Tory Island is Ireland's most remote inhabited island, it sits in an isolated position 14 kilometres from the north-west coast of mainland Donegal.
Living at the far Eastern edge of Tory Island 14 kilometre out to sea west of mainland Donegal lives one of the true anomalies of Irish sea cliff architecture. An Eochair (The Anvil) is an outstanding 400-metre long rock ridge sticking out into the Atlantic ocean. The ridge starts on Tory Island at a summit known as The Anvil and runs North out into the Atlantic for 400 metres to the spectacular Tormore summit at its distant seaward end. At it's highest point is Tormore summit at approx 70 metres high and the entire ridge is on average 50 metres high and in many places a true knife-edge with spectacular drops at your feet into the ocean either side of you.
1: This ridge lives in one of the most remote places in Ireland.
2: The grassy slopes on the eastern slopes of the ridge are very steep and at times require more care than the vertical rock climbing pitches.
3: The nautical approach to Tory Island involves the 14 km sea passage out to the island.
4: The rock on the ridge is good BUT your situation causes everything to appear a wee bit more atmospheric than it actually is as there is considerable air all around you most of the time you are on the ridge.
5: The ropework on the ridge requires a wee bit of thought as there is more conventional mountaineering ground than technical rock climbing ground.
6: A 60-metre single rope is ideal.
7: The final pitch from the end of the ridge up on to the summit is the climbing crux.
8: The ridge gets climbed very seldom climbed at present and it is a very good idea to take about 20 m of disposable tat for the two abseils on the return journey back to normal Tory from the summit.
An Ascent of Tormore Ridge in 2012
An Ascent of Tormore Ridge in 2015
The above are just a few thoughts on attempting to stand on the distant and highest point on the ridge. It's location on Tory Island, 14km out to sea, west of the mainland of Donegal is atmospheric. The actual climbing along the ridge is quite easy with only two real sections of any vertical concerns the rest of the ridge has very much a mountaineering flavour.
It is quite tricky to find any sort of history to those who have stood on the Tormore summit at the far end of the ridge. It was first climbed recreationally in about 1972 and a cairn was built on the summit of Tór Mór by Belfast based David Cambell and party.
On 26th August 2012 Stephen "Jock" Read and myself climbed the ridge using a mixture of mountaineering and rock climbing techniques. We moved, roped together for most of the ridge traverse and pitched an exposed rock step at about halfway along the ridge. This step weighed in at about Severe. In the main, the entire ridge is a careful exercise in very exposed mountaineering. The final 50 meters of the ridge onto the summit of Tormore was an excellent pitch of immaculate granite climbed at Severe.
A traverse of the ridge and an ascent of Tor Mór summit involves a mixture of mountaineering, exposed scrambling and technical rock climbing with the hardest pitch being the very last one which weighs in at about Severe and takes you onto the summit of An Tor Mór. An experienced team of two will take approximately 3 hours and it is easily achievable in a day trip to the island between the scheduled ferry times. This climb is very much in the mountaineering flavour with much of the route being very exposed alpine type scrambling with two technical rock pitches at about Severe. The return from An Tor Mór summit is by abseil and by returning along the ridge.
Tormore Ridge provides an outstanding day out of mountaineering and rock climbing along a very exposed and atmospheric ridge high above the sea. Standing on Tormore Summit will live a very long time in your memory.