scardaun

Posts tagged with: 'scardaun'

Thank you very much, Walshes

We had absolutely beautiful weather as we completed The Bangor Trail on Friday last. Even though we were in the dying days of winter, I had never experienced the trail in such a dry condition, not even in summer. I guess that’s not really surprising, as we’ve had very little rain this winter.

We took 9 h 45 min to complete the 26 km trail, which included a diversion up to the Scardaun Loughs for lunch. We had no rain at all.

Quite the opposite on Saturday, however. Having only one car, our small team had to cycle back from Bangor to Letterkeen to pick up mine, a distance of around 32 km. It didn’t stop raining for one minute. Leaving Bangor, we had the wind and rain to our backs. That was okay, but I realised what lay ahead. Having turned at Bellacorick, we had it hitting us from our  right hand side, sweeping in and down over Slieve Carr and Nephin Beg, nearly knocking us into the ditch. The real problems, however, arose when we turned at Keenagh. Now it was straight in our faces. Now we started to feel the 2 h 20 min already in our legs, piled on top of the long hike the day before. Not to mention the fact that J didn’t really have waterproof boots …

With the very hilly section ahead and our willpower waning, J asked for assistance, with 7.5 km of serious ups and downs still to go. Mr. Walsh agreed to give me a spin up to the bothy, where I could collect the car, drive back, pick up the others and head for Castlebar. We were very grateful.

At the bothy, I met some acquaintances who had failed to get beyond the third stream to be crossed on the Trail, such was the amount of water that had fallen since the previous day.

On my return to the Walsh household, I found the lads in the kitchen, pulled up to the table and eating soup and bread served up by the lady of the house, to these unannounced total strangers. I was invited in and shared of their generous hospitality. Later, in the car on the way back to Castlebar, I noticed J was wearing jeans. Mrs. Walsh had invited them to use the bathroom to change their clothes. Genuine West of Ireland people. Thank you very much.

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Hiking Up and Around Nephin Beg

Here is a video I made of my hike up and around Nephin Beg mountain and the twin Scardaun Loughs last Saturday.

I hope the video gives you an idea of what this landscape is like.

Section 2 is from on the top of the 627 m mountain, with the camera facing directly west. The result is very strong wind, so you might like to tone down the volume just for that section.

 [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YBnWZtYPsM]

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Nephin Beg, A Winter Hike

On Saturday, I left Castlebar at 7.20 am, to begin a climb of Nephin Beg from its eastern side, around 8.20 am. I parked the car on The Western Way and took to the hills from the little bridge over the second stream after the Coillte hut.

As I gained ground, I was quite surprised that the terrain was not wetter and I made steady enough progress. I made the summit from the southeast, looking across the corrie towards pt 311 m, which forms part of the Letterkeen Loop.

Nephin Beg, Mayo, Ireland

Nephin Beg summit; Slieve Carr in background.

Naturally, once I reached the top, I was no longer sheltered and became subjected to fierce wind and some snow coming in from the west. The views were nevertheless wonderful in all directions, from Achill, Blacksod Bay, The Mullet, Duvillaun and Iniskea Islands to the west and northwest, all the way around the flat Mayo boglands to Nephin Mór in the east and Buckoogh, the southern arc of the Nephin Begs and Corraun to the southwest.

From the summit, I descended northwards and headed for the northern side of the Scardaun Loughs, passing them to the west. I saw seven geese (too far away to positively identify, but presumably White-Fronted, which over-winter here).

Nephin Beg; Scardaun Loughs

Scardaun Loughs in the shadow of Nephin Beg; Slieve Carr beyond.

Having passed with the twin lakes on my right, I then began to circumnavigate them to the north, underneath Slieve Carr. Swinging around to the southeast on the far side, I began my descent to The Western Way. This section was by far the wettest on the hike, but was nonetheless easily manageable.

To come around Nephin Beg, I followed the tree line, with long, clear views north across the huge plantation forests to the wind turbines and disused power station at Bellacorrick beyond. East of the Loughs, five additional geese came flying overhead from the NE and did not land on the lakes, rather continuing out to the pond-studded Owenduff bog beyond.

Passing Lough Namroon below me, I dropped down into the valley of its draining stream to rejoin The Western Way after a great hike in varying sunshine, snow and heavy rain towards the end. I would return many times to camp near Namroon and spend more time in this wild place.

Nephin Beg Hike

10 km; 5.5 hrs; total ascent 630 m  (from the Western Way)

View my poor quality video of this hike here. Note to self : I must edit this video and improve it!

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