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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 .. 18 Next page >>
Summit Comment
Baurtregaum Far NE Top: Great views from a so-so mountain
Colin Murphy 2 hours ago.
The view over Tralee Bay at low tide from Baurtregaum Far NE Top had the appearance of the Amazon River delta!

  
Summit Comment
Bunnacunneen South Top: Simple bag from nearby tops
Colin Murphy 2 hours ago.
For approach see entry for Bunnacunneen SE Top. From that grassy summit it is just over 1km across a gently rising slope to the NW and the South Top's equally grassy summit, which has marvellous p...

  
Summit Summary
Bunnacunneen SE Top: Handy track
Collaborative entry Last edit by: Colin Murphy 2 hours ago.
Although there was a sign on the track at L973 570 forbidding trespassers, the farmer in the nearby farmhouse had no problem with us using the track, which curved up the hillside almost to the sum...

User profile
eamonoc
eamonoc 14 hours ago.
A lot of walking done and so much more to do, thank you Mountainviews for the inspiration

  
Summit Summary
Caherbarnagh East Top: A Hidden Gem Discovered
Collaborative entry Last edit by: simon3 a day ago.
Park off road next to gate at the saddle between Claragh Mountain and Curracahill W23626 87990. There's room for 3-4 cars to park safely. Climb gate and follow rough stone track keeping forest to ...

  
Summit Comment
Corraun Hill: Views! what views?
Harry Goodman 2 days ago.
Climbed this hill on Wed. 12 Oct 2011. Our intention was to start from Belfarsad Bridge but the blanket of thick mist covering the Plateau made me opt for the simpler climb from Burnanioo Bridge s...

Track
Simple ascent of Minaun.
simon3 3 days ago.
An easy way up starting from the carpark. walk, Len: 3.6km, Climb: 121m, Area: Minaun, Achill/Corraun (Ireland) Minaun

  
Summit Summary
Corraun Hill: Western summit on plateau above big corrie lakes.
Collaborative entry Last edit by: simon3 2 days ago.
(1) Bunannio Bridge Route: Start around L737 943. Take the well made track E up to a T junction L751 948, turn left and follow track to its end L749 950. Go NW up the hillside for some 1.2k over s...

  
Track
molls gap loop walk
strangeweaver 3 days ago.
From the car park at molls gap follow the narrow country lane down to the pass between to stumpa duloigh and Knocklome... walk, Len: 17.6km, Climb: 985m, Area: Dunkerron Mountains (Ireland) Knocklome

Track
Puglia: Circuit south of Otranto
Onzy 4 days ago.
walk, Len: 11.1km, Climb: 215m, Area: Italy, Apulia ()

  
Summit Comment
Kilfarrasy Hill: What Lies Beneath is better than What Lies Up Top
Pepe 3 days ago.
You can drive over this. A very minor public road connects Kilfarassy with the R675 northeast of Annestown. This road crests the exact top of Kilfarassy Hill. A much better way of doing it is to p...

  
Track
Puglia: Trajan Way to Ostuni
Onzy 4 days ago.
walk, Len: 10.9km, Climb: 264m, Area: Italy, Apulia ()


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 18 Next page >>