Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Reeks Walk.

After a completely knackering 17 kilometer run on Saturday last I went to Kerry for the Killarney MC annual walk of the Reeks. This walk is approx 18k long with 1800mtrs of ascent and traverses almost the entire range from Caher to Strickeen. Being stuck for time I struck out at a rapid pace and soon left the rest of the group of 16 behind. After a little while I started to feel a bit fatigued but a bit of food and an energy drink gave me a second wind and I continued on relentlessly. I was soon on the summit of Caher and as the day was relatively windless and the cloud was high I was able to really enjoy the easy ridge to Carrauntoohil and savour the stunning views. As by now I was feeling strong I didn't stop on the summit but instead jogged the path down to the col under Cnoc na Toinne. Up the boggy slope and down to  neath Cnoc na Cuillan. This is the last tough rise of the day and I decided to put it behind me before I had lunch.
I really enjoyed my bite to eat in one of my favourite eerie's. I continued on apace and made short work of the ground to the summit of Cnoc na Peiste, at 988mtrs the fourth highest peak in the country. The ridge from here to the summit on Cruach Mor is one of the best in the country and offers exposed grade 1 scrambling along its one kilometer length. The rock being lovely and dry I stuck to the crest of the ridge and savoured the feeling of hands on rock and the isolated freedom that was mine today. From Cruach mor there is a longish decent to the col of Alohart and then up to Cnoc na Bracha. Pushing a good pace all the time I ran the decent to the long flat boggy plateau that leads to Strickeen. The bog was surprisingly dry and I was able to run a goodish section of that as well. The end result was that I was at the car four hours and fifty minutes after I started. Not too bad for a rapidly ageing, small white fella.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mount Leinster

Towards Blackstair Mountain from Mount Leinster
The impresive summit mast

Mount Leinster
Bluebells a plenty
While on a few days away with Margaret looking at gardens in the Carlow area I decided to take advantage of the day she was meeting some gardening friends and head out for a climb of Mount Leinster. At 795mtrs the highest hill in Carlow and as the highest of the Blackstairs Mountains it promised to have extensive views. The start point is the col at Corrbut gap. This is at 330mtrs and the ascent from here is a gentle pull up heathery slopes and the tarmac road that goes all the way to the summit. There was a strong wind to accompany me all the way to the summit which is crowned by an impressive communications mast of some 400ft. Not being a lover of such mountaintop paraphenalia I didn't tarry and headed instead off down the slope towards Blackstair Mountain at 735mtrs the second highest top in the compact range.

 The air was a little hazy so the views weren't as far ranging as I had hoped but I could see the Irish sea off to the left and to the north the Wicklow hills rose gently from the verdant landscape. To the south Slievenamon and the Comeragh Mountains were hazy outlines in the distance. I was enjoying myself crossing the broad easy slopes watching the swathes of bog cotton bowing obediently to the wind. There is a great sense of freedom in such a place that thankfully was totally devoid of unnecessary and unsightly fences. My route went up over Knockroe and down to Scullogue Gap. This was a fairly big drop and meant that I had over 560mtrs of a pull to the summit. I pushed on and was glad when I eventually arrived at the broad windswept top. While I dined (two bananas) I rang Margaret and arranged to meet her in the village of Kiltealy at the base of the mountain. I had an hour and three quarters before our rendevous so I found a nice shaded spot and dozed for twenty minutes and enjoyed the solitude and birdsong. I decended at a leisurely pace and the walk finished along delightful deserted country lanes alive with wildflower and song. I arrived in the village tired but fulfilled after nearly 20K and 1100 mtrs of ascent.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Good trainng days and Miracle Camera

I have been somewhat lax in my blogging efforts of late but I can assure you that I have been getting out and about. I enjoyed a very nice run around the Horses Glen over Mangerton and Stoompa last week with James Moore. Not scorchingly fast but a respectable two hours to cover the approx 14K and 800mtrs ascent.

I went with my two partners for the upcoming alpine trip to the Reeks last Saturday and we enjoyed a good convivial day out on the Hags Glen Horseshoe, a fine 16K and 1700mtrs of ascent. They are two good old boys and fit to boot so all is good on that front.

Sunday I headed out with Killarney Mountaineering Club for a walk up Purple Mountain. As I was eager to pack as much into the day as possible I left the group and pushed on alone over Purple and then down to the head of the Gap of Dunloe and up the other side to Cnoc na Bracha and on to Strickeen and back to Kate Kearneys. A fine round of 20K anf 1500mtrs of ascent all in 5hours 15 mins.

From the Aonach Eagach

Finally today the camera that I had lost on the NE Buttress on Ben Nevis in the middle of February arrived in the post. The camera was lost up near the Mantrap and was found by Mr Craig Coid at the end of April. This meant that it had fallen over 1000ft and was out in the Scottish winter weather for over two months in just a cloth bag. Remarkably it arrived in perfect condition and in perfect working order. I had long ago given up any hope of recovering the camera yet alone recieving it intact, so a huge big thank you to the gentleman that is Craig Coid who proves that the mountaineering fraternity contains very fine people. I hope to thank him in person and buy him several drams of something suitably warming.
North East Buttress Ben Nevis

Just below the Mantrap