Last summer, we went up Mount Brandon from the Cloghane side. There was some small stiffness in the legs afterwards but the walk was generally of little difficulty. Fast forward eight months and I thought that I was of a similar level of fitness but my walking has been on the level and there has been no cycling so it was the thighs and the breathing that complained last Saturday.
Last Saturday, four of us set off up Mount Brandon from the Ballybrack, Cosán na Naomh side. Time of year meant that there was snow from half way up which did not exist last July. Also this route does not place the mountain between the walker and the Atlantic Ocean – and more importantly, the wind coming off the sea.
There are sixteen crosses from Ballybrack to the summit – one part way up; 14 marked as Stations of the Cross; and a final cross at the top. Just after Station of the Cross VI, my thighs and body dictated to the mind that it was best to return so I wished my walking colleagues well and turned around.
A short way down, I met Gerard and Marie from Glin and was persuaded to carry on up through the snow with them.
I got as far as Station Cross 14 before the driving sleet and wind and my aching body compelled an about turn. I would not have got even that far without the patience of my fellow travellers stopping to chat and take on food at the frequency that I did, without the enjoyable conversation to distract this walker from the gradient in front, and without that unspoken encouragement of company.
Company can be so undervalued.
A few days later, the aches have abated but determination has hardened :
- that hill fitness will be attained and that Mount Brandon will be ascended frommthe Ballybrack side before the end of this Summer, and
- that a visit to the Magpie Bar in Glin is in order to thank Gerard and Marie again.