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New Fairhead Bouldering Area Developed with 250 Problems

© Rob Hunter Collection

Rob Hunter and Veronica Lee have developed a new bouldering area at Fairhead, Northern Ireland, called Na Bolláin Rúnda. To date, they have added close to 250 new problems from Font 3 to 7C.

Veronica Lee on the first ascent of 'Secrets of the North' (Font 6A+)  © Rob Hunter Collection
Veronica Lee on the first ascent of 'Secrets of the North' (Font 6A+)
© Rob Hunter Collection

The pair's flurry of development happened when their Rocklands trip was put on hold due to Covid-19. Instead, they spent eight weeks working on the upcoming second edition of the Fairhead Bouldering Guidebook which involved developing the new area.

Rob and Veronica have known of the area for years, but according to Rob it 'was lost to memory due to so many other climbs to do.' Slowly, they have been moving further away from the Murlough Bay area, which boasts the highest concentration of boulders, in order to develop other sectors.

Rob on one of the new problems 'Ripples of Evolution' (Font 8B+)  © Rob Hunter Collection
Rob on one of the new problems 'Ripples of Evolution' (Font 8B+)
© Rob Hunter Collection

After lockdown, Rob went for a walk with his friend Si McCartney and cast a fresh set of eyes over the area:

'We were astounded with the amount of incredible lines to be climbed! We had a good idea of where the beginning and end of the area is. Rather than a formulaic method for development we went with what inspired us. With any new climbing and discovery everything is exciting and fresh! However, we do have a few favourites.'

As with much of Fairhead, a decent pile of pads is required.  © Rob Hunter Collection
As with much of Fairhead, a decent pile of pads is required. Rob Hunter on the first ascent of 'Ego is the Enemy '(Font 7A)

The area has a challenging hour and a half walk-in and will most likely be a spring or summer venue, particularly with the Ballycastle descent gully described by Rob as 'an interesting experience in winter with pads, especially with a blustery updraft!'

Currently, Rob hopes that the new guidebook will be published sometime in 2021 – production has slowed slightly due to the development of the new area, but all good things come to those who wait…

Veronica on the first ascent of Kaizen (Font 6C)  © Rob Hunter Collection
Veronica on the first ascent of Kaizen (Font 6C)
© Rob Hunter Collection


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16 Sep

It's been really nice to see Rob and Veronica down at fair head every weekend. The psych is real. Really inspirational to see how dedicated they are to develop the bouldering scene here. Looking forward to the new book.

18 Sep

This looks absolutely brilliant. Incredible scenery and boulders - what more do you want??

Very keen to check this area out, also for the sport climbing which I've heard is being developed.

What is the best time of year to do a trip?

Rob suggested that Spring/Autumn would be best. I guess it could be different for sport climbing.

Nick

18 Sep

A shorter walk in!

An hour and a half on that terrain, with 2 pads each sounds brutal!

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