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.
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