An ice-breaking hike to Djouce Mountain / Randonnée brise-glace au mont Djouce

On the Fourth Day of Christmas, we went for a winter hike to Djouce Mountain and found a wonderland of frost, snow and ice on the Wicklow uplands.  

It was a calm and sunny winter day, and it was time for some fresh air after the Christmas lockdown. Brian wanted to go somewhere high, but the acorns wanted to go to the woods, so they could try out their new whittling knives.

In the end we decided to hike up Djouce Mountain (725m/2,379ft), in the Wicklow Mountains National Park, for it offers stupendous views over Lough Tay down below, but also over the Wicklow hills and the Irish Sea in the far distance. 

Nothing could have prepared us for that sight. On reaching the high point in the L1236, a windy back road we take to get to Roundwood, Djouce suddenly appeared ahead of us, blanketed in glistening snow in the soft winter sunshine.

Immediately the acorns’ thoughts turned from playing in the woods to playing in the snow. Thankfully they were kitted out to face any weather conditions in their winter coats, hats and gloves, snow boots and Puddlegear waterproofs.


Trois jours après Noël, nous sommes partis pour une randonnée hivernale au mont Djouce et sommes tombés sur un paradis blanc de neige, de givre et de glace sur les hauteurs de Wicklow.

C’était une des ces journées d’hiver froides et ensoleillées, sans un souffle de vent. Brian voulait aller en montagne, mais les graines de chêne voulaient aller en forêt, pour y essayer leurs nouveaux canifs.

En fin de compte, il fut alors décidé de gravir le mont Djouce (alt. 725 m), dans le Parc national des Monts de Wicklow, car le sentier offre une vue imprenable sur Lough Tay en contrebas, mais aussi sur les collines de Wicklow et, au loin, la mer d’Irlande.

Rien ne nous avait préparés à ce panorama. Du point haut de la L1236, une petite route que nous prenons pour aller à Roundwood, le mont Djouce apparut soudain devant nous, couvert de neige scintillant sous le doux soleil d’hiver.

Bien sûr, les graines de chêne y virent tout de suite la chance de jouer dans la neige, plutôt que dans les bois. Heureusement, ils étaient parés à tous les temps, avec leurs parkas, gants, bonnets et bottes, et leurs imperméables Puddlegear.

frost-deer-grass-clouds-winter-sunshine frost-heather-winter-sunshine-wicklow-ireland frost-heather-sunshine-winter-wicklow-ireland

From the J.B. Malone car park, the acorns started walking up the frozen trail with excited shrieks. Mermaid picked up a long stick, which she whittled into a spear only 10 minutes later, when she reached the J.B. Malone Memorial, or Barr Rock. 

J.B. Malone (1913–89) was an Irish hill-walking enthusiast who popularised the pastime through his television programmes and books. He was responsible for the establishment of the Wicklow Way as a recognised walking trail, having first proposed it in 1966.

This spot is undeniably one of our all-time favourites in Wicklow, if not Ireland. Facing the stark cliffs of Luggala, overlooking the dark waters of Lough Tay, justifiably nicknamed the Guinness Lake, and gazing into the wilderness of the Wicklow uplands, it feels like standing at the edge of the world.


Du parking J. B. Malone, les graines de chêne commencèrent à gravir le sentier verglacé. Sirène ramassa un long bâton, qu’elle tailla en une lance 10 minutes plus tard, quand elle arriva au mémorial J. B. Malone, ou Barr Rock.

J. B. Malone (1913-89) était un avide randonneur irlandais qui popularisa cette activité par ses programmes de télévision et ses livres. Il fut responsable de la création du sentier de grande randonnée Wicklow Way, qu’il proposa pour la première fois en 1966.

Ce lieu est sans aucun doute un de nos préférés de Wicklow, voire d’Irlande. Face aux falaises austères de Luggala, surplombant les eaux noires de Lough Tay, surnommé le lac Guinness pour des raisons évidentes, et embrassant l’âpreté des monts de Wicklow, il donne l’impression de se tenir au bord du monde.

Read this / A lire  #9 - Christmas cookies / Biscuits de Noël

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For most of the hike, a boardwalk climbs and twists its way towards Djouce, in an effort to protect the mountain vegetation from further erosion. But the normally rough and wet ground had turned into a winter wonderland of snowy heather, icy deer grass and frozen bog ponds, dotted here and there with beautifully frosted-over evergreen trees.

The acorns tested and broke every patch of ice along the way. 


L’essentiel de la randonnée consiste en un trottoir fait de traverses de chemin de fer, afin de protéger la végétation de l’érosion. Mais la lande, normalement boueuse et accidentée, s’était transformée en un paradis blanc de bruyères enneigées, de graminées glacées et de trous d’eau gelés, parsemé çà et là d’épicéas entièrement givrés.

Les graines de chêne ont tenté de briser tous les morceaux de glace au fil du chemin.

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Progress was slow with so many play stops so halfway up, we went off trail looking for a suitable picnic spot. There, in an unspoilt patch of rolling heath and tall spruce trees covered in thick frost, we fired the Kelly kettle. Well, Brian and Squirrel fired the Kelly kettle, as always.

Finding dry twigs and sticks proved difficult, but dried-out stalks of heather spared by the snow drifts did the job eventually. Soon we all tucked into a warming bowl of instant chicken noodles.


Impossible d’avancer vite avec autant de pauses, alors, à mi-chemin, nous avons quitté le sentier à la recherche d’un coin pique-nique. Là, sur un carré hérissé de bruyères et de hauts épicéas couverts de givre, nous avons allumé la bouilloire Kelly kettle®. Ou plutôt, Brian et Ecureuil l’ont allumée, comme d’habitude.

Trouver des brindilles et bâtons secs s’avéra difficile, mais des tiges séchées de bruyère épargnée par la neige finirent par faire l’affaire. Quelques minutes plus tard, nous avions chacun un bol de nouilles chinoises instantanées à dévorer.

‘Look, these are the Elders!’ Mermaid whispered, pointing at the “Christmas trees”, in an unexpected reference to Stumpa, a Christmas story we’d read in December.

The acorns soon started making snowballs and rolling about in the white stuff, while Brian and I went our own ways (but within earshot) exploring the wintry landscape. 

We were only a few hundred metres from the boardwalk trail, yet we could have been alone in the world.


“Regarde, ce sont les Anciens !” murmura Sirène. Elle désignait les “arbres de Noël” tout proches, qui lui rappelaient Stumpa, un livre de Noël lu pendant l’Avent.

Les graines de chêne se mirent à faire des boules de neige et à se rouler dans la poudre blanche, pendant que Brian et moi partions chacun de notre côté à la découverte de ce paradis hivernal.

Le sentier de planches était à une centaine de mètres de là, pourtant nous avions l’impression d’être seuls au monde.

Then it was time to pack up and go back.

As the cold light of dusk turned increasingly blue and the landscape looked increasingly like a painting, the acorns had a lengthy play at a frozen pond and invented the penguin slide! (Read all about it in the separate post.)

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Puis il fut temps de ramasser nos affaires et de repartir.

Comme la lumière froide du crépuscule bleuissait inexorablement, et comme le paysage ressemblait de plus en plus à un tableau de maître, les graines de chêne inventèrent la glissade du pingouin sur un étang gelé ! (Lisez toute l’histoire dans cet article.)

A snow-capped Kippure (757m/2,484ft) / Le mont Kippure (alt. 757 m) couvert de neige.

Back at Barr Rock, as the cold descended on the mountains, a man flying a drone caught the acorns’ attention, especially Squirrel’s, for a while, before they posed for the obligatory photo. Jedi was holding what he dubbed his ‘icePad’!


De retour à Barr Rock, comme le froid descendait sur les montagnes, un drone et son pilote attirèrent l’attention des graines de chêne, surtout Ecureuil, avant qu’ils posent tous les quatre pour la photo de rigueur. Jedi tenait ce qu’il avait baptisé son “icePad” !

Looking forward

As the sun set on this momentous day of winter fun, but also on twelve months of outdoor adventures, Jedi took a moment of quiet reflection. Looking forward to the year ahead, perhaps?


A l’horizon

Comme le soleil se couchait sur cette inoubliable journée d’hiver, mais aussi sur douze mois d’aventures pleine nature, Jedi prit quelques minutes de contemplation silencieuse.

Au crépuscule d’une année et au seuil d’une autre. 

 

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links. Should you choose to make a purchase after clicking on one of them, I may receive a small commission and your purchase will help support this site.


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Getting there

Travelling northbound (Dublin) on the N11, take Exit 8 (Kilmacanogue), then the first exit on the roundabout, signposted for Roundwood and Glendalough (R755). At the next roundabout, take the second exit and continue straight ahead on the R755.
Travelling southbound (Wexford) on the N11, take Exit 8 (Kilmacanogue), immediately after the Topaz petrol station, following signposts to Roundwood and Glendalough (R755). At the roundabout, take the last exit, to Kilmacanogue and Roundwood (R755). At the next roundabout, take the first exit for the R755.

Follow the R755 for 11km, then turn right onto the R759, signposted for Sally Gap. Drive 4.5km up this road to the J.B. Malone car park on the wayside. 

Walk across the road for a plunging view over Lough Tay. Alternatively, start walking through the trees behind the car park to catch the boardwalk trail to Djouce.


S’y rendre

Circulant en direction du nord (Dublin) sur la N11, prenez la sortie 8 (Kilmacanogue) puis, au rond-point, la première sortie, en direction de Roundwood et Glendalough (R755). Au deuxième rond-point, prenez la deuxième sortie et continuez tout droit sur la R755.
Circulant en direction du sud (Wexford) sur la N11, prenez la sortie 8 (Kilmacanogue), tout de suite après la station service Topaz, et suivez les panneaux indiquant Roundwood et Glendalough (R755). Au rond-point, prenez la dernière sortie pour Roundwood et Glendalough (R755). Au rond-point suivant, prenez la première sortie pour la R755.

Continuez sur la R755 pendant 11 km, puis tournez à droite sur la R759, indiquant Sally Gap. Continuez sur cette route pendant 4,5 km jusqu’au parking J.B. Malone, en bord de route.

De là, traversez la route pour une vue plongeante sur Lough Tay en contrebas. Ou traversez la pinède au dos du parking pour rejoindre le trottoir en planches qui monte à Djouce.

 

 

Kippers and Curtains

 

 ethannevelyn.com  Country Kids Two Tiny Hands  The Helpful Hiker “Untold

19 Responses to “An ice-breaking hike to Djouce Mountain / Randonnée brise-glace au mont Djouce

  • Wow! Oh my goodness, those trees coated in white are spectacular! And the whole walk looks wonderful.

  • Well the scenery here would be hard to top at any time of the year but in that winter sun with snow and ice covered branches it looks like a scene from Narnia and quite other worldly. All your photos have me spell bound and how brave to even brink the Kelly kettle with you on your trek. This really is a perfect winter adventure. I’m surprised your camera dealt with the cold to capture these lovely views to share here, mine has a tendency to freeze and shut down in the cold much to my annoyance, I’m glad yours didn’t.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

  • What stunning scenery to walk through. My son would be breaking every ice puddle along the way too #CountryKids

  • What an amazing hike! We love the way the ice has touched everything in sight, the snowy heather and the icy bogs makes it look like something out of Narnia x #CountryKids

  • Waouh….juste époustouflant de beauté. La luminosité est superbe sur bon nombre de tes photos. Cela a du être une sortie féerique que je t’envie…
    Bises à vous tous

  • Gorgeous photos! What a stunning landscape to be able to escape to. #countrykids

  • Wow – absolutely stunning scenery, beautiful pictures and what a great walk #pottyadventures

  • Wow! The Wicklow mountains certainly look like a wonderful place to hike. They remind me a little of quieter areas of Snowdonia, such as the Carneddau, which I love. I really must get over to Ireland for an adventure this year. Thanks for joining us on #adventurecalling . I hope you can tomorrow when it opens again.

  • I love your beautiful wintry photos and that last picture is stunning, it looks amazing. Such a great place for a walk and a winter adventure. Also very impressed with the acorn’s whittling skills. Thank you for sharing your great post with us #AdventureCalling

  • Oh my goodness, those icy views are just breathtaking! What a beautiful walk, looks like the kids had an amazing time. #countrykids

  • Wow! That is absolutely stunning and your photos capture the magic so beautifully. Thank you so much for sharing. I wish I was there. #countrykids

  • What a beautiful place to go walking and once again your photos are amazing and I’m just inspired to go get outside! I love the last obligatory photos of the kids, I’d not realised you did this till now!! ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬ and I’m calling in to #countrykids too

  • I love hiking but not in Winter. Too cold for me but it looks really beautiful! You took so many amazing photos:) #FamilyFunLinky

  • The scenery in Wicklow is incredible. What a winter wonderland. I am terrible in the cold but I would certainly put up with it for views like this. I am sure it will be a day to remember for a very long time to come #FarawayFiles

  • Off to google Wicklow now…. hubby would be in his element. Your photos are just magical Annette. Sarah #ExplorerKids

  • Yet another beautiful written post! I feel like I’m loving through your beautiful and wondrous postcards. You are so talented both as a travel writer and photographer. I kept scrolling through the post – this one is my favourite and then the next one would be my favourite and the next! I can not choose. There are too many gorgeous photo here! I also love all the quotes you made throughout the post. Just so beautiful. <3

    Thank you very much for linking up with us on #ExplorerKids

  • It looks like something out of a fairytale. Just goes to show you can hike in any weather! Your pictures are amazing!! #ExplorKids

  • What a beautiful day out. I love the frosty landscape and your detail photos are stunning! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

  • These photos are stunning, and what a wonderful day out you all had! Your winter attire must be very good because although it is so beautiful I bet it was also bitterly cold. I’d love to a cold snowy hike like this, but I’m afraid my family would disagree… #farawayfiles

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