Monday, May 18, 2015

A Circuit Of The Gap Of Dunloe

Yesterday I went back to Killarney for another hike on the Kerry mountains. My trip to the Pyrenees is getting close so I wanted to get a fairly big hike done to try and improve my fitness before I go. I decided to do a full circuit of the wonderful Gap of Dunloe. Surprisingly I think I had only done this hike once before but it is a lovely outing with wonderful views, especially to the East Reeks. I parked at Kate Kearneys cottage and set off in the Gap road. Once over the skew bridge I set off up the steep pull up "The Chimneys" and onto Tomies Rock. The weather forecast was for rain to arrive around lunchtime but it was fine so far even if it was a bit cool with a stiff breeze blowing. On up to Tomies and from the summit it is fairly straightforward all the way to Purple Mountain 832 mtrs my high point of the day. I was really surprised not to have seen anyone so far as this is a popular spot but as I went own I passed a couple of groups coming up against me. I went almost all the way to the "head of the gap" before I stopped for a well earned lunch.
Steep ground up to "The Chimneys"

Enjoying the view

A wonderful place to be...heading for Purple

       
The East Reeks looking amazing.

After lunch I went down to the road and set off up the far side of the gap towards Drishana. The 200 meters plus of steep ground was tough but after reaching the top the slope eases considerably and makes for easier going to the next top Cnoc na d'Tarbh 655 mtrs. On the way up I met two young east European guys and the absolute delight that they felt at being out in this wonderful landscape was plain to see. The weather was holding up very well and I was hopeful of completing the day in the dry. My legs were pretty tired by now and the effects of the cycle the day before were evident as well so I wasn't looking forward to the final 150 meter climb to my final summit Cnoc na Bhraca 731 mtrs. The views across to the main bulk of The Reeks are glorious. I turned and headed down and headed towards the long spur that leads to Strickeen 440mtrs. It was really disappointing to find a new fence crossing the path as I went down and to make it more difficul it was topped by barbed wire. It ran in a straight line almost the entire length of the spur before dropping down towards the gap. When will the government ever tackle the farmers in this country?. I sometimes despair. Anyway I went to the top of Strickeen and then descended back to the road and my car. Approximately 17 kilometers long and 1700 meters of climbing in 5 hours 45 minutes made for a worthy outing.
The Reeks looking splendid from Cnoc na Bhraca

Towards Strickeen

How much did this new fence cost...and who paid??

Almost down..still beautiful.