30.07.2015 - 30.07.2015
It isn't like there are any typical days on a trip to Ireland. It is a beautiful country and with a trip like ours where we are seeing something new and amazing every day. Today, like every day, we had sights we wanted to see. I think we were expecting a pretty standard Irish day. A quick car ride to see a cool coastal town and then something beautiful. The plan today was to drive to the town of Killybegs and see the main Irish fishing port and then to a place called Slieve League which is the highest cliff face in Europe (or so the guide book tells me). We expected to drive to Slieve League, oooh and ahhh a bit at the pretty mountain and drive back to Donegal. What happened was something much different and a day neither one of us would forget.
KillyBegs was fine and picturesque but quiet and we did not spend much time there. We then made the short drive to Slieve League. Sydney and I have not been eating the "healthiest"on this trip so we decided to park near the bottom at the first car park and take the about 3km walk to the site of Slieve League. The walk was on a curvy road that I think I was just as happy walking as driving. It was an up hill climb but the walk was well worth it.
Here is the pic at where the closest car park is to the cliff.
If you look at the pic you will see the high point on the right hand side which looks to be the summit but it is deceiving in the pic, the summit is actually the third peak to the left of that.
When we got to the end of the highest car park we noticed a rock path up to the top of the cliff where we were situated which is beside Sleive League. We thought we would give it a go and try to walk up it. This a pic from part way up this climb.
If you notice in the pic there are a number of hikers walking on the ridge. This is a ridge that connects to Slieve League from the mountain we were viewing it from. Sydney and I thought we might go ahead and give it a try. We noticed in the local guide book that this part of the hike was suitable for most hikers and thought it a good idea. So we persevered on. The pic below is the view from the top where the hikers were in the last pic. You will notice on the right hand side of the pic the white path, these are bags of rocks that one day they are planning to put out to make the climb easier, but for now the rocks are in bags along where the path is. t does give a good scope of where we headed.
We came to a spot where most hikers turned back but a few hearty souls were pushing on and Syd and I debated whether to go or not. The guidebook said that anything past here was for experienced hikers only, which I dont think either of us would really qualify as. However, the weather was beautiful and we had just eaten so we decided we would go on and if either one wanted to turn back that would be the end of the hike. So we pushed on.
At points the rocky path does get uncomfortably close to the cliff edge but we took our time, didn't look down too much and kept pushing on.
The last pic above is the path that crosses from our first mountain over to Sleive League. The views were unbelievable and unforgettable.
The picture below is the continuing path along the ridge of Slieve League.
This is us from the same spot
This is the view from the same spot but looking to the other direction towards the town of Sleive League where we came from.
The next there pics show the different terrain we face going up and down the various peaks you saw in the first pic. It was never a straight walk it was always up and down and the pics below show some of the typical terrain we had to deal with.
The last picture was a quite common situation where we were on our hands and knees climbing up rocks like these. It was so much fun and neither one of us wanted to turn back. We also realized we were going to have to come down these things as well and down is always harder.
Here was the last approach up to the summit of the mountain and some views from the top.
Sidney and I really pushed ourselves today and we are both feeling very accomplished. We dont want to overstate this as there were 60 year olds up there with us, but we felt like we did something special today and it is a day neither one of us will ever forget. I think days that you remember your whole life often come from those you dont expect anything much to happen. Both of us were saying the whole time that we were not going to go to the top but when we talked about stopping neither one of us were willing. We stayed safe and had a brilliant day. Are legs are jello and we are very tired but we did it. We ended the day with s beautiful dinner and some Irish dancing in the pub. Off to sleep.