The best day on the top of Slievenamon no one would say was kind. It stands independent. There are at least 40 miles to the nearest mountain that might bend a lazy wind. But mostly, there is nothing preventing the wind from having a right good run at you from any point of the compass once you’re near the summit.
Climbing her, there are many temptations to leave ones jacket under a stone or in the forest. Your body generates a level of heat that you feel has become a permanent condition. This causes one to shed layers. But that is a big mistake, one the mountain will punish. So if I’m late getting going I see many bits of cloth beside the path. Sometimes the odd backpack. And even the odd exhausted person with a vein throbbing on the forehead, jettisoned for the good of the climb by fitter friends. These fellows, for it is normally men, reclining with that air of Neronian smugness happy in his decision to accept the easy breath than the drowning gasp of the unfit, the lactic screech in the muscles and the craving for a wee. His kidneys have gone into overdrive sucking excess water from his system. But now that he has halted the body reabsorbs and removes some of the pressing pressure. However the people who have deposited their clothing will feel a degree of nakedness before the elements above that it seems the cold is sourced in their very marrow.
I wrote usually it is men that falter. And that’s true. It is usually men you see strewn. What I’ve never quite figured out is why they don’t begin back down. Why display the acceptance. Women tend not to, and I don’t believe women are any less or more fit. They just have the brain to return.
What’s actually quite remarkable are the numbers from around here that have never summited. And while I know there are people who aren’t ‘Mountain’ people by inclination, they tend like the other side of my family, of the sea. Those in the middle leaning one way or the other. But this breed, oh, I just don’t know.
Slievenamon is a short climb, but it has a very steep angle of ascent, leastwise the way most people climb it has. This tends to keep people off her. You can see the pitch very easily for the roads cut near the base that a 1:1 gradient is the norm. In the early years, the current path cut for the transport of concrete and provisions to the troop of the Ordinance Survey that were in permanent encampment to tend the limelight certainly eased the climb. I lately had access to the archive about this period and if they are anything to go by, the summit was no place for those with an imagination. What with a speaking wind and clouds that dance along the rim to small whirlwinds, the sídhe. That there is a mound there also hardly helped matters either. What they were doing up there was really quite simple. Since the mountain was visible in all directions, a light atop her was also. This wouldn’t happen on a range with peaks serried like teeth where one peak or more peaks couldn’t be seen from a trig point. But looking out, the independent Slievenamon could be seen. And back in the 1840’s the intense white of the lime could be seen as far away as Snowdon in north Wales.
The path cut by that troop of surveyors eventually grassed over. But then about 30 years ago a deflector TV antenna was installed by some bright spark. In order to service this installation they cut a track and from there all the problems stem. In the last 30 years erosion has cut a gouge out of the mountain peat. This is compounded each year by people like me compacting the turf. Which prevents the rain soaking in and in turn causing pooling, thence a pothole and a full-blown cavity soon follows. Leading to a widening of the seventy foot wide gorge forming up the side of the ridge. The exposed gravel is unstable underfoot, ankle-splittingly so, the hikers widen the path automatically for their own safety. But as anyone with a grasp of physics will tell you. A 1:1 grade, a good few tens of thousand tons of peat, undercutting water and with people acting like cheese wire. You are just asking for it.
Next week we’ve the change in the clocks. Spring forward Fall back an’ all that jazz. Personally I think this is a waste of energy. I know that there is a whole who-haw about fuel usage and car accidents. Somehow Scottish cows can tell. And I can see some validity to that argument, either side of the solstices, ‘sept the cow thing. But by the time we change we’ll be the other side of the equinox, and that’s just nuts. It’s now 6.15am, and while not full daylight is nonetheless bright enough for me to see the green of the grass. While out the other end, it’s bright at 19.15pm. So I reckon if we must have this change, we could easily change back around the 10th of Feb.
Those that know me in real life know that I’ve been on a quest to buy a DSLR camera. Nothing in the mid to late thousands. No No no no no, nope, that’s my friend Kristine’s department. She needs that quality for her work shooting wildlife down on the Antarctic peninsula. And something not basic/beginner either. Which normally means that in two years time I’ll need an upgrade. No. Something that will last a while.
This problem that has lasted six years now. In 2006 you could get a mid range dslr with 7megapix. Two years later it was 9-12megapix. In 2010 it was 14megapix. And today it’s 18megapix. You simply cannot get a 2006 camera today, not that you’d want to frankly. Since the snapper you’d give a seven-year old that you bought for €30 has 7mp these days, probably take a better shot too. But surely you say that a 10mp from 2008 would be grand. No not really. They discovered a technical problem where the higher in mp you went the more shake became an issue. So the 2010s without a good image stabilization was destroying the good of going up in the MP’s. Anywho, you get the scenario, it’s the same all over. Every two or so years the price halves and the capacity doubles. Except like here you get odd glitches. I feel that the greater the mpx’s is not going to improve the quality of the framed shot and you are down to crop. Actually I think they hit it about 14mp quite frankly. And with the image stabilization compensating for most shake, I think we’ve hit a plateau. One where I wont feel a total idiot spending a few hundred yoyos, and where I wont get the comment ‘at least you can use the lenses on the new one’.