First hike with OPC

Last Sunday was a great little amble along part of the Kerry Way with the UL Outdoor Pursuits Club.

I had signed up for another year of membership at the recruitment drive, and got told that the first event for the club this academic year was to be a hike along a 12km portion of the Kerry Way from Glencar to the town of Glenbeigh. The bus collected us all at the Stables at about 9am on the Sunday morning. Travelling down, chatting with old friends and making new ones on the bus, stopping to get the lunch we’d eat en route, and eventually getting to the Climber’s Inn.

There, we changed into the waterproofs and boots as the weather was beginning to close in. Off we all went in our large group traipsing up a rough track, and back onto the side of a small Kerry country road. It was interesting to be on the bank of the Caragh river and not in my kayaking gear at one stage of the hike, seeing bits of the river that I’ve only seen from the water in the past.

We ended up in some of the most atmospheric sections of wooded wilderness that I’ve been in in Ireland, with the mist pushing through the trees, water dripping on us, with a quiet over the group as we walked up and down along the path. Beautiful.

Lunch was sitting in a little patch of forest, with deadfalls, deep moss, treestumpos and the wind picking up. This was a good opportunity to chat with people that were too far away in the line to chat to previously, and it’s great to get to know new people..

Then, it was up the Windy Gap, of which there are a few in Kerry apparently! Very exposed, very windy, but spent the climb chatting while putting one foot in front of the other. The group photo at the top should be interesting with the wind absolutely whipping from our right hand side with horizontal rain! Coming down was fun, with a bit of a wind shadow from the mountain behind us, and a gentle downhill all the way to the Towers hotel in Glenbeigh. We were quite the little group of drowned rats, some were soaked through but all were smiling. My flask of hot ribena went down a treat!

Unfortunately the bus wouldn’t compress enough air to get the brakes going, so we warmed up in the Towers for a while. Once the bus was ready to move, we came home, dropping off people at their various places of residence. Me, I went home, cooked food, set a hot fire and then had a most relaxing hot shower and then ended up dozing happily on the couch..

Definitely looking forwards to the next outdoorsey trip!

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