After some short negotiations on our commencement time, we settle somewhere in the middle for an 8 o’clock kick-off. Some homemade flapjacks, bananas and walnuts in the bag to help us power through and I’m fully packed. After a quick revision of the old inventory, everything is not where is should be, the need for appropriate footwear being, apparently, only an afterthought for me. Trekking some part of Wicklow in my bear feet is probably not advisable. I have very sensitive toes…..
At 8am, pretty much on the dot, we’re on the road. John obviously picking up some efficiency and punctuality tips in Germany. We’re well on course to getting a good run at the day, Irish style. First on the agenda are some diesel and a machine dispensed coffee……the Americano starting out life as just hot water in a cardboard cup. A seemingly infinite pause and then, plop, espresso shot. It all worked out alright though and, for an automated coffee, not so bad.
Less than an hour later, we’re parked in Crone Car Park, ready to tackle Djouce and then onto Maulin. I’ll be trailing behind the perpetually fit Bren and Tour de France John today……my fitness having taken a serious beating over the last few weeks. No time like right now to test how far I’ve fallen. The legs burn, the lungs grasp at the air, sweat pumps from my brow and I’m only getting out of the car at this stage.
It’s a gentle enough initial climb, past some excellent views of Powerscourt Waterfall and up through Crone Wood before we descend into the valley, where we take a short break for some fuel and water at the river. John grabs some, excellent, photos and then we take a moment to clean up after some wonderful individuals who left their fucking Haribo wrappers everywhere. We eye up Djouce, at 725m tall, it’s not quite sitting on top of Leinster but it’s a decent hike up and the views are amazing. We struggle, for a time, to both walk and talk but we manage to settle a few points of physics and possibility before we mount the summit at around 10:30. After taking stock for a moment, the obligatory photos and a brief visit from a man running in jeans and a woolly jumper we set our sights on Maulin and round two.
Back into the valley, far more quickly than up from the valley, and we sense rain. Out with all the waterproof gear. There’s about 5 mins of rain worth talking about and we’re ascending up Maulin in, basically, plastic bags. It’s getting warmer with every step and my waterproof pants are not breathable. I’m in danger of overheating, just avoiding meltdown as we arrive at 570m, and the top of Maulin.
We have a quick chat, while we catch our breath, with a guy on a bike as he heads off back down the extremely rocky path to, probable, serious injury. One or two photos later and we’re off again, down the steeper side of Maulin. A quicker descent, down a series of rocks and muddy steps. By 12:30, we’re strolling back through the woods en route to the car park. Not a bad way to spend the better part of a Sunday. Just over 15 Km walked in about 3 hours, one mountain and one hill in a day done.