Ken writes: It’s really embarrassingly late, but yesterday Dot and I went on our first walk of the season. We climbed Sugarloaf or ‘O Cualann’ just outside Dublin. The great advantage of our new digs on the southside is that it only took us twenty minutes to get to the start of the walk. The weather was supposed to be quite bad so we opted for this shorter walk than the one we planned. The wind at the top was pretty fierce, so it was probably a wise decision. We could also see the clouds dumping a bunch of rain on the hills we were going to climb.
Dot adds: For those interested, it’s possible to climb Great Sugarloaf in one short up-and-down from a handy carpark to the south of the hill, but we parked at the GAA club in Kilmacanogue and did a full circuit, which involves more climbing, more varied terrain and altogether a more satisfying walk (though also, this being a Ken and Dot walk, lots of little arguments about what exactly the instructions in the walks book meant and whether this particular patch of flattened bracken/gap in the gorse was our ordained path). Pretty early on I put my foot into a concealed hole and got a boot full of freezing muddy water. Normally this sort of thing happens to Ken and he was very good about almost not laughing.
Great Sugarloaf is only 500 metres high, but it is a thoroughly convincing peak with scree, a precipitous rocky top, a heather-clad spur to the north, a mysterious wooded cleft to the east, and all the trimmings. The triumph of scaling it is only slightly diminished by sharing your summit celebrations with a couple of five-year olds wearing their best pink tights. The five-year olds were a good thing really because we got their Dad to take our summit shot.