Mum certainly brought the weather with her, so on a beautiful sunny afternoon we headed off to the Ridge of Capard. This was a location that had intrigued me for a while, but also one that I knew would be open and exposed, and pretty miserable in poor weather.
I underestimated both how long it would take to get there, and how long I’d want to stay there…the windy, rural lanes out of Mountrath were more windy and rural than the map suggested. Not a problem for driving on, but the journey took longer than I expected. Which in turn, knowing how long it would take to drive home, sadly meant we were clock-watching almost from the time we arrived in the car park. Fortunately the much-photographed viewing deck was very close to the car park, and the wooden boardwalk was very easy to walk up. The 360° views from the viewing deck are truly spectacular, it wouldn’t be hard to believe that the whole of Ireland is at your feet. Checking my watch once more, we decided to just head off along the ridge trail, for as long as we could, before time told us we had to turn back.
The wooden boardwalk makes this a very easy loop walk, but bear in mind if the weather is looking dodgy in any way that there is absolutely no shelter once you’re up there. Monty and Mum’s dog, Alfie, had great fun hopping on and off the boardwalk, and leaping through the heather, being surprised by the occasional hidden ditch, much to our amusement.
I had a yearning to try to reach the Stoney Man, but time was against us. We reached the point where the Capard loop walk started to turn back towards the car park, and we carried on instead, picking up the finger posts of the Slieve Bloom Way, taking us further along the ridge. Despite the prolonged dry period of weather we were enjoying, sections of the track were still surprisingly boggy, and this gave me a perfect opportunity to get my new boots into some wet stuff, and test out their waterproofing. Realising that time was pressing, and the route ahead was just more of the same boggy heather with the Stoney Man beyond our reach today, we reluctantly turned back.
Over a quick but well-earned cup of tea* in the car park before hitting the road home, we laid plans to visit (re-visit for me) the Glenbarrow Falls the next day. All along the ridge path, on the way back to the car park, I had been pointing out some visible sections of the Glenbarrow loop walk out in the valley below us. The cool woods would be a welcome change to the hot and exposed Ridge on these rare, hot, sunny days
*Necessary so we could (a) get fluid into ourselves and into both dogs too, and (b) leave all the doors open on the camper van for 5 minutes or so, to cool it down for the trip home….phew it was hot!!!