Monday, January 5, 2015

A good test for my Rab Vapour Rise Alpine Lite Jacket. Mangerton via The Horses Glen

I treated myself to a rather nice bit of outdoor kit this Christmas, namely a Rab Vapour Rise Alpine Lite jacket. I have been searching a long time for a replacement for my old Berghaus mid-layer jacket so I was quite pleased to find the Rab. It has a pertex outer layer and a pilled fleece lining and comes complete with an excellent wired peak on the hood. It is really light as well and comes in at just over 300 grams so it would not be a big load in the bag.
Looking across to Torc and Tomies above Lough Leine

Heading across the bog with Stoompa beyond

First views of The Glen by Lough Garagarry

The narrow neck into the glen

The morning was mild, cloudy and breezy with intermittent mist and drizzle so it seemed like a good opportunity to see what the jacket was made of. Being so light I wasn't totally convinced that it would be effective in a strong breeze and it certainly had to withstand strong winds today. Anyway I left the car at 09.10 and set of up the wet mucky trail. I soon left the "tourist route" and set off across the wild boggy ground that has to be traversed before the wonderfully wild delights of the Horses Glen are revealed. The wind was pretty strong at times but at no time did I feel that the jacket couldn't cope. When I finally reached the narrow entrance to the inner glen I turned right and ascended steeply to the top of the east prow of Mangerton north. The wind increased in strength as I got higher and by the time I was on the top of Mangerton North 782mtrs I was struggling to keep in a straight line. On top of this the mist had changed to horizontal rain, yet at no stage did I feel it necessary to put on my hard shell. I should also say that the day was quite mild with a reading of 12 degrees as I left the car. Still I was up over 2500 feet so it wasn't exactly warm. A brief respite was enjoyed at the col below Mangerton 838 meters where I enjoyed a welcome bite to eat. I wasn't sure whether to head down via the tourist route or continue around the spectacular coum (alas shrouded by cloud) but I decided I would see how severe the wind was when I reached the plateau. Thankfully the wind wasn't too bad and the rain had stopped so I chose the longer outing and struck on for Stoompa.
The east prow of Mangerton North

Lough Managh nestling in the glen

Comfy in the Rab Jacket

Heading back down towards Lough Garagarry from Stoompa
The landscape, at least as much of it as I could see in the mist, took on an ethereal aura. Peat hags loomed like giant fungi from the barren boggy ground and again, as I have often felt in the past, I was really enjoying the whole experience, despite the lack of views. I had the whole place to myself and the only other creature I saw (besides Ravens and Snipe) was a solitary red deer who vanished into the mist as quickly as it arrived. I soon arrived at the col below the gentle pull to Stoompa 705 meters. Here the cloud began to part and offer fleeting views and as the wind was at my back the summit was easily reached. Down fairly steeply on heathery/rocky slopes before reaching the easy spur that descends to the shores of Lough Garagarry. Now the only alternative is to re-cross the boggy ground to once again reach the tourist path and the car. A total of about 14 kilometres and about 900 meters of ascent wasn't a bad mornings work, all in 4 hours 45 minutes. The jacket worked a dream, even better than I had hoped. Not only did it prove to be able to withstand some seriously windblown drizzle and mist but it was so quick to dry and wicking wasn't a problem. I would recommend one to anyone looking for a versatile bit of mountaineering apparel.
One of my favourite views in Kerry

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