Virtual Walk Report: Carnaween Mountain, Mary Daly, 5 April 2020

Ground rule – the only C word allowed today is Carnaween.
Ok relax and take a few deep breaths
Feel the rush of cool fresh Donegal air as it fills your lungs – it will get fresher.
Now a few little stretches – these muscles haven’t been on the hills for a while.
Enjoy the sensation of a perfect sunny Donegal day – well it was when we did the recce Bring your focus upwards as you gaze up at Carnaween’s rugged outline.
Banish those negative thoughts – ‘I can’t’ – yes ‘I can’
Visualise the beautiful mountainscape all around you – ignore those awful wind-turbines over to the right.

Now feel the soft ground as your feet touch the grassy slope.
Picture the fence just up ahead – no bother to you – that’s it up and over. Hear the squelch as you sink into a boggy spot.
Continue upwards at a steady pace – it’s summertime – lots of daylight – no need to rush.
Feel the strained muscles just beginning to ache.
Pause for a while to take in the view below and marvel at how far you’ve come.
Feel deep deep gratitude to be here – take a few long slow breaths and quench your thirst Get going again – Don’t worry about the sheer slope up ahead – swing round to the right.
Face this steepest stretch with resolve – luckily it’s stepped.
Begin to contour back and forth along the mini terraces – mind now – use your poles for balance.

There’s our resident photographer T capturing you as you hover – smile now if you can.
Finally you can see it – the top marked by a tabernacle-like box – not far to go.
Feel the wind pick up now as it whips past your face.
Your nearly there – just a little more effort – think of lunch and the sweets.
Ah finally you’ve made it – collapse onto the ground – enjoy the exhaustion.
Also feel the wind as it’s now gusting threatening to dash you against a rock.
Sign the book from the box if you can manage to hold the pen with your now frozen fingers But most of all drink in the view – as you cling to the rocky outcrop.
Bring your gaze out over the Bluestack range from this it’s most westerly summit.
There are some of our previous conquests – the bright Silver Hill, Binnasruell and Lavagh More.
Look further to South and West – you can pick out Benbulbin and the musted Truskmore.

If you can’t see them yet – just use your imagination!!!!!
And there’s Donegal Bay just down below.
Just swing on round to find Ardara then Glenties tucked in down below.
Now quick a group huddle as T captures another moment for posterity.
Just ease your self down a little out of the wind and tuck into your well-earned lunch.
Savour the taste of your al fresco dining experience – conjure up your favourite sandwich.
Now here comes P with the lovely sweets – great he’s brought our favourites today.
Sit back now and enjoy the moment as you savour the taste.
Imagine if you will some wandering minstrels coming over the hill.
Listen to them as they play some lively tunes some Dance a jig.
Sing to yourself or hum as they finish up with ‘The Mountains of Pomeroy’ ( as they did last Carnaween Sunday) Now make your own way down – careful now there are some slippery slopes.
Yes have a little slide if you wish just to get the full experience.
Swing round to your right here and descend towards Disert See the Eany Beg Water far below making its wavy way to the sea.
Take a little detour into Disert Graveyard to connect with days of yore.
Walk around the stones to gain some relief from what ails you.

I hope you enjoyed this little outing.
See you on the hills – sometime soon hopefully.
Mary and Sheila