Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Two Runs For The Price Of One

Perhaps its where I'm staying for these few days or perhaps I am just getting more motivated (probably a combination of both) but today I went for TWO runs. This morning I went with Ruby and went for a hike/run  over the attractive unnamed hill that rises to just about 1000ft above Gleesk. It has been on my to do list ever since I arrived in Sneem and today was my chance and even the weather was playing ball. Thanks to the frequent showers the air clarity was superb and with some blue skies about everything looked amazing. I was really surprised to see in the distance a dusting of snow had fallen on the Reeks. There was a chill in the air all right but it is the middle of May so it was something of a rarity at this time of year. Anyway I drove as far as the quarry at Derry West and set off across the terribly wet and rough ground. Running wasn't an option on this ground and it was a challenge to avoid the many watery holes and runnels. Still I was enjoying myself and I can vouch for Ruby as well. She is such a good dog and I never have to worry about her taking off after sheep or anything so I can relax.
The view back towards Sneem

Towards the Everagh Peninsula

 Eventually I reached the summit and I wasn't disappointed with the views. The ground fell away steeply to the sea on one side and further on the Beara Peninsula looked great. On the other side Coomcallee looked great and the hills continued onwards into the distance. From here we set off along the ridge towatds the communication mast about 1500mtrs away. This wasn't that straightforward as there were several steep dips and climbs in between so it wasn't always possible to maintain a run. Once we reached the mast we enjoyed a lovely gambol along the good access road and we were soon on the main road where we returned few kilometers to the car. It hadn't been a  long outing (an hour at most) but it packed a big punch in value terms and I was well pleased to return to our apartment where I had a late breakfast.
Into Coomcallee

View from the apartments towards the hill


A couple of hours later we were off on our travels again. Margaret was going to see a garden near Glengarriff and I was taking the chance to run through the national park that fills the this most beautiful valley. From the garden I ran down the five or so kilometers into the village of Glengarriff. This is a fairly busy road but thankfully today traffic was light and I was able to enjoy the views down to the beautifully forested valley below and the savage looking hills that rise up from the other side. Once in the village I turned right and quickly right again and followed the signs for the Beara Way. Now I had left the busy road well and truly behind and I went along a beautiful lane that went through tranquil native woodland broken at times by rocky buttresses and often giving glimpses of the stunning hills that soar all around. I was now quite tired and the couple of little bars I had brought were now gone but I reckoned I was over half way around. Eventually I left the woodland behind and I found myself running through an open wild and rugged unspoiled landscape. Soon I entered a lovely valley called Coomerkane that was a verdant oasis of green fields amid this otherwise savage place. There were several homesteads here and sheep and lambs were again all about. As I continued I became concerned that I couldn't see the way out of this area and sure enough I soon arrived at a dead end. Bugger and dammit the legendary Mc Auliffe route finding had once again emerged and I had no choice but to turn around and retrace my steps. I met a young woman walking with her dogs and she told me I had to go back to the last junction and then go left. Sorted.
The back of Coomerkane
I hadn't realized that I had gained so much height but thankfully the return to the junction was mostly downhill. I went left and here I was caught in a nasty squall that quickly drenched me. I was now starting to struggle and the unnecessary five kilometer detour hadn't helped. I was getting hungry and cold but I didn't have much of a choice but to keep going. I reentered the wooded valley floor and turned in the direction I hoped would lead back to the car. I was thrilled to see a red squirrel bouncing along the lane towards seemingly quite unconcerned by my approach. I stood and it came to within 10 feet of me and I could see that its mouth was full of leaves so I figured it was intent on building a nest or drey for itself. It scooted up a spindly sapling which gave it access to the canopy and it was soon lost from view. It was a delightful interlude but I needed to get back so I continued on. I eventually saw a lane that started uphill to the right and this I hoped would reach the main road high above from where I could return to the car. Alas after walking steeply uphill for a fair bit this too proved to be a dead end and I had once again to return back whence I came. Double bugger and dam. I was by now running on empty. Another squall had chilled me and I wasn't able to go at a pace that could warm me. Hunger was also a problem and when I eventually reached another lane after over two kilometers I turned and walked up the hill and I must confess that by now even walking was tough. I had to stop several times and I was really tempted to sit and rest for a while but I was already late for my appointed return time so I kept going as best I could. At last after two kilometers and two hundred meters of height gain I reached the road for the car and  was able to see an end to my trip. It was now downhill all the way but even so I wasn't able to run all of the four kilometers back. I  did manage to shuffle most of it but I had to walk for short interludes. I was literally shaking by the time I reached the car and lets just say Margaret was not impressed by my lateness and she had been getting worried about me. So after 26 kilometers, several wrong turns and wonder, joy and almost despair I could now relax. It took a while, several sweet treats and a good feed before I could say I was glad I had done it. Next time I will take enough to eat. But what a place, it is easy to understand why it is one of the most sought after places to live by the comfortable retired and wealthy internationals. I must return and explore some more.
Typical Beara scenrty

Homestead in a wild and savage land

Towards Barley Lake

The Sneem River