Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Hags Glen Horseshoe.

I went back to The Reeks Friday to re-introduce myself to my local mountains after coming home from the Alps last week. I wanted to get in a decent outing so I opted for the Hags Glen Horseshoe. This offers about 15 kilometers and 1500 mtrs of ascent and would hopefully be a help in trying to retain any fitness I picked up while away.

 Leaving the car at a leisurely 10.30 I headed into the spectacular glen. It is always reassuring to still find your home hills beautiful even when you have come back from one of the most famous mountain areas on the planet. Different it certainly is and there was a wild feel to the day as I hot footed it away from the car. Even though the mountains of the Alps are three or four times higher the hiking trails have a tamer safer feel to them. I guess it's the marked trails with signposted junctions, coupled with good weather that make you feel safer while there. Here (and the same in Scotland) things have a wildness to match the weather. Before long I was immersed in the day and troubles and normal concerns are left behind. Not that things are totally rosy. Sloshing through bog and slogging up the slopes of Cruach Mor is an acquired pleasure but it is still a joy to be out. There was no thought of dressing in shorts and Tshirt today as the stiff northerly wind had the temperatures hovering in single figures up high and when you factor in the wind chill I was putting on extra layers instead. Mist slicked rock meant I forewent the delights of the ridge crest and I followed instead the path lower down, first on the right and then the left to reach Cnoc na Peiste. Cloud and rain arrived together so I hurried along and continued to Cnoc an Cuillian where I enjoyed my lunch.

The weather was picking up again and I was in great form as I continued towards the  Devils Ladder. It wasn't until I reached here that I met other walkers and once I had left Carrauntoohil behind I was again alone. The slog up to Carrauntoohil is never nice but I had it done in just 25 minutes which wasn't too bad and with cloud clinging to the summit I hightailed it towards Benkeeragh. I was moving well and before too long I had the climbing done for the day and I was heading for Knockbrinna .The descent went well and I reached the car at 16.15 so I had made good time. I really enjoyed the wonderfully different experience that my own hills offer. I'm lucky indeed to be able to experience and enjoy such diversity. Today had more than a hint of the coming winter about it and it was easy to imagine things being plastered in snow. Bring it on.
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