When I started mng three years ago little did I know of the journey it would take me. Most recently it took me on an adventure to Gola Island, one the hidden gems of the Wild Atlantic Way, or "Secrets" as they say. 'County Donegal' itself is Ireland's hidden gem, but in Western Donegal, the Gaeltacht region in particular, this place takes secrets and gems to another level. You really have to experience it to believe it.
The mission! Spectacular images of rock climbing on Gola Island, Donegal, an undiscovered corner of Ireland. The task for me! Climb down the side of a sea cliff attached to harnesses and ropes with nothing but the Atlantic Ocean beneath you and smile. I didn't google sea cliff climbing and sign up that way, just for the record. This was work, but not the usual presenting mng’s services, adventure holidays and cultural tours or customised packages. This was “climb down the sea cliff work". Oh how I love my job!
Of course I was nervous and trying not think about what I was about to do. I knew that ultimately, I trusted this man who was carefully preparing the ropes and attentively checking my gear and that my safety was paramount, I still s**t myself when Iain said:
It changed the whole task at hand, this sounded easy right! So I did just that. And you know what, it was kind of easy. The rope felt amazingly secure, there was lots of places for my feet to grip, and hey, the view was spectacular. It was a powerful feeling, in fact I highly recommend rock climbing as a must do when visiting Ireland.
It got me thinking about adventure activities, what does it take? Is it guts? Courage? The need for excitement or what? I’m certainly no free climber but I can climb a rock face with ropes and a helmet no bother. What I learned yesterday was that it's not about being able to rock climb but that it's about trust and I trusted Iain Miller. A sense of humour is also very important, thank God we kept the craic going throughout as that just made the whole experience more relaxed. (There was a lot of swearing, I'm glad it wasn't audio recorded)
Talk about expertise, firstly we watched Iain free climb this rock face pictured right, that was about 100 feet. I timed him, and it took two minutes. I wasn’t afraid or nervous as I watched, mostly I watched in awe of his agility, and technique as he ascended the cliff face that could only make you think, Spiderman!
Rock climbing is the ultimate adventure experience in Ireland, if not Europe. It's the best adventure experience in Donegal and the best part is YOU can do it. Come to mng's Rock climbing day on the amazingly spectacular Cruit Island, 8th July 2015. There are climbing and abseiling sessions throughout the day for families early in the day and later for adults. It's guaranteed to have you seeing things from a different perspective. There's a harness for kids as young as 3. Bring a picnic and your bikes, there will also be Archery. Enjoy a customised adventure in Donegal.
Now where is that Sea Stack?