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kernowclimber
2011-06-08 18:32:46
"Exhaustion creeping in!" from kernowclimber Expand pics
Exhaustion creeping in! (Expand pics)
Crossing Connemara’s Maamturks: Part Two
We slept fitfully due to the wind that gusted through the col that night. A watery sunrise and grey, chilly morning greeted us; Binn Ramhar’s top was wreathed in mist. We began the long haul up Binn Chaonaigh opposite. Close to the summit the cloud descended and an eerie silence enveloped us. With quartzite rock underfoot and the mist above, everything acquired a strange white luminescence. We plodded on along the gravely ridge leading to Binn idir an dá Log taking in Binn idir an dá Log SE Top en route.

The tricky descent to Lough Mhám Ochóige was an enjoyable challenge involving some mild scrambling. What a delight to see this indigo lake nestling it its corrie appear through the mist. And the immense serpentine coils of the Failmore River, sweeping verdant expanse of Gleann Fhada and the far section of the Maamturk Range beyond. Away to the left were Loughs Inagh and Lehanagh and the mighty Twelve Pins. Ahead, the brooding hulk of Knocknahillion lay in wait. We had completed half the traverse.

A steep pull brought us to the summit and this was followed by some pleasant airy walking across the quartzite ridge towards Letterbreckaun, taking in Cnoc na hUilleann North Top. Looking back at the magnificent landscape we had just crossed was humbling: deep corries gouged out of the face of white giants by glaciers that sliced through solid rock to create the deep valleys below. But the intense concentration required to negotiate the rocky terrain coupled with the exertion of carrying a heavy pack began to take its toll. We paused for something to eat and to treat more drinking water at Loughaunnagrevagh before summiting Letterbreckaun.

Fine scenery continued to ravish the eye: Loughs Kylemore and Fee and Killary Harbour, thin ribbons of indigo set in a sea of verdure hemmed in by mountains. But my heart sank when I saw the distance we still had to cover. The ridge of the NE Maamturks looked like a green tidal wave, threatening, insurmountable and in between, yet more ascent and descent, including the daunting prospect of the Col of Despondency.

How aptly named it is! With leaden legs I hauled myself ever upwards, digging deep into a reservoir of untapped resolve. The ridge was conquered, but ahead lay a gruelling descent over boggy ground to the Western Way and Leenane. The setting sun caught Mweelrea alight, the reddening skies as menacing as my mood. I cried with the fatigue and the pain and the sheer preposterousness of walking 25 km with over 2,500m of ascent carrying a 10 kilo pack.

As my aching feet hit the Western Way I wept with relief, to have completed the traverse; we were both down safely. I swore I’d never do it again. Ever. But never is a long time and half an hour later, sitting in a pub in Leenane nursing a creamy Guinness, smug with the afterglow of success, I’d already begun to forget the mental anguish and physical pain that had stalked me like the Grim Reaper in those mountains.
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RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 26 Next page >>
Track
Pic du Canigou
David-Guenot 3 days 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 ()

  
Track
Exploration of Wicklow Head from the north.
simon3 a day ago.
As you will immediately see from the track this was an exploration of what is possible thoroughly exploring various d... walk, Len: 6.6km, Climb: 126m, Area: Brides Hill, Wicklow Coastal Hill (Irelan

  
Summit Comment
The Eagles Rock: A short but sweet scramble
IainT 3 days 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...

Track
Ramble on Ireland's Eye
wicklore 4 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
Slieve Foye: Irish Gabbro!
IainT 3 days 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
Ballyguile Hill: Viewed from the south. Hope you like masts.
simon3 2 days 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
Pic de Cagire Loop
David-Guenot 5 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 Comment
Clermont Carn: Easy but a great view.
IainT 3 days 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 ...

  
Summit Comment
Seanadh Bhéara: Access
sandman 4 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
Benbeg to Cuilcagh
dmcdevitt 5 days ago.
GPS was not accurate during the walk. learn't a lesson not to use your phone app to track your walk but overall it is ac walk, Len: 8.7km, Climb: 447m, Area: Benbeg, Breifne (Ireland) Benbeg

  
Summit Comment
Ireland's Eye: Screams were heard, getting fainter and fainter…
wicklore 5 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
To Barranisky top from East MTB track
gaoithe 5 days ago.
walk, Len: 7.3km, Climb: 76m, Area: Barranisky, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) Barran...


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 26 Next page >>