|Date: September 3rd 2010
Submitted by: George Carleton
Meeting up with Finbar on the afternoon of Friday 3rd September we blasted our way down to Connemara in his trusty white van to catch up with Sandra K, our Maumturk guide for the weekend.
We started early, getting into the hills for 6:45. The cloud base was low, giving poor visibility but at the start the only way was up so we couldn't go too far wrong. By the time we reached the first peak it was raining and we were catching the full force of the wind; it was time to get the navigational gear out to keep us on the right course.
Sandra took charge, setting the bearings on the compass for me to follow while she paced the distance; Finbar took coordinates from his GPS and checked our position on the map to make sure we were on track.
Coming off Binn Mhor a small chapel with stone crosses in the foreground appeared before us out of the mist making quite an impression in such a barren place. Here we had our first proper break before the steep assent to the top of Binn Chaonaigh.
Working well as a team we carried on like this until the cloud began to lift and the visibility improved just as we descended Binn Idir an Da Log heading for the loch mham Ochoige, at which point Sandra took off like a bullet leaving Finbar and me struggling to keep up.
We had a well deserved break at the lake; the only thing spoiling it was being told we were not even half way yet!
We had a steep pull up towards Cnoc na hUilleann, but we now had the views of the surrounding mountains, Loughs and coast to distract us from our toil. From the top we made our way towards Binn Bhriocain taking in the lesser peaks along the way. The going was relatively straightforward with no major drops or gains in height until we came off Maumturkmore dropping into the Col where we had our last fuel break before the steep pull up the "Col of Despondency" onto the peaty plateau of Leenane hill, from where we contoured northwards down to the road just behind the Hotel, then into the pub for some liquid refreshments.
We were off the hills for approx 6:15pm, we had taken about 11hrs 30min to complete the 24km Maumturk challenge, more than 5hrs of which had been in far from perfect conditions with poor visibility, requiring careful navigation. The terrain was generally rocky in nature except for the last few mountains where the landscape softened to grassy slops.
It was a challenging and rewarding day on the hills made all the better for having started in mist and rain, and finished with clear views, blue skies and sunshine.
09 Sep 2010
Have to admit to being sneakily delighted to having the mist down as it helped put the reigns on George and Finbar!!George esepcially has this annoying ability to move uphill at greyhound speed - mind you there were a lot of hares spotted. Great teamwork on the navigation,made what could have been quite tedious in something enjoyable.
09 Sep 2010
At last my trainig has paid off. Hoping for snow and force 9s on Glover.