A Scar Gained At Scarr Mountain

Scarr (‘Sharp Rock’) is a mountain that I have not visited often.
This is a shame.
It’s a great walk and it has wonderful views of the surrounding mountains and hills.
It’s not a difficult walk navigationally, and I devised an interesting (though quite long!) route starting from the lower lake of Glendalough.
Following the Wicklow Way from here up through Brockagh forest, then descending the lower slopes of Brockagh East Top (still along the Wicklow Way) brings you down to the Military Road at Glenmacnass. From here I crossed the road and headed up to Paddock Hill, onto Dry Hill (ironically named, I might add) and from there I finally went on to the summit of Scarr itself.

I found this walk quite tough this day. It was very humid and there were widespread showers about. Very changeable weather, one moment sunny, another moment heavily overcast then the next moment – heavy rain showers. Pretty usual weather for Wicklow!

Anyway, near the start of the walk, along a section of the Wicklow Way within the Brockagh Forest, my attention was brought to the bracken growth. This stuff really shoots up, it grows almost as you watch it. Brockagh Forest Bracken copy.jpg

Further on up the Wicklow Way at Brockagh Forest, a particularly wonderful view of the valley of Glendalough opens up in through a gap in the woods.Gleno copy.jpg

Moving on, through the forest and a short descent takes you across a bridge over the Glenmacnass river and shortly after that I crossed the Military Road to start the ascent of Paddock Hill.

Partway up Paddock Hill, and the bracken is swarming here also. Nice blue skies to boot!
bracken copy.jpg

Looking back over to Glendalough now, and the shoulder of Brockagh East that I walked from earlier comes into sight. Also, beyond that, the cliffs of the Spinc rise above the forestry.
The green fields of Wicklow!
Green copy.jpg

Using my long lens, Scarr does not look too far from here. But distances can be deceptive, and when using a long lens – space is compressed so that further away objects appear closer. This is not the best angle to photograph Scarr from, as it’s an interestingly shaped mountain. Though it’s curiosity is not completely apparent from this angle. A humpy ridge I would liken it to.
Scarr copy.jpg

At Paddock Hill, and between it and Dry Hill; there are quite a few large boulders (or erratics) lying about. Erratic copy.jpg

Definitely a change in the weather coming. Skies to the south in the above photograph look to be mischievous and the wind is blowing them this way!

A short shower now, but then the sky started to clear a small bit. So I took a couple of long range shots. The first, looking over to Tonelagee and Mall Hill with the waterfall of Mall Brook visible.
Tonelagee copy.jpg

This second long range shot, looks over to Lugnaquilla (mostly in fog) as it towers over the shoulders of Camaderry and Brockagh.
Looking over to Lug copy.jpg

Almost at the summit now, and the weather is fine at this moment.
Scarr Summit copy.jpg

Shortly after this, I headed to the summit proper and took shelter from the winds and ate my lunch. Ham & lettuce sandwich. Decent enough. I had some grapes as well! I needed the fuel this day, I ended up doing about 26km!

Dropping down from the summit to the north east slightly, I obtained a nice view of Lough Dan and the cone of the Great Sugar Loaf in the far distance. This is a great part of Wicklow, popular too.
Lough Dan copy.jpg

It was here that the first ‘Scar’ in the title of this blog post occurred and reader caution: this tale takes a sinister turn now. I placed my camera down gently onto a jagged rock, so that I had my hands free to remove my back pack. It was not when putting the camera down that tragedy struck – it was when picking it back up.
I had picked it up using the hand grip but somehow the camera strap had got caught on a jutting out section of rock, and yanked the camera free from my hand. An almighty wallop was heard, probably as far afield as Wales. I frantically picked the camera back up and searched for wounds. It was scarred in the body just below the memory card door, the force had pushed the door open also – and now I could not get it shut tight. Oops.
I am so careful with my gear, but this is like 4.5k worth of equipment!
All is well though, I used a pair of pliers to gently bend the metal back into shape. Phew.
Sensor/lens mount alignment is fine, and the Sigma 35mm Art lens shows no signs of decentration after my week of testing. PHEW. Good gear costs money, but good gear can take a knock or two. Let’s not see if I am right about the ‘knock or two‘ part. No more accidents!!!

Another perspective on Lough Dan and the Sugar Loaf.
Sugar Loaf copy.jpg

Heading back to the summit of Scarr now, and midday is approaching. I can see temperature differential occurring now, so long range shots will be hampered by this – especially where the sunlight hits the ground (and thus heats it).

There is a cairn on a few of the multiple bumps of Scarr, this one I liked.
Cairn copy.jpg

From here, there is a great view of the Military Road itself, with a backdrop of humps and bumps – the largest one visible below being Mullaghcleevaun (Wicklow’s second highest mountain), slightly left of centre. Barnacullian to the left of it, Mullaghcleevaun East to the right and the rocky face of Carrigshouk below that. This would be a great shot at sunrise I think. Idea!Military Road copy.jpg

Heavy showers in the south now, and I can see they are heading this way.
I am returning to the car at this point anyway, and I have my waterproofs on in preparation.

Sheep copy.jpg

Bleurgh. Heavy rain until I arrived back at the car, and the camera remained safe from the rain in my rucksack for the whole 9km or so back from that last photograph. Not a bad walk though!

Thank you for reading!

If you like what you see here please feel free to take a look at my portfolio site where you can see lots more of my work, or follow me on Twitter or Facebook!

A lot of time and effort goes into this blog and the images presented here are my intellectual property and must not be distributed without my consent.


A Dark day on Derrybawn

A short ish walk this weekend. There has been some pain in the lower limbs, so I gave myself permission to chill a bit and only did a 10km hike to Derrybawn Mountain. Plus the weather forecast was to be what I would describe of as ‘naff’.
I am not sure if Derrybawn truly is a mountain in fairness, as it is not higher than 500m above sea level (it’s just shy at 474m ASL), but it’s an enjoyable hike nevertheless. It is listed as a mountain in multiple sources, so we will go with that!

Wicklow does have a lack of truly spectacular ridges, having only two – Derrybawn being one and Fananierin being the other. The walk I chose to do starts at the Upper Lake car park at Glendalough and involves following a section of The Wicklow Way (Ireland’s first waymarked long distance trail – 132km) beside the Poulanass waterfall.
Follow the ‘Little Yellow Man’ signposts for The Wicklow Way.LYM copy.jpg

Unfortunately, there has not been a significant rainfall event within the last few days, so the Lugduff Brook that feeds the Poulanass waterfall was not in spate. It is still worth a shot or two.

Poulanass I copy.jpg

The name Poulanass is taken from the Irish ‘Poll an Eas’ which translates to ‘hole of the waterfall’ I believe. It is easy to see how it got the name!Poulanass II copy.jpg

A little further on The Wicklow Way, we pass some majestic Scots Pine trees, native trees of Ireland. These are beautiful trees, and make a great change from the armies of Sitka Spruce plantations (there are many such plantations in Wicklow).Scots Pines copy.jpg

Without a full view of the sky at this point, one would be forgiven for thinking that this day was going to be a beautiful sunny day. But I knew better, I knew this was possibly the last piece of warm sunlight I would see before the clouds come marching in to ruin my fun! Yep, here they come!Clouds marching in copy.jpg

Still, a wonderful place to be even if the light isn’t great. I control everything on my camera, every setting. I use only manual focus (for landscapes) so I have absolute power over my tool. But I have no power over the weather. I am as feeble as this tree!Tree copy.jpg

Anyway, it’s always great to be out in the fresh air. Get a bit of exercise and enjoy nature. The journey today involves dropping The Wicklow Way after a switchback, to climb through a forest of Scots Pine trees. A rough enough track takes you straight up to Derrybawn itself.

Sometimes bad weather can really make great photographs – we will see this in winter when the higher summits in Wicklow have their snowy hat on! But for now, here are some grey skies and the top of Tonelagee (3rd highest mountain in Wicklow) in fog. Tonelagee remained in this state for the whole time I saw it today, not terribly unusual unfortunately.Grey Skies copy.jpg

A few small patches of warm sunlight break through over the flank of Camaderry Mountain. And yep, Tonelagee is wearing his fog hat. I prefer it when he wears his snow hat, but he won’t listen to my pleas.Pieces of sun copy.jpg

The view from near the summit of Derrybawn is impressive. On a clear day it is wonderful. From here you can see the Spinc (slightly left of center), Camaderry (beyond the lake) and the Upper Lake of Glendalough. Overcast copy.jpg
I created a timelapse at this spot today, quite challenging actually as it was pretty windy! I was hoping that the sun may pop out. It didn’t. But I do like how the clouds are whizzing past overhead – it’s kind of relaxing to watch! You can see it here on my Facebook page.

Time to return now. Derrybawn is a popular spot, which is a shame in many ways, the trail is very badly eroded and pretty mucky in places!Mucky copy.jpg

I was starving on the way down, but I was not tempted by these fellas. I would have no idea if they were safe to eat or not. I hate mushroom anyway! Don't eat! copy.jpg

Some nice views on the way back down. Nice view copy.jpg

Thanks for reading!

If you like what you see here please feel free to take a look at my portfolio site where you can see lots more of my work, or follow me on Facebook here!