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Post details Post   (Contract pics)
We slept fitfully .. by kernowclimber   (Show all posts)
kernowclimber
2011-06-08 18:31:18
"Maamturk Mountains" from kernowclimber Contract pics
Picture: Maamturk Mountains (Contract pics)

Crossing Connemara’s Maamturks: Part One
Connemara, Wilde’s place of ‘savage beauty’ where the constantly changing light subtly alters the tone and mood of the landscape. Here, formidable quartzite mountains lift their lofty heads heavenward, myriad lakes trace intricate lacy patterns across the blanket bog, and narrow lochs, crevices of the sea, give way to the endless Atlantic beyond. Fishing villages with quaint quays, now tourist traps, and golden sandy beaches fringed with brown seaweed, lie along a convoluted coast where seagulls whirl on the wind. Connemara is a place of memory too. The ghostly imprint of lazy beds, dry stone walls and solitary derelict cottages, the fractured spines of their chimney places where peat fires once banished the cruel cold, are poignant reminders of those who vanished in an Gorta Mór.

The warm, sweet smell of freshly cut peat pervaded the summer air as we drove towards Leenane. Conical turf ricks lined up like weather beaten soldiers, were serenaded by the incessant melody of skylarks. A stiff breeze agitated the surface of Lough Inagh creating waves that deposited a thin line of foam on the shoreline; sun kissed ragged heads of yellow flag irises nearby nodded joyously. A swathe of sea mist that had blown in from Killary Harbour lay trapped below Mweelrea, hugging its slopes like a silk skirt, the Bald King’s head rising defiantly to greet a powder blue sky.

We passed the Maamturks, giant beehive shaped heaps of quartzite, the range we were going to traverse, their steep slopes appearing almost insurmountable. Doubts began to crowd my mind like dark shadows as the taxi from Leenane that dropped us near Maam Cross sped away. Was I equal to the task of completing this punishing traverse? The lonely call of a cuckoo out on the heath served only to heighten my unease as we set off carrying 10 kilo packs to trek 25 km of the most challenging terrain in Ireland.

The steep pull up Corcogemore was compensated by views of a shimmering world of deep blue lakes set amid the bog, and Joyce’s Country away to the east, wave upon wave of purple-green mountains, their tops blushing apricot in the ebbing sun. Broken, rocky ground led to a ridge which descended towards Cruiscìn, a mere appendage of Mullach Glas, surmounted in minutes. Atop Mullach Glas the views toward the ragged Atlantic coastline were sublime. Through bleary eyes stinging with unshed tears, rising above the cloud on the distant horizon I spied land floating mysteriously between sea and sky like Tír na nÓg: the Brandon Range in Dingle.

Dropping SW into a col we headed for Binn Mhór, the highest top, passing lakes teeming with tadpoles. At Binn Ramhar, we located a large cairn illuminated by a blazing sunset that marks the start of the treacherous steep descent to Maumeen Lake. Celtic crosses silhouetted against the darkening sky guided us up to the small chapel above the lake, a perfect place to fire up our stove, replenish water supplies and bivy overnight.
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RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 25 Next page >>
Track
Forest walk to the summit of Westaston Hill
simoburn an hour ago.
walk, Len: 3.9km, Climb: 109m, Area: Westaston Hill, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) W...

  
Track
Short walk even shorter! Killeagh Hill views & ring fort.
simoburn 16 hours ago.
walk, Len: 0.8km, Climb: 20m, Area: Killeagh, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) Killeagh

  
Summit Comment
Belmore Mountain: A standing stone gathers all moss.
TommyV a week ago.
As mentioned by Harry Goodman, it's possible to drive along Belmore forest for almost two kilometers as far as a black forestry gate. There is also a standard gate here on the right giving access ...

Summit Comment
Bruse Hill: Bruse Summer 2017
TommyMc 6 days ago.
Since a big gorse fire in 2016, this hill is once more easily accessible to casual walkers and has been widely visited this summer. An easy approach is possible by taking the L6636 minor road off ...

  
Summit Comment
Brougher Mountain: A quick bag.
TommyV a week ago.
Nothing much to add to the comments already. Drove most of the way up from the North side of the hill to within 450 metres of the trig point. Nothing to recommend to anybody who is looking to get ...

  
Summit Comment
Croghan Hill: Broken Trig Pillar to be replaced
TommyMc a week ago.
The recent damage to the Croghan Hill trig pillar is covered in an article in this week's Offaly Independent. The good news is that Offaly County Council plans to replace the damaged pillar to its...

Summit Comment
Slievereagh: To drive or not to drive?
TommyV a week ago.
Geo's directions are spot on. At the aforementioned Coilte forest entrance there is a sign staing no unauthorized vehicles beyond this point as the gate may close at any point. However as the Lazy...

  
Track
Mullacor
JoHeaney 16 hours ago.
walk, Len: 9.1km, Climb: 537m, Area: Mullacor, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) Mullaco...

  
Summit Comment
Seefin Mountain W Top: Two summits one hike.
TommyV a week ago.
Nothing to add to the directions provided by melohara. Just to mention two things, the parking place was littered with close to a hundred empty beer cans, it looks like there was a party there or ...

Summit Comment
Knockastia: Behind quarry
Fergalh 3 days ago.
At Moate take road to the pretty village of Rosemount. Drive through village and turn left around west side of mountain. At quarry there is a sign for site of old church (N2401043352) proceed up t...

  
Summit Comment
Knocknaskagh: The fast and the furious.
TommyV a week ago.
Knocknaskagh is a fairly prominent hill in North Cork. It's possible to access via a Coilte forest entrance on the South East side mentioned by jackill. After about 500 metres, there is a smaller,...

  
Forum: General
MV Gathering & Awards - This Friday!!
Onzy 4 days ago.
ALL WELCOME !


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 25 Next page >>