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Post details Post   (Contract pics)
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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.
A day rich in ente.. by Peter Walker   (Show all posts)


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Track
Camenabologue SE
Bunsen7 9 hours ago.
This shortish alternative track makes use of a forest ride (as heralded by Simon3) from Glenmalure to reach Camenabol... walk, Len: 10.6km, Climb: 664m, Area: Camenabologue SE Top, Dublin/Wicklow (Ir

  
Track
Mullaghcleevaun circuit
osullivanm 10 hours ago.
A very pleasant circuit although some difficult ground between Duff Hill and the return to start of hike. walk, Len: 17.3km, Climb: 792m, Area: Black Hill, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) Blac...

  
Forum: General
An Alp for OAPs...
Colin Murphy 2 days ago.
If you an ageing hillwalker like myself who might have liked to bag an ‘Alp’ but are too long in the tooth to contemplate such an adventure, fear not, there is a simple little Austrian Alp you can...

Summit Comment
Scrabo Hill: Hill with a tower on top
Wilderness 4 days ago.
The hill on its own is 160 meters high and the tower is 40 meters high. The tower is closed during the winter months.The hill can be climbed from the car park just below the Golf Clubhouse at J475...

  
Summit Comment
Divis: Great views
Wilderness 3 days ago.
The car park is quite high up on the west side of the mountain at J266741. There are a number of different trails to walk around on Divis and Black mountain. Divis is the highest point (478m), wi...

  
Track
Bonscale Pike-Wether Hill Loop
David-Guenot 4 days ago.
A beautiful route which takes in 6 wainwrights (Bonscale Pike, Arthur's Pike, Loadpot Hill, Wether Hill, Steel Knotts... walk, Len: 17.3km, Climb: 948m, Area: Swarth Fell (Ullswater), Lake District -

Forum: General
MOUNTAINVIEWS MEMBERS MEET APRIL 2018
liz50 3 days ago.
Not long now until the first Mountainviews members meet of 2018. We will be walking in the Galtee mountains on Saturday 28th April. If you are thinking of joining us and would like more details pl...

  
Summit Comment
Keelogyboy Mtn Far E Top: A small beautifully shaped mountain.
Wilderness 5 days ago.
This mountain is easy to recognise because of its shape. A good place to start is at Doon Lough car park at G794363. From here walk down the R278 towards Sligo and take the second country road on ...

  
Track
Great Mell Fell
David-Guenot 4 days ago.
walk, Len: 3.2km, Climb: 277m, Area: Great Mell Fell, Lake District - Eastern F...

Summit Comment
Cloghernagh: Snow Covered Plateau
davsheen a week ago.
Cloghernagh and Lug taken from Croghanmoira

  
Forum: General
The Independent State
BleckCra 5 days ago.
Independence of Ireland from Britain but not from Europe. Independence of Catalonia from Spain but not from a Spanish jail. Independence of Scotland from no one but definitely from England. Indepe...

  
Track
Little Mell Fell
David-Guenot 4 days ago.
walk, Len: 1.2km, Climb: 130m, Area: Little Mell Fell, Lake District - Eastern ...


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 15 Next page >>