Barrys head offers some good climbs on variable rock on two areas 'Main' and 'West'. The Main area has grades ranging Moderate to E3, but are mainly S to HVS. The HVS lines are reasonable quality for the area. The West area has a good easy area with simple direct lines, some bouldering, and also a couple of Chimneys and a short hard bolted route. Bolt by some mysterious past climbers. Gear is mostly cams. Rock can be solid and fantastic or brittle and very sharp. Will post route descriptions in time. Access is generally by downclimbing. Location and setting is superb. There is some potential in cliffs in the region but access and topping out issues exist. Adventurous folks might find something.
Directions: From Nohoval Village shop head west, turning left immediately after church at West end of village. Proceed a few hundred metres taking left fork in road. Continue on road for about a mile until you reach a derelict farmhouse. There are two climbing areas presently. The main area is more or less directly south (head up track to top of hill and walk over to main headland, From here turn right walking down to top of cliffs), with secondary area west of the Farmhouse, left of cove, between two big 'Zawns'. Both areas are hard to find for newcomers. Guide below is for Main Area only.
Location : Obtain the number 87 “Discovery Series” Ordinance Survey map or equivalent. The crag is located at grid ref. W727498. I’m not going to tell you how you get to this crag south of Nohoval village because of the arcane laws governing access to this “hospitable & friendly” green land. (If I did suggest an approach, you might think that I am implying that there is some sort of right of way).
History: Marauding Algerian pirates originally discovered this crag in the 17th Century, as an interesting route to terra firma before engaging in a healthy bout of pillaging. Ken Moore rediscovered this crag in the winter of 2005/2006 with more peaceful activities in mind.
Layout: Barry’s Head proper is a small toe of land projecting east into the sea. However there is also an even smaller second toe of land joined to the first toe but projecting southwest into the sea. The climbs are located at the tip of this second toe. High tide does not affect access to the climbs but rough seas could wash away a belayer or indeed climber not securely attached to the cliff. The climbs range from 10m to 25m in height and are steeper than they first appear. The crag can be roughly divided into three sections: west, south & east sections. A descent can be made using a Difficult route in the south section.
Geology: Haven't a notion really. Some sort of sandstone probably, the brighter coloured stuff is nice and grippy. Some, but not all, of the darker stuff can be brittle. Will need to consult with Judith Vonhof on this important matter.
The Geological Survey says that at Barry's Head "A thick sandstone with overlying mudstone is exposed" Possibly the brighter stuff is the sandstone and the darker stuff is mudstone.
On making a descent down the descent route in the South section, traverse rightwards and down and around a corner. To get to the leftmost route on the West Section an easy traverse is made on the boundary between a darker rock below and a brighter more solid looking rock above. All the climbs here begin at this boundary.
1. TROPOCANACH TOP 20m VS 4c
This takes the most reasonable leftmost line on the crag before the north facing section. Nice steep route. Don’t be put off by the healthy lichen growth, the obvious loose rock or the bountiful grass all near the top.
2. BUI BLOCKS 20m VS 4c
This is another steep route about 4m to the right of Tropocanch Top but this time with more rock to hold onto at the top! Continue in a straight line until a triangular overlap is seen on your right at about half height. Traverse rightwards around this and finish directly upwards. It can be tricky to find easiest route.
3. SWELL 17m VS 4c
About 3m to the right of Bui Blocks there is another line that tries to avoid going up any overlaps, going to the left around a significant overlap at mid-height.
4. LICHEN IT * 17m HVS 5a
The start is the same as Swell but moves right below the significant overlap at midheight and goes up the right side of overlap (crux). Continue directly to top.
5. DE ROOF ROUTE 15m HVS 5a
Route that manages to surmount the right side of the obvious roof. Start directly below the right side of the roof and arise. Beware of loose blocks just under roof.
6. BELOW ZERO * 15m HVS 5a
Direct line to an overhang with an inside corner above it; trend ever so slightly right to finish.
7. RIGHTS OF ZERO 15m HVS 5a
A variety of starts lead to overlap to the right of Below Zero, surmount this overlap and you have it!
This section contains the easiest routes including the descent route but the routes are very short.
8. BARRYS NOSE 10m S
Clamber over some blocks with good holds. Note: there are alternatives either side of this route.
9. DESCENT 10m D
From above, this is the obvious weakness in the cliff channelling you into a groove with one place where one can opt for a bum-jam or a small foothold in order to progress downwards.
10. BARRYS ADENOID 10m D
Nice direct line to the right of the descent route.
11. BARRYS TEA 10m D
Another marvellous yet cruelly short Diff. route
12. SIMPLE SIMON 10m HS
About 3m to the left of Number 1 Route that just stays left of a series of overlaps.
13. NUMBER 1 ROUTE 10m S
Overcome a bulge at the bottom to get to easier ground in a groove above.
On making a descent down the descent route in the South section, move leftwards down onto a small platform where you can see all the routes in this area. The Flying Scotsman & Algerian Arête require a step across a little inlet or if the tide is in an abseil.
14. HANGOVER OVERHANG 20m HVS 5b
Start under the right side of the large roof. Creep ever inwards toward the obvious corner. Overcome overlap in corner and continue inside the corner towards the top.
15. THE GREAT ESCAPE 18m HVS 5b
Start as for Cuinne Corner. Once the crux overlap has been overcome, move left onto steeper ground and go straight up to finish on a more sustained wall.
16. CUINNE CORNER * 20m HVS 5b
This is the obvious corner with an overlap below mid-height (crux). The crux is attacked from the right side before returning to comfort of corner again.
17. BARRY LETTUCE TOMATO 20m E1 5b
Contrived route up a strenuous first few metres. Inevitably joining Cuinne Corner at crux before veering to the right in a hopeful attempt to remain a distinct climb.
18. THE WAVES THAT SOAK THE BARLEY 20m E3 5c
Start one metre to the right of Barry Lettuce Tomato. Go up overhanging wall on adequate holds to right side of good ledge. Continue up trending slightly left of seemingly useless crack, crux. Pretend to be surprised to find no good holds when overhang eases off. Continue more easily to the top.
19. FLYING SCOTSMAN ** 25m HVS 5a
Need to get to other side of inlet (jump across at low tide, swim and be washed out to sea or abseil). Start with feet just above level of large overhang near bottom of wall facing inlet. Traverse leftwards to corner. Slip leftwards across and up corner. Continue up in straight diagonal leftwards line on small holds to top or else go in stepped diagonal line following overhangs to top.
20. ALGERIAN ARETE 25m VD
This climb starts on the face of the outside corner across the little inlet. To make it as interesting as possible keep close to the left, it is best to belay below the top of the crag.
21. POISSON SANS NOM 16m HVS 5b
This is a traverse route from the top of Algerian Arête to the top of The Great Escape. Initial move is an airy one downwards before crossing roughly horizontally. Finishing across a ledge for hands with little purchase for the feet.
Additional Routes have been added East of Poisson Sans Nom. No detail presently. Apparently one Multipitch line which requires the skills of a gardener to exit and belay.