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When the weather's "cat"

Date: 28/10/07
Submitted by: Peter Cooper & Dave Millar

Sunday's weather started off glorious and then went ingloriously downhill. Dave and myself have a penchant for a spot of running and both used to regularly fell-run (...for fun!?). Dave and myself decided to go for a wee fell run. It seemed a wise choice, rather than get sodden and frozen trying to rockclimb: that'd just be stupid.

The Hills of Urris, on the Inishowen peninsular, were the objects of desire. Fearlessly we faced the sea-level start to get to the top of Reachtain Mhor (602M). And so, the intrepid duo parked in the quarry at the top of pass between Clonmany and Dunree (230M).

This was October and was more like a wild February! We proceeded at a steady jog to the summit of Slievekeeragh (389M): conditions were very windy but so far so good. We dropped down and traversed the shoulder (280M), between 2 valleys, to start the climb for Reachtain Mhor. Rain started to come down and got progressively heavier; oh and the wind picked-up too. Just below the summit we got hit by a hail storm, which hurt. Dave was in shorts: OUCH! This didn't put us off our objective, nor did the sleet or the slight snow shower; but it did make Dave's legs glow. We reached Reachtain Mhor's summit cairn in something like a force 8, we took in the views but didn't hang around.

By the time we'd run back down to the shoulder we had blue skies above us and the storm was heading towards Scotland via Malin Head. Back at the car the thermometer read 6 degrees, without windchill or height being accounted for (Brrr).

We sought post-run shelter by the roar of the fire in The Rusty Nail pub (20M), which nestles below Reachtain Beag (416M), and noted that our Guiness' experienced variable heights above sea level...(0.7M to 1M) somewhere, coincidently, between table top height and our mouths.

All in all this was quite an adventure and for Dave it was the first time he'd been on either of these summits. It's a good wee circuit and we'd recommend it should you be in the area and the weather is good or "cat".

Photo of Route