I have been in Ireland with Wayne and Chris sampling the delights of Connemara and Mayo, and the Irish summer.
This week I have travelled to Ireland to spend a couple of days introducing Wayne and Chris to the delights of mountain walking as well as taking a look at the mountains of Ireland for future trips.
We travelled to Connemara on Sunday and took a walk up onto the 'Twelve Bens' circuit on Monday.
I chose a challenging route up to the circuit proper, this meant I could look at how the boys were moving and coping with the terrain to get an idea of how they may handle the main circuit.
They were fine and with much determination, banter and plenty of 'craic' got on with the job in hand. Unfortunately the weather wasn't in such good spirits!
The forecast had been on the doubtful side to start with and only got worse as we gained height so after a leg burning ascent, a recce of the terrain that lay before us and having to be the barer of bad news I took the decision to retrace our steps and descend.
We would have spent the rest of the day looking at the inside of a cloud which wouldn't have been productive as a way of introducing the lads to mountain walking.
|Connemara in high spirits.|
|From the mist they came....|
|Happy to be on flat ground despite the weather.|
On Tuesday with a deteriorating weather forecast for mid week we drove up to County Mayo to walk the famous pilgrimage route to the summit of Croagh Patrick.
An estimated 1 million people make the ascent each year, some in an act of penance climb the steep rocky path barefoot!!😳
Leaving the car park in full waterproofs we gained a few funny looks as the weather was fairly good, the weather further up the mountain was rather less so and it was ourselves giving the solo barefoot guy and the countless people we saw in jeans, or shorts and T shirts the funny looks.
I have been fortunate to walk many mountains but I found this an unbelievably busy mountain track considering the only the satisfaction to be gained was that of reaching the summit and seeing the church before heading back down the steep rocky path through the wind, mist & rain.
Fortunately the wether cleared as we made the descent and we had some stunning views over Clew Bay.
Wayne and Chris both dug deep on the route and have hopefully paid penance for a couple of previous misdemeanours....?
With the weather leaving them wetter than the front pocket of an otters dungarees they both showed proper character and determination to reach the top in poor conditions when they could have easily sacked it off.
Good job boys!