Down the line at the Sheefrey Hills
So four SMC (Sligo Mountaineering Club) pals and I decided to go to Connemara along the Wild Atlantic Way for a linear hike on ground most of us hadn’t covered before. Now a linear hike as opposed to a looped or horseshoe will take a bit more organisation as a two car drop entails you get a car to end of hike, then drive another car to start, or there’s various other ways. Yes it involves a bit extra time shuttling drivers as passengers at start and end, but it also means you get to see more variety on the day and you’re not seeing the same scenery twice.
We started at the western end of the mountain range beside Doo Lough and proposed to hike east. This would benefit us with the wind at our backs during most of the day. It’s good when you can plan for this or alter route accordingly. It being mid-Autumn our weather forecast wasn’t looking so hot and mountainous terrain will always amplify the effects of wind and temperature will decrease as you climb, so having the right gear is a must, getting as detailed a weather forecast as possible, (remembering that a weather forecast is at best educated guessing), and having a few other pieces of kit with you is always highly recommended. Things like a map and compass and the ability to know how to use them or failing this a safe and trust worthy guide. First aid kit just in case, nourishment and drinks are vital.
But the rewards are just so worth it and anyone
who’s been here will tell you the same. We had a nice gradual incline for the first 90 minutes or so with a short steep scramble up the last section before the summit of Barrclashcame which is a lovely plateaux with magnificent views looking towards the Mweelrea range, Clare Island and Clew bay beyond to the north or the Maumturks and Devils Mother to the east over the glens, Leenaun to the South and Killary Harbour, Irelands only natural Fjord.
Not forgetting Aasleagh Falls where a lot of the 1989 movie “the field” with Richard Harris and Tom Berringer was filmed. There’s lots to see and do around here with both the Delphi and Killary adventure centres, boating, and lots more besides. And the seafood is just amazing. Lots of places to stay too to suit all budgets.
We continued along a stunning ridge walk,
surround by big sky and then made our way pass an interesting trig pillar which still had the timber framework in place well over a hundred years after it was built. Then a nice gradual descent following the broad shoulder down to the end where we’d left the second car at Tawnyard Lough, not far from Carrowkennedey where the IRA had a decisive win over a RIC and black and tan force in an ambush in June 1921. At a nice manageable relaxed pace the duration of hike was just under 5 hours including lunchbreak and we covered 12.5k, climbing 882m and dropping 772min just under 5 hours.
Photo credits: Niall English and David Bourke