Three groups battled very strong winds in the Blackstairs range on Sunday Nov 29th.
An ‘Easy’ walk, not that anything could have been easy given the wind speeds, explored Slievebawn in the S Blackstairs followed the mythical Caher Roe’s Den before returning to cars at the head of Ballybawn Lane.
The ‘Moderate’ group started in Ballycrystal and completed a circuit of the Clorógs, Knockroe and Stoney Top.
A navigation group also began in Ballycrystal but headed onto the slopes of Black Rock practicing feature recognition and compass skills. The high point of the day was Black Rock 603m.
The club had two walks in the Northern side of the Comeraghs on Sun Nov 22nd.
The ‘Moderate’ followed the Knockanaffrin ridge and explored the lakes on the Eastern side of the ridge before returning back to the turf cutting road above ‘Power’s the Pot’.
The Moderate + started on the Western side of the Nire Valley, went in towards Coumfea and climbed the ‘nose’ up onto the plateau. The route continued to Seefin 726m where there was welcome lunch shelter from a very chilly northerly wind. Descent was via the NW ridge which runs out to Milk Hill and then down through the area of Toueen East which has a very high density of evidence of very early settlement.
Sunday’s navigation practical had perfect weather to justify the need for some close examination of map features. Starting from Clóróg Mór Lane the group matched features on the ground to symbols and contours on the map. Visibility was poor for much of the day but participants were surprised at how much detail there was on the map and how it was possible to navigate safely on map features alone.
The next stage of this short course will be indoors on Monday 23rd with another practical on Sunday 29th Nov.
Club members who travelled to the Nire Valley last Sun were lucky to be rewarded with one of the most spectacular mountain days in a very long while. There was a temperature inversion which means that cooler air closer to the ground remains moist and foggy while a layer of warmer air up higher is clearer and wonderfully sunny. Cool, long nights plus calm air help to create this unusual condition.
Mountain peaks in the distance peeped up through the low cloud like islands on a large white ocean.
Barry managed to get a good photograph also of a ‘brocken spectre’, which is like a circular rainbow in which it is possible to see your own shadow. This is a rare occurence.
The route went via the ‘Gap track’, before ascending the main plateau.
Lunch was in the balmy, November sunshine where worries varied from the lack of sunglasses to a shortage of sun screen!
Reluctantly the group left this wonderful paradise back into the low cloud and the dullness of the lowlands.
Memories of this day will be treasured.