So today, a subset of the Kili group went up the mountains for a pre-Christmas jaunt on the second shortest day of the year, tomorrow being the Winter Solstice. We gathered at about 9,30 up at the Glenmacnas Waterfall car park to haul ourselves up Tonelagee. The temperature was about -1C, so cool enough and off we started in good spirits. Off we hiked over about 10cm of snow, great to be out, great to be alive.
When we started up the hill, it became apparent that the cloud cover was pretty low and the visibility started to draw in, but with compasses and maps, we were pretty confident we were headed in the right direction. When we were about level with the lake, Lough Ouler, we couldn’t see it at all because the mist/snow/flurries were pretty thick and you couldn’t see more than about 50m. Onwards and upwards, and soon we were at the cwm just below the final slope to the top of the hill.
It was amazing to be up here in the snow. Normally I’d be up there in fine weather, when the views out across the lake and valley are really beautiful, but this new snowy environment is so different, very beautiful and serene if it weren’t for the wind. Cold for sure but completely manageable. So after about another half hour of trudging upwards, we reached what seemed to be the top. I know this mountain reasonably well, so I reckoned we were there, although it doesn’t have a defined summit as it were, just a slightly open windswept area which was really cold today. It was seriously gorgeous up there, icicles hanging from the peat hags.
We stopped for lunch up there, hot drinks and sandwiches and then decided to head back the same route we came up. That route took us reasonably close to a drop down to the lake, so far safety’s sake we skirted away from it and down the mountain. What we didn’t realise though was that we’d skirted a lot further than planned and we came down into a valley a bit west of where we’d planned.
This required a bit of a detour, but sure enough we found ourselves back where we ought to be, and onwards home. Beautiful.