Friday, 11 July 2014

A Run On Carrountoohil

After thinking about it many times I finally bit the bullet and went for a run to the summit of Carrauntoohil yesterday. The traditional route is to start from the west side and go up the "hydro road" as far as the lakes and then up the west spur of Caher and from the summit continue to the top of Carrauntoohil. This I opted to do. I had thought about doing the full Coomloughra Horseshoe but the weather was disappointing with the cloud down to just 300 meters and rain and drizzle all about so I reckoned that a run to the summit and straight back would be enough. Besides I could still feel in my legs the fifteen mile run I had done on Monday and I wasn't over confident that I would be able for a big day. I have often wondered if I would be able to run up the steep first section of the hydro road and today I got my answer,,,no. I did manage perhaps 25% of it but in my overweight and untrained state I wasn't able, nor do I think I would ever be. It is too steep and unrelenting and I think I would be too exhausted to run afterwards if I tried too hard. Still it was gratifying to be able to run from the sharp turn all the way to the lake from where I left the road and crossed the wet boggy ground to the base of the spur. I was now in the mist so at least I didn't have the excuse to stop for a photo opportunity. From here I walked when I had to and ran when I was able (more walking than running) and eventually reached the west top of Caher. Down carefully on the slick rocks and then up again to the main summit before an enjoyable technical run to the final pull to the summit of Carrauntoohil. It was chilly and damp and I only stopped to have a drink and put on a jacket before I turned and retraced my steps. It was hard to pick out the steps in the fog and drizzle and I was all too conscious of painful consequences of a trip or fall so I took my time and I must say I enjoyed it all the more for that. Soon I was climbing again to the top of Caher and after the final top there followed a very enjoyable run down the zig-zag path along the spur. It went on for quite a while but eventually I was crossing the wet bog again to the road. I was once again under the cloud and the end wasn't too far away now so my spirits were high. The final steep bit down the pitted concrete section to the car left my legs a bit wobbly by the time I reached the car but I was delighted and pleased with my outing. So about 14 kilometers and 1100 meters of climbing was done in a total of two hours and ten minutes, not a record to be sure (the great John Linehan holds the record for the route at just over seventy minutes) but I was happy and had enjoyed it.  I felt pleased that I had finished without any mishaps and all my joints were pain free. I look forward to giving it another go in the not too distant future.
View (on a better weather day) from Carrauntoohil towards Caher