Had a phone call from a good friend in Athy , Clifford Reid earlier in the day , asking that if the weather was with us , might we take a stroll up the hills in wicklow as it was due to be a full moon.
A quick text to Tin Norris to drag him along , and we had a crew.
The weather reports were being looked at with severe focus in the run up to leaving for the hills , and we said we'd take the trip over to Donard and see what the roads were like before heading up and making a final decision.
Well , the gods were with us last night , Cold as it was , -7 was forecast , the roads were passable and the snow was lightly falling and only in short bursts.
We parked up the car at a spot Clifford knew , and spent 10 minutes surveying the weather , a last listen to the weather forecast on the radio and decided to head on up.
We started off on forest track , with a few farmyard gates to traverse, one of them had a heavily pregnant sheep lying in a pool of water looking like she was ready to give birth, She looked uncomfortable ,so we gently moved her out of the water and watched her for another 5 minutes, She did not stir ,except fr urinating , which we wondered might her "water of broke" while we were still there. After about 5 minutes standing around in the cold , the ewe looked like nothing was going to be happening any time soon , and as she had not moved ,she looked like she had settled down for the evening. We moved on ,saying if we came back close to her on the route back to the car that we would look in on her.
The late Billy Ber ,R.I.P
Rest in Peace Billy.
you were always there for us when we went down to Cork , with a big smile .
hope your smiling still .
Not much could be said about last nights hike. Well to sum it up on one or two words , Fog and Lost .
The fog was unreal , thickest I've seeing in a long time , and needless to say we got lost . There was 9 of us from Tullow Mountaineering Club on last night's walk , and Kudos to Paddy Looney , who switched mode from "lets have a wander " to " Saving lives" in 2 shakes of a lambs tail.
Not that we saw any lamb's , did I mention it was very thick fog.
Well about a hour after starting , as we meandered around the side of Mount Leinster , just below the mast's , we were expecting to come across a small forest trail , When we diden't it was fantastic to watch the more experienced guys pull out maps , compass and decide where we were , and where we should be heading to.
Paddy took lead of the situation and asked Clifford to walk on a bearing of 340 for 500 meter's , over that rough ground he expected it to be about 600 pace's , Tim( whose first night hike was a baptsim of fog) was designated pace counter , Paddy continued to read his map , and Chris swept from behind as "back marker" and ensured that Clifford was walking on the right bearing.
I kind think Paddy got us lost, not on purpose , but lets just say it served 2 good purpose's . He did mention that he was knackered as we started off , he had being doing a litter run all day in Carlow, He also has planned map reading with the club , but not until mid April or there abouts..
However we got lost , we were on a bearing of 340 and needed to travel about 500 meters. Every 75 paces, Tim would call out and begin recounting. I was beside Paddy for some of this part of the journey. He was clicking his bead's each time Tim sounded off.
When we are at about 550 paces, Clifford let up a shout , "There is the road" Paddy and his compass / map reading skills were spot on . .
Kudos to Paddy,Chris,Clifford and Tim for counting / measuring where we were. Paddy even refused (cos I think he wanted to see how we got on with the map reading) a GPS bearing off several mobile phone's.
You really can't beat a map and compass and some great advice / experience.
I really enjoyed last nights hike. I daren't say it was short , cos no doubt Paddy will get wind of this post , and put us down for a 30km hike next Wednesday night
Some of my stories and ramblings
Beekeeping as a Hobby - find out more here