Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Slieve Mish Mountains. Wild and Wonderful

After visiting the Galty Mountains yesterday with Kevin and the gang I went on the train to Tralee where I hooked up with Frank and we headed to the Slieve Mish Mountains west of the town. Frank had never been in this area and we opted to do the Caherconree and Baurtregaum circuit. We parked up the little lane not far from the main road and we were soon out on the boggy open ground. We met a local farmer who was sending his sheep back onto the hills and he was a delight to chat to. It was refreshing to find he was delighted for others to be on the hills and he said that "when he made it he made it big enough" and assured us that we could head where we pleased. We were in good cheer as we left him and we opted to walk up alongside the Derrymore River which saw us gradually gain height. It weather had been wet and pretty miserable throughout the morning and while it was dry at the moment it didn't look too promising as we gradually gained height. Gearhane rose steeply on our right but ahead the high ground was shrouded in mist. Eventually we reached the first of the little lakes that nestle in the coum below Caherconree. A real bonus was that the weather showed real promise of clearing and sure enough as we climbed the spur that rises to the ridge between Caherconree and Gearhane some blue sky appeared.
Walking up into the glen by Derrymore River

Looking Back to Tralee Bay

The first of the little lakes

Francis looking rather pleased..

We had our lunch just below the ridge where we would be out of the wind that was whipping patchy cloud across it. As is often the case, as we ate the cloud returned and we even had some rain but once we gained the broad ridge we were treated to some amazing views to the west. It had been years since I had been here and I was blown away by the scenery. There is no doubt about it but the Dingle Peninsula is one of the best places in the entire country. We were soon on the summit of Caherconree at 835mtrs and now we could see across to the Reeks and down towards Inch and Rossbeigh strands. There was a stiff chilly breeze so we didn't tarry and set off towards the col below Bartregaum. The ridge becomes pleasingly narrow with steep ground on both sides and of course those stunning views. Suddenly as we reached the col the breeze changed to a strong wind and carried horizontal hail sideways on to us which stung our faces and ensured we kept our eyes protected. Some buffeting gusts made progress a bit tricky and when we reached the broad desolate summit we took a compass bearing and quickly headed on towards the northeast top. By the time we reached here the hail had thankfully stopped which was good because we now turned and descended in a northerly direction which was straight into the wind. The descent is fairly straightforward and we were soon a good deal lower and out of the worst of the weather. We were soon on Derrymore East and we then descended down to the river in the glen below and followed it back to the place there the Dingle Way crosses it and from here it is but a short walk back to the car. It had been a stunning walk with superb views and the wild weather only served to make it all the more invigorating. All in all about 10 kilometers and 950 meters of climbing in four hours. I have a feeling it won't be long before we return. Thanks Frank.
Starting up the steep spur

Caherconree

Across to Baurtregaum

Wonderful views west along the Dingle Peninsula

Towards Inch and Rossbeigh

Frank on Caherconree

Looking down towards Tralee



Back down and still gorgeous.