This is a view of the rather shapely upper slopes of Birreencorragh as viewed from the col to the south west. In particular, the photo was taken from near spot height 587 meters. From this point it is a 111 meters haul up to the summit over a distance of circa 400 metres. The slope is a mixture of scree and patches of grass at first, and gets quite steep and rocky for the last 50 metres ascent. ......
On the day that I climbed Birreencorragh in mid-August I started hiking at 6:30am. Bleary-eyed I opened the boot of the car to pull out my rucksack, hiking poles and…and discovered that my hiking boots were not there. I glanced at my runners and gazed forlornly up at the lung-bursting, steep wet slope that marks the start of the initial route up to Birreencorragh South Top when setting out from
. I never complete hikes in runners, and ALWAYS depend on my trusty boots for keeping my feet and ankles dry & unbroken. I made a bargain with myself that I would walk slowly and the first time I slipped on wet grass or heather, or my feet twisted in any risky direction that I would stop and go back. I have a keen interest in not becoming a mountain rescue statistic.
As it transpired I had a lovely hike, catching the sunrise over Nephin, enjoying clear early morning views across the Mayo landscape, and even managed to keep my feet relatively dry. I was much more alert when negotiating the upper scree slope on Birreencorragh, and extra vigilant not to step in boggy patches. All-in-all I made great time visiting the three Birreencorragh summits, and the most challenging part was not slipping onto my backside on the descent to the car on that first/last wet grassy slope. As for forgetting my boots – some things only have to happen once and then they won’t happen again. I now add ‘bring boots’ to my mental list when preparing for a hike, next to ‘remember to breathe’ and ‘put one foot in front of the other in order to move’. One swallow doesn’t make a summer, and time will tell if it was a sign of age or just the super-early rising-time that caused me to forget my boots. All I can do in the meantime is give a rueful chuckle and shake my head as I put my car keys in my boots or hang the boots off the front door handle the night before a hike. If necessary I’ll even start wearing them to bed! Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/112/comment/20651/