TRAINING: Camaderry and Tibradden

Yesterday I drove straight from work down to the Lower Lake at Glendalough. Parking the car here I set off for a joyous run to the main peak of Camaderry (a lower peak lies further East before the Turlough Hill reservoir).

This route makes a truly great training run for practicing long consistent descent. I ran counter-clockwise around the first lake, a flat stretch of around 2k before embarking on the remainder of the 4.5km ascent to the top. The first few kilometres of the ascent are on good fire trail (there is a more direct, rougher and steeper route if you want) and then you enter a stretch of steeper grassy ascent (delightful to run down) before the underfoot turns boggy and soggy as the top flattens before the final approach to the summit.

It always feels like you've reached the top of the hill, and the edge of civilisation, when you hit the plateau in front of Camaderry's summit itself. Suddenly, winds pick up, temperatures drop, and the mountains around seem wilder and more hostile. That you have to start scrambling large bits of the last mile only emphasises this feeling. On a dry day the running over to Turlough Hill is delightful but with 6.5k on the clock and daylight receding I decided to call it a day at the cairn of Camaderry and head back down.

The trek down proved slippery in places after the recent rain causing a few "near-misses" but hitting one of the plentiful deer poses the biggest risk on the mainly fast descent. Returning to the Upper Lake at Glendalough I decide to run past the little beach at its head and continue my counter-clockwise route back to the Visitor's Centre.

A very recommendable training run measuring 14k with 616m of ascent and an average gradient of 10.5%.

Closer to Dublin
Another new favourite of mine is running from Ticknock over Fairy Castle to Tibradden (on the new trails) and back again (varying the route as I please as there are many variations). This basic out-and-back route serves me well when staying in Dublin or looking for a run close to work (Sandyford) and clocks in at 12k with 444m of ascent.

When I wish for a longer run I simply drop down to the Tibradden car park and cross the road and run up towards the summit of Cruagh. Even before you run all the way to Cruagh the hard slog back up Tibradden will offer more than 700m of climbing, going all the way to Cruagh will bring this closer to 900m (a variation I did taking me up to the forestline below the upper Cruagh Wood path was 17k and 726m of elevation).