Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Croagh Patrick Climb May 2015

Hi everyone!

So on Saturday we set out nice and early for Croagh Patrick, near Westport in Co Mayo. We were so lucky that the weather cleared, following the horrible week of rain that we had just had. The conditions were perfect for climbing, clear, cool and dry. Driving towards Westport you could clearly see Croagh Patrick with its well worn trail and the excitement and nerves began to build.

This was my second time climbing Croagh Patrick and this time I was much more prepared. Last time, back in 2011, I though I'd be well able but I found it so difficult (it didn't help that I had no fitness and climbed in jeans!) and I was in pain for a full week afterwards. This time I was ready!

Croagh Patrick

Croagh Patrick is a 764 metre mountain 8km outside Westport in Co Mayo, overlooking Clew Bay. It is Irelands holiest mountain with a pilgrimage taking place there on the last Sunday in July each year.

At the very bottom of the mountain there are a number of steps to be climbed and these would tire anyone out especially when you get to the top of them and look up. Its very daunting to see the mountain ahead and to think about the task that you are about to take on. You can see people dotted along the trail all slowly and carefully trying to make their way to the top.

The climb is made all the more difficult because of the ground. It is covered in loose rocks and stones. In some areas there are even flat rocks that can become slippy when wet. The first third and last third of the climb are the most difficult with the last third probably being the hardest. There is no need for a guide as the trail is very well worn so you can see where you are going all the way up. The last 100 yards can be very difficult to climb but more so to come back down and the loose stones can easily knock you off balance. I know all too well as I fell twice on the way back down but luckily I didn't hurt myself.

The climb itself is tough but you will see people of all shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels attempting to reach the top. When I first climbed Croagh Patrick, back in 2011, I had no fitness and found it extremely difficult. I was much fitter this time around but I still found it tough!

The Climb Itself

Orla, Aiden and I headed off at approx 12.30. We were fully equipped with all of our gear. We had walking poles, boots, water packs and even energy gels. We also had chocolate and jellies to snack on. The day itself was nice so we didn't need our waterproof jackets or anything else that might weigh us down.

We set off on our way with Aiden pushing on ahead and Orla and I climbing at our own comfortable pace. It wasn't long before he was half way up the mountain. We lost sight of him but we had told him to keep going all the way to the top and we would meet up there! Climbing is such a different kind of fitness to running so even though we are both fit, we found this difficult. Aiden, on the other hand, works as an Arborist (More commonly known as a Tree Surgeon) so he had the right type of fitness for the climb, thanks to his job.

Orla and I climbed 1/4 of the way before needing to take out our walking poles. I found these a huge help because if I lost my balance, which can happen a lot due to the uneven ground, they helped to steady me. We would climb for as long as possible and if we needed a break we made sure that we didn't stop for long as its so easy to get cold.

Over half way up there is a lovely flat area and it gave us the chance to relax and take in the views instead of the constant climb.The last third was, for us, the most difficult. We took our time, stopping when we needed a little rest. At this point the trail is narrow, steep and dangerous. There were a number of people stopped resting and some people even had folding camping chairs!

Each time we thought we were nearly at the top, the trail would turn the corner and we would  have more to climb. We finally made it up after 1 1/2 hours. Aiden got up in an hour but waited for us at the top. The church at the top was closed so we just took some photos and sat down for a little while taking in the beautiful scenery.

We spent 30mins at the summit before beginning our decent. I found descending to be much more strenuous on the legs than the climb. I also slipped twice, luckily not hurting myself, but even with my walking poles I still had to be extra careful. You need to dig your heels into the ground when descending and try not to lean forward. We went at a fast enough pace but Aiden, again, was like superman, getting to the bottom in 35mins! It took Orla and I just over 1 hour to descend the mountain and by that stage we were glad to be on flat ground.

That evening we went for a nice meal and some drinks in Wesport. None of us were particularly sore or tired and even the following day but by Monday, 2 days after climbing, we were all feeling stiff on our legs. I found it hard to go down the stairs at home and at work, but it was all worth it.

As stiff as I was following the climb and as tough as it was I am hoping to climb it again during the summer with my family. The thrill of reaching the top and taking in the breath taking views and the sense of accomplishment is addictive!

Until the next time, always remember to be: 

Dee-Termined To Glam & Glow

Dee x

Twitter: @deeglamglow
Instagram: @deeglamglow


  1. Well done you. Delighted for you. And you are looking so much fitter now than in 2011. Perhaps you could pass on some of your motivation to me!!!

    1. Thanks Rese, I felt so much fitter and more prepared this time! It's such a great buzz! I hope you are training for the Runway Run?! X