Over the past few days, Ireland has been closed down due to the Beast From The East and Storm Emma. With the country, covered by a blanket of snow I was eager to get over the growing sense of cabin fever and get out on the hills before it was too late. After much debate, I decided Moylussa in Co. Clare provided the ideal challenge whilst also being the safest drive.
Location: Moylussa, Co. Clare
Date: 4th March 2018
Number in party: 1
Leader: Barry Kennedy
Weather: Snowy. Poor Visibility
I started off at the Twomilegate car park (R 687 762) and headed up into Ballycuggarn Forest to the official trailhead (R 686 760). I could have driven up to that point but didn’t fancy risking it given the conditions. From the very start there was a thick covering of snow on the ground.
I took the more direct route which cuts through the longer Yellow Route along the East Clare Way. At the top of this shortcut (R 676 759), I was greeted to an incredible scene of a white road. The next phase is relatively flat as it curves around Feenlagh Mountain, past the timber stacks and into the forest. At the end of this forest, the route splits off from the East Clare Way. Further down this road is a turn off to the left (R 663 757) which heads up a very steep path towards Moylussa. Along this stretch, I met several people on the descent including the Venture Scouts from Killaloe.
As I moved closer towards the summit, the height of the snow increased drastically. This was truly spectacular to see but made for difficult walking. Once I reached the sleepers (wooden planks that as designed to protect the bogland underneath), I started to feel the full brunt of the weather. Visibility at the summit (R 652 757) was very poor and the wind was very strong so I didn’t waste time before making my descent.
The steep stretch is tough on a normal day but the snow and ice made it particularly challenging. I met a lovely couple as I descended and walked/talked with them for a few minutes before I stopped to take a few pictures. Towards the trailhead, the snow had started to melt a bit and turned into slush. I was stopped by a few people at this point, asking what conditions further up were like. I also met one guy eager to try his bodyboard on the snow.