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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.
Hi There,
T.. by Jack Bauer   (Show all posts)


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 27 Next page >>
Summit Summary
Meenteog: Squat and steep-sided summit on Glenbeigh Horseshoe
Collaborative entry Last edit by: Peter Walker 11 hours ago.
Lumpen in its higher reaches but very much steep-sided lower down (especially to the north), Meenteog is the first of the higher, more dramatic summits on the Glenbeigh Horseshoe if walked clockwi...

  
Summit Summary
Scarr: Three ridges, many routes and good views.
Collaborative entry Last edit by: simon3 23 hours ago.
Scarr has three useable ridges off it, to the north, south and east. The easiest perhaps is the Glenmacnass Waterfall carpark O11380 03009 (notorious for break-ins). From here head for the north ...

  
Track
Near Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland)
ewen a day ago.
Note this will take considerably less time in my opinion. I take too many photos so it adds about an hour to the trip.... walk, Len: 12.7km, Climb: 469m, Area: Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) Corrigasleggau

Summit Comment
Scarr: A walk in the clouds.
TommyV 3 days ago.
This route starts on an old forest road at Oldbridge, there is room for parking 5 or 6 cars near the top at O15162 01916. From here follow the road West until you reach a gate at O14832 01892. Go ...

  
Track
Omey Island
Onzy a day ago.
A circuit of Omey ... cut short by my fear that my car wouldn't make it back across the sound... walk, Len: 5.6km, Climb: 60m, Area: Galway Islands (Ireland)

  
Summit Comment
Camaderry South East Top: Glenealo Valley and Miners Village
sev 4 days ago.
Glenealo Valley and Miners Village - view from south slope of Camaderry South East Top (Aug. 2010)

Summit Comment
Camaderry South East Top: Glendalough Upper Lake
sev 4 days ago.
Glendalough Upper Lake and the valley - view from south slope of Camaderry South East Top (Aug. 2010)

  
Track
Short Loop north of Omey
Onzy a day ago.
walk, Len: 2.1km, Climb: 33m, Area: Galway Coast (Ireland)

  
Summit Comment
Seefin: "Megalithic Fallout Shelter"
sev 4 days ago.
Wicklow Mountains - Megalithic tomb on Seefin Mt.http://youtu.be/u--BKEqB-JM

Summit Summary
Skregmore: Incidental summit in the Reeks
Collaborative entry Last edit by: Peter Walker 4 days ago.
Much climbed but little remembered, Skregmore is a victim of its location. One of the highest summits in Ireland but adjacent to still higher tops, impressively rocky but still far less dramatic t...

  
Track
Coastal Walk north of Cleggan
Onzy a day ago.
A spectacular walk circling the peninsula immediately north of Cleggan ... a detour to Olivers for lunch and a fast coun walk, Len: 22.5km, Climb: 386m, Area: Galway Coastal Hill (Ireland)

  
Summit Summary
Cnoc an Bhráca: The last hurrah of the high Reeks
Collaborative entry Last edit by: Peter Walker 5 days ago.
Cnoc an Bhráca, together with its near neighbour Cnoc na DTarbh, are the last (relatively) high summits along the great ridge of the Eastern Reeks; beyond here the ground gradually declines to the...


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