Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Kilbride Army Range Walk

As soon as we got out of the car we knew it would be an amazing day in the mountains.

We geared up and got ready for the day ahead, all of a sudden I heard this awful noise, the loud engine of Quads and Dirtbikes.

Don't get me started on Quads and Dirtbikes I hate the things, not only because of how dangerous they are but because of the horrible scar they leave in the mountains.

Never the less we got ready and left the car, I was so happy, mainly because I was stuck indoors for the last few weeks and the dreaded cabin fever was among me.

We started to climb up Seefin, 620m our first climb of four that day, the whole track up was destroyed, tyre tracks and deep puddles dug by Dirtbikes and Quads.

Nevertheless we carried on to the summit of Seefin. At the peak there is an ancient tomb for a cairn, you can crawl in and have a look. (Don't worry there is no human remains)

After a quick look in the tomb we headed for our second target for the day, Seefingan, 722m of pure magic, as we ascended we started to see the effects of the recent cold weather.

The bog was strangely solid, as it was frozen and most running water was transformed over night into amazing icicles.

We reached the top shortly after, there was no way I was taking any photos, the air bit my cheeks, it was so cold, we got down as soon as we could.

As we got down to the col we started to get spectacular views of Dublin City and the surrounding scenery, we also got a glimpse of the army camp.

We stopped for a bite to eat in the Col, we sheltered in a peat hag, we soon after got cold so we struck out for our objective number three Corrig.

Corrig is only 617m but it's definitely worth doing, it was the first top of the day on which we got a view, at the top you can see the whole City of Dublin.

Our walk was nearing an end... But wait there there is one more top to go! Seahan 647m, a short but wonderful hill, unfortunately I couldn't get a picture from the top as there was a big group on the summit.

After a short decent we made out way to the road, it was here I saw the group of bikers that were making such a racket!

On another note I got this great shot of an old car.... Could anyone tell me what it is?

We then made our way back to the car, with my Cabin Fever cured I could now go home.

Thanks for Reading!

-Altitude Aaron 

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Therm-a-rest NeoAir

The Therm-a-rest Neo-Air is an exceptional piece of kit, I wouldn't go on any camping trips without it.

This pad is 51cm wide, 183cm long and 6.3cm thick. When packed away properly it packs down to 22cm x 12cm.

                   (Lighter to scale)

This mat is a 4-season all rounder, it's light weight design doesn't effect its warmth.

This mat comes with an ultralight pump, I like this feature as I get dizzy if I have to pump it up with my mouth.

I would rate this mat 9/10. It's durable, comfy and warm construction make for an excellent nights sleep.

Coming in at €155 this mat is not cheap but it sure is worth every penny.

Thanks for reading!

-Altitude Aaron 

Lowa GTX renegades REVIEW

The The Lowa GTX Renegades were by far one of the best purchases I've made, I got mine in 53 degrees north, they gave me a cracking deal!

I would rate these boots a 9/10, why you might ask? I've put these boots through a lot of use and not once have they let me down.

Whether it be trudging up a steep mountain, getting plunged into a river or keeping my feet blister free they never once let me down.

They've climbed numerous mountains, walked hundreds of kilometres and done so much more!

These Boots offer great comfort straight out of the box, they come pre-warn in!
They are made from strong waterproof material and rock vib-ram soles.

I would recommend these boots to hillclimbers at all levels, whether they be the weekend walker or the everyday summiteer!

I hope you enjoyed this review!

Altitude Aaron 

Friday, 13 November 2015

Glenmalure Valley

The Glenmalure Valley is a truly spectacular place, stunning views leave you in awe, captivating scenery and pure silence is guaranteed.

The U-Shaped Glacial Valley is the longest in the UK and Ireland, it is home to the large Avonbeg River, and so many geographical wonders.

                   (Avonbeg River)

I've spent many a night under the stars in Glenmalure, I've crossed through it on the Wicklow Way, stayed in some of its many B&B's (I would recommend Wilderness Lodge).

The stunning Valley is home to an, An Óige hostel, it is a very cool place to stay indeed, it has no electricity or running water. It is known for its atmosphere.

        (The An Óige Youth Hostel) 

The Mullacor and Mucklagh huts are in close proximity to the Valley, these two huts offer a place to shelter from the rain and to offer somewhere dry to sleep along the Wicklow Way.

                 (The Mucklagh Hut)

The Valley is a truly amazing place to spend any amount of time in, whether it be ridges, mountains or waterfalls it's got you covered.

     (Me, at one of the many waterfalls)

If you care to find out about some of my trips you can go to either of the huts and you will find plenty of things written by myself and grandad, AARON+NEIL will be the names inscribed at the end of our entries.  

Thanks for Reading!


Monday, 9 November 2015

How I got into Hillwalking!

When I was extremely young my granny Sandra and my granddad Neil took me to the Wicklow Mountains.

They had already found their passion for the mountains, I still to this day rarely go to the mountains without my granddad, unfortunately my granny can no longer climb, she injured her knee and is going for a knee replacement soon.

I remember not really understanding why people put themselves through the pain and trouble to climb a silly hill, I would soon find out.

As soon as we parked the car I felt something different in the air, I looked up, I felt like I wasn't the boss.... The mountains were, I still feel this today. 

I wouldn't say I feel intimidated but I certainly respect and am so grateful to be in the company of the mountains. 

I could not for the life of me describe how I feel when I'm in the mountains nor could anyone else. It's true you won't get a wifi connection in the outdoors but I promise you will find a much better connection.

Since this day there has been no way to keep me from the mountains, they are my second home at this stage.....

I hope you enjoyed this short blog,

Altitude Aaron 


Sunday, 8 November 2015

Mourne Mountains

A late start meant that there was no chance of finding time for a walk, we set out late on a Tuesday morning, a foggy one at that! We had originally planned to leave a lot earlier in the day, but bad weather kept us at bay.

We Crossed the Northern Ireland border and targeted in on the town of Newcastle, in which we would be staying. A short stop in Asda set us up with food for the following two days.

We arrived at our accommodation at about four thirty, after fully inspecting our room we unpacked, one drawer for food, one for clothes and one for bits and bobs!

Soon we felt the need for dinner, after wandering the town for a good thirty minutes we decided to go to a fancy restaurant known as KFC! Which truly filled us up. 

We then headed back to the car, deciding to take the scenic route by the coastline, although it was pitch black. The smell of the salt in the air definitely brightened us up.

The next morning we rambled down to the breakfast room both like zombies. After enjoying our oversized breakfasts we went back to the room to get our gear.

As we pulled the car out of the car park our spirits were dampened when we saw the diabolical weather. But nothing could stop us now.

Today we would climb Slieve Binnian, we arrived at Silent Valley car park at nine o'clock. We left shortly after and headed towards Binnian!


The daunting climb ahead gave me a bit of a fright, thinking to myself what had I gotten myself
into! But as usual I just put my head down and did what I do best!

After a steep pull up to Wee Binnian (typical for Northern Ireland) I finally faced the real climb! Some 1000ft above me was the summit of Binnian.

I thought to myself 'oh shite!' This was a common occurrence in the mountains, but it's always worth it at the top!

After what seemed like years we made it up to the top! I looked around, my exact words were "typical" there was nothing to see but bleach white cloud!

After searching for a nice spot to eat we ripped open our packs for lunch! After tucking into my roll a man appeared, a friendly bloke we chatted to him for a while...

As always I got the usual looks, "what's he doing up here" I always get that because of my youth! 'But sure look' as I say, I've gotten used to it at this stage!

After packing away our rubbish we made a route down to the car! We descended through the giant Tors of Binnian(Giant Granite Rock Formations). As we turned the corner we spotted Ben Crom Reservoir! It was a rescuing sight! We hadn't had any views all day!

After the steep decent to the dam we strolled along the huge structure known as Ben Crom Dam, it was massive the water to my right and a whooping one way ticket to my left. It amazes me that such a structure was built in the 50's. 
We walked down a well-kept road to silent valley car park, while there my walking partner otherwise known as my grandfather gazed like a child at the ducks!

Now, if I was given one word to describe my granddad it would be "quackers!" Mainly because he has an obsession with ducks! Even the way he says ducks is said with passion. Pronounced   D-U-CCC-K-SSS! 

We stumbled back to the car; we got out of our filthy cloths and boots! It is such a luxury to get into clean clothes and takes off your boots at the end of a walk.

We drove back to our b&b, upon arrival our host gave us a friendly welcome, it's always nice when you go to a b&b and they owners and staff are welcoming and kind.

We went back to our room, I called the first shower, after we had both scrubbed ourselves thoroughly we struck out for a place to get some grub!

We parked the car and strolled through the town, after lots of thought we decided that we'd go to the first place we saw, it turned out to be amazing.

I got carbonara and oh my was it good, the sauce was perfect and the pasta was amazing. After our meal we went back to the room...

We got back to the room and decided to go downstairs to read, I had a book I had to read for English the following Week, it was a very strange read.

We got tired shortly after and decided that we'd hit the hay, before bed I packed up my gear for the following day as it was the last night we'd be staying.

We arose at 0700 hours, we both had showers and headed for the car! Today we'd climb Slieve Donard the highest mountain in Northern Ireland.

We arrived in Donard Park at 0900 hours, we started a few minutes after. Up the slippery track by the river, which would normally be a trickle but after heavy rain overnight it became Rapids.
We came out of the trees a short while after, it was beautiful. The giant rocks, the river, the grass it's hard to take in. The sheer beauty of the mountains. This is why I feel so at home no matter what mountain I'm on.

We past an ancient ice house, its crazy how things like this still stand today. If that had of been built today it would be gone within years.

As we climbed up the valley the sights became better and better, the Mournes are beautiful and give you such a visual satisfaction, we then reached the wall at the top of the valley giving us amazing views.

We then set ourselves up for the climb ahead, it was nothing compared to yesterday's climb but would still be tough, Donard soon became a hiker motorway, there was people left right and centre.

When we reached the summit we were greet by fellow walkers. The top gave amazing views all around. At the top there was a huge pillar in which you could go inside.

As we descended we spotted a farmer herding his sheep, it was a funny sight, the old man whistling and roaring at the top of his voice giving his dogs instructions.

Heading back through Donard Forest was amazing, the river in Rapids the rocks ever so slippy and tree roots just waiting to trip you up.

When we got back to the car we were both wrecked, we got changed and headed for the rocky coast, it was the first time we actually got to see it in the light.

This brought a very happy end to a great trip!

The Mourne Mountains
by Altitude Aaron