I am very much focussed on the Arderin List and, since I don't actually get out very often, I put a premium on packing as many hills into each walking day as I can manage taking the season into account. The second constraint is the fact that I never know when I might escape: this means that I generally tackle my task on my own with the help of just my car and my €150 Halford Sale bike. So here's the specifics. The weather forecast for the available day predicted a violent storm touching Munster, so I chose the Sperrins as being at the opposite end of the island, and I could see from Gerry McVeigh's super YouTube movie, Sperrin Mountains - Walking the Mullaghs, that, even if one was blown away, injury would be unlikely . [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GY1-rWtDU8&list=PLw8TysGxik4TRb4z55j88sbT2q8zyFFxo ] I should say, for completeness, that I fell heavily to the ground on four occasions; it was very slippy indeed. I pride myself on never slipping, so this was a major blow to my ego, suggesting that my many months "off duty" had weakened my concentration. As regards the route, I looked closely at all the MV data on the the Western Sperrin Arderins (from Sawel to Mullaghcarbatagh) and all the combinations and permutations of man, bike, and car. My considered opinion was, and is, that the only way for the solo summiteer in his/her mid 50s to bag all six Arderins on the same late October day is to split the 6 into 4 and 2. So that's what I did, and the route above shows the morning walk over the Mullaghs pretty much following the advice given by ONZY for Track 2570. I began with the four Mullaghs in the morning on the basis that if I ran out of steam I would at least have 4 out of the 6 (rather than a pathetic 2 if I failed the other way round!). I had google mapped the access road H54173 93082 the night before (i.e. looking at the photostream) and was worried if there was room to park my car without causing obstruction. I had seen a field entrance with the farmer and his dog visible. Unbelievably, they were both present at the exact same spot when I turned up. They were loading sheep onto a trailer. The farmer was a true gentleman, and told me to continue as far as the locked gate 50 metres away and park there. Now, I would certainly NOT do that if I didn't have permission, because you would never know when someone might have to get past to the private road on the other side of the gate. I parked tight up against the fence at a place where the road was wide enough to let another vehicle past. Be careful where you park. This is worked land. As the McVeigh movie suggests, the "going" on the Mullaghs is generally of the "soft" variety. Having said that, conditions underfoot were not bad at all, except where I crossed patchs of big "lumpy" tufts of grass. Also my descent from Mullaghasturrakeen to my car got very messy when I walked into the reed beds surrounding the streams (to be avoided). The Mullaghs are not especially attractive, except Mullaghcarbatagh which barely qualifies as an Arderin due to its small prominence, but which stands like a huge motte and bailey and is crowned with a beehive cairn. Majestically petite. I had breakfast there, leaning against the cairn for perfect shelter, and plotted a contour route around Mullaghclogher to avoid any unnecessary repetition of ascent. You will see that I also contoured Mullaghasturrakeen en route to Mullaghclogha so as to leave it for my return. Compare my stats to those of predecessor ONZY: did I succeed? Well the official figures claim that my total ascent was 356 while ONZY's was 729. Could that be correct. I thought contouring had knocked off a bit more than 100 metres of ascent, certainly not more than 300 metres!
I returned to my car fit and well, and most definitely ready for the next two Arderins (see Track 2572) of the day. In summary, great views all around but there is something too neat about the manicured setting to breathe life into my jaded bones. I need the rugged Atlantic Coast for true nirvana.