Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Mullaghanattin Horseshoe..The Pocket

First rays light up Mullaghanattin.
Looking out the window of the apartment this morning it is difficult to motivate myself to get  up and go for a walk as it is dull, gloomy and pouring with rain. Yesterday couldn't have been more different as a crystal clear night led to a crisp frosty morning and the promise of a superb morning for a hike around one of the nicest horseshoe walks in Kerry...Mullaghanattin via "The Pocket".


Looking across to the pocket

Lough Brin
I got up at silly o clock so that I could make an early start and be back in Sneem in good time so that Margaret and myself could make the most of what promised to be a stellar weather day in this most lovely of places. Out the door and a wait for the ice to melt off the windscreen and I was driving in the gloaming towards the Ballaghbeama Gap before turning off and following the little lane to Tooreenahone and parking at the last junction from where I could easily start the walk. This is one of the most perfect horseshoe walks that you would find anywhere and the route really resembles a horseshoe on the map. I decided to do it in an anti clockwise direction so almost immediately after leaving the car I crossed over the wire fence and started climbing up the boggy shoulder of An Cnoc Raibhach 534mtrs which got the blood pumping and warded against the chill breeze. Reaching the shoulder of the mountain afforded me expansive views to the east and I was able to enjoy a lovely sunrise and watching the hills turn to a rusty rosy colour when the first rays of sun hit them made me think that I was lucky indeed to have such a beautiful wild landscape to enjoy in my own country. It had been just over a week since I returned from the Vaud Alps and I have to say that I didn't feel that these hills were inferior or less beautiful in any way to what I had enjoyed there.
Wild and wonderful ground. Looking towards The Reeks



For the next kilometer and a half the ground undulates along the broad crest before climbing up to Mullaghanattin east top. This is a great spot to pause and look around as now the landscape is wild and wonderful and the Reeks dominate the views to the right. A drop down to the col and then a steep climb all the way to the top of Mullaghanattin (773mtrs) follows and here on this pleasingly small top the views in all directions are wonderful. Looking across at "The Pocket" is especially pleasing but some care is needed on the steep near 200mtr descent and then another steep pull leads to the east top of Beann 682mtrs and easier walking reaches the crested summit of Beann 752mtrs. The views to the west, where the Iveragh Peninsula continues all the way to Hogs Head where it finally drops to the ocean are great and add to this the Beara Peninsula on one side and the Dingle Peninsula on the other and it is without doubt a special place to be. I continued on towards the next top (south top) and then descended via the broad and wild Faher mountain. I was feeling so good that I actually ran a fair bit of it and my knee held up just fine (at least until I stepped in a bog hole and went tumblingšŸ˜Š). Eventually I reached the green road in the base of the valley and I made my way back to the car. It had taken me just three hours forty five minutes to cover the 11 or so kilometers with around 1000mtrs of ascent. I was well happy.


West....the peninsula continues

Back at the car and a blue sky day