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kernowclimber
2011-07-25 20:26:51
"Loneliness is an island named Scariff" from kernowclimber Contract pics
Picture: Loneliness is an island named Scariff (Contract pics)

The Islands of Adventure
The islands off Kerry’s coast are bathed by the Gulf Stream with a climate that is fickle, often tempestuous, but utterly seductive. An extraordinary light plays on them; their forms change continuously in response to kaleidoscopic weather patterns. Some are easily accessible, others not so. Puffin and Scarriff islands, both uninhabited, are seldom visited. The first is an important nature reserve; access is restricted by BirdWatch Ireland. Scarriff, remoter still, is a world away. Here, feral goats roam the tangled vegetation and abandoned cottages stare forlornly across restless seas as the only reminders of past habitation.

On a calm murky day, a rib boat left Portmagee with 3 BirdWatch Ireland members and 7 intrepid MVers aiming to scale 2 offshore summits. The distinctive whaleback Puffin Island with its black, rugged cliffs soon loomed out of the mist, its cliff-face vantage points home to noisy colonies of Atlantic Puffin, Manx Shearwater, choughs and gulls; their raucous calls filled the air. The island looked impossible to land on, the sea sucking greedily at slimy rocks as the rib pulled into a rocky inlet. Care was needed to scramble ashore followed by a steep climb up a cliff gully. The vivid emerald ground of spongy moss and wiry grass is honeycombed with the burrows of rabbits, Puffins and Manx Shearwaters.

The summit was easily attained, offering fine views and a sense of glorious isolation. A silvery luminescence periodically bathed the mainland that shimmered in and out of the mist, revealing cliffs and zawns gouged out by the merciless Atlantic. The wind bore the rhythmic chugging of fishing boat engines. The lesser peak opposite rises dramatically from a deep narrow inlet that almost dissects the island, with sheer cliffs either side. Mesmerised, we watched the antics of hundreds of puffins just feet away, amused by their colourful beaks and comical expressions as they stared quizzically at us, unconcerned by our presence.

The rib thumped over the restless waves towards Scarriff, scattering seabirds that protested nosily. Eventually the island appeared, summit shrouded in mist. The rib slowed, the eerie shrieks and wails of seabirds rent the air as we glided beneath towering cliffs bathed by seas of petrol blue, spotting sea urchins, jellyfish and seals in the clear water. The unnerving solitude of cliffs and sea and the utter desolation of the place seemed carved into the old steps leading ashore.

The terrain was different here: knee deep grass, ferns, heather and furze. The nondescript summit, shrouded in mist, was attained after an easy 1.6 km climb. The forlorn shells of abandoned cottages down slope and the constant low moaning of the sea engendered a sense of sadness, leavened only by the soft purring of a male Storm Petrel discovered in a wall crevice. Our departure signalled this Atlantic outcast’s return to its eternal loneliness. This special day will be etched forever in my memory. Thank you, Wicklore.


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 23 Next page >>
Summit Comment
Slieve Binnian: Mind how you go on a route Not Recommended
Pepe 2 hours ago.
Climbed this yesterday on the route leading from Brackenagh Bridge. Chose this route because I wanted to do Moolieve and the Wee Binnion on the way up. On a plus note a local farmer kindly let me ...

  
Summit Comment
An Bhinn Bhuí: A spectacular landscape
Damian120 3 hours ago.
It's a seldom-visited area of County Mayo yet it boasts some of the most impressive coastal architecture in the entire country. After spending five years covering and exploring the landscape of th...

  
Track
Buckaun - Binnaw circuit.
simon3 4 hours ago.
Hydro scheme at Lough Nadirkmore.The walk starts from a point high in an east facing coum of Maumtrasna. This road goes walk, Len: 5.8km, Climb: 368m, Area: Partry/Joyce Country (Ireland)

Track
Croghan Kinsella
jgfitz 16 hours ago.
This is a variation on track #3938, so I will avoid repeating the comments made there, with which I fully agree. This... walk, Len: 11.4km, Climb: 412m, Area: Croghan Kinsella, Dublin/Wicklow (Irelan

  
Track
Knocknalougha South Top
Onzy 18 hours ago.
Route to Knocknalougha South Top from Crow Hill carpark ... as outlined by melohara on the Hill Page... walk, Len: 11.7km, Climb: 430m, Area: Knocknalougha South Top, Knockmealdown Mo...

  
Track
12 (Listed) Bens - Revisited
GSheehy 3 days ago.
I was drawn back by the lure of completing the 2002 - 12 Bens Challenge route. I got the details from John J. Cotter w... walk, Len: 29.1km, Climb: 2598m, Area: Benglenisky, Twelve Bens (Ireland) Ben

Forum: General
Re: Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon
Peter Walker 2 days ago.
Hi daithi07The 'what's left to do in Ireland' article currently lives largely in my head rather than anywhere more tangible. It will see the light of day at some point in the next few months. I am...

  
Track
Greece, Pelion Peninsula: Paou to Chorto return
Onzy a week ago.
walk, Len: 8.3km, Climb: 237m, Area: Greece, Thessaly ()

  
Track
Greece, Pelion Peninsula: Affisos to Afetes return (2)
Onzy a week ago.
walk, Len: 9.7km, Climb: 458m, Area: Greece, Thessaly ()

Summit Comment
Big Collin: Permission required?
StephenMullin a week ago.
Hi thereCan anybody tell me if permission is required to walk up Big Collin? If so, how does one go about obtaining this?Many thanks!

  
Summit Summary
Anglesey Mountain: Great Carlingford views from a so-so top
Collaborative entry Last edit by: Colin Murphy a week ago.
There is enough space to park one car at 100 167, just on the edge of a wood around a sharp u-bend. Proceed north for 100m before turning NE up a gentle slope, although the terrain is treacherous ...

  
Summit Summary
Pigeon Rock Mountain South Top: Nondescript summit for baggers only
Collaborative entry Last edit by: Colin Murphy a week ago.
Usually done in conjunction with Pigeon Rock itself, but can be done in isolation if you want. Car park can be found at 234 278 A. Take the track directly across the road that follows the Rocky Ri...


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 23 Next page >>