Stats: Weather, Wet drizzly and dank for the first 20 minutes, then sun breaking through to a glorious day where I got badly sun burnt over the rest of the walk, which ended with a shower as we got back to the cars and sure why not ; distance 57.7 Km, Height gain 1015m.
(Alright, I forgot to turn off view ranger so that’s a total spoof)
We had 6 out today, the Grand Master Dermot, Hugh, John, Rob & Ken (me) plus a new meetup friend Becca, she was not part of our meetup members due to our membership limit but we will correct that shortly, Becca is a walker who knows Wicklow and picks and chooses her walks like a professional (and god knows we need more of that).
After our usual meet in Ballinteer we car pooled to our starting point at Glenmacanass waterfall car park where Rob was waiting for us, the weather was pretty dire as we set out and we resigned ourselves to one of those (thankfully rare) walks where you pull up your hud, keep the head down and just plough through. We tentatively approached the Glenmacanass River which was swollen to an alarming degree by our unseasonable weather. We progressed along the river bank with a ‘maybe here’ and a ‘let’s try a little further on’ until we got to the best of the bad options available and decided we have climbed many mountains in our illustrious past (also families with children are crossing this at lots of places, so we need to step up to the plate). And god only knows how we all made it across without someone ending up in the water (especially when we started telling past stories of brave souls who had been christened in this river, we really were tempting fate). The far side of the river was a proper swamp until we got quite high on the steep climb up the valley from the river and to our amazement as we approached the crest of our steep ascent, the sun broke through and the skies appeared to brighten plus the temperature rose dramatically, we all started to peel off our protective layers and the day took a total 180°, turning very pleasant indeed.
Between the peat hags and before the final incline to Tonlegee’s summit, with the beautiful lough ouler as our backdrop, we opted to lunch. Our sus was very pleasant and only interrupted by the occasional bumble bee and greetings from fellow hill walkers.
The final push to the summit was not as difficult as it looked from below and after a short pause on the windy top and a little course correction by John shortly afterwards, it was all downhill from here. We made good progress until we got back to Glenmacanass River which once again looked ominous. After much debate and indecision we opted to cross at a rocky section.
Having straddled two ginormous boulders, with a raging rapid below me and unfortunately my centre of gravity being far too close to my backside, I was stranded like a beached whale on the rocks, I could neither go back nor forward and was surly the one who would end up in the water, then I had a brain wave and decided to lighten the load by flinging my rucksack and sticks onto my target boulder and leaped forward and for what seemed like an eternity I was at that centre point of gravity, where it could go either way, fortunately I recovered control at the last second and leaped unceremoniously towards my target. On arrival on terra-firma I looked back to see Becca spring across the two large boulders like a gazelle putting us all to shame (well me anyway). Further down the rapids I could see Hugh struggling and on his final leap, losing one of his walking sticks. Not willing to leave his stick behind him on the mountains and with some help from the only lady in the group, Hugh successfully retrieved it from the river after a few attempts.
Alright it doesn’t look too bad from the photo, but you needed to be there to know the danger involved.
We looked towards the road where Dermot was waiting for us with a knowing smirk, having literally walked across a shallow part of the river without even getting his socks wet (It’s no wonder he’s the Grand Master).
On arrival back at our cars and the rain returning we hurried back to Ballinteer for a well earned tipple and all fathers rushed off to accept their accolades on this Fathers Day.