Lugnaquilla walks

Since my last posts I have been walking up to the summit of Lugnaquilla twice, entering from two different directions. It’s a very interesting mountain to get up to, and sometimes it can be a hit and miss in regards to the weather, but that’s just how it is here in IRELAND. Lugnaquilla is 931 m and the climb up is a lung buster, like today we took a route starting from Baravore in Glenmalure valley, which is a tough climb uphill. The forecast was not too bad and we were prepared for quick changes in the weather. The forecast showed a mix basket really. 

When we were almost half way up the first climb it got all boggy and rough terrain emerged, and of course the rain came over us so had to graciously jump into our over trousers and jackets, to cover up from the rain and very strong winds. It was really cold too, really rough. 

But it’s worth all the efforts seeing these views. 


Once we arrived at the summit we searched for a sheltered place to have our lunch. The wind was roaring up there, coming from SW. I can tell you that coffee tasted so good and enjoyed my lunch big time. We sat there admiring the view and discussed what route to take going back down. 


We decided to walk back down at the same side as we came up, but chose a slightly different path. Walking along a steep ridge, the path was a bit wet in places so we had to be careful. You don’t really want to have a fall here at this place.  


And walking that steep track down brought us down to arts lough, a little lake situated at the bottom. But our journey was far from over, beyond this lake we had another steep path to venture at, it was so steep that the best way was to zig zag your way down. In doing that is less hard on your knees. And also using the waking sticks helps tremendously. 


We walked in total 15 km and took it slow, 5,5 hours. We started out at nine in the morning. 


These are pictures from my first visit to this summit. This was a few months ago and the weather was much cooler, and it was very foggy while climbing up on the SW side. But once at the summit after having walked a short while, the clouds lifted, and showed us the most magnificent views over the Wicklow mountains. This walk ended up being much longer but it was too dangerous to go back from where we came due to the strong winds and fog on that side. We had a few not so experienced walkers with us so had to choose a safe alternative to get back down to Glenmalure. 

Lugnaquilla has become one of my favourite high spots in Wicklow. I never get tired of the surrounding views, the feeling of total freedom comes over me while I’m out there exploring those places. 

Once you have the suitable gear before heading out, and to be prepared for rapid weather changes and wind chill. Good water proof and insulating clothes, hat and gloves, good pair of hiking boots, compass and map, a storm shelter should you need to take shelter, survival bag, change of warm clothes, water and hot drinks, food and snacks to sustain you during your walk. 

These are things you should always consider bringing in your hill kit. Them you can add other things you consider be needing, first aid kit, whistle and a fully charged phone. At times the connection on the hills are poor, so we cannot rely on it to a 100% for navigation, the best is to use your map and compass and knowing how to read/use them. 

  • I have done some other interesting walks and will post about them at a later stage. 

Mountaineering is fun

January has been very mixed here in Ireland, weather wise, we have had everything from frost and cold days, to strong winds, rain and milder weather. And some conditions makes it a bit rougher being up in the mountains. But, if you are well prepared before heading you, you should be fairly safe. It can be mild and warm at the lower grounds, but once you get up higher, the temperature drops and sometimes depending on the heights you’re at, you’ll notice a big difference. The temperature drops 1 degree per/100 m you are ascending.

So if you for example are going to challenge walking up to the summit of Lugnaquilla, Wicklow which is 925 m. The temperature on lower grounds are lets say +9 degrees C then the temperature at the summit of Lugnaquilla would be zero degrees, and add the wind chill on top of that. It can be really nasty up there if you’re not prepared wearing the proper clothing and having the proper gear with you.

During the past three weeks of January I have had a fairly busy schedule being out in the mountains, where two of the weekends I were undergoing training in Mountain Skills. http://www.mountainskills.ie/

If you are getting out on a hill walk in the mountains, it is essential to know how to use your compass and map, those are on of the most important skills you will need, to be safe if you get caught in bad weather or fog/mist. The visibility can be as little as 20 m and in those conditions you really need to trust your compass and stick to your bearing. This is important! During these courses this was practiced in day light as well as during night time. We were lucky to have good visibility during both weekends, but things looks very different when you’re out there when it is dark. But knowing and trusting your navigation skills will keep you safe out there, and to be careful is essential. And of course wearing the right clothing and equipment, I cannot stress this well enough!

I never get tired of being out in the mountains, and I guess when you have found your passion for it, that is the way it is! That’s why I chose to join the mountain rescue team to do what I love and at the same time something meaningful as helping others in need out there. It’s a win-win situation in my opinion.

What draws me to the mountains? Well, since I grew up on the countryside of Sweden, I have always loved being out in the nature. There is nothing like getting out walking in the forest, on the hills or just being outdoors, it always gives me a sense of freedom while I am out there and it keeps me sane, sort of. Having an office job as I do, being outdoors takes the edge of the stressful tasks I undergo on a daily basis at work. So yet again it’s a win-win situation. And not only that, being out in the nature is very therapeutic, whether you’re out riding, hill walking, running, cycling or simply just being. Nature will often have a calming effect on most of us. And to be out hill walking, you come across easy forest tracks, paths, rougher grounds, man made tracks and that makes it exiting in itself, because the terrain are changing depending on where you are.  Walking up a hill, it may feel tough, but the reward is the view you’re getting once you are up there. Take a look at the pictures i have posted above. They may not look like much, as they are very dull and showing gray and misty weather, but to me that is absolutely gorgeous. No matter the weather the mountains are fantastic!

This weekend there is resting on the agenda since I have a slight cold, and it is a good opportunity to let the body rest after all the physical hard work during the past weeks. I’ll be back at it soon enough since we have more training lined up. But so far so good and am grateful that I have the healthy and physique, so will keep at it as long as it allows me to.

February is knocking at the door, and a new month with new adventures.

A Wednesday trek ascending Maulin..

On January 4th I was out on the first hill walk in 2017, and the task was to trek from Crone forest ascending Maulin (Co. Wicklow) linking up with Wicklow way on the way back to the Crone Forest car park. http://mikeshikes.ie/

The weather looked very promising in the morning, with blue skies, a little breeze and comfortable temperatures. But as an experienced hill walker I know it would be slightly colder and breezier once getting up a bit on the hills. So, this time I layered up so that I would be nice and snug no matter weather we’d face up there.

In the pictures above we are still climbing uphill from our starting point at the Crone forest car park. There are a few lung busters on the way, but we took it nice and easy. And, as you can see it started to be quite misty once we reached the higher grounds, and the wind was picking up too. If you look closely at the first picture you will see a raven soaring in the winds, I like their characteristic sound.

While we were trekking up along the ridge as you can see on the first larger picture above, it was extremely windy, coming from West. And you could feel the chill in them, so had to wrap up and pull up the hood while walking there. And once we started to walk around the bend, heading further up hill up onto the summit the ground was a bit rough with rocks and chisel. We had to be careful and see where you put your feet, you can easily twist an ankle if you’re not paying attention to the ground. I am using trekking poles when walking on rougher ground, it helps keep the stability and you can at the same time sort of “feel” your way through the grounds. Trekking poles are also good to use when walking down hills to ease the pressure for your knees.

The descent from Maulin was not so bad, and went fairly fast, we had the wind in our backs. And once down we linked up with Wicklow way.  If you want to read more about the Wicklow way you can press the link above. The Wicklow way is a 127 km long trail, which you can take in sections. Some do the whole stretch and camp out. When we are out walking we often link onto it one way or another.

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This is the Wicklow way trail we were following.

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Beautiful view and the gorse is a lovely contrast to the dull environment. It was very misty unfortunately, but this happens ever so often here in Ireland, especially if you’re heading for the hills. Some days you can be lucky to have beautiful views, and other times it is like pea soup, you see absolutely nada.

But we had a great time and was even passed by a few mountain bikers on the way down. This was a fairly short walk (8km) but was enjoyable. Afterwards we met for a coffee down at Poppies in Enniskerry village which was our initial meeting point.

This coming weekend I have a Mountain Skill course so it will be all about navigation with map and compass. Looking forward to that very much.

Trek up to Scarr summit (641m)

The hill walk this weekend was taking us up to the summit of Scarr mountain, co Wicklow. img_4963

At this hill walk I knew it was going to be cold, especially when reaching higher grounds. So this day the warm gear was coming on. Where I live is on the lower grounds and we are only about 15 – 20 minutes by car from the mountains, and leaving our area you are gradually climbing upwards, and you can even feel your ears pop. Luckily there was no ice on the roads this morning, I was a bit worried that it might be. When I reached the higher grounds, I could see the snow covered mountain tops in the distance and I was thinking, this is absolutely gorgeous.

I met up with the group (http://www.mikeshikes.ie) in a place called Roundwood and we were a good amount getting out today. From Roundwood we then drove another 5-10 minutes to park the cars before starting our trek for the day. This was a slightly longer route, and the first half of it would contain a lot of climbing, and there were some false horizons. But as we started our journey up the hill, the air slightly changed and we started to encounter frost on the ground, and some icy patches where the water was creating streams down the hills.

The wind was slightly picking up while we were climbing, but the views that met us on the way up was absolutely stunning. You certainly feel like one with nature up there, it’s not only beautiful, if you’re not careful it can be quite dangerous. It is important to first of all take it easy, look where you put your feet, to avoid slipping and hurting yourself. Stay on the grass side of the path if possible, to avoid icy patches. At some areas with rocks it might be hard to see the think layer of ice.

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In the picture above we have just reached the summit, and you see how much frost that is covering the grounds. The mountains in the far distance are a bit higher and some of them were totally covered with snow. Lugnaquilla is one of them and it was practically completely white. At this summit, Scarr, it was very cold so we only took a quick nibble break before we started our journey down to the lower grounds.

I have been walking with this group http://www.mikeshikes.ie  for a while and the leader, Mike, lives in the same estate as us. And he is a trained mountain guide and always takes us on very good walks, real hikes if you like. Because we walk through terrains that can be both easy and tough, and we really get to experience the roughness and wildness of the landscape. The Wicklow mountains has many beautiful spots, and each of them has something special.

On this walk we encountered various views as you can see in the pictures, down below it was calmer and felt really warm actually. But when reaching higher up, it was changing fast and you were really happy to be all wrapped up. I can’t stress this enough, that to dress properly is essential when getting out on the hills. It is better to peal off a layer if you get warm or the opposite put on an extra layer if it gets colder. Always be prepared by bringing an extra layer of warm clothes in your back pack along with hot drink, water and food/snacks. It is good to carry a storm shelter and survival blankets as well, should you get caught in bad weather.

Where I come from it was a necessity to wrap up well, it’s almost like when you learn to ride a bicycle, after a while you just do it…the autopilot sort of kicks in if that makes sense. I have taken part in winter courses up in the northern areas of Sweden, and up there it is really cold. It can be around-25 to -30 degrees Celcius.

Here are a few pictures of me and my friends in the Home Guard Service (I am the one in the middle) all dressed up in the Swedish Military Uniform, we were all leaders of a cooking group in various areas of Sweden. And at this occasion we were spending a week up in Luleå, the airforce base. The purpose of this course was to learn how to prevent the food, water and other supplies from freezing in the cold. Being in the cooking group might seem like an easy task, but it is a lot of hard work involved, physically and mentally. When you are out in field in cold weather conditions, you have to use your common sense in many ways. First of all to dress properly and the army was great in that sense, they provided us with all essential clothing and equipment that we needed. But one good thing was that you were quite popular among the other units, because everybody needed to EAT and get something warm to drink.

For us it was long days, and it started with early morning getting the kitchen up and cooking. Our kitchen was made out of a big trailer, where we had wood burners and from the burner we connected the pots, and did pressure cooking. When you cook for many people that is really the most effective. And once the breakfast was finished, we started to prepare for lunch and so it went all through the day until it was time to retire into our tent. Yep, we slept in large military tents and kept watch one hour per person. And the wood burner in the middle of the tent, should be glowing red, then the temperature was nice and cosy. You could sort of see if it was warm enough, because the people sleeping pulled their feet closer up towards their stomach away from the heat.

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I am ending with this picture, another one from Wicklow close to Sally Gap.  Wishing all a great week ahead, stay warm and safe!

Rambles by an enthusiastic cyclist

IMG_1430You may think that cycling is not a yearround sport, but in fact it is. In the club I am a member, we get out all year, well during the winter we get out and about as often as the weather allows us to. We are not that crazy that we would get out cycling on a Sunday morning if the rain is poring down, everything in moderation as the wise guys use to say. And this morning it was absolutely beautiful. Yes, the wind was blowing but it was not as bad as it had been earlier in the week. We had a really bad week weather wise, we had rain falling and it was not falling straight down no no, it was falling on the side and to make it even more interesting, we had very heavy winds as well. So judge of my excitement wanting to get out and about was just equal to zero. All I wanted to do once I had finished work was to go home, put my feet up in front of the fire place. That is the best feeling ever, when the weather is rough outside.

But this morning we actually had lovely sunshine and the temperature was down to +4 degrees Celcius or so, not too bad and if you wrap up well you’ll be ok. It is important before getting out, to think “layers” and preferably to use sports gear that is breathable and transporting the heat from the body out through the layers. But the clothes you’re wearing should not be too heavy, because when you’re working your way along on the bike, you will get warm and at some stage today I felt like a steam cooker, could almost imagine the steam poring out through my jacket. But, I was not cold and I could not feel the cold from the wind getting through my layers and onto my bare skin. We had the sun in our face going out on our spin, and the sunglasses were getting steamy as you were getting warm from the exercise. So, go figure.

DSC00724I do live in the most beautiful spot in Ireland, well in my opinion. Co Wicklow has so much beauty with the mountains, the hills  and also the sea. And something that we do have a lot of are hills, and depending on the route we decide to take, there are always some hills that we need to climb. Today we were taking the coast road and stayed most of the spin on the lower roads due to the wind, and here I was thinking, yep that works for me. But then when we turned towards Glenealy I was thinking o-oh I know this route and there are some hills we need to get by on the way back to our end spot. And since we usually stick to the more quiet roads with less traffic, there are some really narrow and hilly roads.

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This picture here on the left, is taken down by the rail road going from Wicklow town and into Dublin city. My husband and I often get down to the beach in Kilcoole and go for a walk. But you will see the hills and mountains in the background in this photo.

Not every spin we do is as hard as it felt today, but the fact that it was my first spin in 4 weeks, so my legs were like spagetti by the time we finished after 50km up and down the roads/hills. But that doesn’t stop me from keep doing it, because it gives you so much boost of energy and you get the opportunity to be out in the fresh air too. I will rest for a day or two and then I will be fit for fight again. And, I am so grateful that I have the physique and health to keep doing this, and to see all those beautiful views along the way comes like a huge bonus. And hopefully we will keep having those clear fresh days, with no frost or ice.

Have a great week everyone and live life to the fullest!

~ Eva’s Chronicles ~

The beauty of Wicklow

In the mean time I am working on my latest sail boat I thought I should share some pictures that I took on Friday evening, while relaxing down at the beach in Kilcoole.

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The beach looking north, it was a beautiful evening and hardly no wind at all.

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On the beach looking South, and in the distance is where Wicklow town is, you’ll see a light house at the end of the beach.

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The beach is full of small rocks, and I just love all these different colours.Image

the sea was very calm this evening, and enjoyed just sitting there listening to the waves rolling in…extremely relaxing.

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Peter and I always have a lot of fun, and here the rocks has gotten some small faces. Wonder what people might think when/if they find those  hehe

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This is what I saw when turning around shooting towards the sun, there is a rail track behind that fence.

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And here in the distance you see the Wicklow mountains, this grounds in between me and the mountains, is the Murrough WetlandsThe Murrough’ is a 15 km long coastal wetland area, extending south of Greystones as far as Wicklow Town. It is the largest coastal wetland complex on the East coast of Ireland and is a magnificent wildlife haven and an outstanding area of natural heritage.

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I took this close up picture of  a flower on the way back to the car, and do you see the bugs in there?

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Hope you’ve enjoyed this little ‘tour’ and stay tuned for my newest work, it will be posted soon.

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Photography made simple

 

 

 

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I have always liked doing photography, and am self taught. I love catching THE moment of places I visit. These two pictures are of Temple Bar in Dublin which I took earlier in January this year.  I love shooting reflections. The below picture is of Ha’Penny Bridge in Dublin. And this particular evening the river was like a mirror and it’s not so often you see the river being so calm and quiet. We often or most of the time have some breeze blowing and some days it can be really windy. So on a day like this particular day you really want to take advantage of the weather. And being a photographer, I love bringing my cameras out and do some simple shooting. 

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It takes a lot of practice to take great photographs like these. Usually I am simply snapping away while I am out and take around 200-300 pictures. Many of them goes directly in the ‘bin’ due to various reasons. I have become more critical and find it easier to delete a picture if it does not turn out good, if it’s a little bit blurry or if there has been a movement while shooting. 

But my art and photography goes hand in hand, with the camera I am using the view finder while with the art I am using my pen and brushes. I am kind of implementing my photographic skills/eye while I am drawing. To create the depth in my drawings/paintings. 

I have always loved travelling and being out in the countryside. I have always had a passion for the wild nature, and the amazing views. Here below are some pictures I’ve taken up in the Wicklow mountains. This particular day it was extremely windy, stormy rather, but the views were breathtaking. No matter when I go there, I am always in awe of the beauty of it whether it is sunny or cloudy. The wild and harsh nature makes it simply gorgeous in my opinion. Judge for yourself and hope you enjoy these views.

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Now when the spring is approaching, there will be a lot of days and evenings where we will be out and about. And the camera is usually with me at all times. You never know when a great picture present itself. I always like being prepared for that shot. Another trip to the Wicklow mountains and Glendalough is scheduled at some stage, so stay tuned for more beautiful views. Wicklow is one of the most beautiful places I have encountered during my 7+ years living in Ireland. Reminds me pretty much of the northern parts of Sweden, where we have the mountains and wild nature. 

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” 
― Ansel Adams