A trip to Kerry

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    So what to do with a free weekend in Ireland…the plan we came up with (Ronan, Owen and I ) was to head to Kerry for some scrambling and general larking about. The plan started as a half joke in the pub. Shall we go climb Carrantuohill, aye why not, I’m not out of work till 8, sure it will be fine we can drive down after. Cool. And that was that, a date was set. Then it was all half forgotten till about last week.

    So as it happened we left Belfast in the focus with gear everywhere, Ronan and I finished courses at 8 and Owen joined us at the PEC, with a bit faffing (KFC visit and picking up some of Owen’s gear) we actually left Belfast around quarter to nine. Driving to Kerry is a long and rather boring affair with many CDs listened too and much shite talked but we made it as far as Killarney without much incident.

    At this point we ended up in a carpark, not the carpark we were looking for but a carpark none the less. Since it was 2am and no one could be arsed driving anymore we decided this would be a good place to sleep. Owen bivved by the car and Ronan and I slept in the car. Ford Focus boots are not 6 foot long, I am, but even so I got in my sleeping bag and blinked and it was 7.30. Owen had “accidentally” left his phone in the car with an alarm set…I don’t like alarms.

    So Carrantuohill…it’s a big hill in Kerry, apparently its very pretty but as it was cloudy it is hard for me confirm, it is steep though. The first thing of note that day was Owen tried to jump over a bog sadly he lacked the necessary commitment, tried to stop, failed to stop, slipped, fell up to his knees into the bog…this was very funny. We climbed the Caher Ridge this is a fairly simple proposition while reasonably steep. It’s a nice walk and we overtook some Americans on the way up. From the summit of Caher there is a short downhill section before the accent of Carrantuohill proper. This is a much better way to get to the top of Ireland than massively eroded path used by the tourist hoards.

    Carrantuohill is a proper catholic mountain complete with massive steel cross just in-case you’re not sure you are at the top. Everything was still covered in fog. We stopped for a bit to eat soreen and chocolate and look at the map. A decision was taken to head for howling ridge. This meant dropping 400m and quick contour around east face of Carrantuohill to the heavenly gates. The heavenly gates are class, they provided us with our first good view of Kerry…ish and are the starting point for howling ridge.

    Howling ridge is a 300m grade 3 scramble with patches of V Diff climbing (so says ukc). We roped up for the ascent Owen took the first lead section, me in the middle and Ronan as tail end Charlie. We moved together the whole way up only stopping briefly to give quick belays round spikes and the like on some of the trickier bits. The exposure was amazing with the wind clearing away the fog for a few seconds at a time giving a snapshot of the world below. The ridge is pretty loose in places so bring a helmet. The guide had read stated a time of between 20min to 8 hours for the route…accurate eh? We took around 1.5 hours and soon arrived back at the top of Carrantuohill for a second time, cue more soreen, more chocolate, more map reading and more fog.

    Next on the list Beenkeragh ridge, another scrambly ridge and the return leg of the horseshoe taking us back in the direction of the car. A bearing was taken, still cant really see much, and off we go. The Beenkeragh is much like it neighbour the Caher ridge and was dispatched pretty rapidly even if calves and quads are now starting to feel a bit tortured. Before I know it we are at the last summit on our route and all that is left is the downhill slog. We stopped here for a bit with no one really all that keen to move on. Owens cheese is finished as we watch the view below. We have to move eventually. The downhill is long but soon the car is reached and the boots can be taken off, oh what a feeling.

    The rest of the trip consists of cooking dinner in a carpark in the centre of town, people think this is weird and tend to stare a bit. Drinking homebrew in a closed castle and talking nonsense.

    We drove back on Sunday.

    Ronan and I have made wine, it is good.

    Go to Kerry it is better.

    The end.


    Sounds like ’twas class!

    Plus from the story / facebook photos it looks like some club members managed to make an entire trip without any dodgey safety bits.


    “Shall we go climb Carrantuohill, aye why not”
    Actually been planning this since early August.
    “I don’t like alarms”
    Honest mistake but it did get us going.
    “Owen tried to jump over a bog”
    Bog hopping is an essential part of hill walking and should ALWAYS be attempted (hilariously or otherwise). I regret nothing.

    In other news, I now have enough bottles and can soon follow your fine example and get brewing!

    Great trip guys! Cheers again for all the driving.


    Good read, I enjoy hearing about your adventures lads 🙂

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