Monday, 9 July 2018

Mount Brandon

On Sunday July 8th the club outing was to Mount Brandon in the Dingle Peninsula. At 952 meters this mountain is just 86 meters shy of Carrauntoohil. It is a formidable mountain and it dominates the peninsula. Rising up from sea level to its majestic summit.
Leaving town at 08.00 on a bright morning, we had high hopes that we would have cloudless views from the summit. The mountain is notorious for its cloud covered head. We had reports that the summit had been  clear all week.
We stopped at a filling station in Blenerville for coffee / tea and  to meet up with members who had travelled from other areas.
A few kilometers outside Tralee we met some light rain. Imagine in Ireland it was a talking point in the car....we had actually seen some rain..the sky darkened.
After some time the sky brightened again. Passing through Cloghane we turned left up to our starting point at Faha. Here we got lucky as we found enough room to park in the small car park.
Changing into our gear we could see that the summit was covered in fog. Undeterred we made our way. The last time the club did this mountain we took the Saints Road from Baile Breic.

This was for some of us a new route. The path is well way marked with yellow arrows painted on the rocks and white posts.  It is a well trodden route, no navigation skills ( or Taxis ) are required.
After leaving the car park you come to a beautifully maintained grotto.  Erected as a result of a pilgrim climb in the Marion year of 1952. A Tralee man John O Connor who took part, was inspired to create a grotto. With the help of local young men and women from Cloghane and surrounding areas, his dream eventually came to fruition. He cycled the 50 mile round trip from Tralee each Sunday to supervise the building. ...... A different era.
The route continues along a gentle slope until it reaches a large glaciated valley surrounded by towering cliffs.The valley floor is punctuated with a series of small lakes.
The views over the Dingle Peninsula are awesome and the village of Cloghane lay below us in the distance.
Reaching the top of the valley we crossed the stream, we could see a rocky eroded path rising up to our left. This would bring us onto a col, turning left it’s only another 150 meters to the summit.
The short climb to the col is the most difficult part of the treck. Care must be exercised here.
The fog had not cleared when we reached the top... This is a sacred place and in pagan times the festival of Lughnasa was celebrated here... Saint Brendan built a small oratory here and spent 40 days meditating before his voyage to the New World...... I think he would have second thoughts about going there now..
 Barr an Turas is how the summit is known locally in the Irish language. Meaning “ top of the journey”. It refers to Mount Brandon being the ultimate destination for the pilgrim. Reaching the top of Brandon is no mean achievement. Well done to all involved. We also learned at the summit that some lady’s (Phil ) ashes are interred near the Cross on top. Apparently she loved to climb Brandon. RIP.
Retracing our steps we had lunch in a shady spot before we began our decent to the valley.
Reaching the car park we changed. It was decided to go to Thomasins bar for some welcome refreshments. The food was good here and everyone one seemed to enjoy it.
A member had a significant birthday so he was presented with a beautiful dessert complete with one candle, accompanied by a chorus of  “ Happy birthday “. Thanks a nice touch...

Hiking is a bit like life:
The journey only requires you put one foot
in front of the other.....again and again and again.
And if you allow yourself opportunity to be present
throughout the entirety of the trek , you will witness
beauty every step of the way, not just at the summit.................Unknown

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Night climb Up The West Pap

On Saturday 23 June the annual Club nighttime climb took place. Our destination was the West Pap.

As the last of the night owls were heading to their beds we left town at 01.00 heading for Clonkeen.
We passed through the sleeping towns and villages eventually arriving at the parking spot at the start of the climb.
Initially, there was great interest in the climb, but people dropped out one by one, until there were only four left all male. We were amply rewarded for our efforts.
At the car park, we geared up and fitted our head torches.
The night was balmy as we made our way upwards. As we gained altitude the twinkling lights of Killarney came into view. We proceeded at a steady pace as conditions underfoot were excellent and the route was gradual.
Time on our side we decided to rest up in the lee of a rocky outcrop and had some refreshments.We didn’t want to summit too early.
We had the mountain to ourselves save for a few startled sheep, whose eyes glowed in our headlights.
The lights of different towns and villages sparkled down below us. We tried to identify them. The brooding bulk of Crohane was to our left as well as the Reeks.
The eastern sky was an artists palette of subtle orange, pinks, blues and reds..
Refreshed we continued up the final climb to the summit. The darkness had abated and the dawn twilight had made our torches obsolete.
We reached the trig point and the cairn.  We waited...............then at precisely 05.17 at 48 degrees north east the miracle that has happened for thousands of years on this day at this time...happened right before our eyes. The fiery rim of the sun emerged slowly from the eastern horizon. The sky was a kaleidoscope of colour.
It’s easy to see how our ancestors worshipped the sun.... Whatever one believes in it’s hard not to imagine there is some form of higher Power or Energy keeping this whole universe together. Despite mans best efforts to destroy it.
Photos taken, and well and truly in awe of what we had witnessed, we made our way down.
Behind us the sun had climbed higher and was now a fiery ball in the sky. Casting shadows on Crohane and spreading it’s warming glow westwards.
Reaching the car we changed. The midge was there to greet us so we didn’t dally.
We made our way to O Riordan's Kanturk where we had a well-deserved breakfast.
A fantastic night out without the hangover.

“ In every walk with nature, one receives far more than one seeks “........ John Muir

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Ballycotton Cliff walk

On Sunday 24 June the club travelled to the village of Ballycotton. Leaving town at 09.00 we travelled to the beautiful rich countryside of East Cork. We parked up at Bayview Hotel and had the usual cuppa in the outdoors area overlooking a Mediterranean blue sun-kissed sea.
We then proceeded uphill to the start of the cliff walk. Ballycotton being a fishing village has had its fair share of sea tragedy
. A stark reminder at the start of the walk of how unforgiving the sea can be is a plaque to a young skipper who lost his life in 2006.

Also at the start is the decommissioned lifeboat the Mary Stanford which served in Ballycotton from 1930 to 1959 saving many lives during that time. This boat and it’s crew took part in the ledgendary rescue of the Daunt Rock lightship which broke it's moorings in the 7 Feb. 1936 bringing all eight crew members home. For their efforts, the crew were awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for bravery. The boat also got a medal for gallantry, the only one ever to be awarded to a lifeboat.
There is a plaque telling the story by the boat, it is fascinating reading.
Today the sea was benign. The cliff walk meanders through meadows and farmland it hugs the cliff edge. The path is a narrow well-worn track that gives great views, out to the Lighthouse on the island in the Harbour. It is a pleasant stroll overlooking the ocean, and fertile fields of East Cork.
Along the path, there is a plaque commemorating the loss of the barque Colleen, her captain, Captain Bartlett and nine crew when it foundered off Smiths rock in 8 Jan. 1894. Another reminder of the dangers of the sea.
The well-trodden path continues to Ballyandreen strand with wildflowers in bloom along the way. Each indentation, headland, etc has it’s own name.
These are named on an information board at the start of the walk. Names include Long Channel, Weare Cove, Cradle and Table no doubt of great importance to the sailors who sail these seas. When we reached Ballyandreen strand we retraced our steps back. This could also be a loop walk but we didn’t want any road walking. When we returned to the cars it was decided to go to Garryvoe for a beach walk.
However, when we got there the tide was in and the beach was packed. Rather than walking through sun worshipers and screaming toddlers we upped and continued to Shanagarry to the Kilkenny shop for retail therapy. Shopping done we had a nice meal there and then continued on to Ballymaloe House. Here we enjoyed a walk in the grounds, before a final cup of coffee for the road home.
A very enjoyable day out, good to see some new faces. Sadly the gender balance was completely out of kilter. It’s hard enough for a man to wait around for one woman shopping, try going with six.

“The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone”

       ........Johann Wolfgang Goeth

Monday, 11 June 2018

Old Kenmare Road

The Old Kenmare Road was described in 1750 as a Grand Jury Road by Charles Smith. It was built by subscription to link Killarney to the sea.It was known as the Glanerought Road. The road was in regular use up to 150 years ago. The club walk on Sunday was on this ancient trail. Leaving Kanturk at 08.00 we headed for Muckross House where we parked up. Then got on the pre booked bus for Kenmare. The weather was glorious.We headed up through Molls Gap and Ladies View soon we were in Kenmare. The bus took us to the town land  of Goulane. This eliminated a few kilometers of road walking. The steep road soon gave way to a rough track and behind us the views over Kenmare Bay opened up. The Beara Peninsula off in the distance. The faint outline of the Skellig could be seen.
Upwards we went until we reached the Windy Gap, here we stopped to take in the views, and some water.At 300 meters this is the highest point of the walk. Peakeen mountain to the West and Knockanaguish to the East. The Windy Gap was well named. Refreshed we pushed on,the trail goes through hilly ground, marshy ground and old oak woods. These woods are last remnants of the oak forests that covered Ireland many centuries ago.
The track continues through Esknamucky Glen between Cromaglan mountain and Stumpacommeen.
Part or the trail that goes through boggy ground is sleepered. It is an isolated wild landscape between the tourist towns of Kenmare and Killarney.
The next Glen we passed through is Crinnagh. Then we came to Cores Cascade where we relaxed near the waterfall. Refreshed we went on our way. Through the valley between Mangerton and Torc mountains. With the Owengarriff river tumbling over the rocks on our left we made our way down by the famous Torc Waterfall. Down the steps and through the underpass to reach the grounds of Muckross House.

It was a happy group that finally reached the 🚗 s. We changed and went for tea ☕️/ coffee ☕️.
It was great to see so many new faces. It was a fantastic day out and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people that annoy me.....Noel Coward

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Cork Walking Week Trip Around Clara Mountain

On Sunday 20 May the club hosted a walk in conjunction with Cork Walking Week. The walk was the Clara loop walk which is 10 klms long. Using the power of social media and some old fashioned posters we advertised in the area.
We timed the walk for 13.30 with registration at 13.15 in the GAA Hall in Millstreet. This was new territory for us and we weren’t sure how many to expect. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors we had an ample supply of fruit, chocolate bars and water available for all walkers.
The turnout was better than expected. It was great to see so many people, young and not so young  interested in doing the walk.
After registration and a quick talk on the rules for the day we headed out of town, down the Clara road. Passing the grotto we turned left and continued for 500 meters before turning right into Mount Leader wood. Through the wood until we reached a stile. Our trail then skirted the forestry. We eventually came to a gate which led to open mountain and the summit of  Clara loomed above us , shrouded in mist. This is where the climbing began and the talking stopped. We regrouped when we conquered the first hump. The weather got misty now and there was a fresh breeze.
Rested we continued upwards until finally the iron cross emerged from the gloom.
Clara at 452 meters is the most easterly summit in the Derrynasaggart mountains. On a clear day it is said you can see nine churches from here. There are some great views to the west and to the east the Galtees can be seen. However today it was not to be.
We continued to the trig point and westward down open mountain. As we descended the day brightened and we got some nice views to the west and north. We reached a stile and went along by a fence before turning right and onto a farm track. We took a breather here. We continued along some fields,then traversed the lower flank of Clara through a forestry. Finally we emerged at the track we had  taken on our way up.From here it was a simple stroll into town.
Reaching the car park we had a roll call to ensure that all had come back safely.
We proceeded to the Wallis Arms for a welcome cup of tea / coffee and a chat about the day. Also we saw the last quarter of the Cork / Clare game. Cork emerging winners.
It was a very good day out and from the positive feedback it seems everyone enjoyed it. We have  beautiful mountains on our doorstep and the best views are from the top. Hope that we will see you all again soon.
Thanks to the club members who showed up to help out. Also to everyone, walkers, sponsors and anyone who contributed to a very successful day out.

        “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out” .........Walter Winchell


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Glanageenty Forest Trail

As it turned out this weekend we had to rearrange our plans due to circumstances but our tour of south Munster still rolled on & we ended up doing the Glanageenty Forest trail in Ballymagelligot  just after Castleisland.
 On an absolute fantastic morning which was warm with clear blue skies & this left us great views all the way back to Mount Brandon & Tralee Bay on one side & The Paps on the other side with Carrauntoohill & The Reeks straight ahead of us. There is really only one thing to say , on a sunny day like Sunday we live in a great country.
 One thing you do notice about this trail is that it is steeped in history as you will find out with all the palques & signs.
 The walk itself was perfect & has a bit of everything with a few short but testing climbs & then into valleys as our route contoured up & down with sometimes in the wide open & next trailing through a forest.

 Not much more to say but a great visit topped up with a great day.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Crohane Mountain

On Sunday 6th May ( Dromtarriffe Well Day ) the club walk was on Crohane mountain the second most easterly summit in the Mangerton mountains. At 650 meters it looms over Glenflesk.
We left town at 09.30 and continued to Glenflesk where we stopped for coffee /tea.
We car pooled from here as there was limited parking at our destination.
None of us had done this mountain previously so it was a new experience. We continued on the N22 to a junction to our left with a sign for Lough Guitane. Turning left here we continued until we came to a tarmac lane on our left. Parking up here we changed and made our way down towards Lough Guitane. Hugging the Mediterranean blue water to our right and Bennaumore straight ahead we continued on the lane. Eventually our way was blocked by a fence so we veered left up the slope of Crohane.
There was no clear path so we had to find our own way. We zig zagged up, it was a tough enough slog, but the views that opened up as we gained altitude, more than made up for it.
The sun shone on the sparkling waters below and the summit of Crohane came into view.Upwards we went marveling at the beautiful scenery around us.
Finally reaching the 650 meter mark we had some very welcome refreshments. It was a fabulous summers day. We stretched out and relaxed. The scenery, the stillness it was heaven.
To the east the Paps, Mullaghanish and in the distance the Ballyhouras. To the west Stoompa the Reeks.
Refreshed we made our way down we decided not to return the way we came up.  So we headed in a north westerly direction. With Lough Guitane as our beacon , with some difficulty we found the sanctuary of the tarmac lane.
Did we pick the best route up ? No.  Did we pick the best route down ? No.
Would we climb Crohane again ? YES.
We changed and made our way to the Torc Hotel for refreshments and to chat about the day. We had MUCH to talk about.
           The family that prays together, stays together........Proverb 22:6

           The family that climbs mountain together, comes down together......... Club motto.