Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Two Days Exploring the Dingle Peninsula with James

James Moore and I haven't had a good old outing in a fair while. Injury, bereavement and life in general has meant that James hasn't been able to maintain a regular regime of exercise but he is determined to get back to it, so we set a date some time ago and decided that we were going to have a weekend away over September 24th and 25th. We had opted for the Dingle peninsula and now all we needed was some decent weather and we were set fair.

Saturday September 24th;

The forecast was pretty dire as the Saturday approached with gales and torrential rain in the offing but it promised to clear somewhat by the afternoon so we might catch a break. Things didn't seem too hopeful as we set off from Mallow in the morning on a wet and wild day. It was therefore with some delight that as we passed back beyond Tralee we could see better skies ahead and by the time we were parked up in Teer beyond Cloghane it was dry and some blue sky was to be seen. I had decided that for a change we would concentrate on the wonderful ground that is found to the north of Mount Brandon which James had never been to before. We set off up the fairly gentle slopes towards An tSáis which is always a delight to see. James was struggling a bit with his fitness but his determination is as strong as ever and he made it to the spectacular edge in fine style. He was suitably blown away by the views (and the wind)  and it was a delight to be able to share his evident joy at being out and about. After soaking up the views for a short while we set off west towards Masatiompáin but first we stopped off at the "bothy" that is to be found at the deserted village.

James loving it

Setting off

A fair bit of erosion after the heavy rains

We couldn't put off the long slog to the summit for long and we set of up in the ever increasing wind. After stopping for lunch we made the final push for the top but when we arrived the cloud was skirting across the top and obscured the views towards Ballyferriter and the Blasket Islands. Still we couldn't complain as the day was staying dry and we were enjoying ourselves immensely. We passed over the tor of Piaras Mor and descended via the easy spur towards An Slíabh Glás where we came across the wreckage of a world war two plane that had crashed (one of four that crashed hereabouts during the war). We made it back to the car in the dry weather (it had rained for a very short while after we came off the ridge) and we were delighted with our day. Next stop our B&B (the very nice Old Anchor Inn) in Annascaul.
 Annascaul is the birthplace of Tom Crean who is rightly renowned for his incredible exploits of exploration with both Scott and Shakleton. After dinner in the delightfully named Patcheens pub we had to visit Creans pub, The South Pole Inn for a toast or two and well... lets just say we slept very well that night.
The summit is in sight

The way way back

Struggling in 70 mile per hour gusts of wind

Sunday Sept 25th;

We were greeted by a blustery sunny morning and after a hearty full Irish breakfast we set off for Ballyferriter to walk the beautiful cliff walk of The Three Sisters. We arrived at the start of the walk at 10.30 and set off in glorious sunshine for the lookout tower that sits on Ceann Sibéal which at almost 700 ft high was to be the highest point of our walk. This was the spot that scenes for the upcoming Star Wars movie was shot and it certainly is an otherworldly place to be. The logistics of filming here must have been tough and it would be a health and safety nightmare. Today in the buffeting wind it was perilous to venture too near the edge but it was exhilarating to stand and wonder at the glory of it all. Poor James had an upset tummy and suffered throughout the day but he battled on gamely and despite his discomfort I think he still enjoyed his outing. It would be pretty hard not to be impressed by this unique landscape that wowed me every bit as much as anything I had seen in Norway this summer. Again we were so so lucky with the weather and despite a couple of brief squalls we were almost entirely dry throughout and the passing showers (that mostly missed us) only helped to make the landscape more dramatic. We continued on to the Three Sisters and then descended back to the little road that heads back towards the golf course and our car. The outing had only been for a few hours but it packed in more "wow moments" than many longer days. We set off for the long drive back east and basked in the still vivid memories of a lovely couple of days. Thanks James. I often can't decide which is my favourite place in these islands but the Dingle Peninsula certainly comes close.
Ceann Síbeal and the Blasket Islands beyond

Towards the Three Sisters and Brandon beyond

Not blurred but an illusion from the squall of rain

Plenty of white water

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