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padodes
2009-06-07 20:10:52
"Picu Urriellu" from padodes Expand pics
Picu Urriellu (Expand pics)
Where is the Irish icon?
When you look at a mountain like, say, the Matterhorn, at least from the Swiss side, it immediately seems to symbolise everything we expect from a great mountain: its elegant outline soaring skywards and the promise of a cracking great climb, even if we never get to do it. I was struck recently by the same kind of symbolism at the foot of Picu Urriellu (Naranjo de Bulnes), the great limestone tower that rises majestically to 2,519m in the central Picos de Europa in NW Spain. When it catches the rays of the setting sun (photo), it looks for all the world like an incandescent finger pointing angrily to the heavens. For Spanish climbers, it’s the Mecca that draws them all to itself sooner or later. Have we any truly iconic mountain of that kind in Ireland? Carrantuohill has never caught my imagination in that same way, nor have, indeed, any of the other tops I can think of. Perhaps it has to do with low comparative height, or a lack of dramatic profile, or the fact that very few of our mountains provide the challenge of a towering climb. It would be interesting to know if other MountainViewers see things differently and have found an Irish icon that says it all.
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