The Gods smiled and the sun shone on our annual Autumn Challenge in the Burren last weekend (12-14 October 2012) as 105 participants enjoyed the conditions walking, rock-climbing and caving. The weekend raised funds to support activities Irish Guide Dogs Association and the Irish Council for the Blind, and among those who participated were eight visually impaired people, all of whom took part in the walks, two of them at high level. The Burren is one of the most interesting and scenic places in Ireland for walking and this was especially true in the sunshine on Saturday, when Josephine Tobin, Jim Finn and Jimmy Duggan led walks while a group of beginners sampled the excitement of rock climbing, abseiling and caving with Dan Condren. Then on Sunday, Ray Creaney led a very scenic walk from the Cliffs of Moher to Doolin while John G O Dwyer explored Pollnagollum cave for 700m, past the waterfall, Westacott’s chamber and Turtle Rock as far as the main stream junction. Apart from the walks and activities, there was great atmosphere, fun and friendship at the whole event, with a singsong on Saturday night that lasted until the not so early morning for some. Well done to Michael Sutton for all his organising.
On Saturday, 15 September, our annual climbing expedition to the Burren took place. Seventeen members who had climbed in Ballykeefe during the summer had a great day’s climbing, first in Ballyryan and then in Alladie. Everyone got in a number of climbs with most extending what they had learned during the summer in the very different and beautiful surroundings of the Burren. So good was the climbing that the planned visit to Pollnagollum cave was postponed for a later date.