A team of 4 departed in excellent weather conditions from the road near Lough Inagh at 13:00 last Saturday and proceeded along a 2 km forest track to the base of Derryclare Mountain to commence the long climb to the first of our two peaks. After traversing initially boggy terrain, we climbed hard with full kit and eventually mounted the first false summit finding a welcome plateau at circa 600 m a.s.l. With the summit rising sharply directly in front of us, we considered swinging a fair distance due south to zig zag up along an easier incline. However, with time of the essence due to limited daylight and another peak ahead, we re-considered and decided to go head on up a steep 60 degree incline. We finally made it after a steady half hour’s hard grind, hands and knees stuff at times! A brief respite ensued with the obligatory fag and water break as we surveyed the clear panoramic views of all that we felt we owed. From the mighty Maamturks to Killary Harbour, the three Aran Isles nestling at the edge of the vast Atlantic expanse to the numerous lakes dotted in the south Connemara landscape, for that moment we truely were High Kings.
This is where it goes downhill (literally!). Yep, downhill 200m along the adjoining col and then we started to make our way up to the second higher peak Binn Corr (770 m a.s.l.).We made the peak of Binn Corr by 17:00. The trek down was rough on the legs, steep and bedrocky then plenty of boggy slippy marshland, and only three of us with hiking boots (1 with skate shoes!). The slips and slides were personified by Murph’s and my mess tins which were bent out of all proportion by the time we got to camp. We set up camp on boggy ground by a stream at the foot of Binn Corr. We were enveloped by what can only be described as a natural amphitheatre of all the peaks, cols and ridges we had climbed and traversed earlier that day, and the theatre stage was certainly our humble camp.
Luckily we had an hour’s daylight left to set up and collect firewood, and as the light faded, dinner was cooked and served amongst the physically tired, yet high spirited men. With the fire roaring and the headlamps lit, the whiskey, so weary on a hiker’s back yet so sustaining in a man’s gullet was swigged easily by some, but harshly by others, to the tales of previous Paddy adventures and the trials and tribulations of the up and down lives that we all lead. Finishing off with a sing song believe it or now we were all tucked up in bed by 23:00! A final word to welcome Derv and Hoppy to the SP collective who accompanied Murph and myself on the adventure!