Welcoming the light with a solstice sunrise hike / Randonnée du solstice


It was an impossibly early start for the first day of the holidays, but we did it!

We went for a solstice sunrise hike. Under the cover of darkness we walked up the Little Sugar Loaf, Co Wicklow, to watch the sunrise from the summit.

Once they got out of bed the acorns eagerly embraced the challenge, donning their headlights and trekking up the trail without as much as a complaint. 


To the east the sky was already brightening. It’s only a 40-minute hike to the Little Sugar Loaf, but we switched off our torches just before the final ascent.

Shortest day of the year

We reached the summit soon after 8am. In the ever changing dawn light, with the sky displaying an incredible palette of colours over the Irish Sea, we waited for the sun to rise, at 8.36am, on the shortest day of the year.

There was something quite special about hanging out together at the top of a mountain waiting for the light to return.

Drinking mulled juice from a flask, nibbling on snacks, chatting and laughing.
Taking in the quietness of the moment, the boldness of the adventure, the warmth of our belonging.
Six of us together, in this instant of stillness between night and day, between dark and light.

This solstice sunrise hike was the stuff family memories are made of.

Finally, the orange glow on the horizon rose above the low cloud, into a glorious ball of warm light bathing the entire landscape in a soft alpenglow.

Our solstice sunrise hike ended about 9.30am back at the car. It was time for a well-deserved, and infinitely satisfying, full Irish breakfast in a cafe in town. 

Getting there

Travelling southbound 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 first exit, to Bohilla Lane (L1029).
Travelling northbound 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 first exit. Cross the flyover bridge over the N11 to reach a third roundabout. Take the second exit, to Bohilla Lane (L1029).

Follow Bohilla Lane until a makeshift carpark on the wayside, large enough for three cars. The trail head is marked by an access sign (note that the Little Sugarloaf is on private land, as part of the Killruddery estate).

Related / Similaire  Solstice walk in Kilmacurragh / Balade du solstice à Kilmacurragh

Il a fallu partir avant l’aube pour ce premier jour des vacances de Noël, mais nous avons réussi !

Nous avons fait une randonnée à l’aube du solstice. Dans les ténèbres, nous avons gravi le Little Sugar Loaf, Co Wicklow, pour admirer du sommet le lever du soleil.

Une fois sortis du lit, les graines de chêne se sont vraiment pris au jeu : à la lumière de leurs torches frontales, ils ont escaladé la montagne sans se plaindre une seule fois.

A l’est, le ciel s’éclaicissait déjà. Il ne faut que 40 minutes pour gravir le Little Sugar Loaf, mais nous avons éteint nos torches avant l’ascension finale.

Le jour le plus court de l’année

Nous avons atteint le sommet juste après 8 heures. Dans la lumière changeante de l’aurore, qui peignait le ciel d’une palette sublime de couleurs au-dessus de la mer d’Irlande, nous avons attendu que le soleil se lève, à 8h36, pour le jour le plus court de l’année. 

Ce fut un moment extraordinaire que de se trouver ensemble au sommet d’une montagne à attendre que la lumière revienne. 

A siroter du sirop chaud, grignoter quelques snacks, rire et bavarder.
A savourer le calme du moment, l’audacité de l’aventure et la chaleur de notre complicité.
Tous les six, ensemble, en cet instant immobile entre nuit et jour, entre noir et lumière.

C’est ce dont sont faits les souvenirs de famille.

Enfin, la clarté rougeoyante à l’horizon s’éleva au-dessus des nuages et une boule éclatante de lumière dorée illumina le paysage d’une douce lueur rosée.

Notre randonnée du solstice s’acheva de retour à la voiture à 9h30. Il était temps de s’offrir un petit déjeuner réparateur et amplement mérité dans un des cafés de Greystones.

S’y rendre

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 première sortie pour Bohilla Lane (L1029).
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 première sortie. Traversez l’échangeur au-dessus de la N11 pour atteindre un troisième rond-point. Prenez la deuxième sortie, pour Bohilla Lane (L1029).

Suivez Bohilla Lane jusqu’à un parking de fortune sur le bord de la route, assez grand pour trois véhicules. Le départ du sentier est indiqué par un panneau. A noter que le Little Sugarloaf est une propriété privée, appartenant à la maison de Killruddery.

Related / Similaire  Sunrise chasing on the winter solstice / A l'aube du solstice d'hiver

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11 Responses to “Welcoming the light with a solstice sunrise hike / Randonnée du solstice

  • Je suis totalement admirative, pas uniquement de la motivation de tes graines de chêne (moi qui ne réussis plus à faire participer nos deux ados à nos randonnées), mais aussi de cette idée que je trouve aussi géniale qu’originale. Félicitations à vous six pour cette belle excursion et bravo à toi pour savoir si joliment garder la trace de ces moments précieux.
    Bises à vous six.

  • This looks like total happiness and I love that you ended with a cooked breakfast in town. Is there anything special about an Irish breakfast? Guinness maybe?! Wild wishes to you and the Acorns for a fantastic planet-saving outdoorsy 2019 and thanks for your brilliant blogging support throughout the year! XX

  • What a wonderful way to start the holidays!! I managed one sunrise this year with my eldest when the clocks changed. I am going to add this to the list for this year although living in Sussex I think we will need a drive to the Dyke rather than hike since we are very flat nearby. Wishing you all the best for 2019 #farawayflies

  • I’d love to do something like this, but know my family would murder me if I even suggested such a think. They don’t mind an adventure, just so long as the sun has already risen when we start. ha ha! Happy New Year! #farawayfiles

  • What stunning colours in that sunrise and some wonderful memories for you all to make together #countrykids

  • Back again from #CountryKids to soak up some more early morning outdoor inspiration from Ireland. Thanks for sharing with the community

  • What a lovely idea to quality time with the family and I bet that’s been stored in the memory banks! We’d love to do something like that and have vowed to get out of the city next Christmas x #CountryKids

  • Your photos never fail to lure me back to Ireland. What a wonderful way in which to embrace nature #CountryKids

  • What a gorgeous adventure. I look forward to doing things like this when my kids are a little older. #countrykids

  • What a lovely start to the holidays with a sunrise hike. I would never have thought of getting out to see in the sunrise at the winter solstice. What gorgeous views of the sunrise you had too and what a wonderful family moment to savour. Finishing off with an Irish breakfast sounds perfect too! Thank you for sharing with #CountryKids

  • What a magical place to visit! The views are gorgeous and looks like everyone had so much fun!


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