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When it comes to climbing over in Northern Ireland, chances are you'll have Fairhead on your 'wish list'. At 5km in length and over 100m of vertical dolerite joy to be found, it's easy to forget about the other opportunities that are often overshadowed by the towering rock face. The fact is, not only is there some classic routes to be found at Fairhead, but there's some pretty epic bouldering to be found there too.
When it comes to bouldering at Fairhead, you don't get local knowledge much better than that of Rob Hunter. In fact, back in 2012 Rob wrote the Fairhead Bouldering Guide, containing more than 450 problems with grades from f3 to 8a+. Without an update to the guide since it was published, Rob's putting together another issue with even more problems that he's found in the past 7 years. We asked Rob what it's been like to literally write the guidebook for such an iconic area...
Nearly 20 years I have been exploring, climbing and moving in the chaos of boulders on the northern frontier of Ireland. Fairhead for me has always been and always will be a special place. It is an essential part of my being. The behemoth boulders below the imposing crag have many memento’s throughout the year. The lichen colours after rain, the bluebell blankets in spring, the proud lines and proximity to the ocean are just some of the features of Fairhead’s beckoning beauty.
I was introduced to climbing from a young age by my dad and have been blessed to climb now for 30+ years. Many of these have been spent exploring the boulder fields of Ireland and beyond.
My brother, wife and I have had the pleasure of opening most of the bouldering at Fairhead, I’ve always enjoyed the, ‘what’s around the next corner?’, ‘what lines are to be found?’. The dolerite at Fairhead is compact and dark, tending towards powerful climbing. It also has a good mix of walls and slabs to hone ones technical mastery. The highest density of quality bouldering can be found in Murlough Bay, having a lack of phone signal gives it a welcome distance from the digital world.
Some of my personal favourites are:
The penitent man shall pass (sit) 8A
The grapevine 6A
Kite in a hurricane 7C
Glenn Ross 8A+
Stop feeding it direct 6C
Red Cloud 7A
If you want to find out more about what it’s like and enjoy how it feels to be immersed in nature, come here and develop your own relationship with this wild and beautiful place.
For more information, head over to the Fairhead Bouldering Guide Facebook page.
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Brilliant bouldering location, well developed and documented in the guidebook
Few places are as beautiful as Murlough Bay, with so much accessible bouldering! It has been developed and documented, but with the utmost respect for the land, ecosystems and beauty of the area. Hats off to Rob, Veronica and co for all their passion and hard work!
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