The Classic Walks of Ireland: The struggle to tame the Mourne Wall

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series The Classic Walks of Ireland
In the latest article from the series on the Classic Walks of Ireland, Paul O' Connor makes a second attempt at the famous Mourne Wall Walk. Having learnt some valuable lessons from an initial aborted effort, Paul takes on one of the greatest Mountain Walks in Ireland covering 35km and 3000 metres of ascent. A wise man once told me that the definition of failure isn't to fall down; it is not to get back up again. I had waited eight long months to get back up again, a time stretching from August 23rd 2009 to 6:20am on Monday, May 3rd 2010 when I found myself at the foot of the Mourne Mountains and the start of my second attempt at the Mourne Wall Walk. I suppose you could say that the previous attempt had not gone well... you would be pretty correct in saying that it had ended in something of abject failure and quite a bit of misery. On that occasion, the Mournes had quite simply chewed us up and spat us out again. We were the proverbial lambs to the slaughter; badly prepared, totally lacking the requisite fitness and arrogantly believing that we could triumph over whatever Nature could throw at us including the forecasted stormy weather. Read more [...]

The Classic Walks of Ireland: Blackstairs Challenge Walk…. The Battle of Ray

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series The Classic Walks of Ireland
In our first article looking at the Classic Walks in Ireland, Raymond Cummins gives an account of tackling the Blackstairs Challenge Walk, a walk which covers 26km over a total ascent of 1,525m. The walk took place on May 22nd in searing heat which gave the challenge an extra dimension. Although a Corkman originally, The Blackstairs are the mountains I live closest to, and see them everyday when I drive home from Dublin. I never tire of seeing the beautiful silhouette. Last May after some 4 years I returned to Ireland with my wife Suzanne. During my time in Kent I did very little hiking. The Blackstairs Challenge was my first challenge walk in some 6 years. My first hike was some 16 years ago in a day of rain and hailstones in The Gap of Dunloe. At 4.45am I got up and cooked breakfast, and made the final preparations, for the day. With my good friend Mark we headed off to the finish in Glynn, with concerns over the heat off the day, already on our minds. I am over 16 stone in weight, and was a bit concerned it might be a problem. Read more [...]