At noon on September 4th, I kissed the dog and bade good-bye to the wife and kids. From Limerick, I took the road to Newport, from Newport I travelled around 7km until I saw a sign for Ballyhourigan woods. It was while travelling along this road that I passed what appeared to be a couple in the throes of something, quite possibly passion, in the back seat of a car. I may be wronging the pair, they could quite simply have been in the midst of changing their clothes for a long trek through the hills. I was doing 40 mph and the condensation of their back window made any possibility of confirmation remote. As their car disappeared in my rear view mirror, it made me think that there may be better things to do on a Sunday afternoon than trek up the side of a bog. If my camera had not been in the boot I would have had a much more interesting picture to accompany this comment.
I reached (E (R782 667)
) which had a road-closed sign preventing further access by car. I parked a little further up the road to the right in a forest opening. From the start of the track, I walked to a point shown on the map as the intersection of four paths (F (R805 664)
). When I got to that point one of the paths, the eastern one, had been maliciously been removed. I headed up the western path, at first trying to reach the open ground through some rough open with fallen trees. Driven back I went instead into the woods, these were quite dense, but I persisted and found a stream, which I followed back to the open mountain. There is an earth wall running up alongside the older forest edge, this offered the best ground for walking. When I had climbed about 540 metres in height I turned in the direction of the Eagle's nest.
The Eagles nest was impressive with rock outcrops and some unsettling drops. I noticed some wooden posts from an old fence go right to the edge and then disappear over the edge. I was not tempted to go close enough and confirm where the fence ended, but it surely serves as fitting monument to the lengths that peoples will go to fence the country side in this land of ours.
I had lunch at the Eagle's nest and waited a full 30 minutes for the eagle to show up. When it was clear he was not going to come, I set my sights for the top of keeper hill, navigating towards the TV mast visible in the distance.
From the Cairn of the summit, I navigated back to the forest line I had followed up. Eventually I located it and followed it down. I entered the woods and relocated the stream. The woods were dense and the sun mottled the floor with patches of intense yellow light. It was all very atmospheric until I remembered Film4's recent screening of the Blair Witch project. This made me pick up the pace quite a bit.
Back to the car then following the same route. What could be nicer than a walk on the hills in early September on a Sunday afternoon? The car with the couple was gone when I made my way down the narrow road and headed for home. Linkback: mountainviews.ie/summit/117/comment/2489/