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General Whatever you want to say that doesn't fit under the comments about places or another forum.
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Post details Post   (Contract pics)
Bleck Cra
2005-04-22 00:32:00
Hello andagda. Like everywhere else, Mourne country is bursting with the very best in everything (if only you were on the spot and knew where). Allow me. Number 1, Newcastle County Down is a large, very pretty seaside town with Messr French’s added interest of the hills actually sweeping down to the sea - see it and believe it. Any quantity of accommodation and a couple of excellent restaurants - including Sea Salt on the main street.
Keep away from the big old venues - uninspired. Jumping pubs. Leave out mid season: too frantic. Dundrum a few miles up the Road - 2 stunning restaurants: Bucks Head and a new one - dunno the name; pubs only so-so I think. Castlewellan - wild as crows and really fantastic pub scene: they have a feis called “Celtic Fusion” on the net - if you can come then, absolutely do. I personally love the Maghera Arms behind Dundrum - big session nights and simple home made grub - completely fantastic after a day on the hills - and the stout starts getting poured from dawn, so when you get to it, it’s straight from heaven. Plenty other excellent pubs and restaurants and accomm all around, but that’s your starter for 10. If you want any more info, get my email from Simon, the boss of this site.
andagda
2005-04-21 13:20:30
Mourne Bases
I'm organising a weekend walking in the Mournes for myself and a few friends. Can anyone suggest a good base village/town? We'd ideally like somewhere that is accessible to the hills but also has a good pub/restaurant scene. Carlingford springs to mind, but only because I've stayed there before. My knowledge of similar towns in the area is non-existant, and I would appreciate suggestions...

Thanks.
CaptainVertigo
2005-04-21 10:38:39
Weather Problems
Greetings Bleck and Simon. I spent the whole of last week looking forward to the Navan Hillwalker's climb on Binnian but when we assembled on Sunday morning it was clear that we would face a continuous downpour. By then the weather folk were talking about an intense Low hovering over the island for the day, possible flash floods, high winds, and the like. We merged the die hards of our "moderate" and "easy" groups, abandoned the lovely Binnian, and headed for Wicklow to circumnavigate Lough Dan. It never let up for the five hours and the dozen or so that went were soaked through. Some of our guys had top gear on but they still got soaked (sweat may have been a factor there). There is an ABSOLUTE RULE in these situations. If you get wet KEEP MOVING. If you stop at all your temperature will drop and your body will seize up. Personally I enjoyed the day very much. Suffering brings peculiar pleasures.:the knowledge that it will end, that it will be fondly remembered in the future: the bonding that takes place in a group as the depths are plumbed. I felt that the suffering would have been even greater in the Mournes, and that, to that extent, an opportunity had been missed. Many of our friends and families undoubtedly spent Sunday lounging about in front of the television and the like. How sad for them. They could have ventured forth into the wilderness and experienced what all of human history has been about. They could have lived briefly.
P.S. I laugh to think how careful we were when crossing a raging stream (from rock to rock) early on in the day. We should have just waded across and accepted our wetting straight away, instead of letting it happen slowly! How hope triumphs over experience!
simon3
2005-04-20 13:07:20
Whether Forecast
oh I loved that one Bleck!
my principle in walking in Wicklow has always been to disregard the weatherman and wait to see what I encounter

a. if you believe a bad weather forecast that turns out to be incorrect, you have missed a walk

b. when predicted, bad weather usually appears in showers which are easily dealt with

c. if you encounter continuous rain this is usually apparent before you start and you can do something different

d. if it really is unpleasant you can change your route and go home, often in Wicklow by setting your compass or GPS to the starting point

On average I would say the weather seriously stops me only about 2 weeks a year.

However this simple principle don't necessarily work elsewhere. I will never forget walking for 10 hours in the rain on the 'Turks in 1995. 450 people started (far too many) and only about 80 finished as far as I remember. I had become so cold that about two hours after finishing the walk I started to get spasms. You know stitches in your side or in your legs? Well this was in each and every limb. My entire body became rigid. For many of the wilder places, unlike most of Wicklow, it is quite difficult to leave an area, particularly if your transport is to the north or east of the range. Wicklow's mountains may have been 2500m high once but nowadays the flattened stumps left after 350m years of erosion don't offer as many serious cliffs as elsewhere..

It may have been snowing in the north but in Wicklow it was a continuous downpour. I see from john_desmond's comments however that the Comeraghs were actually clear!
Bleck Cra
2005-04-19 22:29:23
"Slap on the sunblock - another scorcher from the Weatherman" from Bleck Cra Contract pics
Picture: Slap on the sunblock - another scorcher from the Weatherman (Contract pics)

Whether Forecast
GB bemoans the demise of Rover - and on cue, questions are being asked of Directors’ salaries. How blind are the betrayed, to the billions up in smoke. A media weather-man (or person-thing) can take home €150,000pa. On Wednesday he/it advised that Saturday would be a scorcher; on Thursday he/it crossed his/its leaden heart that Saturday would be a scorcher; on Friday he/it swore on the life of his/its demon child that Saturday would be a scorcher; on Saturday itself, he/it told us that it was wet, freezing and blowing blizzards and batted not a hooded eyelid. God help us - take one emperor, take no clothes…..! Scouring the Mournes on Saturday in full mental jacket, I am still not thawed out by Tuesday. Boy, it was rough - but somehow, perhaps in the face of adversity, the craic was ninety. Incidentally, there is now a bloke fell-running every Saturday with a Springer Spaniel, the first tired Springer Spaniel I have ever seen and deliriously happy. “Tomorrow’s supposed to be worse”, I shouted to a trio of dripping devotees. “Yes”, rejoined one, “tomorrow is the Apocalypse!”. A bloke from Mayobridge, AWOL for several unpleasant years, marching out manful new footprints toward higher and higher summits. Two desperados from Carrick (quite) giving it welly with some dear kit. A Scots bloke from Mull (standing soaked on Donard, he must have been amazed at the advances of civilisation since he last left that grey island). My highlight was however, a round young bloke coming off, who knows, Crossone. “Bad weather” he said - and given he was in a grey sweatshirt and Lidl gutties, he was well placed to comment. And so 1. the €150,000 a year Weatherthing or 2. the sweatshirt-clad round young bloke? Choices, choices.
johnvbrennan
2005-04-18 11:02:51
Buying a new rain jacket
I had the misfortune of losing my Lowe Alpine jacket in Scotland over Easter. I had it for 2 years and it did it's job from Kerry to Kilimanjaro. That said it wasn't perfect. The hood drove me crazy at times. In strong winds I found that the hood was inclined to blow out of shape, sometimes obscuring visibility in 1 eye.

Anyway I need to buy a new one especially after yesterday's trip up Curve waterfall....I mean Curve Gully :-) Yesterday I had to make do with a 15 euro cycle jacket from Lidl. Portable sauna might be a better description but how's ever.

What do you folks recommend? My dad has Berghaus Extreme XCR and it seems to be good jacket although he had a problem with one sleave that started letting water in. Interested to hear your thoughts.

Cheers,
JB
jackill
2005-04-15 08:45:20
Mountain Trails
Everpresent - I've been spurred into action by the Northerner Black Craeture and his scurrilous comments on those of us south of the border.
For one of the best trails across open mountain in the south I suggest you take in the Brandon ridge from Cloghane village to Mount Brandon there to Gearhane then on to Ballysitteragh/Beenabrack across the Connor Pass and up the other side(Cental Dingle Mountains) to Slieveanea and across as far as Knockmulane and down from there to Anascaul village. Two of us did it last year in Mayover 3 days camping at Lough Na mBan and at a lake under the north side of Gowlane Beg on the second night. You have views out over the Blaskets and the Atlantic as well as over all of Kerry as far as the 'Reeks. The walk from Cloghane to Mount Brandon is along a well worn track from Faha and you are bound to meet other people but after that you'll only come in contact with civilisation again briefly at the connor pass while crossing the road. The trail is easy to follow and seldom drops below 600 mtrs - there are quite a few comments on Mountainviews describing the area and maps 70,71 cover the area. I hope you find this of interest and that you have a good trip- all the best
Bleck Cra
2005-04-12 22:04:57
Hello everpresent. Being a dedicated Mournes man and knowing the Wicklow Mountains like the back of my head, I have resisted proffering any thoughts on your tour. However as no one (and I mean not one of these cosseted, cash-rich, soft southerners) has deigned to comment, it is left to noblesse oblige and the politesse (as apposed to the politics) of the North. If you thought about winging North - it's only a couple of hours out of Dublin - I and a couple of others on this site could advise. If the compass is likely to point in this direction, I'm sure we could point you in the right direction too. Drop a comment in here and let me know.
Claude Hopper
2005-04-12 18:43:31
Any more tricks of the trade? Here's one. When buying new kit, think outside the box. The key word is "crossover". Need new gloves? You'll pick up a virtually indestructible pair, in 100% waterproof cordura, and immensely comfortable for under £20 - where? In a motorbike shop. Or new loop nylon socks - top end gear for bottom end prices in the village fishing tackle shop. Same goes for a head torch - better still from the local ironmongers. And much more - and strangely you may find the same brands but at much lower prices.
Bleck Cra
2005-04-12 18:32:56
Yes Speedo indeed they do, but if memory serves (and I meeeean memory), not in all circumstances.


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