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kernowclimber
2011-06-08 18:32:46
"Exhaustion creeping in!" from kernowclimber Contract pics
Picture: Exhaustion creeping in! (Contract 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.
Connemara, Wilde’s.. by kernowclimber   (Show all posts)


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 19 Next page >>
Track
Beinn Ghobhlach
Peter Walker 11 hours ago.
Beinn Ghobhlach by evening lightWhen you're told that you can do a walk in the morning if you're quick because your o... walk, Len: 10.9km, Climb: 739m, Area: Beinn Ghobhlach, Loch Maree to Loch Broo

  
Track
Suilven
Peter Walker a day ago.
I first read about Suilven when I was about 11. It was in some British geographical gazetteer, a stern washed-out pict... walk, Len: 24.0km, Climb: 1029m, Area: Lochinver to Ullapool (Britain) Suilve

  
Summit Comment
Slieve Elva: Fantastic scenery
Damian120 a day ago.
A stunning walk going up over Slieve Elva that you can begin and end end at Fanore Beach. Some great locations along the Caher River to stop and relax and watch the water gently flowing downstream...

Summit Comment
Knockannavea: Nice views to be had
csd 2 days ago.
While not very challenging, recent felling means the views along the way and from the summit are pleasant enough. A nice spot for a lunchtime walk.

  
Track
Maumtrasna Plateau via Dirkbeg and Buckaun Spurs
Onzy 2 days ago.
Route to the Mauntrasna plateau using the Dirkbeg spur for ascent and the Buckaun for descent. walk, Len: 10.8km, Climb: 535m, Area: Maumtrasna North-East Top, Partry/Joyce C...

  
Forum: General
Lough Oular From Tonlagee
tomlug48 2 days ago.
A beautiful July day on the summit of Tonlagee. Gazing down at the beautiful heart shaped Lough Oular.Tom Barragry & the Lugs .

Summit Summary
Knocknabro East Top: Drought made difficult ground trek possible
Collaborative entry Last edit by: CaminoPat 4 days ago.
Knocknabro East Top is best climbed as part of a good loop walk, taking in the West and North-East tops of Knocknabro. This summit is best reached firstly via Knocknabro West Top and then onto the...

  
Track
Picos de Europa
peter1 3 days ago.
I can say with certainty three things: the ascent was not 3266m, given the peak is only 2503m; secondly, I will be back walk, Len: 13.9km, Climb: 3266m, Area: Spain, Cantabria ()

  
Summit Summary
Knocknabro North-East Top: NE Top Revealed
Collaborative entry Last edit by: CaminoPat 4 days ago.
This summit is best reached via Knocknabro West Top. Park at laneway to old farmhouse now in ruin at W15905 83498. Room for 1-2 cars to park. Climb gate at entrance and follow post and wire fence ...

Track
Sail Mhor
Peter Walker 5 days ago.
After a week of blazing sunshine in the Peak District overwhelmingly spent swimming in the pool, lazing by the pool a... walk, Len: 11.3km, Climb: 833m, Area: Sail Mhor, Loch Maree to Loch Broom (Bri

  
Forum: General
.Lough Oular from Tonlagee
tomlug48 2 days ago.
A beautiful July day on the summit of Tonlagee. Gazing down at the beautiful heart shaped Lough Oular.Tom Barragry & the Brothers of the Lug.

  
Summit Comment
Knocknabro West Top: A Long Hard Slog
CaminoPat 4 days ago.
Park at laneway to old farmhouse now in ruin at W15905 83498. Room for 1-2 cars to park. Climb gate at entrance and follow post and wire fence heading north until W16029 84252. From there head acr...


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 19 Next page >>