Tuesday, 8 December 2015

2015 - The Highlights Of The Year

From Mangerton to Caherbanagh | First to Last | Hungry Hill To Galtymore | South To North | Carrauntoohil To Clara | High To Low

We have been there and took those pictures

I have to start off about a trip to Mangerton during the Holiday period at the Start Of January, this was done during a very frosty spell but it was fantastic and certainly the start of a good year. The view that day overlooking The Lakes and back towards 'The Big One ' was special and once you had a pair of gloves and a good 'wooly' cap, things were grand.The crowd on the mountain that day proved that people really like to ramble.

The next stop was very close to home, the day 3 of us went and did 'The Mushera Loop ' with a deep layer of snow but in some ways that makes things easier as you are walking on top of the snow and that is better than having a muddy underfoot. This day was mostly done with 'Blue Skies' but with a bit of a cold blow, but just put on the gear and get on with it. It also proves you do not have to go that far to find this scenic spot with a view to Galtymore on one side to the Kerry Range on the other side and overlooking Inniscarra dam to the South. A good trip.

This trip I did on my own, the day I went to Galtymore doing it from the Southside starting at Kings Yard, to get here you just take a left after Kilbehenney and follow the signs but you will get a good welcome when you arrive at the Starting point with good facilities available for before and after. The day I was there was sunny and to me the most notable thing was the calmness and quietness and yet you were looking down on one of the busiest roads in the country in the main Dublin To Cork road. Apart from the fantastic view the stand out was when I was near the top that I was level with a group of hang gliders. From the top the view is wide taking in Cork, Tipp, Limerick, Waterford, Clare, Kilkenny and Kerry. Fab 111.

The next stop was Carrantoohill for the First of Four times in 2015. I can not say a lot about this trip only that it is always an achievement for me to get to the top, I am not the quickest but do get there but then I have good travelling companions who go by the motto that the group only goes as fast as the last person. Well done to Anna, who was 7 months pregnant that day. This day was cloudy, damp, foggy and no good photos.  You will have that, onwards and upwards, take the good with the bad. 

The next highlight for me from 2015 was the day Mary Boyce from St. Colmans Boys National School asked me to help out and take a few up Clara in Millstreet. A grand handy one and close by. The Default button was to to Take The Taspie out of them, but but sure what are they but but a bunch of lads. Twas a good day we had and as far as I know all enjoyed. Most got to the top easy enough and some came went around the back to link up with The Duhallow Trail and back down again. It is important on these days to hand out tips to the younger brigade, most of these I have learned from personal experience and falls.

Torc | Winter
Torc | Summer

The next highlight to me was Torc on a good summers day. Heaven!!! . Torc is a relatively short route and as well as that easy and safe as for most of the climb you have Sleepers to mark your way which makes things easy. A grand short one with absolute ' Stunning Views' on a good day overlooking 'The Lakes' . A picture tells a Thousand stories.So I will show you 2 pictures of the same place, one in Summer and one in Winter.
All I can say is that they are both from the same place that is just back the road, sometimes so close yo do not appreciate it.

For me the next most notable was taking two 13 year olds to Carrantoohil for their first time. A bright clear day out with one stand out moment when at lunch time in the stone fort a Kerryman lead a sing song with a blast of 'The Banks'. A Kerryman singing The Banks at the top of Carrantoohill on a good clear day with a bunch up for the first time including my own young fella. How could you get much better than that. Then we all sang 'Happy Birthday' to Anna. She couldn't wait any longer than 5 weeks after having a baby and she had to spend her birthday on the top of Carrauntohil.

The next place I have to mention is Mount Brandon. On a few different days with a few different tales. The first was a day I was in Dingle on holidays, and off I went and up on a damp, foggy day out and a brings to light the dangers of the places we go. At the top a few young ones running around not knowing that there was a good 300ft drop within yards of them. Told them, picked up my bag and left. That is why when we take our younger members, we always tell them to respect the mountains and its dangers, Went again another day while on holidays, this day a most stunning of days. The first time I saw the top of Brandon clear and guess what, lost most of the photos due to a computer malfunction. Got some but lost most so back we had to go again

This time we were hopeful most of the way but so near yet so far as things were clear and good for most of the way but the minute we got to the top of the gully to head for the last step to the top the fog came down on us . But we still had a good laugh and a good day out by all.

Back to Galtymore remembered by a Crowley on his threadmill and his backside with a picture of the three amigos with their legs over a small stone wall which is the Tipperary & Limerick county bounds

Going back to highlights, our first trip to West Cork was another one, all the way to Hungry Hill. This trip even though it was long, most certainly worth it, looking out at Bantry Bay and Mizen and back towards Kenmare on the other side. This place will have to be revisited.

It is that time of the year again when we start lining up everybody to do the Charity Climb. It has been decided to back to Brandon.This is a tale of 2 very different Sundays. The first one It Rained And It Rained and that is all it did. We went as far as we could. We did try to get as far as the lakes at the bottom of the climb but even that was beyond us and for safety we turned back. At that stage I think I had a bucket of water in my boots.It was the day God threw a bucket of water on us. Back home we go to come back again next Sunday.

Oh What a difference. The minute we turned towards Cloghane you could see the tops of the peaks and this day did not disappoint. The only thing you felt sorry for were the few that got soaked the week before. There was seasoned climbers in our midst who never knew where the cross was from down in the Valley or ever had seen the Top clear. On this day we got it all and in the process we raised €6500 to be divided amongst Marymount Hospice and Kanturk Hospital.

Well Done To All on the Climb and on to The Alley for a few well earned pints and a bit of grub and a bit of banter.

Our next stop was back to Carrantoohill on the day Ireland were playing Argentina, that explains why the place was so quite for such a calm, clear day and virtually no one here. I have seen more people here on a wet windy day and after all of that Ireland were being beaten thrown into the bargain. The one funny thing after coming up The Devils Ladder, we looked over our shoulders and a Cloud had followed us up and as we headed for the top, here was John Cronin from Cronins Yard running down against us mocking the Cork boys as he ran.

One great thing that was happening especially after the Charity Climb was that more people were coming on our trips and this was highlighted on the day we went to The Paps. We had a total of 11, we were getting closer to having our club in place. This day started out very foggy which continued for most of the way up but as we got to the top, first of all we found ourselves over the clouds and that the view to the North was clear and as anyone knows this is always great, the only trouble was as we headed for home we had to go back through the cloud again but I think no one minded as all you could think of was that beautiful time while at the summit. 

The end is nigh and winter is coming. The forecast was for some showers but down it came but at least the trip was short and we were close to home. We had visited Caherbanagh, a place not always open as people had in the past abused the privilege and brought dogs against the wishes of the landowners who have sheep. One rule always respect the landowners wishes. This route even though close to home I was never here but at least now with the use of hike trackers it shall be revisited.

That seems to be the end, well at least of highlights anyway as we may go out but not to anywhere really special. We have more planned for next year and we are getting closer to forming a Club. We have all the maps, most of us have some experience under our belts and we also some other well experienced that often give us a hand out which is always gratefully appreciated. Thanks to those who help us out.It is a case of onwards and certainly upwards for 2016 and making more new and good friends along the way as well as having a fun day out.Remember our motto says that Hillwalking is all about Exercise, Fresh Air and Scenery and you can take those words in any order you want.


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