Sunday, July 16, 2006

Glenealo Valley and Spinc

This morning in Glendalough dawned a glorious day and I ended up joining a young German woman in the hostel for a circular walk that a young Belgian woman in the hostel had recommended. From the National Park Information Centre we headed across to the path at the right hand side of the Upper Lake, as our Belgian room-mate had told us. (At the end of the walk as we descended we were really glad we had gone this way.) The beginning of the Glenealo Valley track alongside the lake was wide, flat and easy. Then when we reached the ruins of a miners' village, the path suddenly narrowed and became more stony underfoot and we were in the mountains. We zig-zagged uphill, fairly gently mostly.
My young German walking-mate told me she was a city dweller, not much into nature, though she had chosen to come to Ireland for all the green. She had done one mountain walk with her family in thigh deep snow last December and had told them never again. She was obviously a bit nervous about the dangers as we headed up hill on a rough track. It was good we were sharing the walk or she might have turned back again. We continued until finally we saw some more white arrows as we neared the head of the glacial valley. She became happy she had walked so far, and we were able to look back down the valley at the lakes we had walked by earlier.

Once we reached the top end of the track we had a brief stop. There is always that feeling of sadness when you know you are 'leaving' behind a mountainous place with beautiful views. But in fact more views were to come. We took the return section of the track and it was to lead us uphill some more, towards the ridge above some cliffs on the Spinc. This part of the walk was all a boardwalk on old railway sleepers. Some of what we passed was a bit boggy, and other areas clearly would easily get that way! As we climbed we got ever more spectacular views over other mountains in the area, and soon we had great views down the valley to the lakes etc. My walking mate was incredibly happy to be where she was in the mountains.

Eventually it was time to descend. There were many steps to go down, then a steepish road to walk down. People coming up looked exhausted in places, and I am not sure I would have persevered with the track had I started it this way. I am glad we had been told to go in the other direction! It was a superb walk. If you ever come to Glendalough, don't come on a day trip from Dublin: stay a night or two and take this walk!

It was a shock when we got back to the Upper Lake which had been quite tranquil when we left it. There were busloads and busloads of young people there as well as everyone else. There were many young Italians there especially, who seemed to be in the country for English studies.
I walked back to the hostel, and as the afternoon got towards four o'clock, busloads and carloads started leaving the valley. Now the old monks can rest in peace in their graves again! Though I gather there is a group of schoolchildren here in the hostel tonight, so let's hope they are well controlled so I can sleep in peace too!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kiwi, Hope you have a good time in Ireland, have just returned from there myself (see blog). Bets wishes, Jim