This little beauty of a crag is 5 minutes drive outside the village of Castletownroche on the banks of the Blackwater river. The rock is Limestone and sound in most parts till the last 2-3 meters where it gets loose and messy, the crag requires a lot of gardening up top! Trees are used for belay. The climbs that have been recorded are about 20 meters in height and protection is good. There is a lot more scope for new routes although some potential lines look a bit bare in regards to protection. Apart from the below climbs most potential new routes would be from E1 and up. If it has been raining heavily the day before forget about it as the water seeps out through the rock and takes a while to dry. Also bring something to stand on as it can be a bit mucky.
We have made contact with the owner of the land and at present he seems happy enough for people to climb there so long as they have Mountaineering Ireland member insurance or something similar. Its on farmland so usual respect towards gates etc.
From Castletownroche take the N72 towards Ballyhooly and Fermoy, follow that road and after about 5 mins you will see a sign to the right for an old abbey, there is also a large dip in the road at this point. Drive straight on past this turn off and after almost exactly 1 mile there is a clearing on the right hand side of the road with a narrow dirt track, with a stone wall on either side turning down to the right. Park at the top of this track by the wall. From here take the track and follow the it till you reach the back gates of the farm house, from here follow the track down the hill to the right which brings you to the river. Enter the gate to the field on the left hand side just before the river and walk straight for the densely vegetated area on the opposite side of the field. In the winter the crag can just about be seen from the track but in the summer it is hidden from view. If nobody has been there in a while be prepared to bushwack your way through! You will find it at the back of all the veg, trees etc.
Tropic Thunder Area
These climbs start just right of the large overhang on the left hand side of the crag as you are facing it and go from left to right. The first two have the same start from where the there is a boulder on the ground closest the wall.
WARNING if you look up from here you will see a large section of rock at half height that resembles the shape of "Africa". Those boulders at your feet were removed from that section. What remains seems solid and would not move under pressure but it is quite hollow and when climbing we did not place any gear in this section and treated it very lightly and avoided putting too much weight on it. Caution is required. The first climb goes to the left of this section and the second climb goes to the right of this section.
WEST AFRICAN SAFARI 20m VS 4c
T. Mee, T. O Braoin
Slighty bold start (this gives it the VS grade), starting from where the boulder is climb the undercut section of rock to a comfortable stance on a horizontal break and place first piece of protection. From here climb to the groove under "africa" (caution required, read above) From here follow the obvious line up left and around "africa" and continue straight to top. Last two meters is messy with soil and some loose rock.
LORD OF THE FLIES*** 20m HVS 5b
T. O Braoin, T. Mee
Climb as for "west african safari" but from the groove move up right onto to crux which is a very balancy and delicate move out and across the main wall to good holds and a rest. Protection was in the groove below "africa" so a fall could be dramatic! From here follow the left trending diaganol break to its end and then straight to the top from here. Again top out a little messy with loose earth and rocks for last two meters. Excellent climb.
NEEDLE IN THE GROOVE*** 20m E1 5c
T. Mee, T. O Braoin
This climb follows the obvious corner system next to the tree about six or so meters to the right of "lord" Climb straight up to the small over hang where an awkward rest is given. From there climb the overhang to reach the second corner, the overhang section is a little run out as it is difficult to place gear. Straight to the top from here. Again top out a little messy with possible loose rock. Excellent but strenuous climbing
MASTERS HEDGE 6m
T. Mee (bouldering problem)
Just inside the field on the far right of the crag. Climb the arete of the obvious protruding block. Couple of nice moves.
WELCOME TO THE MACHINE 6m
T. Mee (bouldering problem)
Start down in the corner to the right of the large overhang on the left hand side of the crag. Climb the obvious overhanging crack line. Strenuous climbing on jugs. Lovely stuff.