Our second radio announcement courtesy of Southeast Radio was broadcased today at 11am, our little piece in the Wexford People paper is published and all the flyers and sponsership cards have been stuck up and handed out. All that is left to do is relax and wait.
As I lay there on the ground, lump on my forearm, staring at the sky all that was going through my head was, what the fuck was I thinking?
I had the great idea when I last hiked Mount Lienster to try and cycle to the top. Sure there is a road the whole way, how hard could it be? I can tell ya now it was hard, very very hard. It's not the first mountain I have cycled over but it was by far the steepest. 3% gradient for the first 12km and 13% for the last 2.7km. Up to this point the steepest long climbs I completed were usually 3% average gradient with the odd steeper climbs. So with the confidence of these climbs behind me I set off from Eniscorthy so I would have a short 20km cycle to warm up before I hit the hills. It was smooth running’s until I turned off in Bunclody to face what I would be attempting to tackle today. It wasn't my first time cycling over Mount Leinster but it was my first time to go right to the top.
The road from Bunclody to the car park on Mount Leinster is absalutly spectacular. It has everything I love, big mountain on one side, amazing view way off over the land on the other and smack bang in the middle a narrow old country road. Perfect! The lack of any ditch or barrier on any side of the road adds to the beauty and the trill when you are descending. The climb starts to teeter out once you emerge from the forestry. From then on you can relax a little and take in the views better as you cruise to the car park near the top.
My climb was rewarded the cutest Bereneese Mountain Dog puppy at the car park. I have a slight obsession with the Bereneese as I'm the very proud owner of the laziest, fluffiest and greatest Bereneese of all time. Brandy is his name and being cute is his game. But I will tell you more about him at another time as his birthday is coming up soon so I'm sure the odd photo will appear on the blog.
As the gate at the bottom of the climb to the mast at the top of the mountain is closed you have to begin from a standing stop. This is really the least of your worries. The road from the minute you pass by the gate goes from the moderate 3% climb to the absurd 13% which you must endure for the next 2.7km.
I began the climb with great optimism, slowly dropping my gears to the lowest setting as I settled in to a nice rhythm. My confidence grew as I made my way by a very cheerful father with his two young kids. This confidence lasted for about another 5 minutes. I decided to pull over on a very brief ease on the hill to take a breather and a photo. Happy and a little refreshed I set off again. Smack! Fuck was the first word that came to mind quickly followed by a loud moan of despair. I took off with a good hard push on the peddle but I was unable to get my second foot clipped in in time. The next few seconds involved me collapsing onto the road, walloping my forearm really hard on the ground and laughing. I lay there for a little bit until the father and children I passed earlier caught up to me. I hobbled up, a little shuck and embarrassed but eager to continue. I had to ask father to give me a push until I was able to get both my feet clipped in. Click! Click! Thank god, I thought as I went off in a very unblaze of glory. The next 15-20 minutes was nothing less than torture. Complete and utter torture. I had to make one more stop along the way but thankfully there was no falling involved in the take-off afterwards. It wasn't until the last half kilometre that I was able to see my girlfriend and her dog at the top waiting for me. It gave me that extra boost like the one you always see those idiots get in a really cheesy film when the finish line is in sight. When I reached the top I collapsed against the metal fence that surrounded the mast and thanked god it was over.
I have never understood when people would do something and at the end say "I am never doing that again". I understand now.
In March 2015, my girlfriends sister, Kate, will trek the Annapurna Mountains in Nepal in aid of Parkinsons Disease Research. We aim to raise €5,000 between the three of us in order to get her ther.
Firstly I suppose I should let you know a little bout Kate and why we are doing this. Well basically she's my girlfriends sister and thats I got dragged into all of this. Willingly of course. Simple as really. Now for the reason why? My girlfriend's uncle was diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease not long ago. As a result, his wife Becky embarked on this exact trip last November after raising a huge amount of money and awareness for the cause. Inspired by her efforts, and by their uncle's relentlessly upbeat spirit, Kate decided to follow in her footsteps. Literally.
So here we are. We've a lot of money to raise but we're enthusiastic and optimistic that we can do it. We have plenty of ideas and fun events in the pipeline and we hope you'll all be there to help us! There'll be plenty of laughs, cakes, pints and cups of tea involved so watch this space!!
So please help us get here there and DONATE!! Every single euro, no scrap that, every single CENT helps get us closer to raising enough money and this in turn will go towards researching new treatments and hopefully discovering a cure for this horrible disease.
Thanks so much!
Links to read more:
Webpage - http://trekforparkinsons.weebly.com/
Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/trekforparkinsons
Donation Page - http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=Trekforparkinsons&faId=455772&isTeam=false
Well that went well!
As you can tell from the photo I will be attempting to do the Shannon river kayak in aid of Parkinsons on a sit-on-top kayak. Not chosen by most, due to its weight, slower speed and the obvious fact that it's open. Despite this, I decided to use this style kayak due to two things. One, it's mine so I had it on hand and two, I was unable to source another. Simple really!
This test was just to check out how the kayak handled when fully loaded with all the gear I'll be bringing with me on the trip. I have clocked up a fair few hours on my kayak at this stage but that has all been without any luggage on board. So, I was keen to test it out before the set off date to get a feel for how it'll handle with the extra weight. We chose a windy day so there'd be a headwind and some waves in the sea to emulate a bad day's weather on the larger lakes I'll be passing through.
The good news is that bar the kayak being slower than when unloaded (obvius enough I know) all went well in the test. The kayak handled the waves very well and didn't compromise the handling to much.
To celebrate the success I treated myleft to a quick kayak around Wexford town harbour. Despite the sometimes strong current beneth the bridge it is always a plaeasure to paddle around the pier. I always feel like I'm James Bond sneekely moving alongside and between the large fishing ships when I'm in there. It's the the simple things. As luck would have it thought the tide was in so I wasn't able to go underneathe the railway tracks as the gap was to small as you can see in the first of the small pictures.
But all in all teas a good day all round and if the test is anything to go by the trip should be grand. I know I'm gona regret saying that at some point.
A pig on the spit in a floury bap, kangaroo skewer and a large fish and chips. That was my lunch on Saturday. I'm a glutton what can I say!
The purpose of this post however was not to brag about my amazing lunch. It is to do with what happened afterwards. As you do when you go to visit family you haven't seen in a while, you have the catch up chats and the odd drink. Both of ours took place in my brother's local pub, The Mad Monk, in Middelton. After one too many pints of well crafted beer and a dinner box in the chipper, we were left with quite sore heads the next morning. Not happy with wasting the day, as we hardly ever get to meet up, we decided to go to Ballycotton for a spot of cliff jumping.
The path to the cliffs is a steep narrow path that splits from the main cliff walk just outside the village.
When we reached the spot, we were greeted by Barney, a very friendly dog that was waiting patiently for his owner to finish his sea swim.
With a quick change of clothes it wasn't long before some jumping started. The cliff is around 7m high at high tide and 10m at low. The tide was high when we were there which meant for a smaller but still exciting jump. I always find that no matter how small or high a jump is into the water I always without fail get slight butterflies as I stand on top, waiting, peering out over the ledge to the water below. But sure once I take the leap and feel the rush of adrenalin as I plunge into the water, all fear is washed away and replaced with, Oh please can I do it again?! Jasus do I love cliff jumping.
We spent about a hour there until our heads were cleared and the hunger had returned. It was a great way of putting down a hungover Sunday and i cant wait until I am back down again.
Heres a short video of our trip.
This was one of those long time coming hikes. I have been living with the missus in Wexford for close on two years now and we have never climbed Mount Leinster, despite it only being a 20 minute drive away. I know we're awful!
So we said that we would make the most of the end of summer "heat wave" this week and head up there for a hike. I love that Ireland is classing it as a heat wave just because we can still wear t-shirts and not have to resort to the jumpers.
We set off from, what we discovered half way up, the wrong starting point. We headed through a small evergreen forest on the south side of the mountain just before Kiltealy. The path beyond the forest was well worn and it lead us to what was the actual trail to the top of Black Rock. The first mountain top we would reach before making our way across the ride to Mount Leinster. The day was good and the wind was low so we made good progress dispite neither of us having walked up a mountain since I moved to Wexford.
As we reached the crest of the ridge we came across the old turf cutters house. Not used any longer but still in good shape. Having taken the odd photo and a small rest we made our way west towards Mount Leinster.
With the worst of the steep hills over we thought the walk to the top of Mount Leinster would be a doddle but we were wrong. Very wrong. The hunger drain kicked in bout a half hour off the rendezvous point for lunch and we were not willing to sacrifice the views from the top of the mountain for a cop out half way up refuel. I'm making this all sound very drematic when in reality we just walked at a slightly slower pace.
Just after the two hour mark we made it to the top and took our place on top of one of the old concrete support ankors for the tower to have our much wanted lunch. The view was quite amazing due to the fine day. We were even able to see all the way to the end of The Raven - the far end of the beach near Wexford town near where we had set off from this morning. We were also greeted by a few paragliders who had set off from a nearby small mountain. We sat for a while taking in what might be the last sun off the summer, according to Met Eireann.
The hike down was grand. Mainly because, well, it was downhill. The route back was the same as the one up so there were no suprises or chances to get lost. I say this cause we had an eventfull decent of the Knockmealdown Mountains in west Waterford a few years ago. It was very embarrassing as they are the mountains I grew up on, herding sheep with my grandad. My excuse is that it was a section of the mountain I had not decended before. Yep thats what I'm sticking with.
Reaching the car a sigh of relief could be heard as it was now time for the much deserved pint. We drove to the nearby village of Kiltealy to the Thatch pub and had a good old pint while watching the all Ireland final.
Not a bad old way to spend a Sunday.
ar an rothar
endurance cyclist, adventurer and usually hungry