In part 3 of a 3-part series, mountain instructor Iain Miller takes us on a rock climbing adventure in Donegal.
County Donegal in the northwest of Ireland contains more climbable rock than the rest of Ireland combined, boasting two major Irish mountain ranges, over a thousand kilometres of coastline, one hundred sea stacks and as many diverse climbing mediums and locations as you will find in the rest of the country.
All told, Donegal plays host to several lifetimes of world class rock climbing, in some of the most beautiful, remote and unspoilt locations in Ireland.
Yes, Donegal is rock climbing heaven.
There are currently a shade under 3,000 rock climbs recorded throughout the length and breadth of the county.
These climbs include Ireland’s longest rock climb, Ireland’s largest mountain crag, Ireland’s longest ice climb and Ireland’s highest sea stack as well as many more standard single and multi-pitch venues above the sea, by the road, on the islands and in the mountains.
From Ireland’s most developed rock climbing location to Ireland’s most remote point of land at Glenlough, their are places that will suit every pair of walking legs. Glenlough contains a vast amount of excellent, if a little adventurous rock climbing.
At the southern end of the bay sits Tormore Island at 148 metres at its summit, this is Ireland’s highest sea stack. This huge square topped stack can be seen for many kilometres along the coast either side of it. It can even be clearly seen from the Dungloe/Kincaslough road some 40 kilometers to the north.
In the centre of the bay a further three huge sea stacks sits. Each of these three sea stack present a very different mountaineering challenge for the aspiring summiteers.
By far the hardest and potentially the most dangerous of these climbs is the most northerly tower named Jenga Tower and for anyone who has played Jenga, you will get the idea of the rock quality on the sea stack.
Running along the north wall of Glenlough is the aptly named “The End’s of the Earth Crag,” this cliff is a contender for most remote rock climbing location in Ireland and provides excellent slab climbing in a truly mind blowing location above a huge sea level blowhole.
Iain Miller is a fully qualified mountain instructor with over 30 years experience and is company director of Unique Ascent which provides outdoor adventure holidays, outdoor activities and mountain training courses with a difference. To find out more about Unique Ascent and the outdoor adventure packages they offer, visit their website Unique Ascent.