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kernowclimber
2010-11-29 17:08:39
Winter comes to the Granite Kingdom
The Mourne Mountains, gripped by the first iron fist of winter, lay partially concealed beneath yellow-grey cloud rumbling atop their crests, russet skirts dusted with ice and snow. With a bitterly cold wind at our backs we began the walk up the Glen River track. Verglas-covered rocks lightly peppered with snow covered the crazy paving that passes for a pathway, making walking conditions difficult. Higher up this gave way to thick grey ice that oozed down over the pathway’s steps dripping icicles like melted wax. Stopping to don our crampons, a large group of youths wielding walking poles appeared, inching their way slowly downwards determination etched onto wan faces bearing smiles bordering on grimaces. ‘Der wearing spiky tings’ gasped one in amazement as we exchanged greetings and left them slipping and sliding open mouthed behind us.

The mountains of this granite kingdom never fail to amaze and astound, their rugged beauty matched by the ever-changing weather of the four seasons that plays about their summits. Like an addict, one is compelled to return again and again to indulge in their majesty and to savour their mystery. Yesterday was one such day. I watched, mesmerised, as frigid Slieve Bearnagh, its spiky tors silhouetted against an apricot sky, was slowly engulfed by cloud boiling up in the valley below partially obscuring the watery sun now hanging like a paper lantern in the darkening sky. Bright pools of light flooding the surface of the Irish Sea gradually vanished from sight as snow began to fall heavily.

Struggling against a vicious east wind we made our way up to the tower on Commedagh, seemingly etched in monochrome, a welcome sanctuary from the elements. We fired up our stove inside for a hot drink watching the maelstrom unfolding outside. With the mercury plummeting and a wind chill making it feel about -10, we reached the cairn on Commedagh in near white out conditions then began our descent through ankle deep snow to Slieve Corragh. Through the spindrift and snowflakes whirling dervish-like I thought I spied a person; then more loomed into view. The granite pillars below Commedagh appeared like giant totem poles carved by the hand of time into fantastical shapes – stone sentinels guarding the castle of a Mountain King. Clambering over the ice encrusted Mourne Wall we reached the summit of Corragh then returned to the Castles, passing a group of walkers taking shelter close to the stile.

The path down to Newcastle was now covered with the diamond dazzling treachery of fresh snow on ice. As we descended below the cloud it stopped snowing, unveiling the iced tree tops of Donard Wood and the white crescent of Newcastle Bay abutting a moody grey-green sea. Entering the mysterious darkening Donard Wood snow began to fall softly, the twinkling lights of Newcastle revealed periodically between the tangled boughs of trees serving to entice us safely downwards.


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Summit Comment
Stockeen Cliff Top: Coastal Hill
sandman a day ago.
Located adjacent to the cliff walk accessible via the Cliffs of Moher Center. Best to enjoy the full walk rather than just summit bagging but for your added enjoyment the earlier in the morning yo...

  
Summit Comment
Lislorkan Top: Coastal Hill
sandman a day ago.
Accessible via the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center and car park or via other locations on this coastal walk of your choosing. Best to enjoy the full length of this fantastic cliff walk.

  
Summit Comment
Knockardakin: Coastal Hill
sandman a day ago.
Located adjacent to the world renowned Cliffs of Moher,and although this is the hill which the visitor center is built into, the summit is not located in a public area. Access is via a farm gate o...

Track
Inishowen Slieve Snaght from the north.
simon3 5 days ago.
This linear walk route starts from the north and includes the two Arderins and one Vandeleur-Lynam in the area. It sta... walk, Len: 9.3km, Climb: 515m, Area: Slieve Snaght, Inishowen (Ireland) Sliev

  
Summit Comment
Corduff: My wee dander to the summit
Ulsterpooka 3 days ago.
I followed Muschi's and Paddyhilksbagger route. When going to the trig I moved on a few cows before I walked to the trig. After taking a few pics I seen the large brown bull in the field was block...

  
Forum: Suggestions
Clare Coastal Hills
simon3 3 days ago.
We have added 14 Coastal Hills for Clare today. Intriguing names like Stockeen Cliff Top, 185mJust to remind. A Coastal Hill is a hill of at least 50m with a drop from the top or prominence of 20m...

Track
Arona to Parador Hotel via Valle de Ucanca
GSheehy 3 days ago.
Sticking the boots in the bag, when the intention was to go and have a rest.Justifying a walk, that?s predominantly as walk, Len: 30.8km, Climb: 2274m, Area: Spain, Canary Islands ()

  
Track
Cruach Eoghanach
Peter Walker 5 days ago.
Cruach Eoghanach is a handy outing on the days when you get out of the car, feel the force of the wind and rain, look... walk, Len: 10.4km, Climb: 329m, Area: Cruach Eoghanach, S Donegal/W Tyrone (Ir

  
Summit Summary
Slieve Main: Inishowen's second mountain.
Collaborative entry Last edit by: simon3 5 days ago.
Parking in a small quarry 3km to the east at point C444 372, cross the smaller top of Damph and then head north, curving around the valley until you cross a fence at C425 380 then begin to ascend ...

Track
Pics de Batoua
David-Guenot a week ago.
walk, Len: 18.3km, Climb: 1672m, Area: France, Occitanie ()

  
Summit Comment
Castlemahon Mountain: My outing to Castlemahon summit.
Ulsterpooka a week ago.
I followed Peter Walkers route and asked permission to walk to the summit mast. The person was very friendly and accommodating. I parked at the last house in what is a four house dwelling lane. Th...

  
Track
Amalfi: Ravello to Minori
Onzy a week ago.
walk, Len: 3.5km, Climb: 12m, Area: Italy, Campania ()


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