Sunday, November 25, 2012

Killarney to Kenmare Run

The Shy and Retiring Kevin
Yesterday I went to Killarney and met up with Kevin Ring for a run to Kenmare. We started right in the centre of town and so had to run the first few kilometers along pavements and with traffic for company. However we were soon enough able to turn right into Muckross park and enjoy the delightful trail that runs along the lake. The day was glorious. There had been a hard frost during the night and now the skies were clear and the air coldly crisp. All of that along with no wind made it ideal for running. After we passed the boathouse we turned right into the "Yew Wood". This is a magical place where everything is suddenly green from the canopy above to stony forest floor which is completely carpeted with moss, lovely. By now we were well into our day and while I have felt in better form physically and I was a bit daunted by how far we still had to go the banter was great and we were enjoying ourselves immensely. It would be hard not to with so much to enjoy and inspire all around us. The heavy rains of the previous few days had risen the level of Lough Leine a fair bit which meant that there were several sections of the track which were flooded. We found ourselves trying to run through knee deep water which stretched out to maybe 100mtrs in places and it was cold. Trust me when I say that there was no question of a plunge today.

I actually put a lot of thought into that ensemble

We emerged from the Muckross Estate and crossed the road and went up the steep trail that leads up the side of Torc mountain. It was the first time here for both of us and we were surprised by hoe steep it was and also how far up the mountain it went before it turned left and downhill and eventually emerged at the upper car park above Torc Waterfall. Now we were back on the Kerry Way and we turned right and made our way out from the woods into the wild Kerry countryside. I must confess to struggling a fair bit but we walked the steeper bits and took the occasional rest to have a bite to eat and chat etc. At the junction for Galways Bridge we again turned and headed for the Windy Gap. Another long pull saw us reach the gap and shortly thereafter we left the wilds and ran along country lanes mostly downhill to Kenmare. We arrived in the centre of town after 32K and over 500mtrs of climbing, mucky, tired but really happy with our effort. The first order of business was to check out the bus times for our return to Killarney and when we were satisfied that there was a bus at four pm we set about the serious business of re-hydration with two of the most tasty pints imaginable in the Landsdown Arms just across the road from the bus stop. A very tasty bite to eat with really good coffee and we were off to get the bus.

It was with considerable disappointment we discovered that there was no service on Saturday so we were stuck. It was getting quite chilly so we walked to the outskirts of the town and tried our hand at thumbing. I suppose it was no surprise that we didn't entice anybody to give us a lift as Kevin was still in his shorts and covered in mud. I of course had the good sense to take a change of clothes, Ha. We were getting quite cold as there was another frost on the way so we rang for a taxi. This was fairly expensive at 45€ but at least we had a drive. The return to Killarney was one of the most beautiful drives I have ever been on. The dying sun set the landscape on fire and we were agog at the beauty of it all. No words of mine or indeed any picture I could take would do the scenery justice. Even the driver agreed that it was indeed special this evening. A near miss with a straying Hind only added to the drama. So back in town Kevin set off home and I caught the train. So ended another adventure and I have to say it was special. The run goes through some of the best scenery in Ireland and the company was a match for that as well. A convivial sojourn in the pub and that spectacular drive, well lets just say I look forward to more to come.
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