It was a terrific day, with perfect weather and magnificent views. Seven members set off along the Beara Way track, climbing steadily to the col just west of Sugarloaf. From there, it was a challenging out-and-back route to the summit itself over the uniquely boggy and rocky terrain of West Cork. En route, we encountered a young French “WOOF”er who was delighted with both weather and views, and a solitary local walker, who must have been turbo-powered he was going so fast! He kindly took our summit photo. It was a very happy and satisfied group that adjourned to Glengarriff afterwards for a well-deserved meal.
Author: Cork Mountaineering Club (Page 2 of 7)
More bad-weather navigation practice! Six members gathered at Mount Melleray Abbey at 10.30am in murky weather for the planned trek. The poor weather forecast had caused cancellation of a silage demo at the Abbey but a few farmers had arrived and one CMC walker promised to meet them at the “Ploughing” next week … perhaps a good prospect of road frontage? Low cloud and drizzle followed us through the woods then we broke free of the trees, crossing a newly cut firebreak and ascending over short heather with occasional low marker stones created by scouting groups. It began to rain steadily and a SW tailwind accompanied us as we were immersed in the cloud layer. Shortly after noon we reached the summit tableland at 650 metres but by now we were propelled by strong wind and driving rain so we crossed the plateau to the northern side in search of very marginal shelter in peat tussocks. Stopping for a quick “one sandwich” lunch we were all pretty wet and the leader was deaf to mutterings of turning back.
Resuming the walk and using the handy cairn at NW edge of the plateau we descended roughly northwest into the driving rain and low cloud following a line of small cairns that lead down to the pass between Knocknafallia and the unseen Knocknagauve. This side of the mountain is softened by long grassy tussocks making descent easy and after a time we came on the long earthbank that warns of the approaching Bottleneck Pass. Crossing the earthbank we descended further but now swung southwest into the wind and rain on a compass bearing over rougher ground but unable to see anything but our immediate surroundings. This part of the walk was a plod into the unknown with the consolation that we were steadily descending and would eventually emerge from the murk. A brightening coincided with easing of the rain and before us we could identify the low hill of Dyrick and the ravines that would merge above the feeder lavada canal for Melleray. Bridging a stream by an abandoned aqueduct we searched further downstream and found the source and inlet grid of the canal. The rain had stopped; we stopped as well and sat down to a second lunch and the water-music of a stream in spate. Our return journey followed the track beside the canal that appeared to almost flow uphill at one point and later crossed by a small aqueduct before entering the treeline and reaching a forest road. Here we swung left and soon rejoined the morning’s route back to the Abbey grounds. Changed into drier clothes we retired to the Abbey coffee shop for scones and refreshment. A walk memorable in retrospect.
Yet again, last Sunday provided us with the opportunity to show off our bad-weather navigation skills and proved the benefit of identifying alternative/ escape routes at the recce stage. The day began with five members ascending to Sugarloaf via Grubb. Weather deteriorated however and, by the time we arrived at Knockmealdown (794m), the sky had fallen leaving us with no views. After lunch we met with a solitary Dub, on his second day’s walk in the area but in a hurry to see the match, and he kindly took our photo – which has since disappeared into a “cyber-mist”. The attempt to head northwards onto Knockshane did not go well. We found ourselves descending steeply and, as it didn’t feel right, we re-traced our steps. Thoroughly soaked by now, we decided to return to the Vee by the St Declan’s Way track. The walk took longer than expected but despite the rain and wind all appeared to be happy to have come out on the day.
- Hungry Hill (Grade 3) A group of five set out on a wet and misty day. The rain stopped and the mist lifted as we made our way east along the Beara Way. We then headed north which took us close to Coomarkane Lake, from where we made our way up (west) through the rocks and gullies to the high point 667m where we had lunch, joined by our three friends wind, rain and mist. Visibility was very poor as we made our way to the top of Hungry Hill, and even poorer as we headed NW. Before too long we realised we were not quite where we should be, but after taking a position check thanks to our Garmin we were back on track in a few While walking west towards Glas Loughs we spotted a sheep trapped upside down between two rocks, with her legs kicking madly and no chance of escape. Only one thing for it, a leg (of lamb) each, and haul her straight up. She scrambled a few feet away from us, looked back then trotted away. We headed on down to the green road feeling pleased with our good deed for the day, and followed that road straight down to the main road at the Church. Our walk took just over six hours, so we were very glad to head to Glengarriffe for some refreshments and to meet the Oileán Mór group who had only arrived in ten minutes earlier. Over the meal we decided to christen the sheep – Lucky Lady.
- Bere Island (Grade 1) Ten members set off on the ferry from Castletownbere to Bear Island. Those who could made use of their free travel pass, remarking that the poor ferryman wasn’t making much profit on the trip! We walked towards the lighthouse, where we had our lunch. Luckily the weather stayed dry after very heavy showers the night before. We then walked along the spine of the island, passing the remains of an old Napoleonic watch tower, deserted military installations and beautiful views over three different peninsulas. We had coffee in the café near the pier. Finally we met up with the Hungry Hill group in Glengarriff and shared a meal.
There were three members out today. We walked up the track from the sheep pens, then onwards to the summit. We came down via the Black Road and then through Cooper’s Wood to King’s Yard. It was a good day out.
Just four of us met at Firgrove Hotel for the wet and misty morning promised by the Met Office. We headed to the high carpark on Monabrac, en route noting traffic heading for King’s Yard where IMRA mountain runners had a testing Galtees event. Setting-off at 10.25 in raingear we descended westwards from Monabrac to Pigeonrock river and then upstream bearing left of Knockaterriff. Ground conditions were still very firm after the prolonged drought and taking advantage of the low water level we crossed the stream and began a laborious ascent into the cloudbase and the unseen ridge which was reached about 11.45 and our first rest for a quick cuppa. Easier progress northward along the ridge in the mild wet misty conditions with a gentle SE tailwind until at 12.45 we had arrived at Temple Hill and a sheltered lunch stop in lee of the summit cairn at 785 metres. Still nothing visible of our surrounding hills and I decided against the direct but steep and slippery descent eastwards to the 600 metre col below Knockaterriff. Instead we descended northwards for five minutes then veering to our right but still descending over relatively easy ground of long grass and heather and avoiding occasional boulder patches. Still seeing no sign of the invisible col or other hills we halted after 40 minutes to review our situation and to admit that we were technically lost as we didn’t know our exact position. However we were certain we could only be on the eastern side of Templehill and by distance covered we had to be above the level of the col and Pigeonrock valley. We continued descending SE but more steeply and eventually could see the valley and stream appear out of the mist. A GPS confirmed our down valley position as just above our morning stream crossing. The remainder of our trek retraced the morning’s route and we were back at the car park at 3pm wet but surprisingly satisfied.
There were record numbers out today: 21 in all. All made it to the Punchbowl; five remained there, to descend at their leisure. 16 continued up the arête to the summit, where they had great views. It was a very enjoyable day and all came down safely. The group stopped in Macroom for refreshments on the way home.
Our Summer Evening Walks continue to be popular. We had three of them in August; Charles Fort, the Estuary Walk and a lovely walk in East Ferry. The Charles Fort walk was limited by bad weather and poor visibility (though a Naval vessel was spotted at sea) and, though the weather was good for the other two walks, the evenings are certainly drawing in. Nevertheless, canoeists and a stray seal were spotted in the harbour. A fitting end to a wonderful season!
Eight members came on this trek up the Derrymore Glen. Having all assembled at Derrymore Strand car park we set off for the mouth of the glen visible above us. Crossing the Dingle Way path and over the outlet moraine and into the glen we made good progress to the small lakes with the remains of 19th century dams used to supply water power for a mill at the mouth of the river. After some refreshments it was a steep climb to the ridge between Gearhane and Caherconree, where we had great views of the surrounding hills and seascapes. On then over Caherconree along a narrow ridge to the saddle before ascending to Baurtregaum. We rested a while on the summit before tackling the descent over Scragg and some rough ground with long vegetation to the Dingle Way once again. Back at the strand some of the group had a dip in the sea to restore tired muscles. Weatherwise the day was a mixture of wind and sun some low clouds and showers towards evening. We all finished the outing with a well-deserved meal in Blennerville.
- Gougane Barra Horseshoe
You can see why Finbarr picked out this gem of a hideaway for his praying and mindfulness. On Sunday last you couldn’t help but be awed by the serenity of this magnificent place, and while there was a slight din from the odd tourist and walker, the over-all scene was one of peace and tranquillity. 14 walkers started out from outside Cronin’s coffee shop to traverse the heights around Gougane in a clockwise direction. The walk started at the back of the “thatched” public toilets just beyond the chapel. Up to Foiliastookeen @ 500 mts and on then to Lough Glas. From there it’s down to an unnamed lake and then up again to the northern ledge above Gougane where we traversed our way, stopping for lunch, in a gentle cool breeze. Then it was on further to another unnamed lake where we met our weekly correspondent and continued to our descent at Foilashrone where the walkers had to exercise plenty of focus and concentration to negotiate high grass and hidden bog-holes and indeed hidden streams. Happy to report, though, that we didn’t lose any of our crew to such “perils.” The day was warm and the walking nice and casual. The heat was quite energy-sapping with a lot of empty water- bottles in evidence by the time we returned to Cronin’s. There, we met with the Slí Gaeltacht Mhuscraí crew for a welcome coffee and slice of cake – though I did see some “cool” shandies being ordered as well.
- Slí Gaeltacht Mhuscraí
11 people were brought by minibus from Gougane to Ballingeary in order to walk the 12 k section of this part of the O’Sullivan Beara Way or Slí Gaeltacht Mhuscraí. It cost each participant the princely sum of 3 Euro. Everyone agreed that was a very small price to pay for a great day out! The walk took us through beautiful countryside, forest tracks and low lying hills. We had planned to have lunch on “The banks of our own lovely Lee” however when we got there, the river had all but disappeared. It had been reduced to a little trickle! So some people decided to eat their lunch in the middle of the dried-up river bed. Afterwards, instead of having to cross the river by bridge we were able to cross it on foot. When we arrived in Gougane we met up with the walkers who had done the full Gougane circuit and treated ourselves to beautiful coffee and cakes in the local hotel.