A long walk on a short day

Thanks to Frank for the title of my post as well as organising this great hike. The days are at their shortest right now but the weather has been mostly excellent and we made the most of a good day on Saturday. We left Galway at 5am and were at the starting point for our hike of the Galty Mountain Range at 7.45am. Six brave trekkers made the journey to this point and we knew it would be head down hiking for up to 8 hours before we reached the finish. Our hike would take in 6 peaks including Galtybeg and Galtymore mountains. Galtymore is Ireland’s six highest peak at 920metres. I may be a few metres off there but not far. 

Galtybeg and Galtymore. 

Our hike started with a gradual climb up to around 600 metres and from here we would trek over boggy ground, tricky at times but mostly super under foot due to a good freeze at this altitude as well as a hard frost over the entire country last night. A biting wind meant an extra layer was needed on top and bottom after about an hour. I felt great with the extra clothes. We summitted our first peak, soon after my layer change,  not hanging around long due to the cold and hiked on taking in the views.The visibility was super on all the trek apart from Galtymore. This was due to cloud cover at the higher of the peaks. Everyone was doing well apart from Martin who found out his water bladder was dry only a half hour into the day. He got some slagging and seemed fully puzzled where all the water he put in his bladder went during the night. He managed to share Sinead’s water and survive the day, although still has no clue where his water is! 

Emma feeling the cold but having fun. 

Every long hike or time on my feet I am still nervous after my injuries this year but all was well Saturday. After 22km of hiking I managed to run down the last descent and felt good considering a week of battling a cold before hand. Let’s hope it is the start of things to come in 2017. 

Vast lands of bog and heather. 

We reached the summit of Galtymore around lunchtime. We gobbled down a tasty buckwheat salad under a rockface. The shelter here was welcome with ferocious winds blowing over the peak. It would literally cut you in two. I watched the sheep clinging to a steep rockface and wondered how they survive up there. Amazing athletes they are!  We started downhill at a quick pace to warm up and once back to 700 metres the sun was out and everyone was in high spirits. We reached our destination in only 6.5hours. This was far quicker than anyone expected. We did hike at a fair pace and everyone felt like it was a good workout. Hopefully we will have lots of weekends like it in the next few months. 

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Carrauntoohil. Ireland’s Tallest Mountain.1038metres.

A nice leisurely start to the trek!

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Myself and my friend Colin left Galway early this morning and 3 hours later we were climbing towards the clouds in Kerry on Carrauntoohil mountain. I write this post while warming up in car after the finish. The first 3km were easy with a very slight gradient. Perfect to warm up after the long journey.

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After this nice start came the area known as the Devils Ladder. As you can guess this is s very steep stretch.  basically navigating a waterfall on the side of mountain! 

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This is the very bottom of ladder and this the view looking down from a small distance up the ladder. 

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At this point the weather started to close in. I was happy with my pace and the Devils ladder was easier than I expected. I came to the top of the ladder and turned right for the Summit climb. Visibility was awful and rain and wind cold. No better reason to go faster so I stepped it up. The last couple of hundred metres to the top were relatively easy with a steep but manageable incline.

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After a quick stop at summit I turned for home. I could see very little apart from the cross. Not being a religious man I reckoned I would be wasted hanging out with a cross so home and heat sounded good. I descended quickly and all in all I was up and down in around 2hours and 15 minutes including a few stops for food and chatting to some hikers.  12.51km in total.
Carrauntoohil is definitely worth a hike/run.  I will be back on a day with no cloud!
I will post garmin times later.  Now time for some re fueling !