Sunday, October 20, 2013

Coumloughra Horseshoe In Kerry

Today I went with Frank to have another hike in the Kerry Mountains. The weather forecast wasn't great with plenty of heavy showers predicted and with the cloud covering the tops it seemed that that was the way it was going to be. I left it up to Frank to decide where he wanted to go and I was delighted he opted for the Coumloughra Horseshoe. This is one of the best circuits in the area and takes in the three highest peaks in the country. We had our customary coffee and set off and after about fifteen miles we parked up in the excellent new carpark by the "hyrdo road" on the east side of the Reeks.

The hydro road had a charm that is well buried under the rough concrete surface and is best dispatched as quickly as you can. It is a steep-ish plod that rises straight from the car but once you reach the turn to the right the gradient eases and it allows the opportunity to take in the ever expanding views to the west and across to the Dingle peninsula. We opted to do the round in an anti clockwise direction as this means that while the ascents are steeper the long descent from Caher is much nicer and a fitting finish to the day. Once we reached Scregmore we were in the mist and there was a damp chill to the stiff breeze but it didn't matter as we were well wrapped up and we are well used to a lot worse. We made good progress and stopped for a bite of lunch on Beenkeragh before crossing the ridge and easily climbing the 400 ft to the summit of Carrauntoohil. On the way up we passed a couple of guys who caused me to do a double take before I believed my eyes, they had ice axes. I couldn't pass without asking and it transpired they thought that there might have been snow in Central Gully and one said he would have used it to make an anchor for the rope in the gully. I was a bit dumbfounded and decided to press on before I said something I regretted. My God the incredible ( lets be charitable and say) silliness of some people never fails to surprise. I mean it was fifteen or sixteen degrees at the car and there hadn't been a cold day yet this autumn, how did they think snow would be there??. Anyway onward over Caher and we were back under the cloud soon enough. The views were a delight and we stopped frequently to take a few pics and enjoy the array of colour and beauty. Back at the car in a little over five hours and we were really pleased with our day. We were dry once we emerged from the mist and the weather had improved throughout the day, result.
Looking in from Lough Eighter

Feeling the pressure

Looking west on the way down from Caher

A wee bit wind blown

The way up

Stunning Landscape