[Note: ‘to faff about’ is the Irish way of saying to screw around, or to mess about with a task that should be simple but isn’t.]
I have discovered my climbing alter ego. His name is Senor Chuckles McFaffin, III.
He is a dick.
Senor Chuckles McFaffin, III comes out a lot when climbers climb. He is there when you spend an hour racking up (aka getting all your gear together in non-climber speak), while you make your way down to the base of a route, and when you spend another chunk of time untangling ropes that have mysteriously become intertwined despite having been placed in the boot neatly coiled the last time you went climbing.
Senor Chuckles McFaffin, III is all of us during a climb.
Last Friday I headed up to a beach town called Ballycastle to partake of a particular brand of procrastinating at a place called Fairhead. Fairhead is a gorgeous line of ocean cliffs from which, on a nice day, you can see all the way to Scotland.
Fairhead is known for its crack climbing which I am slowly but surely warming up to the idea of. Implementation, that’s another story.
Matt and I climbed two routes, one called Girona and another called Chieftain. It’s been awhile since I got to be outdoors and I didn’t exactly enjoy our first climb, but by the time we rolled around to Girona I was enjoying myself. The sun poked its way out a for a little while and it didn’t rain until we were on our way back to the car, so there’s that!
Yesterday we went back to Fairhead to tackle Hell’s Kitchen, an HVS that totally rocked (pun super intended). The weather was extraordinary and I even got a wee nap in the sunshine. Irish sunbathing still means I had three layers on over my tshirt as well as my wool hat from Donegall 😉
Hell’s Kitchen’s first pitch wasn’t too tough and Matt sailed up it. What makes Hell’s Kitchen interesting was the hanging belay that occurs about halfway up as you get ready for the second half of the climb. I’ve obviously never done a hanging belay before (I prefer my feet to be on something, generally) and wasn’t too excited about it seeing as though I spent the entire 80-meter abseil practicing deep yogi breathing and not looking down…
A climber who doesn’t like heights. Ironic?
Between me awkwardly climbing up and Matt sorting out his own nonsense, the rope managed to get ridiculously tangled and we spent a little while untangling it whilst dangling over thin air. The sun was oh-so close, and yet so far away… Darn you, rocks!
Senor Chuckles McFaffin strikes again…
We made it to the top eventually only to discover that half of our other climbing pair had fallen and twisted an ankle. Thankfully he was alright and we had a sunny day to faff about while we waited. I would have loved to get another climb in, but as it was we got to enjoy a beautiful day outside in lovely Northern Ireland.
Until next time, Fairhead. Until next time. I’ll try to leave Senor Chuckles at home, but somehow he always manages to squeeze in at the last minute.