PMG – Walk 5 & 6! From summer to winter!
Monday mornings are normally never fun! Those Monday Morning Blues! Well my Monday morning was all set for a walk! I had it all planned. The weather looked good and i was itching to get back out and do some more summits! Of course, that was before Sunday night happened! Old friends of mine, Toine and Kris, were back in town for the night! As any good friend would do, I welcomed them in to my home; opened some beers, vodka (I hate vodka) and the shindig began! At some point in the early hours of the morning i sought refuge in bed and i succumbed to a deep sleep!
Monday morning… it was not a bright or early start. It was more a blurry eyed wobbliness sort of start to the day! With climbing and walking plans discussed for 2014 I saw off Toine and Kris, wished them fair well and I had decided to call the walk off. It was already 12pm. However, while standing in the sun waving goodbye I thought; “ah to hell with it, to the hills”! I packed fast and drove equally so, and found myself at the Sally Gap at 1pm!
Walk 5 was on (20/01/2014)! At 1.15pm I started to jogged down the road to the entrance of Lough Tay. I continued to jog right down to the valley floor and found myself heading up Luggala the normal way! The cliffs of Luggala looked great and I dreamt of rock climbing as I hiked! I went hard and fast and my lord was I paying for the night before! I reached the summit of Luggala at 595m (15/453), snapped some photos and started on a steady and straight march across to Carrigvore. It was wet in the bog but it was like summer out there! Winter was gone…for today at least! Carrigvore at 682m (16/453) was reached with no difficulty and I drove on along the ridge to reach Gravale at 718m (17/453), then Duff Hill at 720m (18/453). There was a trace of snow still along the ridge and Mullaghcleevaun was capped with snow and looked great! The easy work was now done. The last hard leg of the walk was to begin. The slog across the bog from Duff Hill to Knocknacloghoge, but as I said in my head; “nut up or shut up!”
The sunset was beautiful! What more can one say! What was not so beautiful was this long slog to Knocknacloghoge. The head torch was out and I reached the summit just as it was dark. 5 summits done but the long walk back to the car was still to be finished. I soldiered on, happy to have had such a glorious day for walking; a day I nearly didn’t seize!
Walk 6! Winters back! Wednesday the 22nd of January saw winter return! Gone were the blue skies and gone was the sun; well in the mountains where I was anyways! Walk 6 of Project Mountain goat took me to the Blessington area. I would start on a small hill called “Carrigleitrim” which stood at 408m and would not come under the Arderin or Vandeleur-Lynam categories. I should warn people at this stage that my route here took me through some bush whacking / forestry which was rather dense in places. However I managed to find the summit and continue along my way to Sorrel Hill (20/453) which stood at 599m and became my second summit of the day and the first summit to “count” as a Arderin.
I found this walk somehow boring. Maybe it was the cloud, maybe it was the road like track up Black Hill 603m (21/453), but the walk seemed the least fun or interesting walk so far! Maybe I was just tired!?!? Maybe it was the lack of sun which I had been graced with on the previous walk! After reaching Black Hill and after a slight downhill section I had a long contour around to a place called “Billy Byrne’s Gap.” On reaching this and seeing it written on the map I could not help but grin to myself. With the surname “Byrne”, and the aptly named Project Mountain “Goat”, it seemed like a place destined to be visited by moi!
Throughout the day, the cloud level did rise every now and then to reveal its views of the reservoir below! Moanbane 703m (22/453) and Silsean 698m (22/453) were easily achieved, but sadly with no great views 🙁 The summits for the day where done. On reaching the forest track near Ballyknockan I sadly came across a dumping site. This made me sad but equally mad! I cannot understand how people can do this, and, we unfortunately see this all too often in the Wicklow mountains! We shall, however, not end on a sad note! The walk was done, but as this was my first walk that was not a loop walk I had to hitch back to the car! All in all it took 1 hour and 3 lovely people that stopped and picked me up. Some hope in humanity after all! With 16kms of hill walking and 4 more summits done, the day was still a good one!