Sunday, April 29, 2018

Tomies and Purple Mountains

Feck it but this flu is lingering and  things are only slowly improving. I headed back to Kerry again yesterday for another dose of what is always the best medicine...fresh mountain air. The morning was chilly but dry with the promise of yet more rain forecast for the afternoon. With that in mind I decided to forego the Reeks and headed for Kate Kearney's instead. I decided to climb Tomies and Purple and if I felt like it I could extend the outing by climbing the hills on the western side when I reached the "head of the gap". I wasn't interested in doing anything too steep so with that in mind I walked out the road and followed the track until it joined the easy spur that rises gently towards Tomies north top. Gently at first I should say because once you reach the 250 mtr contour the slope steepens and the next 250mtrs are hard won. At the car it had started to rain lightly so I had donned full rain gear. The rain had been brief but the clothes stayed on and the result was that I was now oozing sweat (as the auld curmudgeon Tim Long might say) but I was moving quite well so I stuck at it. The views were great and I was particularly struck by the light on the clouds to the east that were somewhat reminiscent of those I saw while on a trip to Norway in 2016. It was a blessed relief to reach easy ground on top but the respite is all too short before the next stiff pull is reached that leads to Tomies. A brief stop to take in much needed liquid and I was off again. This was one of the few times I have been on top of this mountain when there was little in the way of wind. It felt great to cross the easy ground and revel in the stunning scenery.

 I always particularly enjoyed the view across to the Reeks that are at their most spectacular from here. Since things were so nice I decided to cross to Shehy Mountain which gives a great vantage point to view the Killarney lakes. Much more in the way of ominous weather was appearing on the nearby hills and The Reeks were now getting drenched under a dark sky. I was still staying dry (unusually) so I continued on to the summit of Purple where I enjoyed a welcome lunch. While there I had a brief shower of graupel that emphasised the winter wasn't too long past. ReplenishEd after lunch I set off on the next leg of the trip towards Glas Lough and then the head of the gap. This passed easily but by the time I reached the gap the weather was deteriorating and even though I was feeling pretty good I decided to walk the road back to the car. This is always a pleasure and a walk to be savoured and that I did. I reached the car after just less than 5 hours which wasn't too bad for a trip of about 16 kilometres and 950 mtrs climbing. The route was very quiet as well and on the mountains I only saw three other people.

 Made a nice change from Carrauntoohil.
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