Friday, January 5, 2018

Purple Mountain and The Gap of Dunloe...Simple Joy

The East Reeks from Fossa
I went for a short outing on the hills today in the hope of getting some air into the lungs before a week of night-work. I wasn't expecting too much but it was a nice surprise to see a good dusting of snow covering the mountains down to around the 600mtr level as I drove back to Kerry. Things were looking promising weather wise as well so I found myself looking forward to the day immensely. I was pretty late leaving home so a big day wasn't really possible so I opted to climb Purple Mountain as this would offer great views (hopefully) and gives a reasonable workout. I parked my car at the bridge at the outlet of Black Lake and headed for the Chimneys. This gives a stiff 300mtr climb to start the day and soon cleared any cobwebs, but it also is the toughest part of the day and has the advantage of being done first and the expanding views are a good reason to stop and rest a while.
Once over the 400mtr contour the angle eases back and gentler slopes lead to Tomies North Top at 568mtrs. The views from here towards Tomies, Purple and across the chasm of the Gap towards The Reeks are always great but when the tops are capped in snow like today things looked pretty special indeed. I was thoroughly enjoying myself and the cold strong breeze only made things feel better.

 I reached the snow line as I started to climb the 200mtrs to the summit of Tomies and this made climbing the stony slopes a little tricky but it was soon past and I was being buffeted on the exposed summit. Now it was properly chilly so I put the head down and set off for Purple Mountain. It was exhilarating to be on the mountains today and all the more so as I seemed to have them all to myself. Once over the drag to Purple NE top all that remained was the final 140mtr climb to the long crest of Purple itself. Here the incomparable Black Valley came into view and seemed to beckon me on. I descended easily all the way to the Head of The Gap where I turned and walked the couple of miles back to my car. When the Gap is quiet like today it is always a joy to stroll through and it gave a gentle glorious end to the outing. Four wonderful hours spent in glorious surroundings. With a cold forecast for the next few days I hope to return real soon.  

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