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Rock Climbing in Glenlough Bay

Rock Climbing in Glenlough Bay
Iain Miller

Living at the North Western tip of the Slievetooey Peninsula in one of Irelands most remote locations is the breathtakingly beautiful Glenlough Bay. (1) This huge bay sits 3KM to the north east of the An Port road end. This bay stretches for 2KM from Tormore Island at it's southern end to the End's of the Earth Stack at it's northern end. The bay terminates at it's southern end in a wide Geo separating Glenlough Bay from the Cobbler's Tower land mass. In this wide geo a pair of huge bull seals live, they have always been there every time I have paid a visit visited. They are extremely curious and will come to within a few feet of you before disappearing under the waves.  Glenlough Bay contains one of the largest raised shingle storm beaches in Ireland and on a day of huge north west sea motion the roar of millions of tonnes of shingle being moved up and down the beach by the incoming seas can be deafening even from the cliff tops 200m above the beach. This 1KM long raised shingle storm beach is very effectively guarded from all sides by steep sided 250m slopes of scree and cliffs and from the sea by huge north Altantic swell.

Glenlough bay contains a vast amount of excellent, if a little adventurous rock climbing. At the southern end of the bay sits Tormore Island (2) at 150m at it's highest point above the ocean this is Ireland's highest sea stack. This huge square topped stack can be seen for many kilometres along the coast either side of it. It can even be clearly seen from the Dungloe/Kincaslough road some 40KM to the north. In the centre of the bay a further three huge sea stacks sits. Each of these three sea stack present a very different mountaineering challenge for the aspiring summiteers. By far the hardest and potentially the most dangerous of these climbs is the most northerly tower named Jenga Tower and for anyone who has played Jenga, you will get the idea of the rock quality on the sea stack. Running along the north wall of Glenlough bay is the aptly named “End’s of the earth crag,” (3) this cliff is the a contender for most remote rock climbing location in Ireland and provides excellent slab climbing in a truly mind blowing location above a huge sea level blowhole. Guarding the northern end of the bay is the lonely End’s of the Earth Stack, (4) This 20m high sea stack sits in one of the most beautiful and remote locations in Ireland. It sits 300m out to sea from the lonely wee bay to the north of Glenlough Bay. To the south you have the vast expanse of Glenlough Bay continuing south along the West coast to Tormore Island and to the east you have the vast expanse of the north coast of the Slievetooey Peninsula. It's location ensures it attracts the confliction tidal streams from both the south and north west causing a colossal amount of white water violence in the bay surrounding the base of the stack and standing on it’s summit is a moment you will remember for a very long time.

For a free downloadable rock climbers guidebook to the Slievetooey Peninsula and Glenlough Bay visit http://www.uniqueascent.ie/sea_stack_guide or for more information to rock climbing locations around the coast of Donegal visit http://www.uniqueascent.ie/undiscovered_donegal

Iain Miller is a rock climber, hill walker and mountaineer living, working and playing on the mountains, sea cliffs and sea stacks of county Donegal. http://www.uniqueascent.ie/

Below are the further information links to the places mentioned above there are also further photographs and footage.