Sunday 18 November 2007

Wicklow Mountains

On Thursday I decided that we should go and spend a night in the Wicklow mountains. I did some research and came up with a place called Kippure Estate, seemed perfect as it had self catering accommodation. Now this is really not far, 45 - 50 minutes by car but the whole point was to take some board games, watch no TV and have some good old Q time with the kids. I only booked for 1 night, Saturday as I thought the Friday night would be a waste as Malcolm only gets home around 18H30 on a Friday. So Saturday morning dawned rainy and cloudy and we packed the car and set off on our little adventure at 10h00.

By 11h00 we were sitting in the town of Blessington having overshot the turnoff to Kippure, but deciding that it was only 8 km's into Blessington and it sounded like a great place for breakfast. I had a ham and cheese omelette, figured what the hell, I would be walking it off in the mountains later, Malcolm had a full breakfast and the girls had B.L.T.'s, the best I have EVER tasted! Home made bread toasted to perfection, for the sandwiches and our breakfasts, freshly squeezed orange juice and cappuccino's....darn fine start to our trip. After that a short walk through town to the local supermarket, for milk and salad and then back in the car to retrace our steps to Kippure.

Now...for a shopping parking lot this is not too shabby a view....what say you? I know the picture does not quite give it justice but it is better than NOTHING!

Kippure was not too far away and a very pretty drive on very narrow roads! When we turned into the entrance it was so pretty, the Liffy River babbling along to the right of us with mountains, well looked more like big hills, behind it. The peace oozed out of the very air!!

When we got into our unit it was freezing cold and raining, we turned the heat up and had a look around our accommodation. Pretty nice, lots of wood and 8 beds, nice to know for when we have friends or family and want to go away for a weekend. Unfortunately it had started raining and being the South African wimps we are, we opted to stay indoors and play board games, wait for the rain to stop which actually never happened, so much for walking off my BIG breakfast!

Here is the soggy view from our balcony, enlarge it and you may even spot the river!!!

This is the living area of our unit. The view from the kitchen window and the hill with the marching trees
We ended up spending the rest of the day playing Rummikub, Exploring Europe and reading books, which was fantastic as it was great to have the time to play games and read books without thinking of the washing that should be done, the email that needs typing etc etc.

On Sunday morning we woke up and it was not raining! We all had coffees or hot chocolates and a biscuit before heading out for our hill walk. was very wet out and I decided to wear my crocs as my takkies/runners are new and I did not want to wreck them. The girls wore their takkies as they are already fairly mucky and Malcolm had a nice waterproof pair of hiking boots....hurumph... Of course crocs are dotted with holes so within 5 minutes of being out my socks were wet! We climbed the silly looking hill which had the last laugh as it was a lot steeper than it looked and had us all slipping and laughing the whole way up! We were lucky enough to see a whole herd of deer with their stag keeping watch and heard them warning each other of our noisy ascent. Once we got to what we considered the top, the trees that marched along the top of the hill, see pictures, we discovered that we were not at all near the top and it would be another long hike to get to what would probably also not be the top! The kids and I were oozing water out of our shoes, little rivulets of water kept catching us off guard as they flowed their merry way down to the river below. But it was so much fun! We made our own pathway back down towards the river with the idea that there would be a nice path along the river which we could follow back to the bridge to take us back to Kippure. Lots more rivers and much slipping later we arrived at the river to discover that no pathway existed so we had to carry on making our own through wet ferns nearly as tall as ourselves staying close to the river so that we could get back to the bridge! By now our feet were icy and the kids were almost looking for puddles, huge contrast to the beginning of our walk where we were all gingerly stepping over puddles and suspiciously muddy areas, a waste of time we had soon discovered. Now we were all gleefully slipping around in our shoes laughing hysterically when the mud oozed all the way to the laces. My crocs were AMAZING though, the purple beasts stayed purple and when I got home all I had to do was rinse them off under the tap and they were good as new! The takkies/runners......suffice to say they will probably only be used next time we go walking up a muddy hill!

Home and hot showers, mad packing and another coffee and we were all checked out and on our way home by noon. We decided to go a different route and went through the Wicklow mountains home. We got to an intersection and had to jump out the car and take pictures, it was so typically Irish! Malcolm was not too impressed with my photography so he was about to click away himself when I saw that we had started a mini traffic jam with 2 cars waiting patiently behind us! So my pictures will have to do!!! We passed people doing orienteering which the kids thought sounded like a lot of fun, it may even be something we can do in teams, we will do some research...Anyway before we knew it we were back in Dublin and around the corner from home an hour after our meandering had started! Now I will stick some pictures of our walk, maybe you will get to see some of the fantastic views we enjoyed so much this morning.

The beginning....

View of Kippure as we were going up the hill....

Nearly there....

Up close and personal with the marching trees we could see from the kitchen window

What a view....king of the hill

And heading down down down...

Now this does not even LOOK real!

At base camp!

The fern forest, all brown and sadly dead!

How cool is this, fairies paradise according to Kirstin.

The bridge is in sight!

All roads lead to.....

And last but not least our new addition to the family...

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