Ireland day 0260. Wednesday 15 June 2022- Sugarloaf2

Ireland day 0260. Wednesday 15 June 2022- Sugarloaf2
Today’s summary It was Val’s birthday today and she had a day off work.   And to cap it all,  it was decent weather as well.   So we drove down to Kilmacanogue and did an enjoyable circular walk including the ascent of the Great Sugarloaf.  Kathmandu Kitchen for curry in the evening.
Today’s weather Dry and bright.   Long sunny spells in the afternoon.   Light south easterly wind.   About 19C
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where we walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Sugarloaf on Val's Birthday

It was Val’s birthday today and in terms of ways to celebrate your birthday, climbing the Great Sugarloaf in County Wicklow on a sunny spring day would probably take some beating.   Well that’s what we thought when we set out from the flat this morning with just that objective in mind – after Val had opened her presents and enjoyed her customary breakfast in bed, of course,

I’d been up the Great Sugarloaf with the walking club a few months ago, but Val had been away at the time so hadn’t been able to join me.   So today was a great opportunity to rectify a serious omission in her summit collection – and it’s a good one to do, too, because the Great Sugarloaf is visible from just about everywhere in eastern Ireland, on account of its distinctive, isolated, conical shape.   Whenever you see it, it’s important to be able to remind yourself “I’ve been up there”.

Once the morning birthday celebrations had been properly attended to, we drove down to Kilmacanogue and the start of the walk.   We did though have to stop to fill up with petrol – a painful experience, of course.   How can it possibly cost nearly 70 Euros to buy just 30 litres of fuel?   It looks like the bus is going to have to feature more extensively in our travel agenda, again.   Anyway, as we arrived at the car park and got ready to set off, the sun came out and the scene was set for an excellent short afternoon’s hiking.

The path up the Sugarloaf is clear and well maintained.   (Oh and by the way there are two Sugarloaves – Great and Little.   Today’s destination was the Great one.  Of course).   It seems, though, that most walkers just circumnavigate the mountain but don’t actually go up to the top.   So when we approached the upper flanks of the summit, we branched off and headed up the scree slope to the top.   It’s not hard to see why most walkers bypass the climb as it’s quite rough underfoot and it’s steep and scrambly.   Which makes it all the more satisfying when you do get to the top, as you are one of the relatively fewer visitors who gets to see the magnificent panoramas in all directions that the lofty elevation affords.

It was quite windy and cold on the top – as is normal in these places of course – so we found a comfortable spot behind a boulder, out of the wind and in the sun, to have our lunch.   It was so relaxing in our rocky defile that we actually stopped for over half an hour.   It turned out that the route I had plotted to take us down – which looked like a decent path on the map – wasn’t actually all that good at all.   It was even steeper and looser than the ascent, so you had to pick your way through it quite carefully.   But it was mercifully short so we were soon back down on the perimeter track, once more.

Although I had done much of this walk the previous time with the walking club, today it looked quite different.   For one thing, the onset of early summer had changed the plant cover dramatically, and for another, today we went round in the opposite direction, so the views were mostly new.   We were soon back at the car but, because google maps was telling me the traffic was heavy on the M50, and as we had a restaurant booking at 7pm, we didn’t hang around but set off more or less straight away for Malahide.

Despite the relative slow journey back, we were at the flat in plenty of time to get changed and set off for an enjoyable dinner at our go-to curry house, the Kathmandu Kitchen.   By the time we’d finished, the Killers were starting up again and I think they must have reacted to my excoriating review yesterday as their performance tonight seems to be considerably less perfunctory.  Animated, even.   Mind you, the weather is less cold than it was last night, which probably helps.

And one final thing.   I got the blood tests back from my hip check up today.   I was relieved to learn that my metal levels are “normal” for someone with my type of replacement joint (if you’re of a nerdy disposition and really want to know, my chromium level was 44 and my cobalt was 28, which is more or less exactly what the surgeon said they would be).   So now, unless anything dramatic happens, I don’t have to go back for another 5 years.  Which is excellent news.

So all in all an excellent day today, and I think I enjoyed Val’s birthday almost as much as she did.   Back to the real world tomorrow!


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

The Sugarloaf Way encircles part of the Sugarloaf Mountain but doesn’t actually go up it.   We followed it for the first section of our walk then parted company to make the climb to the top You start off in Kilmacanogue and head up through a network of paths passing by the smart houses in the Rocky Valley
Looking north, with the Dalkey / Killiney peninsula in the middle distance, and Howth on the horizon.   Out to the east, we could just about make out the Welsh mountains, but the Mournes and Cooleys to the north were invisible – despite being about the same distance (100km / 60 miles) away. On the top, with Wicklow Head on the coast behind us
The route we chose for the descent was a lot steeper when you got on it, than it looked from the top.   Lots of loose boulders and gravel meant you had to take it a bit carefully, to avoid slipping and starting a landslide The first heathers were just coming into bloom on the lower slopes of the Sugarloaf (the summit in the background).   I reckon in a month or two, the moors will look pretty spectacular
Val on the way up.   A great way to celebrate your birthday!
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 8015 m
Max elevation: 481 m
Min elevation: 82 m
Total climbing: 483 m
Total descent: -484 m
Total time: 03:20:26
Download file: Sugarloaf For Vals Birthday compressed corrected.gpx

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