A sight from the top. Pictures by Braliem Jousc
I said that ride a bicycle was easy. I also mentioned P was a sporty guy. I’m not one.
Everything was ok with me the day I was in front of Croagh Patrick. I didn't have any problem with the first part of the mountain until I felt really exhausted. After one hour walking side by side with P, I started walk slowly. And he noticed.
-Are you feeling right?
-Don’t worry. I’m just out of shape. But I’ll get to the top. Don’t stop for me. Keep going, I will see you ahead.
-I can’t leave you here. You don’t seem….
-I’m fine. I only need to take a short breath.
-No, you must keep moving. Make a stop is the worst thing for your body now we are finishing the first part.
P was really concerned. He stayed with me some minutes while I was drinking an oral rehydration solution.
-See? All I needed was to take a breath.
-But you’re shaking! Look at your hands!
-I’m not getting cold. Don’t worry I will survive. Believe me; I’m getting well just give me a moment and I will walk again.
I was right. I couldn’t walk beside him like the beginning. In fact, he completed the round walk in three hours. It took me almost four to come back to the line start.
Almost in the middle of the mountain. Pictures by Braliem Jousc
In the middle of the mountain there is almost a flat part, once I reached it, everything turned easier for me, even dealing with the rocky and semi vertical area, the last one before to see the little church built in the summit.
I found some sheep around, a wonderful sight, and a place where the tradition says St. Patrick prayed and passed a night. I can’t forget the way that weather suddenly changed from a regular day of September (remember we are talking about Irish weather) to a really windy and so cold conditions. But, in spite of everything, I was a really lucky visitor because it wasn’t a rainy day.
I stayed on the top 15 or 20 minutes.
More crazy people in the back. Pictures by Braliem Jousc
I saw P coming down when I still was climbing the last part of Croagh Patrick. I reunited with him again some hundreds of meters before the gate used as a fence to mark the point when you are really starting to climb the mountain.
Before to take again our bikes we had a coffee in the local gift-shop, the place was decorated with old pictures, some taken in the past century. Some images really astonished me: bare foot people going up, not wearing special clothes for the climate.
After take a break we return to Westport. We gave back the bikes before the sunset. On time! I think the next day P return to Dublin for his last weekend in Ireland and that’s the last day we saw each other.
A view from the summit. Pictures by Braliem Jousc
I tried to visit him, some months later, when I traveled to Spain but it was not possible to meet him again.
Almost one year later, when I wrote to P telling him I will write about our adventure, he confessed me he really doubted that I could get the summit but he said he was proud of me too. I had a really heavy weight over my shoulders: not all the days a Guatemalan un-sporty guy flies nine thousands kilometers and cross Ireland coast to coast to fail in his try to climb the Paddy’s sacred mountain.
More images. Pictures by Braliem Jousc