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Here are some of my favourite pictures from 2009. Click on any of these photos to enlarge.

February 2009 – Galtee Mountains, Co. Tipperary

April 2009 – Germany (Wiesbaden and Stuttgart)

May 2009 – Glenmalure,Co. Wicklow

May 2009 – Grand Canal, Co. Kildare

May 2009 – Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare

June 2009 – Skellig Islands, Co. Kerry

June 2009 – Midleton, Co. Cork

July 2009 – Old Kenmare Road, Co. Kerry

August 2009 – Sheep’s Head, Co. Cork

September 2009 – St. Davids, Wales

September 2009 – Brecon Beacons, Wales

September 2009 – Elan Valley, Wales

September 2009 – Aberystwyth, Wales

September 2009 – Carrauntoohil, Co. Kerry

I’m back from a three day sojourn in south Kerry, walking 71 km in aid of cancer research. The format of the event this year was different from previous years, in that we were based in the same location for the whole weekend, with all walks terminating in Kenmare. We were brought to our starting point by bus from Kenmare each morning. (Kenmare is a smashing little town in south Kerry, a short distance from some of the most superb scenery in the country. If you are thinking about a trip to Ireland, it is an absolute must-see).

Moll's Gap

Moll's Gap

On Friday we travelled from Moll’s Gap to Kenmare. It was a relatively easy road walk, with the final few kilometers trudging through the hills above Kenmare. The distance was 17km, so it wasn’t too difficult. Conditions on the hills were very wet (no surprise given the rain of the last few weeks).

Lauragh to Kenmare

Lauragh to Kenmare

Saturday was the most challenging walk. We started out from Lauragh in the Beara Peninsula, and we had to overcome two hills and a long road-walk before we arrived, exhausted and footsore, into Kenmare about 8 hours later. The conditions were quite challenging, in that the ground underneath was either rocky, or very loose or sodden wet. Nevertheless the scenery was spectacular, the temperature was just right and the rain stayed away.

IMG_3322 - Old Road 1

Old Kenmare Road

Sunday was the last of the walks, from Torc Waterfall outside Killarney to Kenmare along the Old Road. This is an absolutely fantastic walk, although not for the faint-hearted. It’s a trek of about 21 km, but at times the scenery looks like something out of Disneyland. The most challenging part of the route was the end – a steep incline then decline on hard road, when my feet were shouting at me “no more”! Sunday was our wettest day. In Kerry they don’t get the kind of rain we are used to. They don’t do drizzle, or moist weather, or soft days. No, in Kerry it’s the Real Thing. From dry to drenched in 0.6 milliseconds.

IMG_3328 - Silver Bullets

All in all, a fantastic three days. I feel great from the walk, the company was great and I have to say that the organisation was fantastic throughout. I’ve had enough bananas and flapjacks to last me a lifetime.

If you would like to do something big for charity in 2010, or you just want a weekend to remember, this is the thing to do!

Sunday brought us from Kenmare to Killarney along the old road, a distance of around 18km. It took us through some of the best scenery that Ireland has to offer.

The terrain was excellent for long distance walking. Gravel paths, railway sleepers and flagstones kept our tormented feet well away from the worst of the boggy land.

The path is very interesting. Trees emerge from the bog in unusual places, abandoned homesteads dating back to the time of the famine are common, and we walked through a narrow glen in one place that seemed to come right from the movie “Darby O’Gill and the Little People”.

After a number of hours we descended the steps by Torc Waterfall. Only a few minutes to go. Or so I thought. We still had Muckross Estate to get through.

And finally, the Brehon Hotel, the finish line, and a chance to take off our boots at long last..

Update: Video of Day 3

 

Maybe we’ll see you on the 2009 walk?

Saturday brought out the crowds. Over 200 people gathered together in Sneem for the walk to Kenmare. 

This walk was the longest of the lot – 28km (19 miles). It’s around 42,000 footsteps and our boots reminded us of this fact with each footfall. The walk was relatively flat, with long stretches on tarmac mingled with a good deal of woodland walking. 

After what seemed like an endless forced march, we ended up in Pat Spillane’s Pub for a quick pint. It could have all ended there…

… but no. We had a few more hills to climb…

… and donkeys to annoy.

Update: Here’s the video of Day 2

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