Cork Mountaineering Club

Munster’s longest established Hill Walking Club

Month: May 2018

Sunday 22 April 2018:Knockboy

16 CMC members assembled at Ballylickey well before the 11.00 am meeting time, all eager for a good day on the hills.  The raindrops appearing on the windscreen of the car on the way down heralded the arrival of the scattering of showers that were forecast for the day ahead.  We set off on the dot at 11 on the white-knuckle ride up to the Priest’s Leap with the road ahead sometimes disappearing from view with the rising ground and suddenly re-appearing again as we traversed the hills on the downslope, with overhanging rocks to our right and a steep drop off to our left to the valley below, and absolutely no hard margin on either side.  We needn’t have worried about the parking at Priest’s Leap as we were able to fit the five cars comfortably in the limited space available and dislodge the 16 eager walkers.

The stiff south-westerly was in our faces at this stage with darkening skies to the south and a bit more brightness to the north.   And so, having donned the over-layers, we set off in an easterly direction along the county boundary between Cork and Kerry just after 12 noon.  In fact, on this route to Knockboy it is a more or less easterly bearing all the way, with a more northerly turn just before just before Lough Boy and again a north-easterly bearing on the final ascent to Knockboy mountain at 703 metres.

And so we continued at a leisurely pace (well, what’s any walk without conversation?) along the county boundary and after a short while we were taking that first turn left with rising terrain ahead affording us an excellent view of Lough Boy to our right, until shortly we were back on an easterly bearing again with Knockboy mountain itself in full view to our left ahead.  Alas, when we came to our north-easterly turn and final ascent to Knockboy the visibility disappeared and neither the mountain ahead nor the beautiful West Cork coastline was visible from what should otherwise be an excellent vantage point for spectacular views.

Well, as it was lunchtime anyway we hunkered down here for the sandwiches, tea  – and more conversation . . . and after what seemed like only a short time, the veil of mist that was hanging over West Cork suddenly lifted . . . and soon we could see the full panorama of Bantry Bay, Whiddy Island, the full length of the Sheep’s Head and Mizen Head further away in the distance.  Wow!  And looking to our left, Knockboy was clearly visible again, so up we got and handrailed the wire fence through undulating terrain, sometimes wet but nobody minded, until finally we arrived at Knockboy summit, the highest point in County Cork, in good visibility with an even fresher south-westerly wind in our faces now.  Time to savour the view from the top for a few minutes, take a few photos and relax for a while around the plinth before heading back down again on a reverse track which would take us back to the cars at the Priest’Leap.

On the way back, we spotted someone catching up with us from behind who turned out to be another CMC member who had climbed Knockboy from the north side and joined us for the rest of the walk back to the cars.  It’s nice to gain one person on a walk – especially if he happens to be a CMC member!  He joined us for the white-knuckle ride back and again for the “afters” at a local hostelry.  All in all another good day out and was nice to see a mix of all grades of walkers enjoying the day together on Knockboy.

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Sunday 08 April 2018 (two walks)

MAO_6726Eastern Reeks:  It’s still something I notice every time I go walking with the club, and that’s the smiling, friendly faces you come across, even so early in the morning, at the gathering for the walk. The “hello’s” the how’s it going” and of course the banter. There is always that sense of anticipation among us for decent weather and a pleasant day’s walking.  Last Sunday was no different and, as the eight of us left Cronin’s Yard, our hearts lifted at the sight of new born lambs in the fields nearby, feeble on their feet and staying close to their mams.  Despite an overcast sky, there was a sense that Spring had arrived.

So with a great purpose we all headed for the hills, up the track from Cronin’s and contoured up the glen on the left below Cummeenapeasta lake. We continued along here for an hour until we came to the base of the Bone. Along the way, we noticed the clouds lifting and when we got to the Bone we were in full sunshine,showing the Reeks in all their splendour and majesty.  Up the Bone we went, with a little bit of scrambling and the sun on our backs. By the time we were near the top however, the clouds were creeping over with a heavy cover. Lunch then and a change into full battle gear and we were ready to take on the elements. And so it was, with wind rain and hailstones as we made our way along the ridge from Maolán Bui to the top of the Zig Zags. Despite the conditions I heard one of our crew singing some Johnny Cash numbers to herself as we braved the elements.  Descending down the Zig Zags the weather improved and we had a good view of the lakes below. A nice break at the bottom before our track back to Cronin’s Yard.

Again one of the great pleasures of walkers is changing into dry clothes after an honest day’s effort and, of course, a well-deserved hot cup of tea and a delicious slice of apple-tart.

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Mount Hillary Loop: leaving Cork in the spills of rain, people began to question their own sanity in even considering a walk in such conditions.   However, upon their arrival at the starting point the weather began to clear, and the clearance held for the whole day.  Fifteen members had a beautiful walk in bright sunshine and a leisurely ascent through forest tracks and trails to the summit of Mount Hillary itself.  The company was excellent and more than one person commented on the particularly happy atmosphere of the walk.  Post-walk plans fell victim to the vagaries of ESB repair systems; the entire town of Mallow was shut down when they got there and, with it, their chosen restaurant.  However, the leader’s recce had included eating plans, so there was a Plan B and they had an excellent dinner.

Sunday 01 April 2018: Cnoc an Bhráca

Six members climbed in the driving rain up the eastern slopes of Cnoc an Bhráca to the plateau.  At this point, bravery notwithstanding, it was clear that the plateau – always damp – had turned into a quagmire and future progress was questionable.  One member took the sensible option and turned for home; the rest plodded stubbornly and wetly onwards and upwards for a while before cutting their losses and returning via Strickeen Mt (440m).  According to the leader, everyone was extremely “drowned”, so hot drinks and a warm fire afterwards were very welcome.

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