|Always a great sight...and the weather is playing ball as well|
I arrived in a busy Cronins Yard and was hot footing it into the Hags Glen by 09.30. The new boots fit like a glove and felt gloriously light after the heavy boots of last week. With practically nothing left in the rucksack it felt great to be so unencumbered. To top all that the weather was showing real promise so I was quite delighted to be out. I was moving quite quickly as I was anxious to get back reasonably early because I had to be back in work by 19.00. I decided to climb up through Coumeenoughter and possibly use Curve Gully to summit if there was a reasonable amount of snow. As I got higher it became clear that it was just a dusting even in the gullies so I had resigned myself to going up O'Sheas Gully instead. As I was climbing I noticed a guy following me who was really moving quickly. When he caught up with me near the second level I was delighted to find it was Keith Wharton with whom I had last climbed with some 9 years previously. Where does the time go?. We stayed together for the rest of the climb and at Keith's suggestion we ascended Central Gully.
|Looking up Central|
This provided a short but nice climb up through the narrow gully. There was some snow in the gully but nothing useful. It was soft and slushy and only served to cover any slippy stones. A short blast of a graupel shower made it feel quite wintry but all too soon the route ends and the couple of hundred foot climb to the summit passed quickly. It was nice to catch up with Keith again and the chat flowed. The summit was quite wintry so we didn't delay before heading for the Devils Ladder. The descent was a joy. The trail had collected a good cover of powder snow which was a joy to jog down. Add to this the fact that the skies cleared and offered a stunning view of Caher and the East Reeks it felt like a great bonus. I kept up a good pace down the ladder and all the way to the car and I was really pleased to arrive back just 3 hours 30 minutes after setting out.
It had been one of those days where you don't have high expectations but then delivered in spades.