Ireland day 0788. Saturday 25 November 2023- Slieve Bloom 3*

Ireland day 0788. Saturday 25 November 2023- Slieve Bloom 3
Today’s summary Third time to Slieve Bloom with the walking club and third time the day has been wet and misty.   So no views, again, but a great day out and I thoroughly enjoyed it.   Val working at Museum and Castle today so didn’t join us, but we enjoyed lamb casserole together in the evening
Today’s weather Started out cold clear and actually a bit frosty.   Clouded over with thick drizzle by the time we got into the mountains.   Almost no wind.   Appx 6c
Today’s overview location
(The green mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The orange 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):
Slieve Bloom and Glenbarrow circuit DWC

(Summary blog only.   Last full blog was Day 0368).

After a week at work, I would really have quite liked a lie in today, but it was not to be.  Every year in November, the walking club visits the Slieve Bloom mountains, in County Laois.   As it’s a 90-minute drive to get there, and as the daylight is limited at this time of year, it means an early start so that we can be away walking by about 10am.   But I was extra-motivated to go today, as the previous two times I have been the weather has been poor – rain and mist, and I haven’t been able to see any of the expansive views for which the area is apparently well known.   Also, Val was working all day – firstly a full shift at the museum, and then immediately afterwards a late night stint at the castle.   So she wasn’t going to be around anyway.

So I got away promptly just after 8am and headed off down the M7 motorway towards Portlaois and then on to the Glenbarrow car park.   As we set off walking, the sky was still quite clear and I was feeling reasonably hopeful that today the run of bad luck weather-wise might be about to be broken.

But it was not to be.   As we stopped for lunch in the forestry just above the Lost Village, we noticed a thick mist creeping down from the mountains, and soon the bright skies and dry air had been replaced by misty gloom and thick drizzle.   And it stayed that was for the whole of the rest of the day, meaning I was once again denied the views and leaving me looking forward to 2024 – fourth time lucky, perhaps?

Anyway, we plodded on up as far as the Stone Man cairn on the Ridge of Capard, making only very slow progress as the path to the summit was either very boggy, or boardwalked with wooden planks which had assumed a lethal slippy greasiness in the drizzle.  Anyway, we all safely made it up and down though I think we were all quite relieved to get off the planks and onto the relative security of the forest track towards the end.

We finished off the walk with refreshments at a new café which has just opened up at the Glenbarrow car park.   It’s very simple – just built into a couple of shipping containers – but it’s very effective and apparently they have been doing great business since it opened three weeks ago.   An excellent innovation.

Well that’s enough for now.   I still have some Spanish homework left to do, but before I do that I need to start preparing some lamb casserole (which I froze a couple of weeks ago before I started work) so there’s a hot meal ready for Val when she gets home.   Then at last it will be time to relax for a few moments before bed!

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

At the start of the walk, descending to the Barrow River (which is, incidentally, the second-longest in Ireland) By the Clamp Hole waterfall.   It’s a bit of a scramble to get up the side
Curious browny-purple semi-gelatinous toadstools – just one of many different varieties which were proliferating in the forest litter Looking from the ruins of the Cones lost village, last inhabited by the Clear family, who finally left in 1962
If there was a view, this is the platform that you would admire it from.   But there wasn’t, so we didn’t. An alligator lurking in the woods near the car park, perhaps?
The last stretch up to the Stone Man cairn on the Ridge of Capard goes over featureless bog.   You either have to carefully pick your way through the thick black mud, or follow the boardwalk which covers some of the wetter sections.   The boardwalk is worse, actually, as it is absolutely lethally slippy
Interactive map

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

Total distance: 15615 m
Max elevation: 451 m
Min elevation: 187 m
Total climbing: 500 m
Total descent: -502 m
Total time: 05:57:15
Download file: Glenbarrow and Slieve Bloom DWC compressed corrected.gpx

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