Erris Head/Danish Cellar
There is great potential for quality new routes in the area.
The routes described below are located on big slabs just east of the car park at Danish Cellar (OS .5 sheet 6, F 708 395) near Erris Head in the Belmullet Peninsula, North Mayo.
There are three principal areas of slabs (see Figure 3. New Climbs '82), all west-facing and located on ill-defined headlands. The top of the first area of slabs is visible from the car park at Danish Cellar and is characterised by the presence of green lichen and a vertical to overhanging headwall. They are reached by crossing a small steep-sided valley and stream adjacent to the car park. The second area of slabs is only a short distance further east and is characterised by large areas of featureless black rock. The third area of slabs is further east again (about 15 minutes walk from the car park). On the right there is a large black slab characterised by white speckles. Left of this the slabs are more complex with cracks and overhangs, but a long leftward-trending crack is characteristic.
The only belays possible on top are wooden or metal stakes, which can easily be driven into the soft bog. The slabs are composed of ancient quartzite and provide extremely unusual climbing in a magnificent situation.
FREAGHILLAUN 43m HVS 4c
T. Ryan, S. MacGerailt, P. Breen. 10/9/1989
The centre of the crag is split by an obvious dirty groove, usually seeping. This route takes the broad slab left of the groove and finishes up an obvious crack in the steep headwall. A band of overhangs traverses across the bottom half of the slabs. Belay on a small ledge below the dirty groove at the left-hand side of the widest part of the overhangs.
HELLSFIRE 43m E1 5a
T. Ryan, S. MacGerailt, P. Breen. 10/9/1989
This route starts as for Freaghillaun and takes the slab between the dirty groove and Pathfinder. Start at the base of the dirty groove at the left edge of the widest part of the overhang. Move right across the slab above the wide overhang to a ledge at the base of a vegetated groove. Continue up rightwards on steepening lichenous rock to a vague diagonal crack, hidden in the lichen and climb directly up the overhanging wall above on increasingly large holds to finish at a cleaned ledge at the top. Excellent exhilarating climbing.
PATHFINDER 43m HVS
T. Ryan, O. Jacob. 1/12/1982
The green lichenous slabs visible from the car park are best viewed from a small promontory just opposite the slab. They are bordered on the right side by a prominent arête and a band of stepwise overhangs crosses the slab from right to left. This route takes the broad slab left of the groove and finishes up an obvious crack in the steep headwall. A band of overhangs traverses across the bottom half of the slabs. Belay on a small ledge below the dirty groove at the left-hand side of the widest part of the overhangs. Pathfinder takes the slab on the right of the dirty groove.Move up left over the overhang. Continue leftwards, up the lichenous slab to reach the crack near the top. Climb steeply up this. Poor protection. Stake belay.
CLEO 43m HVS 4c
T. Ryan, E. Hernstadt, S. Gallwey. 6/3/1983
This route takes a thin crack in the slab just left of the arête, about 7m. right of Pathfinder. Towards the top it climbs the vertical headwall just right of the final groove of Pathfinder. Abseil down and belay on a small ledge below the overlap and 1m. left of the arête. Climb up to the overlap and gain the slab above. Ascend the thin crack until it runs out and up right to a small ledge just left of the arête and below a small overlap. Step up and follow holds left until it is possible to move back right to a deep diagonal crack below the steeper headwall. Hand-traverse left to below a short thin black crack. Climb steeply past the crack and trend up left (avoiding easy ground on the left) to quartz veins. Continue up steeply, trending left, to the top of the groove of Pathfinder. The top of this route offers very strenuous and spectacular, if somewhat contrived, climbing. Small friends and tricams necessary to protect the top section of the route.
SEA QUEEN 43m VS 4b
T. Ryan, S. MacGearailt, P. Breen. 10/9/1989
Takes the obvious arête bordering the right-hand side of the crag. Start as for Cleo on a ledge below the overhang at the bottom of the arête. Avoid the overhang by first moving right and then left above it. Climb pleasantly up the left side of the arête to a small ledge below a small overlap (shared with Cleo). Step right onto the arête and up this to a ledge with suspect rock below an overhanging groove. Climb the groove on large holds to the top. (Very little protection on the arête).
The next route is on the third area of slabs
SKYLARK 76m HS 3c
O. Jacob, S. Gallwey. 27/3/1982
This route takes the obvious left-trending diagonal crack on the third area of slabs east of Danish Cellar. Abseil down to a palatial ledge just below an overhang (wooden stake in place; it may be rotten). The climb provides magnificent situations and exposure for the grade. 1. 43m. . Traverse leftwards around the overhang and then up and right to the crack. Follow this to a belay. 2. 43m. Follow the crack and jugs almost to the top. Avoid the grassy finish by traversing left to huge holds on an arête. Stake belay in place.