Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Coumloughra Horseshoe.

What better way for Frank to finish his hill climbing ventures of 2014 than by doing one of Irelands finest walks-The Coumloughra Horseshoe. This takes in the three highest peaks in the country, Beenkeragh-Carrauntoohil and Caher. I caught the early train to Killarney and hooked up with Frank at eight thirty and after our usual coffees we headed out the the carpark at the bottom of the "Hydro Road" by Lough Acoose. The promised good weather day hadn't materialized and the cloud was down at 700 meters and a chill breeze was blowing some intermittent mist or drizzle. The road is steep and provides a stiff beginning to the trip but once you reach the sharp turn after climbing nearly 200 meters the going is much more pleasant until you reach the majestic coum and Lough Eighter. Even though the cloud shrouded the tops it is still an impressive place to be. We turned left and made the steep ascent to the ridge to Skregmore. Once we were on the ridge the wind became more of a factor and there was a definite chill in the air. Things weren't helped by an almost constant flow of either drizzle or mist and this meant that it wasn't a day for hanging around. Frank was in great form and kept up a good pace throughout. Up and down then up ever higher until we arrived on Beenkeragh 1009 meters.
Even in the mist the Coum is impressive

The cliffs of Caher offer promise of future days

To the west over Lough Acoose

Now we turned almost directly into the wind and it was with some relief that we were able to find some shelter on one side of the ridge. We were passed by Denis O'Brien and companion on the ridge and I at first didn't recognize him until he was right alongside me as he was well muffled up against the weather. They were moving a bit quicker than us so we parted and we continued on our way. By the time we reached the summit of Carrauntoohil 1039 meterswe were very very glad to scuttle into the summit shelter and get some relief from the chill. We enjoyed a nice lunch and set off for the final peak of the day Caher 1001meters. Now we were blasted by the wind in earnest and hard rain reduced the temperatures even further. Suddenly my hands got really cold and not too long after the inevitable happened and I got a bugger of a dose of the "hot aches" which didn't east until I was beyond the summit. Oh how I missed them!. The descent is pretty straightforward and we made rapit progress. The cloud was even lower and we didn't re-emerge under it until we were back down at the lake. It was nice to once again see some colour and views and we didn't miss it until we were back at the car just five hours after we set off. The company was as always great and we felt once again invigorated by the elements. Frank is now off to Englandshire for a break but we are both looking forward to more adventures next year.
Was that fun??

Oh yes indeed

Towards Lough Currane

More weather on the way