For this chilled out day I feel a chilled out song is appropriate, enjoy.
So after the eve spent at Ryan’s post Fairhead trip, plans were set in motion for myself, Jamie and Prebs to head to Pigeon for the day. As of recent the weather has been a rarity in Ireland (good) and we sought to make the most of it. Though the evening of the plan’s formation Tom had pussied out (HIT TO THE PORT BOW SIR!!!). The next morning came, and in an attempt to stop the anti-psyche leaking into of the SS. Climb, I hatched a dastardly plan. When First Mate Roberts rang the doorbell, I craftily remained stowed away in the trusty futon pretending to be asleep. This forced the Captain Prebble into action, and answer the door. However after the mandatory coffee and shit talk, words turned to targeted climbs for the day. It was at this moment that I realised my plan had failed, as Prebs was adamant he was to have a rest day. Jamie relieved the Captain of his post and lead us southwards, as the helmsman of the day, to Pigeon.
Now, the true psychological repercussions of a trip to Fairhead are not yet known for sure, but general consensus is that one is left totally drained of energy. When we arrived at Pigeon we had yet to realise the full extent of our mental and physical fatigue. Jamie had the ambition to onsite Phantoms, a quality route with good protection for the gear-savvy. My sights were on Yellow Brick Road and a barefoot lead of Phantoms (a challenge laid down long ago by an unknown gobshite of ape-like physique). Captain Roberts lead the route with success, though much complaint at the stark contrast between Mournes climbing and Fairhead climbing, with regards to gear. On the second I tested my barefoot technique, not wanting to make a heinous mistake by just boarding the route without a trial. As it turns out my technique is still of top quality, though the entire upper body of my vessel was knackered from the day before, and some honest internal muttering resolved in the decision that leading in bare feet, or with shoes on Yellow Brick Road was out of the question. As it so happened, the Captain also grew weary of the open sea, and had business at port to attend to, so we agreed to attend to one last easy but enjoyable route before making birth.
A classic of the crag (almost as high quality as Meanstreak) we looked to Pilage. For those scratching their heads at this word, it is a vegetative mess of a crack/chimney with a tree half way up. We donned our highly technical hiking boots and made our way over, we were fully equipped……but forgot our rope. So as Jamie collected it, I began the first 3 meters, as this is entirely gearless climbing through grass. Solidly at the ledge, I was thrown a line, quickly tied it to my self, and moved over to the bomber tree and valiantly attached a sling. I began my swim through the green and damp crack, placing a hex as I went. Finally I was rewarded with one of the greatest rests on any route I have ever climbed, using the tree as a foothold, I got a fantastic full-leg jam in the horizontal crack at 2/3 height of the route. It was around this time that a familiar voice shouted up at me, the Admiral Kevin Cheung. He had also set down anchor at Pigeon with his First Mate Stian (also a TNOC resident). General insults were good-heartedly slung at one another while I arranged bomber gear in the break before the short wall above me to the belay. I then returned focus to the route, and succeed in not falling in any direction but up. Jamie quickly followed while various insults were thrown between the two parties with good nature.
While all this was great craic, we had to raise anchor, and so bid farewell and calm seas to the Admiral. A fun surf down the scree slope saw us to the boat in about 5 mins, and on to Belfast shipyard. All in all a good day, as we lost no men to the dark mistress of the sea of broken ankles.