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Slieve Sneacht

Date: 9th Jan 2010
Submitted by: Anthony Feeney

Reports galore were coming in of club members enjoying the rare Donegal winter conditions and got the old green streak throbbing away (not to be confused with green streaking, an entirely different adventure involving Borat swimwear). A hectic Christmas of moving house and entertaining family and friends kept climbing to the back of my mind but images of snowy Errigal started making me uber-jealous.

When PJ and Margaret mentioned walking up Slieve Sneacht last weekend I abandoned children, house, family and every other pressing need to don the winter gear and plod along with them. Make hay while the sun shines and all that.

We met in Carndonagh just as the clear blue skies clouded over and parked up just off the R238 Buncrana Road next to a couple who were strapping on skis for an interesting descent. We got geared up in one of those wonderful soundless snow falls where everything is muffled and you can’t see more than a few feet ahead.

It was a brilliant opportunity to navigate by map, compass and GPS and we headed for the South West ridge aiming for the smaller Slievebeg on approach to the top. The snow was quite firm in places but never enough to hold my Christmas-improved weight and the girls trudged along in my sometimes thigh-deep footsteps.

There was a quare stinging North West wind numbing the left side of the face and the old legs hadn’t had such a good workout in months, ever since I cancelled the gym membership for the good of my bank balance. But even though I was puffing away as we approached the big cairn I was rejoicing in the clean crisp air, the excellent company and the cracking views that were starting to open up around us as the skies cleared.

Coming back down the wind dropped and there was fun to be had on the odd bum slide. The locals and their kids were out with quad bikes, tractors and sleds and were asking amazedly “Did ye make it to the top??” We even managed to get in a short ice climb using a thick column of frozen bog water, a 1m Scottish Grade VI that we intend to called Dwarven Odyssey.

Photo of Route