Saturday October 20th;
Last weekend I was busy.
First on Saturday I went for a run with Kevin. We had originally thought to do the South Coast Adventure Race in West Cork but it would have meant an overnight trip and time being at such a premium for Kevin these days (new job and new baby) we opted instead to head to Killarney and do a substantial run over Torc Mountain and Mangerton. It was our first time getting out and about since the start of September so I was really looking forward to it. We parked at the upper carpark above Torc Waterfall and after toasting Baby Clodagh we set off on the Old Kenmare Road towards Torc. It was a lovely morning and we were moving well (Kevin as usual ranging ahead) and we soon arrived at the junction where we left the road and turned onto the hill proper. There is a well built track that comprises of railway sleepers and stone steps. Kevin I suspect wouldn't have needed to stop running at all but I had to walk a few sections but not many and we were on the summit a mere 19 minutes after we left the car. We briefly enjoyed the view and did an about turn and set off back down. We hadn't gone too far when I inadvertently grazed a woman coming up and she fell. She was complaining of a broken arm but she was able to move it and there was no swelling etc. She was understandably very shocked but her husband and myself sat with her and comforted her. After a short while they decided to head back down. We asked if they wanted us to contact anybody but they said no. We stayed with them for some of the way down but they assured us that they were doing OK so after a while we resumed our run.
We weren't long getting back to the Kenmare Road and we turned west. I must confess some of the good had gone from the day but after a while the demands of the run and Kevins good humour took my mind off things and I began to enjoy myself again. The long steep pull on the western flanks of Mangerton didn't appeal so we opted to continue along the trail. It was the first time either of us had been here and to say we thought it stunning would be an understatement. The trail wound its way across open wilderness and glorious glens and was always varied and beautiful. We diverted briefly to a pretty waterfall which was fronted by a large pool. Kevin (never spurning the chance to get naked) striped and had a quick plunge. We continued on and soon came to the bohereen that led to Derricunnihy church where we turned onto the Killarney road. Thankfully is wasn't too busy but it was less pleasent than what had gone previously. It was long too and I was feeling quite tired by the time we were nearing Torc again. Still that didn't stop us from deciding to turn left and do a circuit of Muckross Lake as well. Will I ever learn?.
We walked for a bit while I ate my energy bars and we rued the fact that we hadn't brought ant money with us as a cup of tea and a cake would have been just the ticket at the cafe in Dinis Cottage. Next time we wont make that mistake. We resumed our run and as will be no surprise I was soon struggling. We sat for a while by the lake and chatted. It was nice to relax and have a natter and we resolved to take more time to relax in future trips. I have my doubts. Anyway we continued on and eventually arrived back at the base of Torc Waterfall. The steps up to the car park soon passed and we had a brief race to the car. Lets just say I was quickly shown who was the boss of speed. A relaxed change and back to town for a well earned coffee and a bite to eat. Three hours the run took including the delays and around seventeen miles over some rough ground. Despite the accident it was great to be out with the Kevinator again. Looking forward to the next time.
Sunday October 21st;
I took the train back to Killarney once again to meet Frank. This promised to be an all together more relaxed day which was just as well as I was feeling the effects of yesterdays run. The weather was once again good although there was a fairly strong breeze blowing. It is always a pleasure to meet Frank and we went for our usual coffee and chatted and decided what to do. We had all the necessary equipment for rock climbing but we opted instead for a hike up Purple Mountain. We went out to the Gap of Dunloe, parked up and set off for Tomies Rock. The conversation flowed and I related how my trip to Switzerland went and we looked forward to our upcoming trip to Snowdonia in Wales. It had been a long time since Frank had been on the hills and he lacked confidence in his ability to climb the steep slopes. We set a steady pace and with the minimum of fuss the meters passed and we made really good time to the top of the rock. The drag up through "The Chimneys" is steep but Frank was underestimating his fitness and he managed it no bother. We continued up to the summit of Tomies and there enjoyed a well earned lunch.
After our bite we continued along over Shehy and easily on the the summit of Purple Mountain 830mtrs. We retraced our steps to the saddle and made our way back to the road in the Gap. A pleasant stroll back to the car followed and we had done the round in a very respectable four hours. Theres plenty life left in the auld boy still Francis. We were just back in town in time for me to catch my train so we didn't have any chance to have more coffee. I am really looking forward to our trip to Wales. Whatever the weather we will have fun.