Holy shit, we climbed the Great Sugar Loaf

It was a scary, sobering experience.

First scariness: our paper map was outdated. The trailhead I wanted to use doesn’t exist anymore. The trail seems to be still there, but access isn’t, and we didn’t discover this wonderful fact until after we’d walked for a mile along a narrow main road for twenty minutes. Thanks Obama.

Second scariness: I put blind faith in an incorrect map over what was plain to our eyes. I led us down a steep and dangerous scree field on the east slope, along an imaginary trail, and into trick briars on the lower slope. We made it to Kilmacanogue, but we so easily mightn’t have.

What if the weather turned (it threatened rain all day)?
What if Eadaoin fell (the scree were loose)?
What if there was no access back to the road (we had to navigate by map alone)?

You can see for yourself in the fourth and fifth photographs. I thank the blessed Carl Sagan that my dipshit headstrong approach on the descent didn’t get anyone killed.

-_-

My dipshittery still didn’t ruin the day. Eadaoin had to be exhorted to the top of the Sugar Loaf because she convinced herself that the climb was impossible. Her high on making the top would’ve warned the most miserable heart, and Eadaoin’s smile alone made the day worth it.

Eadaoin on top of the Sugar Loaf, looking toward Bray Eadaoin and I on the Sugar Loaf Eadoin summits the Sugar Loaf. WITNESS HER! Eadaoin on the east side of the Sugar Loaf Lost in ferns on the Sugar Loaf The great Sugar Loaf


Day 89: Do Not Adjust Your Monitor

Day 89: Do not adjust your monitor

For the record, that hillside was beautiful murder. I wasn’t far off a heart attack.

Sometimes, quality be dammed, I just want riotous, glorious colour on my blog to help off set the gloom and contrast of my regular style. To use a cringe-worthy analogy this is a painkiller to a black-and-white headache. Etc.

Regardless, pause here and enjoy this greenery. Then continue on to more infrared. :)


Inanity on the Atlantic coast

I’ll start with an obligatory props to Julie and her family for taking me around the Atlantic Drive on Achill.

I came to Achill Island expecting to be profoundly stirred. I was. From the moment that we climbed the hill to face (for the first time in my life) the full fury of an Atlantic winter storm, to getting caught in a flash shower on the pier at Mallaranny, I was completely awestruck by the sights on the island. With that came a problem, a horrible burning question in my mind that shone brighter the more that day’s light faded: How could I adequately capture the majesty? It wasn’t a case of equipment. While I’d have appreciated the presence of a 50mm lens, I had good coverage of the focal range and the know-how to employ it. Instead, it was vision. I’m sitting on a clifftop while being battered by hundred kilometre an hour winds and sea-spray tossed up from the sea that was (technically) a few hundred feet below me. To my left I have a a majestic mountain rising right out of the sea. To my right I see the kind of broken shore that inspires prophets, poets and madmen. I thought I might emulate the spectacular Kerry landscapes of Danny O’Brien, but after one half-arsed attempt I swerved away because I’d be selling myself short.

Instead I chose that other stable of the west coast: Dull resorts where I spent my childhood holidays hiding from the rain, fighting with my sister and watching mum and dad occasionally enact the next few world wars. So here’s to you, childhood inanity.

Viewpoints from around Achill's atlantic coast
Viewpoints from around Achill's atlantic coast
Viewpoints from around Achill's atlantic coast
Viewpoints from around Achill's atlantic coast
Viewpoints from around Achill's atlantic coast
Viewpoints from around Achill's atlantic coast
Viewpoints from around Achill's atlantic coast
Viewpoints from around Achill's atlantic coast