Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Clydagh Valley Horseshoe..Before the snow melts.

We had a short cold snap Monday and Tuesday and there was a good dump of snow on the hills so with a decent forecast I decided to head to The Galtees today and I opted for one of my favourite circuits on the range The Clydagh Valley Horseshoe. This gives a nice outing that is around 14 kilometers long and had over 1000mtrs of ascent so it gives a reasonable workout as well.
I could see the Galtees from home yesterday and they were well covered to low levels but there was a fair old thaw underway and the cloud base was down at around the 600 mtr level as well. Oh well I was here now so I set off for my first peak..Cush and I was basically snow free most of the way to the summit. In the cloud on top the lying snow still made for a nice wintry atmosphere and it was certainly chilly enough in the stiff wind. I dropped down to the col under Galtybeg and then trudged up the seemingly never-ending slopes to the summit. Now at over 2600ft it was quite wintry and I then dropped to the col above Lough Muskry and plodded up to the main top of the day Galtymor and now at over 3000ft it was definitely still winter so I crossed the summit plateau and then dropped easily on deep banked snow to the level ground above Lough Curra. Once on the wast side of the lake I again used a deep snow bank to descent all the way to the lake shore and then returned easily to the forestry and the car. Four hours out in bracing wind and snow was just what the doctor ordered and I was pleased to get out in what might be the last snows of the season. Note to self.if you go to the trouble of bringing the camera then it would be a good idea to put a memory card into it as well..DOH⛄
Gaining height on Galtybeg looking back at Cush

Lough Curra to Cush

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Paps

It has been a good while since I last set foot on The Paps and as I drove back to Kerry this morning I looked across at them and on a whim tuned and decided to climb them. I was feeling a bit tired (head-cold?) and wasn't really in the mood for The Reeks and was of a mind to go somewhere different so it was an easy decision to make. The morning was mild and plenty of clear sky was to be seen and only some wispy cloud clung to the mountains so I was hopeful of getting some views. I drove in the little twisty lane towards Shrone Lake and carefully parked my car and set off. The view across the little lake to the very rough ground on the eastern flank of the east pap was lovely and I was immediately glad to be somewhere less familiar. I crossed the stream feeding the end of the lake and set off up through the trackless deep heathery ground I must confess to suffering a bit but perseverance paid off and eventually I found a trail that wound its way up the steep-ish slope. The cloud was clinging stubbornly to the slopes and soon enough the views disappeared. I reached the top with its huge cairn and after a brief rest I dropped to the col between the tops and climbed to the summit of the west top. I was hoping to be able to enjoy the lovely view that is to be found from here towards The Reeks but alas the cloud persisted and I was left with no option but to retrace my steps to the col. As luck would have it it cleared up quite nicely by the time I was back there and it was also quite warm in the sunshine. I contoured around the slopes of the east top and dropped easily along the boggy spur. Eventually I reached deep heather again and after struggling through this I reached easier ground and returned to my car. A little less than three hours but a delightful little outing. I used to cycle back here and "run" the mountains and then cycle home but I wouldn't fancy trying to run through some of the heather I waded through today. Nice to have been back there though.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tomies Wood Loop...Perhaps For The Last Time

Today I went with Frank for another gander on the Kerry Mountains. The forecast was rubbish and when I got up at six and heard the rain pelting against the window it would have been so easy to say to hell with this and head back to bed but a date with Francis called so I packed up the waterproofs and caught the train to Killarney. After a short discussion we opted to head for Tomies Wood and climb Tomies mountain and if the wind allowed do a semi-horseshoe back to the end of the wood via Shehy Mt. This was the route I had hoped to do when I last visited this area in December 2015 when, while trying for a hill run I tore the medial ligament in my right knee (which still gives me grief) on another windy day. We donned full metal jacket and left the car at 08.15 and after walking through the farm we entered the shelter of the wood.

Almost immediately we were treated to the sight of a group of perhaps fifteen red deer crossing the roadway up ahead of us, including several stags. Here in the shelter I felt overdressed and stuffy with all the clothes on as despite the wind and rain it was quite mild. I heated up further when after a few kilometres we left the forest road and climbed steeply up and out of the wood into the open bog. Now though we felt the full effects of the wind and rain and I began to be glad of the added layers. The long slog up through the saturated boggy ground was tough and when you combined that with the fact that the wind was in our face it was (as Frank said) akin to walking uphill through soft sand. We stuck at it and eventually reached the summit (735mtrs) at 10.25. Its fair to say it wasn't a spot to linger but I was pleased to find that the wind was manageable. ..just, and we could stick to our original plan and head for Shehy. Horizontal rain and buffering gales made for continued tough progress but eventually we reached the turnoff for Shehy and now the wind was at our back. We progressed rapidly and again didn't delay on the 762mtr summit but dropped quickly down the ridge to the broad spur that turns towards the end of the woods. We were in the cloud all the while and we missed the final turn off the spur and went too far past the woods which meant that, in order to avoid  trying to navigate through  dense Rhododendron we had to contour back through some steep wooded and interesting ground before we were able to reach the forest road again. We enjoyed a bite to eat during a lull in the rain and then walked easily back to the car. We had thoroughly enjoyed the "invigorating" outing in weather that Frank described as relentless.

We were in fine form as we walked back through the farm but I knew something was up when I saw the farmer making a direct line across the paddock towards us. We shared an amicable greeting and he politely enquired about our route and when we had started. He then told us that access was no longer permitted to the wood through his property. I told him that we were genuinely unaware and we apologized for inconveniencing him and we parted on friendly terms. I wouldn't be best known for my diplomacy but there really wouldn't have been any point in argueing and any harsh words might jeopardize any future possible conciliation. It is none the less terribly disappointing to once again encounter such issues and I feel the time is long since past when proper legal access rights should have been established. Having just returned from a hiking trip abroad, the backward attitudes that are tolerated here are all the tougher to stomach. It was a sad development in an otherwise smashing outing.