Monday, October 16, 2017

A couple of hikes in Kerry and a four day trip to Holland

Lovely Leiden
It was a great pleasure to have a hike with James again recently. Our work rosters and holidays have gotten in the way of getting together much but we grabbed the chance of an outing and headed back to the Capagh Glen on a fine Thursday morning. James wasn't sure if he had been there before but either way it is always a pleasure to visit this wild place. I decided that a climb of Crohane first would kick-start our outing. Fitness is slowly returning for James and we made steady progress up the hill. It made a nice change to have someone to bounce banter with and time flew by. We didn't delay on top but made our way down and along the boggy spur towards Crohane West top. All was going great until James took a tumble. As he slipped he grabbed a wire fence and in the effort of trying to stop the fall he managed to hurt his knee. Bugger and dammit but he is desperately unfortunate. He struggled on the descent to Lough Nabroda and we had to abandon the idea of climbing Benaunmore. On the plus side we got to enjoy the delightful wooded glen that leads down to the farmland. It was therefore a curtailed outing but nevertheless great fun. Here's hoping that it's just a blip for James and we can get out again soon.

Not a lot of hills to be seen in that neck of the woods but Margaret and myself enjoyed a very nice four days there at the start of the month. We stayed in the delightful city of Haarlem which is only a few minutes by train from Amsterdam. It was a delight to explore. We spent a day in Amsterdam itself but while we enjoyed it we found it very busy. We also went to The Hague and Leiden. The latter was lovely but covered in the litter and detritus from a major festival the previous days which detracted a little from its charm but we were delighted with The Hague which we found to be varied in ambience and architecture. We would heartily recommended it.
Just a flavour of what we found in Holland

Impressive mix in central Dan Haag

40 Floors

Boughil to Knocklomena. ..back in Kerry.
I took advantage of my only day off until I head off on my travels on the 21st to head to Kerry once again for a hike. It was a nice mostly clear morning and promised to remain dry until nightfall. I opted to do the Boughil to Knocklomena route as it had been a fair while since I was on the first one and a good ten years since I was on Knocklomena. As is often the case there was more cloud on the hills the further west I went but most of the tops were clear by the time I parked my car at Barfinnihy Lough. That is except for the ones I was going to climb. I also discovered I had forgotten my camera. No excuses to stop today 😯. Around the lake I went and climbed the steep slope to the summit. This 400mtr drag made a good start of purging the body of all those slices of Dutch apple pie and restaurant food from the recent trip. I was pleased to be feeling strong in body but alas there isn't much hope for the mind as I had also forgotten to bring a map and I set off in the wrong direction from the summit 😢 until I was under the mist and recognised my error. Thankfully that was the last of that sort of thing and the remainder was navigationally flawless, mainly because the cloud lifted😀. I continued on over Cnoc na gCapall and Bascadh and it's West top before descending to the wide gap under Knocklomena. I sat at the southern outlet of the lake and enjoyed some lunch before turning and climbing the southwestern skyline of the mountain. The south face offers superb scrambling of a high degree of difficulty but also superb quality but today there was a lot of wet black Rock in evidence so I headed for the easier ground. That being said the fare on offer here was also wonderful and if you chose to pick the best bits it can be very hard here as well. I picked my way up through the rock bands and tackled some wonderful rock steps that offered some steep quality scrambling. After two hundred metres of fun I reached the broad rather bleak summit. Again I didn't delay and I headed down the northern spur before heading to the narrow gap between the Black and Brida valleys. I even enjoyed the hour and fifteen minute walk back along the the road to my car. It was a lovely outing and I stayed dry but the wind was now getting quite strong so I was glad to be heading home.. Next up Les Alps Maritimes😃.