Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Galty Mountains at their stunning best.

Working the night shift has its advantages. If you can forgo a few hours sleep then its possible to take advantage of a good weather window and head for the hills. That is exactly what I did this morning when I left straight from work to head for the Galty Mountains. I usually head west when I visit the mountains and I have been somewhat neglectful of the Galtees but today was a chance to put that to rights. There had been a frost overnight which would make traveling on the very boggy a bit easier and fog was blanketing the ground which promised great views when I would hopefully rise above it during the climb. I opted to do the Attychraan horseshoe as this avoids the terribly mucky and boggy saddle between Galty Mor and Galty Beg and allows one travel the more western parts of the compact range. My mood was further buoyed by the sight of a deed crossing the lane in front of me as I arrived at the start of the route near Kings Yard.
Looking back to the start of the walk

The Knockmealdown Mountains

Dawsons Table and the summit come into view.


 The route starts very gently alongside the Attychraan river on a forest track before climbing up the broad slopes of Knocknagaltee and up to the summit of Galty Mor 919mtrs. The views were as I had hopes, amazing. To the south and the east the Knockmealdown and Comeragh Mountains rose above a sea of fog and looked wonderful. Unbroken clear blue skies and no wind made it a magical morning to be out and about. At the summit I was literally running from one side to the other to soak in the wide ranging views. I could see all the way to the Kerry mountains to the west and to the east the Blackstairs were easily spotted. As I hoped the boggy ground was just frozen enough to make progress easier and I delighted in the easy descent above Lough Curra and onwards all the way to one of my favorite spots on the range Lyracappul 825mtrs. From this airy top the views down to the intensively agriculturally farmed plain is great. An easy descent to the boggy saddle under the twin topped Knockaterrif  and slog to the 692mtr top followed and then an almost 300mtr drop into the glen to the east before a grueling 230 meter slog to the top of Carrigeen Mountain from whose summit a spur leads easily back to the car. All in all about 17 kilometers and 1100 meters of climbing in five and a quarter hours. I loved every minute of it. 
Looking east towards the summit

Summit cross

West from the summit

The wall snakes its way to the west.

Looking over Lough Curra

Always an excuse to stop

Lyracappul and walls end