PMG Walk 12, 13 & 14 – Operation: Rasher Sambo
So after nearly a two week break from walking due to work, weather, and laziness the end of month two of Project Mountain Goat was fast approaching! I was 20 summits short of the average I needed to maintain each month. With one week left to the end of month two and with only a few days of work near the end of the week I set my sights on Monday the 3rd, Tuesday the 4th and Wednesday the 5th of March for walking. The only question was where I should go walking! As I sat down to a breakfast of Galty rashers on Sunday morning I started to form a plan of attack on the Galty Mountains! There were many summits there and with a little bit of route planning I got the Galty summits that I needed to summit down to two days! I would be short my 20 summits by just 3 summits and so I looked south of the Galty Mountains to the Knockmealdowns! With maps and lists I drew up a day of walking that would give me 10 summits! So the plan was set! 3 days of walking, 27 PMG summits and 95kms! It would be my first multi-day trip away on Project Mountain Goat, and it was all very exciting! The weather forecast was looking good for Monday and Tuesday and not so good on Wednesday! So the plan was this. Day one: The "Big" Galty Route. Day 2: The Knockmealdowns Route. Day 3: The Small Galty Route. The knockmealdowns walk was sandwiched between two days of walking in the Galty Mountains…Operation: Rasher Sambo, was a go!
But it WAS already Sunday! I had just hours to prepare! I left my girlfriend Tara’s house with plans, routes and summits all formulated in my head! I drove home stopping off on the way to supply myself with food and water for the three days of walking. Once home I packed all the gear in the car, which would be my mobile operation centre, where I would sleep, cook dinners, and use of course get myself from point A to point B. Once the gear was all sorted I studied the maps, the routes and summits. At 12am I was in bed but as usual I was awake with excitement thinking about the walks to come! At 00:30am I looked at my phone…at 1am I looked at my phone and somewhere there after sleep found me! 3:15am I was awake with the alarm and after a bite of breakfast I was on the road to Cahir in County Tipperary! The adventure was all go! The stars above me on the motorway gave me great hope of the good weather that was forecasted! 6:15am, car parked and ready to start the walk! However the stars were gone and instead of the lovely clear skies I had dense cloud and mist! Typical Irish weather forecasting!!!
I won't go in to great details about the walk itself. It basically went from one end of the Galty Mountains to the other end. (See Map) It is a natural ridge line, however I would drop down off the ridge to summit a few extra mountains along the way and then join back up with the ridge! The weather was disappointingly bad for the first 6 hours! Being yet again stuck in the cloud and freezing winds was a big downer! I found myself seriously questioning my motifs for doing all this when I could have been back home in bed! However the second half of the day proved far better and cloud cleared off and I got some amazing views! Now the Wicklow Mountains had prepared me for the long flattish cross country hills with not a lot of ascent and descent…The Galty Mountains and maybe also more to the point my route through the Galty Mountains would take me up and down some very steep ground. The height gain throughout the day would be a lot more than I was used to and left me with two very sore knees by the end of the walk! After finishing the walk I then tried to hitch back to my car, which just didn't go very well at all!!! It took over three and a half hours and I had to walk a lot of it (approx 15kms of more walking :/)…and that was on top of the 40kms I had just done in the mountains. I got back to the car after walk one of three and I really considering just driving home! I was such a mess, trying to cook dinner, get changed, and sort the car for sleeping that it took me over 1.5hrs to get it all done, when it should have taken me only 45mins. I was truly and utterly spent…
I dove into Cahir after a dreadful night’s sleep in the back of the car! I needed petrol and to charge the battery for the camera. The wind was so cold the previous day it killed the battery after just one day! I had also slept an extra hour than planned. In short, the day was off to a late and slow start. So while I got petrol and kindly had someone in the petrol station charge by camera battery for 15mins, I swallowed some food and tried to man up a little! My body still felt terribly stiff after day/night one! "Oh shit, how am I going to pull off day two in this state", I thought to myself! My right knee was still sore!
To the Vee! I went to the Vee in the Knockmealdown Mountains as planned after a breakfast of negative thoughts! I got on my way with the walk and the weather seemed ok. About two hours later I was on my first summit, in great weather with high spirits! My body was by then awake and feeling good and I gained my confidence back! Sometimes things seemed harder than they are and once you are "used" to them you perform better than you did before. Day 2 was great. I did the route as planned, ticked off 10 more summits and simply had a great fun day out in the mountains with splendid weather which seemed to recharge me and my spirit!
Sadly after finishing the walk the hitching part proved harder than I thought it would be. I walked 35kms in the mountains and then ended up walking 6kms more into Ballyporeen….I had "hitched" (walked) the 6kms but never got a lift. Dejected and tired I walked into a village I had never even heard of but will never forget! (Ballyporeen as it turns out is best known for being the ancestral home of United States President Ronald Reagan.) It was dark and I had my head torch on and as I walked towards the centre of the village a man who I would have guessed as being in his 50's said, "ah you’re getting some fitness in I see"…I laugh and say; "yes one could say that but all I want is to hitch a lift". He ask me where to and I explain, back to the Vee. He then tells me to; "Come in for a cup of tea and some biscuits and ill drop you back there later". I try my best at being polite and say, "I’ll just hitch on now as its late and besides the road here is busy so I should get a lift easy enough". He laughs and simply won't take no for an answer. He drags me into what turns out to be his pub or in his own word, "tis mine and the bank mangers" and orders me tea and biscuits from Julie the barmaid. He points to the radiator and says, "that’s on, get warm there and I’ll be back shortly and drop you to your car!"
I drink my tea and savour the biscuits and start chatting to Julie the barmaid who tells me the guy’s name is Billy. Billy comes back later and the three of us have another round of tea and biscuits and trade war stories and tall tales. Billy seemed to know some exceptional tall tales and tells me stories that could only make you laugh with delight. And as I sat there in the pub I thought about the evening before or even an hour earlier how hard it was to hitch and the hate I had for hitching, planning never to do it again. If I had I would have never met that Irish Gent Billy Hale of Bally Hi Pub in Ballyporeen. He certainly has a charm and spark about him and I thank both him and Julie for taking such great care of me that evening!!! Afterwards, Billy did as promised and dropped me the 11kms back to my car where he told me to come down in the morning for a "boiled egg and tea and toast"! I said I may come depending on what the story was with walking. I reassured him I would indeed be ok sleeping in the car and bid him good night! With a big smile on my face I cooked dinner and reflected on how some people are so giving!
Day three started far better than day 2. I had slept better than the night before bar the fact the Garda came by to check on me at around midnight. I guess it is nice to know people are being watchful out there. The final day of walking took me back to the Galty Mountains for two more Project Mountain Goat summits. It was a short loop walk where I stayed away from the main summits of the Galty Mountains. The weather was very "Irish" and there was not much excitement in the walk. As I stood on my final summit Seefin (it is not a PMG summit) I looked back up into the Galty Mountains, the cloud had lifted somewhat and I said a farewell to the hills! I had managed to summit all of the summits I had set out for and had ticked off the Galty and Knockmealdown Mountain Ranges from my list in just three days of walking. I did however decided that I best tone down my walks as 40kms in the mountains is a lot and the Galty and Knockmealdowns certain will not be the hardest summits to climb! So I said to myself to aim at a max of 30 to 32kms a walk, max!!!! That should keep the body fresh and hopefully let me complete this project without injury or burning out…knowing me though I will be allured to long hard routes through the mountains…hmmm lets see!
I also wanted to say again a big thank you again to the very generous Billy Hale of Ballyporeen and that I can recommend is pub Bally Hi in Ballyporeen! Cheers for reading guys! Until next time!
Walk 12 – Map & Stats:
39.60kms – 11hrs & 17mins
2911m Ascent Meters – 2795m Descent Meters
18 Summits – 15 PMG Summits / 3 Non PMG Summit
The summits in order were:
Slieveanard NE Top 449m – Non PMG Summit
Slieveanard 438m – Non PMG Summit
Sturrakeen 541m – (Summit #56/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin)
Laghtshanaquilla 631m – (Summit #57/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Greenane 802m – (Summit #58/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Greenane West 786m – (Summit #59/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Knockastakeen 583m – (Summit #60/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin)
Cush 641m – (Summit #61/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Galtybeg 799m – (Summit #62/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Galtymore 918m – (Summit #63/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Lough Curra Mtn 600m – (Summit 64/454 – Mtn Class: Vandeleur-Lynam)
Slievecushnabinnia 775m – (Summit #65/454 – Mtn Class: Vandeleur-Lynam)
Carrignabinnia 822m – (Summit #66/454 – Mtn Class: Vandeleur-Lynam)
Lyracappul 825m – (Summit #67/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Knockaterriff Beg 679m – (Summit #68/454 – Mtn Class: Vandeleur-Lynam)
Knockaterriff 692m – (Summit #69/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Temple Hill 783m – (Summit #70/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Benard 479m – Non PMG Summit
Walk 13 – Map & Stats:
35kms – 8hrs & 34mins
2161m Ascent Meters – 2038m Descent Meters
10 PMG Summits
The summits in order were:
Crohan West 521m – (Summit #71/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin)
Knockmeal 560m – (Summit #72/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin)
Knocknafallia 668m – (Summit #73/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Knocknagnauv 655m – (Summit #74/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Knockmealdown 792m – (Summit #75/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Knockmoylan 767m – (Summit #76/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Sugarloaf Hill 663m – (Summit #77/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Knocknalougha 629m – (Summit #78/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Knockshanahullion 652m – (Summit #79/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Farbreaga 518m – (Summit #80/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin)
Walk 14 – Map & Stats:
20.60kms – 4hrs & 45mins
1092m Ascent Meters – 1098m Descent Meters
4 Summits – 2 PMG Summits / 2 Non PMG Summit
The summits in order were:
Monabrack – 629m – (Summit #81/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Knockeenatoung 601m – (Summit #82/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam)
Seefin N Top 444m – Non PMG Summit
Seefin 447m – Non PMG Summit