I upped the game somewhat on Saturday.
I went up Benleagh for the first time in two years, almost exactly to the day, coincidentally. Benleagh is a 689m mountain with a commanding view of the longest glacial valley in Ireland – Glenmalure.
Benleagh is an anglicised version of Binn Liath which translates roughly to English as ‘Grey Peak’ – it’s easy to see why it is so named – due to the imposing grey cliffs on it’s south eastern flanks (visible near top right of the photo below).
Climbing Benleagh involves a steep scramble up Fraughan Rock Glen (I call it Fraggle Rock, naturally!). Fraughan rock glen is a ‘hanging valley’ flowing from Lugnaquilla (the highest mountain in Wicklow, and highest in Ireland outside of County Kerry), a beautiful place but TOUGH work, especially when carrying a rather silly amount of camera gear as a main course whilst nursing a side portion of shin splints!
Halfway up Fraggle Rock:
In Wicklow, a lot of the mountains are defined as mountains purely by elevation above sea level (i.e. they are at least 500 metres above sea level). But not all of the Wicklow mountains have ‘mountainous terrain’. Mostly they are gentle rolling hills.
Benleagh is a mountain that certainly requires a bit of care to navigate. And unlike a lot of the Wicklow Mountains it’s a challenge as opposed to a relaxing ramble. There are dangerous cliffs and a lot of very steep ground. Hand work and good foot co-ordination is needed, particularly on descent.
But the view from the cliffs? Probably one of the best in Wicklow. I had my lunch on the cliffs today and boy did I appreciate it!
Descent was not fun, and I always dread the descent here, some very dicey terrain to negotiate unless you take a long detour – my shin splints would not allow such a detour this day so I rolled the dice! Some parts of the descent involve sliding down large wet boulders on your bum to the next bog pool. I got seriously muddy!!!
Very changeable weather on Saturday, visibility very poor to begin with and Lugnaquilla was in cloud for a large part of the morning (not unusual) but it did reveal itself later in the day! A GREAT DAY WAS HAD :-). Yep, the shins are paying for this one today (and yesterday!).
Please feel free to take a look at my site where you can see lots more of my work!