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Posts tagged ‘curraghmore lake’

The Fish That Got Away All Because Of Dad

As a child, I wasn’t given much opportunity to demonstrate my breathtaking skill with a fishing rod.

My journey to expert angler commenced when my father took the family up to Curraghmore Lake, one of the dark pockets of water in the Magillycuddy Reeks. He also brought a fishing rod which was no doubt state of the art circa 1940.

I believe my mother and I were expected to pick flowers and/or watch admiringly from a rock, while Dad introduced his sons to the noble art of fishing. He probably envisioned bonding with his sons, you know: back-slapping, telling dirty jokes and smoking cigars while providing for his family.

In retrospect, the expedition was doomed. Dad’s really more a finger-pointer than a back-slapper, and he’s never told a joke any dirtier than mildly smutty, and not only does he not smoke but Eoin and Daire would have been about 7 and 3 years old respectively so the whole chomping cigars thing would have been somewhat inappropriate.

To seal his doom, I’ve never been much into picking flowers or, for that matter, being told what to do (these conditions persist to this day). So after about half an hour impatiently watching Dad, Eoin and Daire, I demanded a go.

Dad finally succumbed when I threatened to cry.

We stood on a large rock overlooking the lake and Dad reluctantly handed over the rod. I cast inexpertly and the sullen waters of Curraghmore Lake swallowed the lure without a sound.

At this point I got a little flustered because I had no idea what I was supposed to do next. Dad was getting over-excited about winding in the reel, whatever THAT was. Also, because I was about 9, my attention span was pretty much fully occupied with whining.

Dad was snatching at the rod and I was grizzling something along the lines of, “Da-ad! Get o-off! It’s MY TURN.”

Dad barked, “Just- wind it in wind it in! You’ll get it STUCK!”

The line jerked, and I said something like, “Aww Dad it’s broke-e-en! This is stupid.”

And Dad issued one of those projectile TUT!s that are a skill acquired with children, and said, “Ach, now look what you’ve done. It’s stuck.”

Having finally located the windy thing, I was lack-lustrely turning it, when there was a splash and a fish flipped over the surface of the water.

“Look!” I screamed. The line whizzed.

“Give it here!” roared Dad and grappled the rod off me.

If he’d landed it, I’m sure the event would have been fully obscured by the mists of time and never referred to again. Happily (for me if not my long-suffering father) the story: ‘How Dad Lost My Fish’, or ‘The Fish That Got Away All Because Of Dad’, has passed into family legend. I try to reference it at least once during any reunion of one or more family members.

(My brothers are complicit in swearing it was the biggest fish in the whole of Ireland, possibly the world, possibly ever.)

Also see: the story of Trevor the Trout.

Husband and I are currently working on some family legends of our own.

Tie me kangaroo down

On Thursday, my father and I launched an expedition on Carauntoohil. We didn’t quite make the top. Can I blame it on my father? No wait – it was the weather. Yes, that’s more loyal. Also, potentially more true.

Thick cloud rested on the top of all the Reeks, although it lifted marginally as the morning wore on. A fairly serious track has been cleared from the farmhouse at the head of the Black Valley and we followed it to Curraghmore Lake. We turned back halfway up the slope to the saddle ridge linking Carrauntoohil with Cnoc na Péiste. You might say we were vanquished by dangerously violent sheep.

Also I fell off a stile.

Dad gets ready

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Hello? Is that the horoscope hotline? I'd like to check my horoscope for today, specifically as related to heights. Oh, you don't- hey, is this a recording?

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Big boulder

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Deadlyjelly negotiates the rockery

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Resting up at Curraghmore Lake

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Dad leaning against Rock Art

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Looking down into the Bridia Valley

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Rolf Harris

Fugitive cows

My father used to spend a lot of time in the mountains, but hadn’t done any serious climbing since he had his second hip replaced this time last year. On the top of Carrauntoohil and Cumín na Péiste, I got wistful text messages from him asking me what it was like and to pelt rocks at tourists for him.

 

There is nothing wrong with Dad’s fitness and he is particularly steady with a walking stick, so I worked on him to try something a bit more challenging. He seemed reluctant; at least, he came up with any number of reasons to put it off. Really: he says a few prayers every now and then – it’s not as if he’s tied to a desk.

 

I was thrilled when Dad said he’d like to walk up to Curraghmore Lake, just underneath Carrauntoohil, and suggested the following Monday.

 

The drive the Bridha Valley is stunning: a single-track road winds its way up a gorge and tops out at Bealach Béama with sheer rocks on either side. Unfortunately, halfway up we got stuck behind a Bentley, which in turn got stuck behind a herd of cows. After a while, it became evident that the cows were fugitives; there was nobody driving them.

 

Half an hour later, I was fed up with the Bentley jamming on the brakes every time a cow chewed cud aggressively. He was obviously nervous about having his gleaming car licked by a cow, or lashed with a tail. When we came to a narrow(er) stretch of track, I applied the handbrake and dashed up to the Bentley. I knocked on the window.

 

“Hi, ah- oh, how are you? Nice weather we’re having. Where you off to today? Just here for a holiday, eh? Oh, Glenbeigh is lovely, yes. Listen, I was wondering, would you mind pulling in when you have a chance and letting me go ahead? My husband’s an expert on passing cows.”

 

“Oh, no problem,” said the driver. “I wanted to do that myself, but missus wouldn’t let me.”

 

The Bentley pulled over and I nudged through the cows, instructed by Andrew: “Ok, zoom up behind them really fast and then swerve to the left.”

 

We eventually reached the head of the Bridha Valley and got ready to go. Dad did a couple of creaky squat-thrusts.

 

I was terribly nervous for Dad, but he set off strongly. Every few hundred metres I checked to see if he was ok, but it seemed superfluous when I had to catch him up to pose the question. The man leaped from rock to rock and forded streams in single bounds. I was tremendously proud.

 

“This is my dad. He has two false hips,” I said to everyone we met.

 

“Er Niamhie, maybe your father doesn’t want you telling everyone,” said Andrew.

 

It took us shortly over an hour to reach the lake. As we ate our lunch it started to drizzle, but we had waterproofs and a flask of coffee, and Dad wouldn’t have considered it a Walk if he hadn’t battled headwinds.

 

We were back at the car, when a man pulled up and wandered over. He was waiting for three people who had set off from the other side of the saddle two hours before. Andrew managed to pick out the group as they passed the bottom of a rock face.

 

“Why don’t you go and meet them?” I asked the man. “There’s a clear track.”

 

“Oh no, I don’t do that kinda stuff,” he said. “Ah have a false hip.”

 

“Well, I have TWO false hips,” said my father, and maybe only I could hear the ‘na na nana na’ hanging unspoken in the air.

 

I considered The American’s size more an impediment than the false hip, but inspired by my father’s restraint, I resisted saying so

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