A Christmas Abseil
Monday December 18th, 2017.
Iain Miller and I met up in Gweedore and made our way over to the sand quarry where we had planned on abseiling down three separate walls as part of my training for another challenge next year.
In March 2018, Iain and I are planning our most tecnical challenge to date by climbing Bristi Sea Stack. Click here for info. It is a graded rockclimb on the seaward face of a seastack. To reach the stack will require a paddle out to its base where we plan to climb its vertical seaward face to reach the narrow, exposed summit and abseil back to sea. This will be a big deal for both of us for very different reasons. I have never climbed anything of this size (100ft) and Iain has never guided someone with limited mobility up such a hazardous route. If you watch the video in the link above you will truly appreciate how difficult this will be. Getting on and off the stack will likely be our biggest challenge. I struggle to get into that boat at the best of times, if you add the violent Atlantic into the mix I can only imagine the fun it will create. This will be practiced numerous times before the event so Dad if you are reading this, don’t worry!
The purpose of Monday’s training was to help me trust the rope. As with most abseiling activities, before you can enjoy the main event you must first step out, backwards, over the edge. Something I do NOT enjoy. On the second wall I had to lean out at an angle and then while leaning out, shimmy across until the rope was in line with Iain. This was extremely scary and my shoulders are still sore from the tension!
Despite those initial feelings of terror, I know I have to keep going and repeat, repeat, repeat. Once I reached the bottom Iain brought my crutch down so I could make my way back up to do it all again. Due to my own lack of preparation I wasn’t wearing the right footwear so climbing back up wasn’t an option. By the sixth abseil I felt much more confident and was happy to call it a day. It was quite painful as my full weight was leaning on the harness which dug into my hip. I am nicely bruised as a result but again, being better prepared with a different harness will assist me next time. I managed to take a sneaky selfie mid-abseil which automatically launched me into the 'Most Vein Woman in Ireland' category!
If you haven’t tried abseiling I would highly recommend it as it is quite a unique sport. You would struggle to find an activity that contains the same mixture of tension, adrenaline and euphoria.
It was a great change for us during our main training (for the 4 Peak Challenge) and has left me feeling invigorated and ready to take 2018 by the horns!
A Christmas Note
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped me in 2017. I am so lucky to have the support of the people of Donegal and further afield and I probably don’t acknowledge it enough.
I simply couldn’t do what I do without the likes of Iain Miller and others who have guided me along. I also couldn’t do what I do without my friends, family, my boyfriend Ian (Parke) and you the people who follow my campaign.
Thank you for believing in me and please continue to do so in 2018 because we are only getting started!
Have an amazing Christmas and I will catch you on the flip side:)