Sunday walk: Djouce Mountain – A great view if you could see it!
Wasn’t too sure about yesterday’s mountain walk. Firstly it was going to be in the morning to avoid Sunday traffic to get there. Secondly, I love my Sunday lunch! The other half had chosen Djouce Mountain in Co. Wicklow for this weekend’s outing. This climb did say ‘moderate’ in our excellent guide book “Leisure Walks near Dublin” by Joss Lynam. Easy to me means a flat walk on a beach so bear in mind that I expected something only slightly more difficult.
The weather was a bit on the overcast side but nothing too bad. Djouce Mountain is 725m. high. We arrived at our starting point, a nearby car parking area off the R759 at 11am to see loads of cars. There were several groups of hikers heading off in various directions. Hats off to our excellent OPW (Office of Public Works) whose remit is to look after Ireland’s mountain walks. The route is well marked and in this case there was an extensive boardwalk made with railway sleepers along part of the trail and across boggier ground, which was a blessing. The sleepers are covered in chicken wire which means that they don’t get slippy when wet – so clever. There is a far more altruistic reason for these sleepers than just making the walk that much easier. They encourage walkers/hikers to keep to the trail and not tramp all over the mountain destroying the fragile environment with its glorious heathers; gorse and other wild flora and fauna. The first section leads you up White Hill, where the views over Lough Tay are positively stunning; dark and mysterious due to it being a glacial lough. There is a memorial stone commemorating J B Malone who was one of the great pioneers of Irish hill walking. He was instrumental in bringing the waymarked walks to the Wicklow Mountains.
We finally made it to the top of Djouce Mountain after about 1.5 hours. We did have little stops where we examined the geology comprising of schists, granite and some lovely chunks of quartz. Just as we arrived at the top of Djouce guess what happened? A mist rolled in and we couldn’t see a thing. All that effort. We took some dodgy photos at the Trig Pillar, which is a fixed triangulation station used for surveying. Crouching down behind a large nearby rock out of the wind we ate the obligatory ham sandwiches and some fruit before heading back down, which took about an hour. It was actually harder on the legs walking down than up in some parts. I was a bit envious of the mad bikers on mountain bikes tearing down the mountain at some speed. We had the proper gear, which was just as well, as just as we came close to the end of our journey the heavens opened and it was real heavy Irish rain. We both had a great sense of achievement as this is our second mountain this year. Having said that I am resting my poor feet today as my leg muscles were creaking when I got up today.
Would definitely recommend this walk (climb) – but do try and do it on a sunny day.