of he day with wild climbing over roofs and through overlaps with amazing holds which allowed for some funky shapes to be thrown.

Rob having just finished the crux of Sula E2 5B

Lastly we moved onto another E3 called Sirens. This didn't have quite the same amount of jugs we were expecting, however the climbing was still of top class.

The next day we had some rain so climbing was only available late into the afternoon. We headed out with the intention of doing a 3 star HVS called the arch deacon. After approaching and abbing in we realised that there were a lot of nesting birds on the cliff so the pan had to be aborted. We climbed back out another route and headed over the the Guarsey Mor. We scambled down to almost the bottom and realised that this was out as well. The waves were washing half way up the cliff! oop! To finish up the day we watched Ian and Blair climb a ridiculous E5 called road to itchiban?

The next morning we headed back out to Guarsey Mor. We did two amazing E2's with nice technical climbing on more great rock before we had to return to be picked up by the boat.

Gaz and Rich on Guarsey Mor

What a trip! I know i'll be keen for another trip next year!
If anyone's got any questions about how to get to these places please pop in the shop and have a chat! I'm going to do a gear review and Trip plan for getting to Pabbay and Mingulay soon so keep a look out!



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