Friday, 12 November 2010

Up Mogielica in the howling wind

The weather today was ideal for hillwalking - with the exception of the wind, which was blowing hard from the south-west. On television today we heard that the wind blew down power lines in south-west Poland leaving over 13,000 houses without electricity. I planned our march up Mogielica (1,171m above sea level) so that we'd be climbing it from the north-east - the mountain itself would shield us from the wind.

All was comfortable in the leeward side of the hill. But once we reached the shoulder of the mountain, we experienced the full force of the gale. Below: Sabinka snaps Eddie (scarf around ears and neck) as he leans back into the wind on the clearing near the summit.

At the summit itself, there's a 40m-high viewing tower. We meet several other brave souls who've made their way up to the top of Mogielica; however, apart from one other guy, no one else fancies climbing the wooden tower. At the viewing platform at the top, it's blowing so hard that neither of us dares actually stand up. We're both on all fours, pressed to the floor. The wind, I learn later, is gusting up to 110 kmh! I'm clinging onto the woodwork as I get some photos. Below: looking south-west towards the Tatra mountains. Worth comparing the views from the top with these taken in high summer.

Below: telephoto shot from the tower. The sun, when it peeks out from behind the flying clouds, sheds beautiful light on the surrounding hills.

On the way down to the Rydz-Śmigły pass where I left the car; last time I was here, haymaking was in full swing, as was billberry picking. Today, it's too late even for mushrooms - although we had some excellent fried mushrooms with our supper last night.

Eddie amazes me with his ability to perform prodigious feats of physical endurance on the smallest amount of food. He gets to the top of the mountain and back down again on one scrambled egg and half a slice of bread.

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