Djouce

Return hike from Djouce

About half-way back! (More photos below)

Knockree Hill and Lackan Wood on the Wicklow Way trail is about 6km inland from Enniskerry. There’s a small quiet car park at the base of Knockree which is an ideal spot to stretch out a good hike south along a beautiful part of the Wicklow Way.

In my opinion it’s a much better place than Crone Wood car park which is always so busy and full.

My friend Toni from Barcelona is back in Ireland so we decided to head out.

The first 6 or 7km from there is an easy and very pretty trail up past Powerscourt Waterfall.

From there the climb starts to get the legs and lungs working well.

For years I didn’t bother with walking poles, my main argument at that point being that they added extra weight for very little apparent advantage.

But, I like to put theories to the test and had an ideal opportunity a while back when The Great Outdoors had an attractive offer on a rather ‘ordinary’ pair of walking poles, good enough to try out.

I’ve used them a lot over the past year or so and now I wouldn’t be without them. Apart from helping with balance they really do help getting the upper body involved in sharing the workload of a long climb. A bit like cross-country ski-ing!

That said I think a significant part of the advantage accrues when one achieves good synchronisation between one’s stride and the rhythm of the poles. I find the best for me is a 2 strides for 1 of the poles on easy trails, and 1 for 1 on steep inclines and climbs where a bit more leverage from the arms and shoulders helps.

So often I have seen people with walking poles and they seem to be at complete odds with the person’s walking gait and rhythm. Looks more like a drunk spider! Maybe it works for them but it certainly looks like a less than comfortable or symbiotic partnership!

Back to the hike!

We reached the top of Djouce Mountain 10.5km from our starting point. The last km or so is quite a tough climb, really good for getting the legs and lungs back in shape.

There was a howling wind at the top but it wasn’t too cold. A few photos and away on our return hike.

Toni had his very clever Garmin GPS watch so we could check our progress all the way. The total out and back hike was 21km with total ascent of 1150 metres – very respectable – lots of kilojoules burned there! It was even able to tell us how much daylight we had left so when I was messing about on the top of Djouce was able to say “we’ve only got 3 hours’ daylight left, let’s get going!” Yessir! Toni sent me the link to all the stats later and there you have a full graphical picture of the hike – route, distance, time, pace, elevation – the whole gambit!

A stop afterwards at the Powerscourt Arms in Enniskerry for a nice coffee and chat rounded off a great day in the hills!

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