Coumshingaun, the black lake

The Loop Walk – A Poem about Coumshingaun

by Cian Foley

Our journey begins at the foot of the hill,
no wind through the pine trees everything still.

Stepping on spongey layers of pins,
that fell over seasons before this tale begins.

Many shadows and illusions seem to appear,
red squirrels, kingfishers and wild native deer,
flowers and sorrell and blackberries too,
we stop for a moment to sample a few.

We emerge from the forest and see two peaks up on high,
a stairway to heaven, the sun hits my eye.
We make our way up over boulder and stone,
and feel blessed to bear witness to all this alone.

The use of our thighs muscles makes our hearts pound,
louder and faster as we reach higher ground,
lunging and striding, fighting body and mind,
the rewards being far more than the place that we find.

We pass through a corridor of fern on the track
and when we emerge I let down my ruck sack.
Sat by a gnarled up Hawthorne tree,
we pick off some nice leaves and eat two or three.

I marvel at grass which is lush and so green,
yet half shaggy sheared sheep seem surprisingly lean.
Quickly they clear the path which is trekked,
so often by hikers with mutual respect.

The way is now steeper much more than before
and sweat keeps on flowing from out of each pore
but soon we’ll be at the most beautiful place
where you can wash off the salt and freshen your face,

We get to a rock you say looks like a mouse,
i say a frog that’s as big as a house,
we need not trek higher to get to the lake
but lets continue upwards for the views sake.

Now the path’s clear a straight route to the skies,
the ferns purple blossom is a treat for our eyes.
The jagged rocks like a fortress upon the left peak,
the lake to our right a glimpse now we sneak.

I charge my way up to the castle on top,
and sit out upon my most favourite rock.
I look out to towards the sea like a knight with a sword,
my beautiful kingdom known as Waterford.

But the journeys not over I cannot sit still,
we have some more climbing to tame this wild hill.
So let’s squeeze through stone halls and cross rocky terrain
before meeting a grassy hill once again.

We tackle the grass and get to the base,
of the 40 foot vertical last climbing phase.
Let’s make it easy for me and yourself
and zig and zag up on these stony like shelfs.

We get to the top I’m feeling quite beat
as I stand on the plateaou of wild comeragh peat.
Here the land changes and becomes very stark,
boggy and soggy, springy and dark.

After regaining strength I creep to the right
and peek over the edge at  a magnificent sight,
each time i see it my soul is reborn,
the jewel of the comeraghs, the great Coumshingaun.

Swifts or some swallows great in their size,
swoop and dive past me making loud whirring noise.
I wish I could stay with you up here my friend
but just as the sun is we too must descend.

We walk along the back cliff carefully,
one slip and it’s over for you or for me.
We now cover ground incredibly fast
so lets savour the view on the way while it lasts.

Keep along the horseshoe like route,
the right side more barren, there’s barely a shute,
some burnt out Heather our ankles brush past,
I assume to allow the grass to grow fast

Now to the peak to the left we must keep,
to make our descent safe and less steep.
Through the lush fern now the lake can be seen
in front of the cliff top from where we’ve just been.

We get to the lake the water like glass
reflecting the back cliffs ominous mass.
Midges are flying over the lake
and trout are jumping their fill they will take.

Let’s jump in right here let’s work off a whim,
there’s nothing quite like a freshwater swim.
It’s cold and it’s clear and might make you shout
but you can just drink it down if you get in your mouth.

But what about clothes I hear you say,
you won’t need a towel on this glorious day,
and now we are so close to where we began
well just head straight down after we’ve swam.

I throw on my pants and put back on my gear,
now all is completed the end is so near,
we make a bee line for kilclooney wood
and trace down the hill as fast as we should

On the way down are familiar sights,
which look so much different under  these fading lights.
As we walk through the forest it seems like just like night
yet in reality it’s still fairly bright.

So now we are here, right back at the start,
perhaps now you can see why it’s close to my heart.
It’s been time well spent I think you’ll agree
come back anytime and explore it with me

I’m taking part in a charity trek to Kilimanjaro in September for Diabetes Ireland and would greatly appreciate your support

If you wish to support this cause please visit our everyday hero page: https://give.everydayhero.com/ie/nicola-cian-and-emer-s-big-trek

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