Another great day out yesterday for CMC members on Saint Finbarrs Way Pilgrim Route walk from Drimoleague to Kealkill….Well almost! We started with refreshments at Top of the Rock Pod facility hosted by the Ross family and were even serenaded by a visiting American singing group…… We then started our walk initially along riverside tracks, then along track and road and up Mullaghmesha (494 ft) before descending again to track and road leading to Kealkill completing 18 km before getting our minibus back to the pods after 6pm. Thanks to our leader , Leonard Godsil, for organising this event in such a lovely scenic and well maintained route…..
Winter Camp – 21/22 Jan. 2017 – Text by Maureen Fitzgerald
It was that time of the year again – winter camp 2017. Aodhan worked his usual magic and found a fantastic camp site, nestled in a sheltered valley in the Comeraghs next to a babbling brook, by ruins and under a copse of ancient fir trees. And it was dry. Talk about happy campers!
Our Cork city campers included Aodhan and Liz, Pat Speight, and myself (Maureen Fitz). From further afield we had Yvonne (all the way from Durrus), John Paul (from Midleton), John Barry (from Fermoy) and Jim O’Meara (from Cobh). Most of the group met in Dungarvan for an early lunch and set off to park next to a forest path that led into the campsite. As I was delayed, I parked and walked in from near Mahon Falls. As I came over brow of the hill I could see five tents. They looked brilliant, like a little mountain village. Base camp Comeraghs.
I joined the group, put up my tent and we organized the site of our leave no trace campfire while discussing where we would go for a little evening walk to whet our appetites for dinner. We set off up to the coom where a string of little lakes mark the source of the River Tay. It wasn’t Banf but it was fairly breathtaking. We made our way back in the dark, torches on, handrailing the stream to the camps site. Pat, who had stayed behind, set himself up as our ‘lighthouse’ in case we needed direction.
Dinner around the campfire was followed by songs from Aodhan, John Paul and Liz and of course there were stories – some tall tales and some true but all entertaining. When the fire had burned down, we tucked ourselves up into our sleeping bags and woke Sunday morning to sunshine. Cook up time again and after breakfasts that ranged from porridge to boiled eggs and fry ups we packed up camp. A little walk around the top of the coom finished off our day and we headed back along the forest track, already planning and looking forward to next year.
Photo’s: Day time – M. Fitzgerald, Night time – Pat Speight
All 13 members of CMC enjoyed good walking experience, though a little windy for lunch! on Sam’s recent Knockmealdown walk. Well done Sam!
There was a great turn-out for this walk, 23 people braved the cold winter weather, max 3 degrees I think! We were lucky though that it was sunny and there was very little wind.
The route went from the gates of Millstreet Country Park across the lower slopes of Mushera for about 5 km and dropped down to the Butter Road. We stopped there for lunch and then went a short distance down the Butter Road, turned right and walked about 4 km on a minor road until we reached the entrance to a forest.
As it was La le Bride, St. Bridget’s Day, Tom Desmond lead us in Cill Aodain, in which the blind poet Raftery decides to set off for Mayo as the days are lengthening. Various people in the group told the story of the poem and of St. Bridget and then after a few songs connected to the area we were in, we went in to the forest and continued the walk.
After a couple of km on a forest track we descended fairly steeply to meet another track which brought us on to the road back to the cars. The walk was 14 km in total, but to me at least it felt a lot more! HJ
Aodhán Quinlan, Liz O Donovan, Helen Hourihan, Yvonne Shanahan, Jim O Meara, Maureen Fitzgerald, Éimer Godsil.
All met up in Jam in Kenmare, everyone arriving promptly around 1 pm. After a fine feed of freshly prepared food we set off for our parking spot near Lauragh Co Kerry.
Jim and Aodhán did a reci for the camp a few days previous and though they were unable to meet the lady outside whose house we left our cars, they had spoken to a neighbour who assured them it was ok for us to leave our cars there overnight. We gather up our large backpacks the heaviest carried by Yvonne ( of Mount McKninely fame) with a whopping 26kg, including her tent which she very kindly agreed to share with Éimer, took a few photos and proceeded on a beautifully scenic walk in to our destination for the night. Along track through gates and over streams with safely went for about 1 hour, finally around a grassy knoll to our flat mossy field.
After much debate on the selection of pitch site we all settled on suitable locations. Just adjacent to us were 2 deserted stone cottages, which we made into out dining quarters. We set our fire carefully on large slabs of rock in order to leave no trace. All campers commenced cooking, reheating and brewing and all had ample sustenance before settling by the fire in our lovely sheltered spot with the stars above for a roof. How thankful we were it was a clear night and rain free.
Conversation was lively and we regaled each other with stories songs and even self-penned poetry, the most excellent of which was a lengthy poem on the ups and downs of parenting composed and recited by Helen. Liz had been promising us all day of a treat and she certainly delivered – a bottle of raspberry sloe gin she produced and we all part took. Liz had received it as a Christmas present and had generously kept it for her winter camp companions We retired after midnight for what we all hoped would by a warm dry night’s sleep.
The night passed uneventful enough bar Yvonne’s minor -though she thought they were major- issues with her pillow and an awakening in the Quinlan tent. We had all arisen by 10am ish and after breakfast and decamping, leaving no trace of course, we set off back out our track, left our packs by the first gate and proceeded on our 3 hour walk.
We met Stephen O Shea, a local farmer and chatted for over a half hour, he was amazed we had camped overnight and told us about the area and about a cave with very ancient writings, older than the Ohm Stones, so old that no one can determine just how old they are, and experts can’t figure out how the lines were carried out, they were done pre the exsistence of metal.
Maureen knew about this cave and had been to it before and was determined to find it, though our farmer friend reckoned it was nearly impossible to find. After some searching some of us decided to stop for lunch but Maureen and Yvonne foraged ahead in search of the cave and they found it! We all went for a look and what an amazing thing to see. If you are ever walking in the vicinity of the Glanrastal Valley do look for it, it is a national treasure.
We walked back out more or less retracing our steps back to the cars, Liz left a box of chocs for the lady of the house as a thank you for allowing us to park, thus we all set off home after another successful winter camp by Aodhán as always ably assisted, controlled and cajoled by Liz……………… but there is a post script, when Aodhán returned home he received a phone call from the lady outside whose house we had parked, saying she was worried when she saw the cars parked after dark and well into the night and thought it better to call the Gardaí.
After minor investigation they concluded we were camping overnight. The lady had not checked our windscreens for the note we had left.
Nice drive down via Kealkil, Ballylickey, Glengarrif , Adrigole towards Castletownbere. Walk started at Rossmackowen. Weather was good with patches of blue sky enticing us along. Hungry Hill, although only 682m, was looking formidable as usual with its bare rock benches glistening. Our hopes were high for a good day out with views over Bere Island, Bantry Bay and over all the surrounding peaks. We were not to be disappointed!
Eight of us tackled the steep climb bearing 50 degrees from Park lough and summited approx 1.5 hours later. We passed the Pete Mc Carthy memorial cairn on the way. “If you travel with hope rather than with certain knowledge something interesting usually happens” he is quoted as having said…..bit like hillwalking really. Bere Island was looking well and I could detect a few masts in Lawrence Cove marina. Hill walking over the sea is just the best of both worlds.
An enjoyable lunch stop was spent admiring the views and discussing angels, philosophy and such like themes….par for the course on CMC outings!
We completed the circuit in approx 5 hours strolling leisurely back from Glass Loughs via the Beara way to Park Lough then down the boreen to the cars. A stop off for chowder, crabs claws, coffee and more chat at Caseys Hotel in Glengarrif set us up for the drive home. Iontach ar Fad! J.O’M