Saturday, 16 July 2016

Gougane Barra -- A great trip but only for (!!) the foggy weather

On Saturday we went to Gougane Barra and did a big loop on the mountains around the lake and took over 5 hours. This trip could have been fantastic but for the weather. The cloud and the mist stayed right down on top of us all day long. When we started I think everyone had jackets on but not too far out the same jackets were not long coming back off, as even though it was misty and mucky it was still quite warm and the sweat was beginning to flow very early so all the jackets came off.

The conditions were very overcast, foggy, misty and a slight drizzle and you could hardly see a 100 yards in front of you for most of the trip and underfoot it was mucky and with all of this the going was slow as at all times getting the right co-ordinates was high on the list. 
The climb itself was not that hard, after about an hour long gradual climb up all the rest is quite easy and almost level but wet ground and high grasses in places can make the walk very tough.

Lunchtime :)

The picture tells the story about this walk...

The second half of the route might be very challenging in poor visibility as there's no defined path and good navigating skills are essential. Flattish Bealick top with no defined and clearly visible high point gives you an illusion that everywhere you look it's all the same. It's just a very high boggy upland covered with long grass and it's very easy to fall into a bog hole so keep your head down and mind your steps.

As the Club's training officer, Denis O'Mahony had his chance to give the others a little navigation training. Map reading, compass using and measuring the distance as you walk are the three most important things. If you're not familiar with them, always go with an experienced leader especially in poor visibility. 
All the route was navigated with map and compass with a little bit of GPS help just to confirm the position in some tricky places like Bealick top.

Coming down back to Gougane Barra Lake may be a little bit tricky in wet conditions as some rocks can be slippy.

We had a group of 11 and we had good Craic and the banter was lively as usual and we all agreed some other day we would have to come back here again as guaranteed on a clear day this trip would have been spectacular as in the distant at odd times you could see glimpses of places from Bantry Bay to The Paps and with the fact that there was so many nearby lakes this would be a great trip. We took some photos by the lake and had some refreshments in the cafe.

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