Looking for Patrick - Part One

Time to share some photos from my trip to Westport and Connemara. I had this brilliant idea to climb Croagh Patrick on Patricksday. My idea was to start the climb before sunrise and then photograph the sunrise over Clew Bay from the top of Croagh Patrick. So I left the house around 3am, parked the car in the car park on the foot of the mountain and started to make my way up the mountain. I made up the mountain in good time..and this what it looked like on the summit:

(click on the images for a larger view)

It was foggy, extremely windy and freezing cold. Not exactly perfect conditions, so I decided to avoid certain death on the summit and made my way down. 

I met some hill walkers on their way up...the scene looked like something out of sci-fi movie...attack of the zombie walkers:)

Down again, Croagh Patrick covered in clouds. 

And from further away

Croagh Patrick with his head in the clouds...what a sight. 

Next stop, Silver Strand, Mayo 20km from Croagh Patrick

Another brilliant idea I had, was to camp out in the wild. Camp. Near a beach. In Ireland. In March. Let's just say, it was a pretty stupid idea. The night was freezing cold and I didn't get much sleep. But the sunset over the Atlantic was pretty nice.

I really enjoyed the sunrise the next morning, it wasn't the most spectacular sunrise ever, but the light was very nice.

Early morning Silver Strand

And the sheep were up too.

Looking back

One of my personal favorites from the trip

It was time for me to leave Silver Strand and make the most out of the morning light. So I decided to head back towards Connemara, through Doo Lough Valley. 

Reflections, Doo Lough

Hello sunshine!

The famous fishing boats Doo Lough

Doo Lough never dispappoints! A lonely tree...and a lonely sheep

Let's have a look at the tree

Looking into the valley

Time to leave Doo Lough Vally and head for Maumturk Mountains! More about that in part 2...

 

 

Climbing Mweelrea, Connaught's highest mountain.

Mweelrea is with 814m the highest mountain in Connaught. Its located right beside Killary harbour, Irelands only fjord. I had thought about climbing Mweelrea for some time, but the weather was never right. Because the mountain is so close to the sea, its often covered in fog. 

Even though Mweelrea isn't particularly high, climbing it can be  a bit of a task since the ground around the base of the mountain is very boggy. Very, very boggy to be precise....

There is no trail up the mountain, when I asked the girl in the coffee shop at Delphi Adventure center, which is located at the foot of Mweelrea, for directions, she simply replied...Well, there is a small forestry road, you follow that for about 2km, and then you are on your own...ok, sounds simple enough. 

 

Delphi Adventure center

Delphi Adventure center

As always, click on the picture for a larger version

Delphi Valley

Delphi Valley

She did however tell me to turn left after 2km. Of course I had to turn right. Which led me straight into a bog. On the plus side, I found this beautiful lonely tree

Delphi Valley in the backgreound

Bog!

I decided to follow a little stream up the side of the mountain 

The trees are getting smaller

After about 2hrs I was on top of the ridge, and had for the first time a good look at Mweelrea

Looking down into the valley

View along the ridge, Mweelrea is the summit on the far left

Thankfully, the light got better during the day

Halfway though the walk, and I get my first glimpse of the Atlantic.

View into Doolough Valley

Blue seems to be the color of the season up here

Finally, the summit. And what a ...disappointment! This is one small cairn... But the views from the top are simply fabulous

Killary harbour

Entrance to Killary harbour

The summit, 814m high

And the light got even better

I made a little panorama, view over Delphi Valley form Mweelrea, click for a larger version

And that was pretty much it. It took me about 6 hrs to complete the tour. Overall it was great fun, even though some sections of the route are very boggy. I'd certainly do it again, and can only recommend the tour to everyone with an interest in hill walking. The views over Killary harbour, the horse shoe and Doolough valley alone are worth the climb. 

Killary harbour

As always, thanks for looking and comments are welcome....

A last view back 




A day in Connemara-part2

Sorry for the delay in posting part two of my little Connemara series. Anyway, here we go. After sleeping in the car near Pine Island in Connemara - an early morning shot of Pine Island was on my to do list for the day - I was quite disappointed to find that it was a rather dull morning. 

But there was some nice fog coming down the hills, so hopefully, not all was lost.

(click on the pictures)

Pine Island around 7am

The Pine Island shot came out really nice, ok, it was cloudy, but I'm still happy with the result.

I then ventured further in Connemara  towards the 12 pins., the dominating mountain range in Connemara.

Since the weather wasn't all that bad, I decided to try to climb Benbaum, the highest peak in Connemara.

Clouds coming over the ridge.

Benbaum is with 729m the highest peak in Connemara.

The light wasn't great on the day, but the clouds made more than up for it

It took me about 2.5 hrs to climb Benbaum, and all I can say is, the views were just fantastic on the day.

Magic clouds...

Along the ridge

Finally, the cairn on top of Benbaum

If the views on the way up weren't enough, the view from Benbaum was just....wow!

View towards Inagh Valley

Unfortunately, the weather started to deteriorate soon afterwards, and I had no choice but to start to look for way down.

I wasn't the only one hill walking on the day:)

A lonely sheep halfway up the mountain

And that was pretty much it from my little hike in the 12 pins. I'll definitely come back in the spring and finish the walk along the Glencoaghan horse shoe.

One last one view from the valley up Benbaum

As always, thanks for looking! Comments are always welcome! Do recommend the site:)