When our hillwalk leaders plan a hike, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work to be done beforehand. An early ‘recce’ walk through the terrain, followed by possibly two more, closer to the date to make sure the path is still clear and safe, are just the more obvious preparations. A thorough knowledge of the terrain is often called for, especially when unforeseeable events occur (more of which anon).
Then there is the equally important question of “Where will we have lunch?”
Máiréad and Nora hit the spot for that question! Shortly before 10 a.m. we assembled at the Thatch and Thyme in Kildorrery, for the customary cupán tae, and the all-important Rolla . Further evidence of forward planning….- we were invited to order our lunch before we set off. The thoughts of the feast that awaited at the Thatch and Thyme certainly quickened the step of this hiker!
A short drive later, we were at the trail head and up we climbed towards the summit at Castlegale. All that is left of this edifice is a pile of stones and a 360° vista of the surrounding counties: Cork, Limerick and Tipperary. Somebody once left a tin of biscuits with a notebook and pen here, with the invitation to all who passed this way to help themselves, and sign the book. The biscuits are long gone (although it is said that kindly souls who regularly pass have been known to replenish the supply) however, the RTAI signature is now recorded for posterity.
A short stop, not conducive to delay, as the exposed position forced us to hang on to our hats!
Descending form here, we found ourselves on a sheltered path beside quiet woodland, and then crossing some pasture, where we spotted the most underwhelmingly named “Common spotted orchid”. What a beautiful flower!
Having descended, the inevitable climb back up loomed ahead. However our work was rewarded with great views and our sos beag.
Downhill all the way now, and thoughts of the Thatch and Thyme spurred us on. All well, until we met the lads from Coillte felling trees across our path! A timely juncture for a song! Our “Trusty Troubadour” led us in the singing of “Cill Cais”.
And so to Plan B. Máiréad and Nora had no trouble in finding an alternative path through the pine trees, and our feet were indeed glad of the soft carpet of dry pine needles underfoot.
All paths now led to Darragh, and as soon as we reached the car pool we turned towards Kildorrery, where lunch was served al fresco on the well-appointed terrace of the Thatch and Thyme.
Gura míle maith agaibh, a Mháiréid agus Nora as an siúlóid iontach!