If you are a regular visitor to this site, you’ll know that I love walking.
The thing is: some days I enjoy it more in retrospect than in real time!
By Day 8 of our walk around the Dingle Peninsula, that was certainly the case. I was tired.
We’d lost the trail on a bog-covered mountain the day before, and doses of anti-inflammatory drugs overnight had not met the challenge of ageing knees and hip joints. Tired and sore.
Then there was the intermittent rain: just enough so that we had to pull the raincoats out of bags at least once a day; just enough to ensure it was always slippery under foot. Tired and sore and wet.
According to our notes, we had another mountain to cross…
This is one of the most remote sections of the Dingle Way; offering you a combination of history and breathtaking scenery. The trail follows a green road that crosses the shoulder of one of Ireland’s highest mountains “Mount Brandon” standing at 952Mtrs. Passes a standing stone that dates back over 3.500 years; which still displays the symbols of Ogham Writing. Crosses over an area of blanket bog where turf is still harvested in the traditional ways of our forefathers. Finishing in the quiet village of Cloghane; that lies in the shadow of Mount Brandon.
We were really excited to reach the Ogham Stone in the saddle between Masatiompan and Mount Brandon: according too our trip notes, there were a number of Ogham stones along our walk, but so far we had not succeeded in seeing any of them. We had looked – but the notes were often a bit vague, so we weren’t sure if we were looking in the wrong place or for the wrong thing. We were beginning to wonder if the stones had all been carried away by archaeologists or leprechauns. This was our first!
Reaching the stone also meant we had reached the high point of our day, and the rest should be down hill. Easy, right?
Wrong! More of a water-runoff-gully than a path, the way down the mountain was steep, mired in mud and water, and frequently slippery. Burdened as we were with day-packs and camera gear, we picked our way down as carefully as we could, grateful for our trusty walking sticks. It took us more than an hour to reach the peat road part way down the hill. By this time, I was ready for the day to be over, but we still had at least eight kilometres to go… I took some comfort in the fact that three young walkers we had passed along the way were still well behind us, so it wasn’t just age that had slowed us down: it truly was a wicked stretch of ground!
As we sat in the pub in Brandon over a glass of wine and a fabulous hot meal, the wet, the pain, and the tired were forgotten – almost. It was a beautiful walk and I’d do it again…
Well, maybe on a dry day.