Sunday, July 24, 2016

Carrauntoohil..Welcome Back Frank

The prodigal son returned today and I was so pleased to have a day out with Frank after his sabbatical of nine months. Never being one to shy away from a challenge Frank opted to climb Carrauntoohil for his first climb back. On top of that he agreed to climb Curved Gully Ridge (Severe) so rope and a full rack were thrown into the bag and hauled up into the gloom. And gloomy it was to stay and the cloud stayed down and rain arrived when we reached the first level of Coumeenaughter. Alas this meant that the hardware was hauled up for nothing as well so we decided to climb Curved Gully itself. We discovered again why we generally give this route a miss in anything other than winter conditions as it is a horribly loose wet climb and when the mist is down has little to recommend it. On the plus side was how well Frank performed on the climb. Is absence hadn't done him any harm and he was quite strong the whole way up. The company was great as well and we were immediately back into our comfortably banter. We stopped for a bite of lunch on the summit and a funny aside occurred when a couple of "knowledgeable" old dudes warned us to mind the "sheer drop" on the far side of the cross. I think they should be told to "ferme la bouche" a bit more often. We descended the Heavenly Gates and back to the car in the ever improving day. It was lovely to have Frank back in the mountains again and we hope to get out again very soon.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Coumloughra Horseshoe

The second half of the horseshoe
I went back to Kerry again this morning for a blast of fresh air, a thing which is seldom in short supply on these hills. I opted for the Coumloughra Horseshoe as it is one of the finest walks in the area and takes in the three highest mountains in the country. It involves around 12 kilometers of distance and 1300 mtrs of ascent so it would make a decent outing. My ligament problem in my right knee still hasn't cleared up and I haven't been able to run at all this year but my level of fitness is still reasonable and I guess I gained some while I was in Norway. I was feeling pretty good as I left the car and set off up the "Hydro Road" that allows easy access to wilder country higher up. I made short work of the road and once I reached Lough Eaghter I turned left and opted for the steeper ascent of Skregmore and then onto Benkeeragh before crossing the ridge and climbing Carrauntoohil. This allows for a long but steady descent from Caher back to the lake and retracing my steps along the road and back to the car.
Lovely morning and lovely views....spoiled by a new scar on the landscape

Towards Skregmore.

Towards the East Reeks

Caher....always lovely

Caherconree and Baurtregaum

I was moving well and enjoyed the scrambly bits on the ridge to Skregmore and then  I just kept a good pace on all the way to the summit of Carrauntoohil where I enjoyed a bit of lunch. The weather was by now showing signs of change and clouds descended to around 950mtrs and carried the odd spit of rain. It never fails to astound me just how stupid some people are as I met guy on Cahers east top who was out in shorts and Tshirt with no backpack or any supplies. I asked him if he had any extra clothes etc and when he said no I recommended that he should consider heading down but he just laughed and carried on. I guess he wasn't laughing about an hour later when more continuous rain arrived on the tops. I continued on down and reached the car before the rain arrived. I was pleasantly surprised to find it had only taken me just over four hours. Peeing down now. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Circuit Of The Gap Of Dunloe

All back to normal again today. After coming back from Norway and working nights I decided to take advantage of my only day off for a while to have a day on the hills. I opted to do a circuit of the Gap of Dunloe as it is around 17kilometers long and gives 1500 mtrs of climbing so it is a worthy outing. For a change I decided to climb Srickeen first and save Purple and Tomies for the end. It took me about 5 hours 50 minutes to complete the circuit and it must have rained for over 4hours of that.The cloud was well down as well until the end but I still enjoyed it. I also counted myself very lucky as I could just as easily have had weather like that for the duration in Norway.
About the only chance I had to enjoy a view all day. The Gap of Dunloe as I descended Drishana