Frosted rocks near the summit of Corcóg in the Maumturk mountains in Connemara – picture taken about 2.30pm yesterday.
I didn’t get many chances to get out on the Connemara hills in 2009, and while it is not quite a new year’s resolution, I’m hoping to get out more this year. Today, we climbed Corcogemore [Corcóg] -the most easterly of the Maumturk mountain range [or simply the first big mountain on your left if you turn onto the R336 after Maam Cross].
It is just over 600 metres and it took us about 4 and a half hours to climb it and return to our starting point (in a loop of about 3.5 miles). That isn’t very fast and there was one reason for that. The extreme cold had frozen the ground. Below 250 metres, the ground was as unyielding as concrete. Between 250 and 300 metres, there was a scattering of snow, and above 300 was between 6 and 12 inches of snow. The snow was frozen solid, and the many streams and pools of the mountain had been turned to ice and were very very slippy.Despite that, it was a really beautiful day – clear skies for most of it, and the sunshine accentuated the contrast between the snow on the ground and the blue of the sky.
It wasn’t so much fun at the summit. The wind was searing and the wind chill would bring a tear to your eye. At one point, I was wearing a balaclava, woolly cap, fleece hood and jacket hood just to keep my ears warm. The wind was easterly, so we managed to find shelter among some rocks overlooking Mullach Glas to have lunch – hot vegetable soup never tasted so good. It was clear right across Connemara – even Mweelrea was clear at the summit. From Mweelrea to the Sheeffrys, Leenaun Hill to Maamtrasna, there was perfect visibility and a fine blanket of snow on all of them – you couldn’t pick a better day to go hiking. More pictures from the climb here.
Camera = Canon 5D, lens= Canon 17-40 @17mm, aperture =f16, speed=1/250 sec, ISO 200.