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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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RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 15 Next page >>
Summit Comment
Croghan Kinsella: Windfarms completed. Walking trails nearly ready but the trai
mickhanney 5 hours ago.
Jogged up Croghan Kinsella from entrance at Ballinvalley near Ballycoog where there is space for a couple of cars. The trail upwards is wide and rather industrial in nature. The trail switches bac...

  
Summit Comment
Cupidstown Hill: Enhance this with a visit to Oughterard
Bunsen7 4 days ago.
Yes, perhaps this is not a very noteworthy hill. Cupidstown and Saggart Hill represent largely forest topped outliers of the Dublin/Wicklow range split from higher summits to the East by the N81. ...

  
Summit Comment
Knockowen: October 2016
davsheen 5 days ago.
View of the impressive Glanrastel valley from the side of Knockowen

Summit Comment
Cloghernagh: Picture
davsheen 5 days ago.
Cloghernagh Walk Nov 2016

  
Summit Summary
Robber's Pass Hill: Minor heathery lump. Overcivilised and underwhelming.
Collaborative entry Last edit by: simon3 a week ago.
This oddly named hill is more a very minor heathery bump incorporated into the system of tracks laid out by the Wicklow Mountains National Park. It can be reached from any of the western car-parks...

  
Track
Route to Claggan NE Top
Onzy 6 days ago.
walk, Len: 8.0km, Climb: 2m, Area: Claggan Mountain NE Top, North Mayo (Ireland...

Summit Comment
Farbreague: from Arderin
ewen a week ago.
Walked to Farbreague from Arderin. There is a track that some kind soul has marked with sticks and ribbon. When I say track, it is really a worn down trough in the bog.The multicoloured pipe at th...

  
Track
Slievemore Circuit
Onzy 6 days ago.
Route over Slievemore descending over rough grouns to the SE for variety. walk, Len: 8.1km, Climb: 639m, Area: Slievemore, Achill/Corraun (Ireland) Sliev...

  
Track
Near South Cork (Ireland)
sean_debarra 5 days ago.
walk, Len: 0.8km, Climb: 15m, Area: South Cork (Ireland)

Summit Comment
Tonelagee: Fore!!!
ewen a week ago.
Did from the Wicklow gap car park following track 2378.This starts immediately opposite the top entrance to the car park next to the main road. 5 days before there had been snow but now the path w...

  
Summit Comment
Brandon Hill: Grand on Brandon!
MountainBoy 2 weeks ago.
Me and my Dad climbed this from the farm track off the Graiguenamanagh-Instioge road on 26/11/16. Right after we got out of the car, we were faced with the dilemma of whether to go straight ahead ...

  
Track
Knockchree
David-Guenot 2 weeks ago.
An easy one to bag, but a gate/fence to cross at the top and some cows in the field (hopefully no bull), so it may be ... walk, Len: 3.6km, Climb: 127m, Area: Knockchree, Mourne Mountains (Ireland) K


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 15 Next page >>