Mount Brandon and the Saints Path

Having been disappointed not to make the top on Sunday, two days later we headed off to try the walk from the Saints Path which is said to be the easier, but less picturesque, route.

Some training strains were still apparent but this was the best day for weather and had given a rest day in-between. The Saints Path tackles Mount Brandon from the other side, and so it was a drive over the Conor Pass and through Dingle before carrying on out to start our walk. We found we were the only car in the car park, and off we set.

The Saints Path has wooden crosses marking the route, of which I understood there were 14; it turns out there are 16 as the first cross ten minutes after starting the walk is not numbered, and neither is the cross at the top. Whilst this is known as the less picturesque route it still had some stunning views.

Some would say climbing a mountain isn’t a substitute for a long run and they are different, but this was still hard in it’s own way and in a manner different to what I’m used to in terms of long runs. The early part of the route was across moorland which would normally be boggy, but on our walk was completely frozen. The path then became much steeper and more rocky, with some scrambling and climbing needed as we got higher. This route was much clearer than the Pilgrim’s Path with many more white route markers on the Saints Path than we had found a couple of days earlier.

It was one degree centigrade when we left the car and it is said it can be up to 10 degrees colder at the summit. Whilst we couldn’t measure the temperature, it was definitely cold and biting and we stayed long enough for a few photos before heading down. We saw one other person on our way down who was climbing up and was making the best of it being a fine day. We’d read the summit is often covered in cloud but we had great views when we made it to the top.

The walk was 9.65km with 773m of elevation gain. There was snow on the sheltered side of the summit, and near the top we crossed a number of frozen streams. For the last 2km on the way down it snowed, but we’d had the best of the weather for the rest of our walk and we were pleased to make it to the top!

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