Friday, January 2, 2015

The Wonderful Gap of Dunloe and Purple Mountain, Simply Great

Night work sometimes is good if it lets you make the most of the days. I left work this morning and decided to take advantage of what promised to be a nice weather day and I headed west once again for a day on the hills. The outing of choice was to visit Purple Mountain 832 meters. This is a mountain I don't visit that often these days but it offers a fairly straightforward outing and when the weather is good the views are superb. I decided to take advantage of what was turning out to be a beautiful morning and parked at Kate Kearneys cottage and walk in through the six kilometres of the Gap of Dunloe before turning and climbing Purple by the southern ridge. From there I would traverse onto Tomies and then down to above Tomies Rock and then head north and back to the car. A fairly lengthy outing of about 17 kilometres and over 900 meters of ascent but nowhere is the going very steep and the walk through the Gap would give a nice leisurely introduction to the day.
Starting into "The Gap"

Can't think why I enjoyed it.

Coffin Rock

Up by Turnpike Rock


It is lovely to walk at this time of year through the Gap as those annoying "Jarveys" are nowhere to be seen and this early in the day I almost had the place to myself. The Gap is one of the most beautiful places in the country and is justifiably popular with walkers and tourists alike and at times can get really busy. It was therefore a huge pleasure to be able to stride along and enjoy the stunning scenery in blissful solitude. I was really enjoying myself and feeling strong as well. My mood darkened somewhat when I saw a couple of so called "sportsmen" who were out with a couple of dogs looking for something to kill. Why they can't just enjoy nature instead of wanting to destroy some living creature I will never understand.
What a TWAT Hopefully Karma will prevail

 When I finally reached the "head of the gap" I turned off the road and headed up the rough track across open wild ground. As I gained height the views only got better and soon I could see the East Reeks across the valley and behind the wonderful Black Valley gave a good excuse to pause and look back. I made rapid progress and soon I was passing Glas Lough and climbing the steeper ground towards the summit. What a stunning day. At the top the ground on the shaded side was a little frozen and there was a distinct chill in the air but it was such a pleasure to sit and eat a bite and soak up the views. From the top I headed towards Tomies 735 meters and as I dropped my eye was drawn to the outlying summit of Shehy at 762 meters. I was less than a kilometre to reach it so I made the detour to it. It is one of the only places where the three lakes of Killarney can be seen and the view is well worth the effort. I was running a bit short of time now as I had to meet Margaret in Killarney at 14.20 so I didn't delay and returned to the route and headed to Tomies and continued my merry way down. Time caught up with me and I had to run the final few kilometres in order to be on time. It had been a lovely outing with the weather and views playing their part. I look forward to returning sooner rather than later.
Glas Lough with Purple beyond

Quite the view. The Reeks and the Black Valley

Summit view


Towards Tomies

Shehy Mountain

Panoramic view from Shehy

Looking across to the Hags Glen  and Carrauntoohil