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Thursday, 17 December 2015

Rock Climbing in Donegal Book Launch

The County of Donegal in the North West of Ireland contains more climbable rock than the rest of Ireland combined boasting two major Irish mountain ranges, over a thousand kilometres of coastline, one hundred sea stacks and as many diverse climbing mediums and locations as you will find in the rest of the country.

Muckross Head, Co. Donegal, Ireland. Image © Iain Miller; www.uniqueascent.ie 
Currently almost 3,000 rock climbs have been recorded throughout the length and breadth of the county. These climbs include Ireland’s longest rock climb, Ireland’s largest mountain crag, Ireland’s longest ice climb and Ireland’s highest sea stack. This is in addition to many more standard single and multi pitch locations above the sea, by the road, on the offshore islands and in the mountains.

Image © Iain Miller; www.uniqueascent.ie

Image © Iain Miller, www.uniqueascent.ie
This rock climbers guidebook is a select guide to the entire County of Donegal it documents over 1000 outstanding rock climbs found throughout the length and breadth of the county from Muckross Head in the south to Malin Head at Ireland's most northerly point on the Inishowen Peninsula.

The guidebook journeys around Donegal starting at Muckross Head in the south of the county and follows the coast clockwise around to Tory Island. Along this coastline the guidebook describes several previously established and documented locations such as Sail Rock, Malinbeg, Gola Island and Skelpoonagh Bay. This coast is by far the most developed area of Donegal since the previous Mountaineering Ireland Donegal guide in 2002 with a large numbers of new routes and locations on An Port coastline and the islands of Cruit, Tory and Arranmore.

Rock Climbing in Donegal. Guidebook by Iain Miller

Rock Climbing in Donegal Guidebook by Iain Miller
On leaving Tory Island the guidebook ventures inland to document climbs from the Bluestack Mountains in the south of the county to the Derryveagh, Muckish and Crockanaffrin Mountains, finally to finish in the extreme north on the Inishowen Peninsula. The most significant additions and developments since the previous guide have been at Ballaghageeha Buttress in the Poison Glen, Crockanaffrin by Kerrykeel and at Malin Head on the Inishowen Peninsula.


The guidebook is completed with a short four page chapter outlining the massive winter climbing potential of Donegal and documents the development of winter climbing over the last 50 years in the county.
This guidebook comprises of 25 very different rock climbing areas, these areas include Ireland's longest rock climb and highest sea stack as well as many more standard single and multi pitch sites. Each area comprises descriptive text and an area map to ensure the ease of finding the location. Throughout the book over 250 colour photographs have been used to help describe every cliff, crag, sea stack and mountain listed. This ensures that 96% of the routes are shown on full colour photo topos taken from the best angle and position in optimum light to allow first time visitors to find their chosen routes.

The guidebook is available for purchase from all good outdoor shops and directly from Mountaineering Ireland at www.mountaineering.ie/shop Discounts are available for Mountaineering Ireland members.

Additional material on climbing in Donegal, including on-line PDF's are at uniqueascent.ie/undiscovered_donegal This material allows more regular visitors to explore the county further using these more comprehensive on-line guides.

The author Iain Miller has spent the past nine years exploring Donegal making the first ascents of over 400 rock climbs and 50 previously unclimbed sea stacks. It is with this in depth knowledge of rural Donegal that he has selected and documented the climbs within this guidebook. What this guidebook will provide the first time visitor and the more seasoned Donegal climber alike is a lifetime, and indeed several lifetimes of outstanding world class rock climbing in some of the most beautiful, remote and unspoilt places in Ireland.

Iain Miller speaking at his Book Launch in Letterkenny, December 2015
Iain Miller with the Book Launch attendees at the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, December 2015
Perhaps the most difficult aspect to writing a book of this nature is finding balance, the balance in the nature of the climbs your are detailing, the balance in the locations of the climbs throughout the county and off course the balance within the book to provide climbs for all readers of the book. This took a great deal of time to decide what was being included and what was not. 

I started to write the book in 2011 and for the first 3 years it was only ever going to be for my own use. But as the chapters began to come together it made more and more sense to publish a guidebook. 




Sail Rock by Slieve league is one of Donegal's longer and more established rock climb venues.
Iain Miller and Fionnuala Donnelly make an ascent of Roaring Forties which climbs the sea ward edge of the Face.


Image © Iain Miller; www.uniqueascent.ie
Rock Climbing in Donegal Guidebook by Iain Miller

Image © Iain Miller; www.uniqueascent.ie
Rock Climbing in Donegal Guidebook by Iain Miller
Image © Iain Miller; www.uniqueascent.ie