Wednesday, 1 March 2017

First walks of 2017 | Clara | Carrauntoohil

Sunday, 29th January

We started this year with a small walk up Clara, one of our local hills, which we could call our headquarters as Denis our club's boss lives at the bottom of it :)

Only very small group decided to go that day.
Instead of doing the full loop we only walked up to the cross and back down. The day was wet and foggy and there was no point in staying there any longer. There will be more days to visit this place later on this year. 
Clara is always a nice place to warm up before a big climb...

Wet but happy | Clara Mountain

Sunday, 12th February

On our second walk up Carrauntoohil we were a bit more lucky. The day was quite dark and foggy but we stayed dry this time.

On our way to O'Shea's Gully

Higher up, near O'Shea's Gully
We decided to climb up O'Shea's Gully and leave the decision about which way to go down for later when we know about the conditions higher up the mountain. Well, the conditions were challenging enough with a thin layer of snow covering all the loose stones in the gully and some icy patches making every step difficult. With the fog down on us all the time and  quite strong and changeable wind it felt like being inside a giant winter storm cloud. The gully was definitely the hardest part and we had to be very careful and make sure that everyone was safe. A thin layer of snow may be even more dangerous than the thick one, cause it makes loose stones very slippy.
A fresh dusting of snow higher above the gully made the path very poorly visible. It was pretty easy to get lost there that day. Thanks to Denis, our leader and his experience we made it to the top safely. 

The top Of OShea's Gully

Happy at the top :)
We didn't stay long. Sometimes it's better to go down lower and then find some shelter to sit down and eat, especially at this time of the year. After taking a few photos we headed down so and decided on the way that it was safe enough to do The Heavenly Gates. We had our lunch at the mountain rescue hut, when the steepest and the most challenging part of the route was over.

We met a few small groups going up and down and they were usually well prepared for the winter conditions apart of three man heading up to O'Shea's Gully in... shorts! We noticed them from the distance while having our lunch and complaining about our hands getting cold so quickly without the gloves...
Yes, maybe some people are tougher than Hard Core Hillwalkers, but  it is winter and appropriate clothing is essential. End of story.

Going down from the Heavenly Gates to the mountain rescue hut

By the time the guys in shorts reached the top and hopefully learned their lesson, we were warming ourselves in our cars.
We finished the day with a small drink in Torc Hotel, planning our next adventures.

Sunday, 26th February

The next planned walk was from Mullaganish to Millstreet, but we had to cancel it due to the weather warning. We decided to move it to Saturday, 4th March.

| 4th March UPDATE |

Mullaganish to Millstreet walk cancelled again...

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