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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.


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 27 Next page >>
Summit Comment
Ballyguile Hill: Viewed from the south. Hope you like masts.
simon3 10 hours ago.
Ballyguile Hill can also be seen well from the south. Here's a view taken from near Brides Hill (a coastal hill near Wicklow Head)

  
Track
Exploration of Wicklow Head from the north.
simon3 11 hours ago.
As you will immediately see from the track this was an exploration of what is possible. This should be a lot easier s... walk, Len: 6.6km, Climb: 126m, Area: Brides Hill, Wicklow Coastal Hill (Irelan

  
Summit Comment
The Eagles Rock: A short but sweet scramble
IainT a day ago.
One of the few Irish summits that needs the use of hands by the easiest route. Those happy with exposure can get a good airy scramble (grade 2, pushing 3 maybe), by slanting left up an obvious ram...

Summit Comment
Slieve Foye: Irish Gabbro!
IainT a day ago.
Gabbro is one of the roughest and most frictiony rocks around and is superb for scrambling on, as all visitors to the Skye Cuiilin across the water know. I never realised until yesterday that Slie...

  
Summit Comment
Clermont Carn: Easy but a great view.
IainT a day ago.
If you drive up the road this has to be a contender for the easiest summit in Ireland, but it's well worth doing for the superb view. Wicklow to Donegal, with the Meath lowlands spread out like a ...

  
Track
Pic du Canigou
David-Guenot a day ago.
Ascending Catalogna's sacred mountain from the hamlet of Los Masos de Vallmanya, on well-marked trails, with two breaks walk, Len: 24.8km, Climb: 1853m, Area: France, Occitanie ()

Forum: General
Windphone project destroyed
wicklore 2 days ago.
The Wind Phone art project in the Dublin Mountains has been destroyed http://jrnl.ie/3547797 . It appears to be a strong statement by those against the idea

  
Summit Comment
Seanadh Bhéara: Access
sandman 2 days ago.
To answer the query raised by TommyV for at the time to facilitate parking on a narrow road and not wishing to park on the N59 i parked beside the farm yard with a view to access the hill via the ...

  
Track
Ramble on Ireland's Eye
wicklore 2 days ago.
A short walk on Ireland's Eye in September 2015. Original plan to visit earlier in the summer was thwarted by a huge f... walk, Len: 2.6km, Climb: 80m, Area: Ireland's Eye, Dublin Islands (Ireland) I

Summit Comment
Ireland's Eye: Screams were heard, getting fainter and fainter…
wicklore 3 days ago.
Ireland's Eye is situated about 1.5kms north of Howth Harbour. In Celtic times it was called Eria’s Island and then Erin’s Island. The Norse called it Erin’s Ey and this became Ireland’s Eye. (Ey ...

  
Track
Pic de Cagire Loop
David-Guenot 3 days ago.
A great loop walk in one of my favourite areas in the Pyrenees, which should have hardly taken more than 4h30 hadn't I m walk, Len: 11.8km, Climb: 892m, Area: France, Occitanie ()

  
Summit Summary
Carhoo Hill: Dingle Eask Tower
Collaborative entry Last edit by: aidand 3 days ago.
This is a modest climb, but with wonderful views. Take the road out of Dingle towards Ventry. After about a mile turn left at a sign marked 'Hanlon's handbags'. There is a parking area with a hut ...


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 27 Next page >>