Saturday, April 9, 2016

Cnoc Na Peiste North Ridge and a return of sweet winter.

What a way to start the day
My recovery continues slowly but surely and after a few weeks of physio and staying of the mountains since I returned from Scotland last month I was finally ready for a return to action. I went for a gentle 7K run yesterday for the first time since before Christmas and it went well so I was fairly confident that my knee would hold up to a sterner outing today. The weather had turned a fair bit colder overnight and I woke to a clear frosty morning which promised a reasonably fair day ahead. I met up with Denis and we set off for Cronins Yard where Bridie would be waiting. It came as something of a surprise to see a good dusting of snow down to low levels on the hills as we drove back and its fair to say that things looked decidedly wintry as we set off from the carpark at around 08.45. What a lovely morning. Chilly but with little or know wind. Mostly clear summits and little prospect of too much precipitation in the short term meant we were set fair for a very pleasant taste of a winters outing, and so it proved to be.

The ridge looming ahead

A tough of mist and snow only adds to the magic

As we walked in we had no real idea as to what we would do and on a whim I suggested the north ridge of Cnoc na Peiste which gives a very nice grade 1 outing to the fourth highest mountain in the country. I was very pleased to find that my knee wasn't protesting too much as I went along and my fitness was still fairly good so we made decent progress. On the rocky ridge itself there was no need for any hardware as the rocks were fairly clear and what snow there was was nice and dry and ice wasn't an issue. We were loving our day. Stunning views were a constant distraction and good fun was also to be had as we picked out the choicest options as we rose higher on the ridge. Eventually the fun petered out but it wasn't too far to the summit. We turned right on top and enjoyed the beautiful snowy yet benign conditions all the way to the top of Cnoc an Chuillin where we had an early lunch. Thereafter we continued to the top of the Devils Ladder where our solitude was definitely a thing of the past and we joined the hoards heading for Carrauntoohil. The slog to the summit soon passed and we enjoyed a brief respite before descending via the Heavenly Gates. We were back at the car in a respectable 5 hours 45 mins and a well deserved coffee and cake followed. Its good to be back.

Denis is a devil for trying Bridies lippy

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