December Slieve Commedagh Summit Camp

Well, myself and summit86 decided to head off up Commedagh last night for our first summit camp, ever.
The forecast was for a clear, cold, night and rain all day Sunday so with appropriate clothing and gear we set off about midday.
It seemed that the top of Commedagh was the only peak in Northern Ireland that was covered in cloud but, hoping that’d clear later we kept on.
Now its been a while since I went for any kind of a hike up a mountain and I’d never done it before with a full rucksack so after one last puff off we set – this was going to be a test of character.

First thing I learned is I don’t like using two poles.
I handed the other to Phil.
We had a few stops on the way to try out the Jetboil and try and contact my daughter at home with the Binatone Action 1000 radios. Jetboil did what it was supposed to very well when we stopped at the ‘Big Rock’ below the stairs up to the saddle, Binatone was intermittent among the trees (with Dundrum Road) but from the ‘Big Rock’ it worked very clearly all the way up Commedagh until we entered the cloud.

Spoke to a few folk on the way who all commented that it’d be a cold one – apologies if any of you are on this forum. I was concentrating to hard on my next breath at this time to ask πŸ™‚

Eventually made it to the saddle and was greeted with the view below which gave me an excuse to drop the pack, catch my breath for 10 minutes and have a chat with a few folk sitting to the left taking in the same view. They seemed to be having a good time, laughing and chatting though the laughter was probably from my jump from the third step from the top as a gust of wind helped me over the wall. Perfect landing I might add πŸ™‚

And then off to the right and up the final stretch to Commedagh’s summit.

Phil said it wasn’t a bad climb and that we’d be there in no time but I found it tiring enough. Really do need to lighted the load for the next time I do this.
As Phil disappeared into the mist I decided I’d drop the rucksack and sit for a couple of minutes thinking that I had another climb after the next ‘lip. Turns out I was 10 or 20 steps from the summit πŸ™‚ But we made it and it was foggy.

Nipped down to the water pipe to fill our flasks too. Very handy thing to have up there but at night with head torches we slid most of the way down to it. Very icy.
Put the wine out to chill while we got the tents up

Then got the firelog lit and grabbed a seat after a bite to eat.

Although the ground was white there was almost no wind at all and it was quite pleasant up there.
Bed by 20:00, I think.
I was hoping for a clear sky for a bit of night sky long exposures but it didn’t happen. Well, apparently it did but I was tucked up snug after that bottle of white and couldn’t drag myself outta the tent.

Woke at 11:30 to the sound of Phil snoring so stepped out for a look around and took a few shots by moonlight and the occasional break in the clouds before jumping back in and trying to get some sleep.

I had a Thermarest Z-Lite closed cell foam mat, a Helium 3.8 inflatable mat on top a Lamina 0 sleeping bag and a pillow I bought in Cotswold too. Very comfortable combination. I did toss and turn for a bit and found the noise of the snow valance’s in the slight breeze a bit distracting but I eventually fell asleep. Woke a few times to find my toes off the end of the bat and on the ground sheet but unsure if I was sliding as I was on a slight slope or just from moving as I slept.

Anyway, I woke up and had no clue what time it was so I opened the zip at the other end of the tent and Wow – what a view..

So boots on and out with the camera.

Phil popped his head out andΒ thoughtΒ it was snowing but was just the frost on the outside of the tent falling on him

And off I went to take a few more pics…

Quick brew and packed our gear to the sound of barking behind us. Two different blokes in shorts with dogs appeared, over the stile, and away. Fair play but I was keeping by winter crag hoppers on thank you very much.

After more photos πŸ™‚

Then off along the wall towards the hares gap, stopping off at the water pipe for a drink and refil.
Met quite a few people on their way up Commedagh too.

Realised that we were being stalked after a bit.
Old friend of Phils πŸ™‚

There seemed to be folk climbing just about every peak you could see and along every path too.

Finally made it to hares gap

..and dropped the ruck for a well earned sit down and think..

By this time all I was thinking about was a massive fry at Meelmore lodge but when I called they said that no frys were available just now – NOoo!! – but a toasted sammidge would do just nicely πŸ™‚

Down the Trassey Track

..passing loads more people heading up and it was camera in the bag, tummy rumbling, head down and keep er lit. Oh aye, and sheets of ice and many many speed wobbles along the way..

Met a group of 10 or so (?) who were all wearing the same kit – red and black jackets.
Turns out they all had RAF on their arms and after saying hi and asking what it was like last night, took off at a run towards hares gap and beyond..

One more photo just had to be taken before we hit sheep fold ;D
Anybody on here own this?

And that was that.
Spoke to one of the mountain rescue lads as the came through the gate at Sheep fold – said they had been doing assessments at 2am last night (Well done Laim πŸ™‚ ).
Hung a left along the wall till we came to the end of the track up to Meelmore.
Final push up the hill and dropped our packs, washed our boots in the wee ‘wash you boots’ thing provided outside and in for a massive sausage beans and chips.
Where by the way we met two lads from Carrick direction who were up on a summit camp (cant remember where). They were marking another one off the list. And apparently there were 4 others in earlier who had been out doing the same thing (Annalong Wood direction?)

Anyway, taxi home, lovely shower and up to O’Hares for a seat beside the big log fire in the from bar for a few well earned pints of Guinness and a to watch Ulster beat Scarlets 19-12.

What a buzz…. πŸ˜‰

That Force 10 is a fantastic tent but its gonna be used for me and the daughters when we can split the load. Lighter tent, maybe even bivvy, is definitely on the shopping list.

This entry was posted in Trip Reviews.

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