Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Hags Glen Horseshoe

With an eye to my trip to the Pyrenees in June I decided to have a good workout today and head for the Reeks once again and do the Hags Glen Horseshoe. This is the full circuit of the glen and goes from Cruach Mor right around over Carrauntoohil and Benkeeragh before finally descending Knockbrinnea back to the car. Once again I left home with blue skies and little breeze only to see a weather front approach as I went west. When I left the car in Lisliebane the back of the glen was dark and gloomy and the cloud was blanketing the tops. The wind was fairly strong as well so the day promised to be, shall we say refreshing. I decided to take both walking poles and see if they would be a help on such a substantial outing and I have to say I am becoming a convert to the benefits of them. Without a doubt there was less strain felt when the day was done and despite the day being over 17 kilometers and having over 1700 meters of climbing/ descent my knees were fine at the finish and I now have to decide whether to take one or two poles to the Pyrenees. I kept up a reasonable pace and finished the round in six hours and I was well pleased. The walk along the ridge wasn't too bad and most of the time the wind could be avoided and it wasn't until I was descending from Carrauntoohil  and on the Benkeerach ridge that I was fully exposed to it. Temperature wise, it wasn't too bad either until I was coming down from Benkeerach when the weather cleared up beautifully but the temperature dropped four degrees and things became decidedly chilly. Anywhere there was rock to be negotiated considerable care had to be taken and in places things were quite slippery and any where that was scrambly I didn't bother with the poles as I feel they are more of a hindrance than a help. On the descents however they were great and I found that they reduced any jarring to a minimum. Curved gully still has a considerable amount of snow in it and could still possibly offer a nice grade 1 winter outing if a frosty night came. All and all it was a great day.

Cnock na Peiste Lough
Almost back at the car and the days has cleared up nicely.