Sunday, 1 April 2018

Mangerton x3 |25th February | 11th March | 1st April

It happened lately that we visited Mangerton 3 times in the last few weeks.
First was our scheduled trip on 25th February which was this time a bit shorter than expected... They say that the last word always belongs to the mountain. And it's not only true for the big ones, smaller mountains and hills have their right to say that last word too.

Waves in the Punch Bowl

When we started walking the weather looked quite promising. It didn't take us long to get to the Devil's Punch Bowl. There was only three of us, so we could set a good strong pace and enjoy some nice workout to get the heart pumping :)
At the Punch Bowl the weather started changing dramatically. It still seemed to be good enough to continue, but we soon found out that we were wrong. As soon as we started climbing up to the summit, we started struggling keeping ourselves upright. The wind gusts were unreal... I saved myself from falling a few times using my poles. Even Denis couldn't stay on his feet and soon when we were about half way up from the Punch Bowl to the top, he said turn back. There was no point in going any further. Mangerton is one of the places that we visit quite often and this time the thick cloud didn't want to leave the summit so there was no chance for any views anyway.

We carefully walked back down to the shelter near the Punch Bowl and we had our lunch before going back to the car park. We could feel some drizzle coming from time to time, but it wasn't rain... The Devil was shaking his bowl with anger and spilling his punch on top of us...
When we were nearly down at the car park we met a group with maps in their hands going up. We later found out that they were doing Mountain Skills 2 course there that  day and stayed there till late evening. They definitely got a good training in that tough conditions... Well done:)

On Sunday, 11th March, we had a scheduled Carrauntoohil climb but after meeting in the morning and checking the forecast Denis decided to do Mangerton instead. Two were going do do Clara but as well but in the end all five decided to do Mangerton together. They had better luck this time with the weather and even a chance to see some views from the top.

On Easter Sunday, 1st April, we were planning to climb Carrauntoohil, but after checking the forecast in the morning, we changed our mind and did Mangerton again instead. This climb is much shorter than Carraunttohil, so we had a better chance to escape before the worst weather started.
We had to face strong winds at the Punch Bowl again, but this time we didn't give up and decided to go to the top from the other side, which means turning left and going around the lake first. That side feels a bit more sheltered from strong gusts and the climb itself it's more gradual apart of the last steeper section.
The top wasn't as windy as the lake level which was a surprise.
Coming back down to the lake the windy side was very challenging but we manages to save ourselves from falling. After lunch in the shelter we headed down to the car park and off for a pint at the Oaks Hotel:)

Some nice photos taken by our new member Joanna:

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Carrauntoohil | First time of the year

It wasn't our scheduled climb, but some of us were mad to see some real winter which is a very rare thing in this country on low grounds. If you like snow you have to climb for it!
So we did. Just the three of us... Denis, Chris and myself (Anna)

photo: Christine O'Callaghan

Chris, photographer of the day
We had no plan and just decided on the way to climb up the Devil's Ladder for change as the last time (Stephen's Day) we did O'Shea's Gully. About half way up the Ladder we met our friend climber, Denis O'Brien from Freemount on his way down. It was great to see him back in the mountains fully recovered from last year's knees operation. I saw a few posts and pictures on Denis's Facebook earlier about "the training" and I knew that he was going for something big again... But when I asked him the  question: "Are you training for something big again Denis?" I honestly didn't expect to hear that answer.... And The answer was: "I'm going to try Everest, would you believe it? I'm going there in April" I was speechless... Denis O'Mahony just asked to clarify: "You're going to the Base Camp, yes?" And Denis O'Brien replied: "No, I'm going to the top..., well, I'll try anyway... I was honored and given a chance..."
Now, that's some news! We wish Denis all the best! We'll be waiting for some news while hiking in Poland in May.

At the top of the ladder we finally found what we were looking for... The white stuff :) It started to clear and we got a little bit of sunshine. The climb to the summit was very enjoyable in fresh snow and soon we were enjoying our lunch. We met a group of Polish climbers who joined us for the group photo by the cross. We met another Polish girl from near my hometown earlier by the stepping stones so it felt a bit like a Polish day on Carrauntoohil :)

At the summit

The Balcony
We used the Heavenly Gates as our descent route, but this time, instead of continuing straight down, we turned right at the mountain rescue hut and went down the less known route called the balcony which goes back to the bottom of the Devil's Ladder. The path is very narrow and quite exposed in places, maybe not advisable for very big groups and people with fear of heights shouldn't go near it.
It was our first time doing it and we really enjoyed some different angle views :) Next time we might try it up.
The route isn't difficult to follow on a clear day, in the fog although, it would be a different story...

We can't not to mention that we saw some very poorly prepared walkers heading up as we were walking back the Hag's Glen. This couple had no jackets or backpacks, runners and wrong clothing. He asked us, how long to get to the top. She looked really tired. When Denis said that it would be about an hour and a half, she looked shocked... I looked at their clothes again and I asked: "Do you realize that it's winter up there?" It was after 2 p.m. They continued...

It was a very enjoyable day out and  we finished with a pint at Torc Hotel.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Stephen's Day's wintry experience | Carrauntoohil | The very last walk of 2017

There was a lot of comments made in social media after Stephen's Day about the safety of hill walking in bad wintry weather. Some of them were saying that people should check the forecast and not go to the mountains in this conditions at all. Some of them wanted walkers to pay for the rescue action if  one gets lost or injured while risking hiking during snow warning. Well, first of all, we do check the forecast and we know what to expect. Well, most of us... We're talking about regular experienced hill walkers, not occasional chancers in runners. Why do we still go?

Winter in the Reeks

We don't get much winter in Ireland.  But some of us love it and only wait till the white stuff finally covers the mountains for one or more days... Some of us will gear up and run up there straight away after seeing 'heavy snow' in the forecast. I'm one of them. And not the only one in our club. Is it safe?

Mountains are never 100% safe. You can injure yourself on a sunny day or get lost in warm summer fog. Is winter more dangerous than summer? Yes. And that's why you need to be more careful, more experienced and have more gear. And of course have very good navigational skills. If you don't feel comfortable in strong cold winds and very poor visibility, stay home and wait for the spring.

The way to O'Shea's Gully
So, on Christmas Day we checked the weather forecast and smiled. Heavy snow - YES, we're going tomorrow! The car park was quite busy as climbing Ireland's highest on Stephen's Day is a popular thing to do. We took off and headed towards the Hag's Glen in light drizzle. We decided to chance O'Shea's Gully. We could see a bit of dusting at the upper part of it but nothing major. When we got to the first rock step, the drizzle started turning into snow and at it was nice and soft for a while.... But soon we were higher, more exposed to the wind and the snow was heavier every minute. The visibility wasn't too bad as far as the lake but as soon as we started climbing up the gully it was just worse and worse every minute and, what was making our progress really difficult, was the wind blowing all the snow up he gully and straight into our eyes. And that was the one and only day when I forgot my glasses... I won't make that mistake again! Glasses or goggles are a must in the winter.
The snow was extremely soft, but luckily no ice underneath it. 

near the summit...

Misty summit selfie

Snow blizzard near the top
All the way from the top of the gully to the summit we were moving in zero visibility and the path was non existent. I stopped for a minute to fix my sticks and when I started walking again I couldn't see my companions footprints anymore... and I couldn't see them. Now we were  in the middle of a full blown blizzard. We only took one picture at the top and met no one there. It was even hard to keep the camera lens clear... Straight away without stopping we started our descent. The original plan was to go down the Heavenly Gates, but our leader Denis decided to escape quick via Devil's Ladder. It can be extremely dangerous in this conditions but it's fast, straightforward and with an easy access just in case anything bad happens. Heavenly Gates Route has a steep and dangerous section as well and we didn't feel like doing the Zig Zags because this route involves more climbing and it's much longer than the other routes.

The Ladder was quite busy and everyone was moving extremely carefully. Once again I missed my glasses so much.... I couldn't stop cursing in my head. We made it back to the Hag's Glen and we couldn't even recognize the place. It was all white and even the car park was white and about 15 cm of snow on our car (!) That's how heavy the snow was that day.
It was one of the days when you get tougher and get experience. A day to remember.

An Important Notice

When we were changing our wet clothes at the car park, Kerry Mountain Rescue Team's Land Rover arrived. It wasn't a surprise for us as the conditions were extremely challenging. We later found out that there was 4 rescue actions all together on Stephen's Day...

We realize that there's a lot of walkers going up there in wrong gear and not prepared, but even an experienced hill walker in a proper gear can have an accident.

Some of Kerry Mountain Rescue Team members were out hiking themselves that day. 
Some of us like wintry conditions and challenging ourselves. Of course the experience is essential but you're not gonna get any experience in navigation if you only go out when the sun is shining.

Enjoy the winter, stay safe.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

The last walks of 2017 | Cummeenapeasta Ridge | Carrauntoohil | Tyrolean Alps | Giant's Mountains

In the last months of 2017 some of us were busy with other things, especially this blog's author who got married and had to go to Poland 4 times during the year and even got as far as the Alps by accident... 
The blog got a little bit neglected, but not forgotten. 
And It's finally back! :)

Alpine View

We did a few nice walks since our last post and a few in very bad weather conditions. I discovered some nice new places abroad for future club trips as well.

But from the beginning...

22nd July 2017 | Eastern Reeks, Cummeenapeasta Ridge

Walking down the Bone

Denis leading to Cummeenapeasta Lake
On that Sunday, myself and Denis did Cummeenapeasta Ridge starting at Cronin's Yard. We were hoping to see the views this time (we did a part of this ridge earlier while doing the whole Reeks Range and we had to go down earlier due to bad weather). At Cummeenapeasta lake near the memorial plate of  the plane crash, we met two nice guys, Tim and Ruaidhri who joined us later and showed us the exact place where the engine of Douglas C-47 Skytrain was. We all walked down there on our way back and enjoyed some stories while having our lunch. If you want to know more about the plane crash itself, here'e a good video: The Lost Skytrain

We found the engine!

Misty ridge...
But before we got there, we climbed up Cruach Mhor and scrambled the ridge to The Big Gun and Knocknapeasta and then we walked as far as Maolan Bui where we begun our descent via The Bone. The ridge itself was enjoyable but windy and with no views again. It's a lovely scramble if you like this kind of things, we'll be back there in 2018 for sure.

That was my last walk before I got married. The rest of the club climbed Carrauntoohil on 6th of August, Brandon on 20. August which as far as I know was wet and windy. Later on 3rd September, they tried to complete our annual 5 Peaks Challenge but they had no luck with the weather again and only did The Paps which is the first part of the challenge. They tried their best as always.

17th September was the next day out which I missed again, because of my trip to Poland which ended in Austria after visiting Germany an Czech Republic... While the club was climbing Carrauntoohil, I was just back in Poland after exploring new routes in  Tyrolean Alps...

15th September | Wankspitze loop, Miemingen Range, Tyrol, Austria

Zugspitze 2962 m
It all happened because the weather forecast for Tatra Mountains was very bad. We were planning the trip there for a weekend. Instead of that we just decided to go different direction, packed my brother's bedroom-on-wheels, bought 2 guide books and a map on the way and off we went, making plans on the road. Our goal was to do one or two via ferrata routes and check what is there for a regular hillwalker non-climber as well. We took the motorway all the way down to Munich and slept at the car park about half way between Munich and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Early in the morning we headed South towards Austrian border and it was a cracker of a day with the sun shining down the alpine slopes making them look just magnificent... We passed Zugspitze to the left, the highest point of Germany, leaving it for the next time and after about an hour we arrived at our destination point, the village of Holzaiten at the bottom of Mieming Range. We parked at Arzkasten Guest house (1150 m.a.s.l)

We walked about 2,5 hours following roads and trails to the valley, passing a lovely little mountain hut (Lehnberghaus) and from there to the col where we geared up as it was the starting point of our Wankspitze Nordgrat Via Ferrata. Nice and not too difficult B/C graded with a spectacular view point near the summit (2209 Some parts are very exposed, but that's what we love. From there we could see all the trails in the valley below. It was quite frosty and windy up there even in the sun. On our way down we found another breathtaking view spot, from where we could see higher parts of the Alps all covered with snow, just a perfect view...

Wankspitze Via Ferrata
We spend the night in the car again and it was a cold one. And forecasted night rain came as well. We woke up early in the morning and were devastated because it was too wet to do any more ferrata routes. We started checking the weather app looking for a dry spot... Our hearts wanted to go more South... Italy... Bolzano...?  Maybe Dolomites? No, rain showers everywhere... We decided to drive back towards German border and have a look at the little town under Zugspitze still on Austrian side, called Ehrwald and we spent some nice time there. We begun our journey back home stopping in Munich preparing to start their Oktoberfest.
Tyrolean Alps is one of the places we have to visit some year. There's a lot of marked hillwalking trails there with some nice mountain huts on the way. 

But before that we have a trip to Poland planned for May 2018...

The view spot near the summit of Wankspitze

15th October | Carrauntoohil Night Climb

That day I finally rejoined Hard Core Hillwalkers again for the night climb of Carrauntoohill. The goal was as usual to see the sunrise. Now, we already tried two times last year in the Summer with no luck, so this year we moved this event to the Autumn... Well, it wasn't a good idea as it was a complete washout... We still enjoyed it and had lots of fun especially when meeting people going up early in the morning and seeing their surprise when finding that they're not the first ones there on the day :) Apart of that short video we have no good photos, because there was nothing to photograph that day really. Nothing but the fog... And our prosecco at the bottom of the Devil's Ladder :)

15th November | Karkonosze (Giant's Mountains) | route planning for May 2018

In November I was back in Poland and this time I used my chance to walk through snow covered Giant's Mountains (Karkonosze) and think about the route for us for May... I stayed in a mountain hut for the night and enjoyed peace and quiet with a cup of tea and a map in my hands... Planning... And I've planned... All the six days of it!

I started from my father's house in Kowary town and followed the road to the forestry office called Jedlinki and from there to the place where long ago existed a settlement called Budniki. I'll write a bit more about the place when we get there with the club. My route after that point started climbing up to the main ridge, which I followed as far as Śnieżka Mountain and walked down to Dom Śląski mountain hut where I spent the night. The next day I walked to Lucni Bouda, Czech Hotel with the highest located brewery in Central Europe (1410 m.a.s.l.) Nice place to stay with the club for one night :) From there i just followed the trail down to Karpacz town, passing two other mountain huts, Strzecha Akademicka and Samotnia.

On the way to Śnieżka Mountain

Lucni Bouda Hotel visible in the distance (top right) .We'll be staying there for one night in May

Weather Station on the top of Śnieżka 1603m

The top of Śnieżka. I couldn't resist :)

The very last climb of the year was Carrauntoohil again on Stephen's Day, but there will be a separate story about it here soon...

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Coomloughra Horseshoe

Back in the Reeks and again and this time to do one of the best circuit walks in Ireland which takes Ireland's three highest peaks: Beenkeragh, Carrauntoohil and Caher, plus a few more.

Near the top of Cnoc Iochtair

At Beenkeragh Summit
Starting with the Hydro Road again (for the third time this year and there will be no more!) we made our way to the lakes, turned left then and started climbing up Cnoc Iochtair and then Skregmore. Very warm and sunny day soon changed into a chilly and windy one, but luckilly the sun stayed with us. After a quick stop at Stumpa Barr na hAbhann we climbed up Beenkeragh and started getting ready for the biggest challenge of the route which is Beenkeragh ridge. We split up  and reorganized the group. The two bravest decided to scramble every rock on the ridge, while the rest used easier route safely led by Denis.

Beenheragh Ridge

At Carrauntoohil Summit

The ridge was really enjoyable with glorious views. There's very little days like this in this country so every time it happens to be like this we feel really grateful and we try to make the best out of our trip. It's not a very difficult ridge, but think twice if you don't like heights. Even if you decide to use the path going around the rocky bits you'll still be quite exposed in places.

After crossing Beenkeragh Ridge we started climbing Carrauntoohil and soon the weather started changing bringing clouds and mist on top of us and they stayed with us all the way down and up again to Caher. Caher Ridge is not as exposed as Beenkeragh Ridge but you should still be careful in windy conditions.

We descended from Caher in foggy and drizzly conditions but we managed to escape the heavy showers.

A day like this will remind you how changeable the mountain weather is. Even on a warm sunny day you should be prepared and have your fleece and waterproofs ready just in case.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Howling Ridge with Kerry Climbing | The Perfect Hen Party!

Now, it isn't something Hard Core Hillwalkers do on a daily basis, but it had to be done as well just to feel more alive and thrilled. I have been thinking about doing it for almost three years and finally decided to wait no more and give it a go.

One of Howling Ridge's most iconic features high up near the last pitch 

When it all begun... 

It was September 2014 after my first ascent of Carrauntoohil when, after coming back home, I started reading a lot about Macgillicuddy's Reeks and all the routes in this magnificent mountain range. Than some day I came across the picture of Carrauntoohil with a red line drawn almost straight up from the Heavenly Gates. It looked like something completely mad and too extreme. I sent that picture to my friend, Kieran as a joke saying: "next time I'm taking this route, lol". I didn't have to wait long for his reply and that short message I got back was the cause of all the trouble. Yes, Kieran, it was all your fault! :)

The message was: "I did it years ago..."

Since then I couldn't pass the Heavenly Gates without looking up... "It must be done!" I said to myself.
And then one May day I had this brilliant idea of doing Howling as a part of my hen party. Well, I always imagined my hen as something crazy and out of norms, so this was just perfect! I'm a bit of a tom boy, but believe me, I really tried to find some female friends to join me, but I couldn't. Some were busy, some scared, some not available for other reasons.
Without thinking much more I messaged Kieran, Denis and a few others and we managed to make a group of five brave adventurers. I mentioned earlier that Kieran did this climb before with his friends, but I now should say as well that all the gear they had on the day was... a box of Benson & Hedges and a bottle of Lucozade. This time we decided to do it the safe way with proper climbing gear and hire a guide. I booked the day with Kerry Climbing and we were all set.

The Climb

This is a proper climb graded VDiff to Severe, depending on route followed, mixed with scrambling. The exposure must not be underestimated with some sheer drops on both sides in places. It should not be attempted without protection except the elite of some very experienced climbers.

Gearing up at Heavenly Gates...
Finally the 3 of July came and we went to Kissane's Food Store in Beaufort to meet our guide Piaras Kelly. Unfortunately Denis had a bad luck that day and couldn't make it. Well, we have to plan another day for Denis in the future as we know for sure that he would enjoy it.

Four of us: myself, Kieran, Shane and Mike went with Piaras to Lisleibane and walked to the Heavenly Gates, where we geared up. The weather looked promising at the start, but not for long. The higher we went the thicker the fog was. The rocks were wet and slippery of course. As soon as we started the first pitch, I just remembered that my almost three years old boots lost their previous grip and I can't trust them on wet rocks anymore... Yeah, we'll definitely have a ball today, I thought... I was on one rope with Mike and I knew I would give him a fright if I slipped pulling down the rope. I started placing my feet very carefully. In this conditions every boot could possibly slip anyway, so I soon forgot all about it and started getting the thrill of finally doing Howlin' !!!

Mike was first after Piaras, than me pulling up the second rope for Kieran and Shane. There's a bit of scrambling between each pitches, easy enough but with very little to stand on in places.
- Climb when ready!
- Climbing!

Mike and myself climbing in the rain
And off we go to the next anchor point. The other thing we could hear from time to time was our guide's "Yeehawh!" and after the third one we all got that strange feeling that in places where he was doing it, there was something difficult waiting for us...We managed any difficulties very well anyway and soon found ourselves under The Tower which is said to be the route's crux. This is 25 meters of very exposed and steep buttress with lovely views which we unfortunately couldn't see... After The Tower comes one of the very characteristic places of the ridge with a sharp piece of rock pointing eastwards just like the index finger. And that is it's name - The Finger. I personally remembered that bit as one of the most enjoyable on the route. The top of it would be just a perfect spot for one of my famous boots photo if the day was clear... After that point the route turns to the right and meets the neighboring Primroses Ridge. That part it's called The Bridge and it's an exposed knife edge ridge sloping down to the left. When you turn back to see it after passing it it looks like something impossible to stand on...

Piaras belaying Kieran and Shane
The next pitch brings you up to the very iconic feature of the route where most of the breathtaking pictures are taken. Well, we'll have to go back again to do it... This time we had no chance. There is a visible path going around these last little pinnacles if one wants to avoid them, but seriously, what's the point?!
After crossing the top of the gully between Howling and Primroses Ridge, another very exposed place on the route, we finished with the last short pitch with one tricky move. All its left after that is just a bit of scrambling to the top, about 15 - 20 minutes. Passing the sign: "Turn back now, no descent route" gives you that feeling of doing something awesome, only for the brave ones (the hard core ones!)

Descending via Devil's Ladder
The best and probably the most unusual Hen Party it was with one hen and four cockerels :)
We had a lovely day, despite of the weather and we definitely experienced the adventure thanks to Piaras and Kerry Climbing. We can't wait to do it again!
Howling Ridge is known as Ireland's famous mountaineering route. There's 7 or 8 pitches and shorter ones are better to avoid rope drag. It took us about 4 hours to climb that 300 m of a vertical ridge with all the rope work involved.
It was first climbed by Con Moriarty and John Cronin in February 1987. If you want to know more about how it all happened back then, click here.

It's not the most difficult route but probably the most enjoyable one. A good transition from hill walking and scrambling to more technical climbing. If you haven't any previous rock climbing experience you can do it as a 2-day course, offered by Kerry Climbing, where you learn all the basics in the Gap of Dunloe first and then You climb Howling. You don't need rock climbing shoes, you can climb it in your hiking boots, but I personally found my old boots a bit awkward. Approach shoes would probably be the best choice.
Climbing it doesn't feel very difficult. There's a few tricky moves there but I'd call them more awkward rather than difficult. One thing you have to have for sure is a head for heights. You can really feel all the space and the air around you. Loose rocks is something that you have to be aware of as well. Sometimes it takes time to find the right handhold.

The video of our adventure

Below there's a few pictures from some previous climbs done by Kerry Climbing, just to give you an idea of how the place looks like on a clear day. Now you have a chance to ask yourself a question if you would feel comfortable finding yourself there and if that kind of exposure is OK for you... or maybe you just love it already and can't wait to do it...

The view we missed... Photo: Kerry Climbing

Climbers at The Finger. Photo: Kerry Climbing

The most photographed feature of the route. Photo: Kerry Climbing

If your answer to the above question was 'YES', go and book your own Howlin' Adventure with Kerry Climbing. They are experienced and 100% professional. We can definitely recommend them as the best choice.


A quick note about me
Hard Core Hillwalker who wants to become a climber ;)
(climbing Sokolik in Poland)

I'm not a climber yet, but my brother who is a rock climber and does mostly sports climbing, trains me the hard way whenever we meet in Poland. Sometimes I'm afraid to go with him because he always puts me in some 'shitting-my-pants-situations' just to get used to the exposure and learn how to trust the equipment.
He is now able to lead HVS and E1 trad climbs and E3 sports climbs. I will probably never go that far, but I'd be happy to be able to lead some easier routes in the future.

P.S. I'll coil the rope properly next time, Piaras, I promise ;)

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Macgillicuddy's Reeks

One of our Big challenges planned for this year was to do the whole Reeks starting from the Hydro Road and finishing at Kate Kearney's Cottage. Now, we have to say here that we don't like the Hydro Road.... and we don't like climbing Caher, but the alternative route which would be up Cnoc Iochtair and Skregmore following to Beenkeragh is longer and more difficult and adds more time to the trip.

Misty Reeks

The conditions were tough with very poor visibility, wind and rain showers, but we decided to give it a go anyway. Caher route is very gradual and slow going from the lake up to the first high point. It feels like it never ends sometimes. After reaching Caher (thank God the torture was over!) we followed the ridge up to Carrauntoohil and had our lunch break. For a moment it looked like it was going to clear. The sunlight was trying to make it's way through the clouds and fog so hard, but unfortunately the clouds didn't give up keeping us all in the shadow for the rest of the day...

Eastern Reeks
Having in our minds that we had two cars, one parked by the hydro road and the other at Kate Kearney's, we had two options at this stage: go back or go forward, but we knew as well that if we went forward there would be no going back... We decided to be proper hard cores and off we went making our way down Carrauntoohil and towards Eastern Reeks.
There's something about Eastern Reeks in poor visibility... It's really easy to get lost there in the fog. Some of us can still remember getting misplaced while going down The Bone route from Maolan Bui last year and ending up in some steep gully... Once you pass Cnoc na Toinne and the top of the zig-zags route to the left, the path becomes not so obvious in places, disappearing between rocks and stones further on the ridge after passing Knocknapeasta.
We met a small group of walkers wandering and looking for the zig-zags route. We actually saw them passing the stone cairn and going too far just a few minutes earlier. They weren't even dressed properly for the mountains, not to even mention having any leader with navigation skills. We told them to go back and be sure not to miss the cairn this time.

Going down to the lake
There's a few ups and downs Reeks ridge with Cnoc an Chuillinn being the longest pull up after dropping down from Cnoc na Toinne. Maolan Bui is only a small bump and then after Knocknapeasta comes knife edge and exposed ridge to The Big Gun. The condition on the ridge were very tough with more rain and wind every minute. And guess what happened next...
We got a little bit misplaced (we never get lost by the way)...
It all happened when Denis started avoiding the exact ridge line to keep the group safe in this conditions. Myself (Anna) stayed on the top of the ridge and followed it to the summit of the Big Gun. Avoiding the ridge brought Denis too low and too far to the right. After contacting him I went back and then down a good bit to meet them. After looking at the map and discussing our current location which was the south eastern spur of The Big Gun going down to Lough Googh, we decided that we had enough of that rain and quickly planned our escape route. We descended to the lake, getting out of that cloud and then followed the river to the road. From there we walked through the Gap of Dunloe to Kate Kearney's Cottage.

Gap of Dunloe, cheers :)

It was the best decision not to go back up from the place where we met again with Denis as the rocks on the ridge were very slippy and uneasy to scramble. In this bad weather conditions I didn't feel comfortable enough on the ridge that I haven't done before and both of us, myself and Denis knew, that the others wouldn't be happy to continue.
Safety First. Always.
There will be another day...