The wild Mountains

Recently I have been out on a challenging walk through rougher terrains of the Wicklow mountains. A few of us were out doing a walk. We walked a part which took us over very rough terrain, with wet grounds, rough bog areas and mist. I knew from the start that this would be a long day’s walk, and prepared myself by starting out eating a good breakfast. Packing my provisions I would need during the day, to refill your energy depots are extremely important while doing the hill walks. I always carry raisins/sultanas, chocolate and snack bars in my “food bag” along with some lunch which usually is wraps that I prepare before heading out.

To chose the right gear is essential, and always be prepared for the worst, anything can happen while your out there. It can be nice weather when you start walking, but it can change very quickly once you get up a bit higher. The air gets cooler and you are facing stronger winds and many times mist/fog which makes the visibility limited. And this particular morning it started out pretty good on the lower grounds, but once we started to get up a bit higher we were facing the mist and cold air. The climb up towards Art’s Cross was the toughest part, because it was quite steep and you had to take it very slow and easy while climbing up. The ground was extremely wet and mucky, so it was quite slippery.

This day we were walking some 17 km and it took us in total seven hours.

When we were out on the flat area working our way back, we came across a pack of deer, there is a lot of them around the mountains. Luckily for us, that the fog had lifted otherwise we would not be able to have such clear sight as we had here. The deer’s were gorgeous as you can see in these photos. We stopped and were quiet not to disturb them too much, they eventually ran off  and we could continue our journey over the bog.

So you can see from these photos, that the grounds we were walking were not even, you had to be really careful and look where you put your feet. My advise is to always wear a good pair of boots with good ankle support, to help you feel more comfortable. And gaiters is always good to wear to prevent muck and wet get into your shoes and it also keeps the lower part of your trousers clean. I made a few jumps over the bog where I landed with one foot, and I could hear a ‘swomp’ and my foot went down a few inches in the muck. This happened a few times on this walk, but thanks to my good choice of gear my feet were warm and dry when I got home as well as my lower legs. However there were a few times I had to make a bum slide to be able to get down from a high sloop where it was wee too high to make a jump. But that comes with the work as they say.

Here are a few more picture, that will give you an idea of the area we walked. The views are always spectacular, even on a grayish day like this.

I have been resting for a few days this week and will be heading out on the hills again on Saturday, to a different part of Wicklow Mountains. This time we will walk down in the Glenmalure area which is south west from Glendalough.

I will be back with more updates next week. It is getting closer to Christmas and hope that you are all prepared to enjoy this holiday season.

Brockagh Mountain, Saturday hill walk

I’m waking up to a quite grey morning, the temperature is around 6 degrees so it’s not so bad. We should be alright for the hill walk this morning, I am taking a peak towards the mountains and it looks like it might be rainy up there. The thing with the mountains is, that you never really know. It can be good weather or it can be completely different from what it is on the lower grounds. So, one of my ground rules before heading out – Always be prepared! There is nothing worse than getting caught in a really bad weather and not having packed the necessary things you would need, such as rain over trousers, or warm layers, extra hat and gloves [in case you need to change]. Today we actually had to stop a few people from coming out with us, for the reason that they did not have proper clothing on. If someone is showing up not wearing proper shoes, and  wearing jeans that is a no-no. And the route we were walking today was very rough in places very rocky, mucky and uneven.

Things that I always carry with me on a ‘normal’ hike is an extra warm layer of clothes, extra hat and gloves [in case I need to change] or if someone else hasn’t brought any, my snack bag with sultanas, snack bars and chocolate & food, a flask of hot tea with honey, almost 2 liter of water, personal first aid kit, map & compass, lip balm, and other small bits and pieces I might need. I tend to think one step ahead…

Our leader at http://www.mikeshikes.ie  gave me another task for today, and that was to guide the group. I was going in the front with the map, and guiding the group along our path. And since it was quite mucky and rocky in places, I walked ahead and they simply followed in my foot steps [literally]. I take these ‘tasks’ seriously since this is a part of my training for the Mountain rescue team, and the more practice the better to get confident on the mountains. And at the same time I get to practice more on my navigating skills using the map and compass, and getting our bearing, paying attention to the surrounding land marks etc. I am getting to know the mountains more and feel comfortable out there. There are probably many other things to do on a Saturday, but this is what I do and loving it.

And one other upside of being out like this is that it is extremely refreshing and relaxing, there’s nothing better than being outdoors in the nature, among the hills, forests and what have you. And wherever you turn, when you’re up there, you have these spectacular views.

This walk too us a good four hours and the total distance was around 11 km. That is a nice distance and the weather was not too bad, it was a bit rainy in places and cold wind on the summits, but once we were in sheltered places it was very nice.

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Next week we are heading for Luggala Mounatin, Co. Wicklow, it’s a 586 m summit. With great views of Lough Tay, neighbouring Knocknacloghoge, Tonelagee, Scarr and Djouce, and perhaps we will run into some deer’s too, they are running free in that area. Something else we might see is the peregrine falcons, which inhabit the nearby cliffs. The terrain will be minor road, hard rough mountain track, rough boggy mountain track with often indistinct tracks. Stay tuned on this spot and I’ll be back with an update next week.

In the meantime I wish you a great and relaxing weekend and week ahead.

Here are a few doodles I was doing this week, I draw/write these things in my journal.