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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.

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Forum: General
Pilgrimage : The Road To Santiago
Jim Holmes 2 days ago.
Pilgrimage : The Road To SantiagoFriday BBC2 9pmMountainViews Irish Mountain Gathering preferred MC of choice - Ed Byrne - can be seen as he walks with friends (kind of) on a three part travelogue...

Forum: General
Thanks BlackCra
Aidy 2 weeks ago.
Thank you BlackCra for the extremely generous words on my photo - your description is truly humbling.

Fuerteventura: La Oliva to Lajares.
simon3 5 days ago.
This walk starts in La Oliva, which is served by various bus routes including one that returns from the finish. Casa de walk, Len: 16.7km, Climb: 333m, Area: Spain, Canary Islands ()

Summit Comment
Corn Hill: Nice Views Visible Again
TommyMc 4 days ago.
I visited Corn Hill on a sunny morning in March 2018 and was pleased to see that some of the forestry that had blighted the area near summit has been felled in recent years and as a result there a...

Summit Summary
Chimney Rock Mountain: Fine views in the NE Mournes
Collaborative entry Last edit by: Trailtrekker a week ago.
Chimney Rock Mountain sits proudly above the Irish Sea in the north-eastern Mournes. Evidence of extensive mining exists along the side of the mountain at places like Carr’s Face, and the route up...

Glenbeigh Loop
GSheehy 4 days ago.
That mare of a storm ?Emma? played havoc with the na Sl

Lehaunstown to The Scalp
jgfitz a week ago.
This track is accessable by public transport. Starting at Lehaunstown Luas Stop (spelled Laughanstown by Luas), head ... walk, Len: 10.0km, Climb: 367m, Area: Carrickgollogan, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland

Forum: General
Aidy's "A" pic.
BleckCra 2 weeks ago.
Aidy's pic of the month ....... just sensationally good.That is not to say mountainviews' potms aren't all fabulous but are often it seems constrained (not, I imagine always by the photographer), ...

Summit Comment
Mullaghmeen: A Delightful Walk, Muddy near Summit.
TommyMc a week ago.
I enjoyed a delightful walk to the summit on a nippy but very sunny Sunday 25 February. Sadly the narrow track on the final approach to the summit has been cut up badly over the winter, and quite ...

Lanzarote: Femes to Playa Blanco, Minor Woes
simon3 a week ago.
Our original plan was perfectly simple - while on Fuerteventura climb the highest mountain. But it didn't quite work out walk, Len: 17.3km, Climb: 250m, Area: Spain, Canary Islands ()

Summit Comment
Lugduff SE Top: Great views
ewen 2 weeks ago.
A cold but sunny day ensured the boggy top and col between the top and Lugduff was frozen and firm underfoot. Did from Glenmalure lodge, following the Wicklow way. On such a clear crisp day, the L...

Fuerteventura: Lobos Island
simon3 a week ago.
Isla de Lobos is an island just off the north coast of Fuerteventura. It has a lot of visitors and somewhat problematica walk, Len: 12.7km, Climb: 64m, Area: ()

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