I think I shall start introducing myself as "Foggy" Fiona. This is our second hike and hey presto we had the fog with us nearly all of the way (including on the recce the week before!).
We had six scouts this time, including the very cool Nicole our one and only female scout who has completed 2 out of 2 hikes, well done Nicole!
We met at our usual spot at 9am, give or take a few minutes, and headed in convoy to Larch Hill. There are currently diversions in place and unless you know the area it can be a little bit confusing. We arrived in no time and landed in a very wet and misty Larch Hill.
After a few minutes helping bring some shopping up from the car for the cub camp it was time to get moving as we were on a different schedule to the Cubs who were busy with their "summer" camp for the weekend.
We effectively walked the "horse shoe" leaving Larch Hill over the back wall and returning via the main entrance.
We entered Kilmashogue Forest Walk and followed the forest track as per our map. Jack and Antony took the lead on this leg of the hike. It was great to see them properly engaged in this activity as sitting in the Den versus doing the walk and marrying the map to what we could see in front of us made a lot more sense.
At this point there was very little to see as we were once again walking in a ball of fog. That didn't stop some other hikers and runners heading up the mountain. We went off track (as per the map) and found a short cut which cut out a bit of a boring upwards assent. It was a lot more interesting to be honest, walking through a spruce forest and then up the side of the mountain/hill was more adventurous!
We swapped the kids out at this point, letting Alex and Nicole have a go. We were still climbing. Despite the fog it was very muggy and hot, plenty of hydration required!
We went off track once again, as per the map, met some very muddy bikers heading back into the forest to find their trails, brave guys with seriously poor visibility but I guess that adds to the fun!
We of course got some geocaching in. There's AD getting right in to get at that cache!
We finally reached Fairy Castle. I won't lie. I thought it was ...a castle or some sort of ruin... It is of course a passage tomb. This was an ideal spot for lunch. We had been walking for a while and everyone was getting very hungry. Again we were covered in a cloak of fog. But as the time passed, the tea was on and the kids were eating, the sun made an effort to burn off the mist and I am glad to say, succeeded and wow.. what a view! We finally could see what we had been missing!
With sun cream applied we started our descent down through Tibradden Mountain.
We were met at some point by one of our Venture Scouters and we continued along our way back to Larch Hill. We stopped at yet another cairn, passage tomb. Took some time to take in yet more breath-taking views.
We were very lucky to see three female deer in the forest. Griffin had spotted something white moving in the forest and when he looked closer discovered that it was three deer! We looked at them and they looked at us. We left them to it and continued on our way. We were making our off the hillside. We now hit the road and saw the pyramid from Larch Hill International Scout Centre. We were nearly there!
All down hill from here. Spirits were still high, no complaining just great chit chat.
All in all it was a great hike. Despite the mist it all burned off and we had spectacular weather.
A big thank you to Silke from Beavers and Brendan from Ventures for joining us on this hike, it was much appreciated and look forward to doing some more hikes together!
We got back to Larch Hill a bit behind schedule but it was worth it and thank you to the parents for their patience.
I reckon going by our last picture of the day the kids would've done it all over again, what do you reckon?!!
We are planning on doing it all again in a couple of weeks so keep an eye out for another post, hopefully without the fog!