Wednesday, 19 August 2020

The Slieve Mish Mountains. Caherconree and Baurtregaum


August 18th 2020

After enjoying wonderful weather for the few days I went to Ballyferriter, things returned to worse than normal after that. Dull, wet and dreary would sum it up nicely. To top things off, we have a full fledged storm arriving today so things don't look like improving anytime soon. Yesterday however, was the one good weather window that was available, so I grabbed the chance with both hands and set off west once again.

I wasn't after a big day, just one that would get me on the hills and give me a chance for a dip in the sea. Over the last few years I have become quite a fan of going for a soak in our seas. It is a bit strange for someone who is not a fan of cold water, but for a couple of months the water is bearable for me, and I have come to enjoy it. The weather was looking very nice. Not super warm, but pleasant, and it was still a shorts and T shirt day. I decided that a visit to the Slieve Mish mountains just west of Tralee would offer me a good mountain day, as well as being close to the beach. I drove up the little bohereen at Derrymore, where there is careful parking for several cars, and soon I was out on the open ground. The Derrymore river cuts through a deep valley that divides Baurtregaum from Caherconree. Both spurs on either side of the river are steep and neither offer an easy way to top. I normally do the round in a clockwise direction and climb the spur that leads to the NE top of Baurtregaum first. I thought about changing things today but I stuck to the norm. It meant that the climb held no surprises for me and the steep 300 metre slog up through heather was as expected...hard. Sweat flowed freely but height was steadily gained. Finally at the 400 metre contour there is an easement and you can catch your breath before another 150 metre pull is climbed. This is thankfully on easier ground as the heather is left behind.

Some cloud clung to the tops but I was mostly in the sun until I reached the 700 metre contour when I was enveloped in the mist. A few spatters of rain arrived and I briefly thought about putting on a jacket. As I was contemplating, the rain stopped and I just had a cool breeze and cloud to contend with. I reached the NE top and easily followed the ridge to the bleak main summit of Baurtregaum (851 metres). With nothing to see I just kept going towards Caherconree. I was lazy and decided to just wing it and walk without checking the map or compass. After a while I thought I was heading too far to the north so I decided to contour around the hillside to try and find the col below Caherconree. I walked for a while and saw no col, so I decided to stop my stupidity and check my position. My Suunto watch is very handy, and soon I had my position fixed on the map and I realized that I had contoured way too far to the south. Indeed I had actually been bang on course at the start. I set off in the correct direction and soon found the col. To my delight, the mists parted and I was offered some views again. As I rose easily to the summit of Caherconree (835 metres) I was once again in the mist but very shortly after I passed the summit the mists cleared and I enjoyed gorgeous views for the rest of the hike. It was a real boost for the spirit. I sat and enjoyed a bite to eat on the adjacent top of Gearhane (792 metres) where I enjoyed the views in every direction, but especially to the west. I decided on a whim to descend to the lake in the coum under the col between the Baurtregaum and Caherconree, and follow the river back to my car. It worked out beautifully and there was a reasonable trail to follow the whole way. It was especially handy near the end, as it allowed me to avoid the steep descent through heather at the end of the spur. I arrived back to the car four hours after setting off and  wasted no time in driving the kilometre to Derrymore beach, where I enjoyed a long soak in the very pleasantly warm sea. It was simply lovely to stand in the lapping waters and admire the fine mountain scenery that framed the shore. I drove the 90 or so kilometres home a very happy boy.

Thursday, 13 August 2020

A weekend in Ballyferriter. The best of the Dingle Peninsula.

 Friday August 7th;

When the weather plays ball, the west coast of Ireland is really hard to beat. When you throw in one of the most beautiful areas on the west coast, then you are on to a winner. When I visit the Dingle Peninsula, I usually head to the northern shores, but this time I headed to the furthest western reaches and headed to a campsite near Murragh, not too far from Ballyferriter. The well appointed campsite was, unsurprisingly, busy but I was ushered to a semi secluded spot that proved perfect for the three nights I was booked in for. 

As the day was so fabulous and it being only about 5pm when I was all settled in, I decided that a nice short cycle would be just the ticket before dinner. I should perhaps make some effort to describe where I was. The campsite is situated near the inner curve of Smerwick Bay. The iconic Ceann Sibéal and the Three Sisters are on one side and Ballydavid Head rises on the other. The beautiful Wine Strand lines the shore. As a backdrop you have a hill, behind which, the Brandon massif soars. It is a wonderful complex juxtaposition of sea and mountain that is famous the world over. Indeed, some of the scenes from the final Star Wars movie were filmed on Ceann Sibéal and the Three Sisters. As I readied for my ride, I realized that it was a fair few years since I was last here, and I was really looking forward to rediscovering the area. What better way than a bike ride. My route went along the shore for much of the way, ending up at Brandon Creek. The traffic was light and the scenery wonderful and I loved every minute. From the Creek the road headed inland under Mount Brandon. I rejoined the outward section about 5 kilometres from home and arrived back an hour after setting off. It was just 25 kilometres and didn't have much climbing but it felt good to do something after the drive down. To finally round off the day I walked the kilometre or so to the beach and wallowed a while in the surprisingly warm sea. Watching the sun go down beyond the Three Sisters, as the little waves gently reached the shore was lovely. I felt fortunate indeed.

A terribly overcrowed and overdeveloped beach

Saturday August 8th;

If the weather was idyllic last evening, then that word would serve again this morning. A calm, warm, sunny morning greeted me, and it promised to remain so through the day. Having had a wee taster of a cycle last evening, today I intended to enjoy the main course. The plan was to cycle the Slea Head route to Dingle and then climb to the top of the Connor Pass before returning to Dingle and the tent, by the main road. The cycling is pretty easy for the first stages as you round Smerwick Bay and head for Clogher Head. I mean what's not to like?. Mountains on one side, rocky headlands on the other and a shimmering blue sea. And of course, not forgetting the beautiful hedgerows. They are a riot of colour right now,  with fuchsia, montbretia, meadowsweet and loosestrife (among others) lining the roadside. I was in heaven. Things actually get even better after that. The pull to the top of Clogher Head was excuse enough to stop and enjoy the expanded views. Now the stunning Blasket Islands were added to the mix and it was heady. Downhill into Dunquin and then the road narrows and climbs up and around Slea Head. Here you are high above the ocean and the road in like a winding ledge cut into the mountainside. These few kilometres are simply stunning. It was such a thrill to cycle there on sucha beautiful morning. Once you cross a ford where a stream runs over the road then more "normal" seaside scenery can be enjoyed. As I neared Ventry the road got a fair bit busier but it is wider as well so there was no problem all the way to Dingle.

Not bad views at Clogher Head

What a Slea Head

At the Connor Pass

There is a road that by-passes the busy town on the northern flanks but it also gives means you have a steep hill to climb. Oh dear, I felt it in the legs and once again I was wondering why I was going to try cycle the Connor Pass. It was only a few weeks before that I went up there and it was something of a suffer fest then. I was hoping for better today. I didn't have the following breeze today but it wasn't against me either. It was equally warm however, so I took it nice and easy in the initial stages. To make a lng cycle short, it was still tough, but I managed it a bit better. I arrived at the top and after a brief rest and a drink I turned and returned the way I had come. What a delightful descent it is. The road is good, with plenty of room for cars. It is not too twisty and you can mostly see when there is anything coming. I wasn't in the mood to really go for it but if you were of a mind, you could have quite the adventurous descent. It is still a complete freewheel all the way back to Dingle. The hill up the bypass had to be done once again but after that it is pretty straightforward all the way back to the campsite. There is a sting in the tail however, when a final 100 metre climb has to be done before a freewheel back to the tent. I arrived back to the tent at 12.15 after covering 56 kilometres, climbed 825 metres in 2 hours 54. I was well pleased.

I relaxed for a while and had a brew before returning to the beach for another refreshing swim. It was still early so I whiled away some more time before deciding to drive to Mount Eagle and climb that. Its claim to fame is that it is the most westerly mountain in Europe. Even though it is well short of 2000ft (516 metres to be exact) it was the expected views that attracted me, and it didn't disappoint. I drove to the saddle between it and the altogether more shapely hill Croaghmarhin (403 metres) and set off at 15.36. I had hoped that there would be an obvious track to be seen but the slope looked overgrown with long grass, some heather and gorse. Down the hill a little I saw a gate and a grazed field that went about a quarter the way up the slope so I opted for that. The field was okay but once out of it on the open ground, it proved to be just as horrible as I had feared. I sweated and swore my way up the slope until suddenly I came to a well made stony track. I was too grateful to question where it had come from and I gratefully followed it up. It went almost all the way to the summit which made the going so much more pleasant. The final steep pull to the top was on a grassy trail and soon I  was on the broad boggy summit. The views were as wonderful as I had hoped, especially towards the Blaskets and in the other direction towards Dingle. I relaxed a while and gazed all about before retracing my steps back to the car. That is until I saw a reasonable trail through the horrible ground that led to the car. It would have been so much better if I had found it first time. It had taken only just under 100 minutes and was only 6 kilometres long. Less than 400 metres of ascent was done but it had packed in much in the way of interest and views. I was glad I had done it.It also gave me the excuse to go for another swim before dinner.

Mount Eagle summit views

Not a bad spot for the tent.

Sunday August 9th;

After my baby hike of last evening, today I was going to have a good outing on Mount Brandon.It promised to be another stonking weather day and I was really looking forward to it. I planned to head to the car park at Ballybrack on the south side of Mount Brandon and try to include as much of the main ridge as I could. It was 09.45 when I parked my car at the already busy car park. It was clear that the normal route would be a very busy affair so I set off across the bog to reach the large valley below Gearhane and Brandon Peak. This had the advantage of immediately leaving the crowds behind and it gave me a nice easy kilometre to start the hike. At least it did until I neared the floor of the valley when I had to cross a deep mire of long grass and gorse. That didn't last long thankfully as I soon reached the farm track that leads deep into the valley. This is a blessing as the ground on either side is wet and rough. At the end of the track it is easy to ford the river and nearby the steep spur that rises to the southwestern shoulder of Gearhane is reached. The end of the valley is backed by a few large coums that form a spectacular backwall to the glen. It was really quite warm and when I started up the steep ground at the base of the spur I was soon sweating profusely. Horseflies were also taking a shine to me and several had a feed before I spotted them.

That coastline always draws the eye

Wonderful and inviting views. Heading into the valley below Gearhane. Went up the steep spur.

A steep 200 metres had to be negotiated before easier ground is finally reached. This did offer some short little scrambling options, which I enjoyed. Once on the easier ground there was finally a puff of air to cool me down. I was feeling very good and enjoying the wonderful views all about. Eventually I reached the 803 metre summit of Gearhane, where I paused for a long drink. That was the hardest of the climbing over with, and I now had the glories of the main ridge to enjoy. And enjoy it I most certainly did. Normally I follow the track from Brandon Peak to Brandon but this time I stuck close to the edge. While this adds to the climbing a little, it most certainly adds to the views. All the while I was completely alone and I had these wondrous views to myself. That is until I reached Mount Brandon, which was strewn with people. I had a bite to eat here and left quickly to continue along the ridge. Once I was beyond the main paths I was again all alone. I am always surprised and ever grateful that people generally tend to stick to the main summit. Once you leave the honey pot it is always much quieter, and in my opinion better.

Once beyond the Faha Ridge the views are again wild and wonderful. An Sás is always a joy to see and the final top Masatiompán is now not too far away. Perhaps it was the wonderful weather, or perhaps it was that I was very careful to drink plenty, but whatever the reason I was feeling strong and great. I relished every step for the remainder of the ridge and before long I was atop Masatiompán and relaxing. I was surprised to discover that I could see the mountains of Connemara away in the distance. There was much to rest the eye on. I descended and joined the |Dingle Way and this gave a good trail all the way back to the road near Brandon Creek. A lengthy 6 kilometres followed on the road, which was quite tough in the heat, but it passed and I was delighted to arrive back at my car 6 hours 35 minutes after setting out. I had covered 22.5 kilometres and climbed 1450 metres. What a contrast in days to the last time I was on this mountain. Then I had done a quick up and back from Cloghane in continuous driving rain and no views. It certainly hadn't felt like summer then. It most certainly felt like summer a little while later when I washed the rigours of the hike away in the pristine waters of Smerwick Harbour.

Monday August 10th;

All good things have to come to an end I suppose, and today I had to return home and to night-work. It was somewhat cloudier this morning but still warm and I was hopeful that the cloud would burn off during the morning. I was in two minds as to what to do today. I could do the Slea Head cycle again or I could walk Ceann Sibéal and the Three Sisters. As it was greyer weather I forsook the cycle and opted for the walk. Not that this was in any way second best. The walk is without doubt one of the most lovely coastal walks in the country. I was all packed and on the move by 09.20 and I set off on the short drive to the roads end under Ceann Sibéal. A fine track gives easy access to the higher ground. It was put there a few years ago, when they were filming for the final Starwars movie. At its end it is just a matter of climbing the final metres across a field to reach the crest. A trail them leads up to the nearby summit at 206 metres where a ruined lookout tower. What a spectacular place this it. A vertiginous 600 foot cliff drops into the ocean and to the south the rugged coastline and the Blasket Islands draw your eye. There is a nice flat grass patch near the lookout and I really must pitch my tent there some night. I turned my attention to the continuation of the ridge that leads to, and over the Three Sisters and I set off. Initially I walked but the going is so easy and as I was wearing my trail runners I broke into a gentle trot.

It takes about three kilometres to reach the first of the sisters but the whole way is wonderful and spectacular. One lovely surprise along the way was at a broken cliff and grass section where, just about 20 foot below me, I saw a beautiful fox. We eyed each other for some seconds before it wandered on down the steep ground. Another fox could be seen nearby curled up and enjoying a good sleep. Frequently gannets flew in small groups heading off for some fishing ground or other. What a sleek beautiful bird they are. As I said, I took it nice and handy on the run, and I didn't try to wear myself out too much on the uphill sections. It was all about enjoying myself this morning. The SW, Middle and NE top of the sisters give equally beautiful vantage points along the way. I enjoyed a pause and rest at each one. The NE top is the highest at 153 metres (and perhaps the best viewpoint) and I lingered a while here, somewhat reluctant for the adventure to end. A steep-ish descent on good ground saw me head to near the shores of Smerwick Harbour. One delightful surprise awaited, when I looked to my left and spotted a sizable pod of dolphins bobbing along, just a few hundred metres from shore. I watched awhile enchanted before resuming my run. I soon reached a farm track which became a tarred lane. Then I followed the Dingle way as it went around the busy golf links and I ran the final kilometre upto my car. In all it had been just 2 hours 20 minutes of an outing and I had covered 14 kilometres and 550 metres of climbing. A quick change and drive to the almost adjascent Ferriters Cove allowed me to have a final swim in splendid isolation at this beautiful beach. Sometimes it is worth going to the furthest reaches of a peninsula to find the most unspoiled areas. It won't be as long before my next visit.


Friday, 7 August 2020

Camping in Castletownbere.

Friday September 31st;

I normally avoid heading to touristy places during very busy periods if I can, but last weekend, due to a reasonable weather forecast, and an itch to head away, I made an exception. I wanted to try somewhere I hadn't stayed before so after a bit of searching I chose the campsite at Berehaven Golf Club. This is about 30 kilometres further west than Glengarriff and would allow me to more easily explore the furthest reaches of this most beautiful of peninsulas.

I headed down on Friday afternoon so as to enjoy a nice relaxing evening, before going for a cycle on Saturday. I arrived into the pretty little golf course at around 5pm and discovered that the little camping area was nearly full. Four large family tents were already in situ and these took up most of the space. There was room for my little tent but I knew that things would be far from peaceful. There was another area for tents further to the left but this was pretty sodden after the heavy rain of the previous day so reluctantly I settled for the busy area. The evening resounded with the boisterous playing of about 12 kids and later the carousal of the parents. It wasn't that bad really, but I guess I am just becoming an old curmudgeon. There is a small stony beach below the clubhouse and I took the opportunity to "enjoy" a chilled soak in the flat calm waters. While I was in the water some whitebait were being hunted just a few feet away and when I dunked my head under water I could see several small fish flash by below me. I explored a couple of the holes near the clubhouse and I must say they look very nice, especially the 8th, which is over 140 metres and is almost entirely over water. Very spectacular. I actually wished that I had brought a few clubs with me. I settled down to an enjoyed the evening despite the distractions. Good phone signal meant I could enjoy YouTube.

Saturday August 1st;

I was looking forward to today. The Beara Peninsula offers some of the best and most spectacular cycling route that are to be found anywhere. The last time I was down in this neck of the woods I cycled from Glengarriff over the Healy Pass, to Kenmare, over the Caha pass and back. Today I was going to head to Allihies, Eyeries and return over the Healy Pass from the north. The western extremities of the peninsula must be one of my most favourite places and I was really looking forward to returning there. It helped of course that the weather was also playing ball. There had been some showers and some were still to be seen on the hills, but it was mostly blue skies and the wind was not too bad.
Looking back to Castletownbere

The cycling initially is easy. Flat roads lead into and out of Castletownbere and soon you are pedaling through beautiful wild countryside. One thing that would help is if they would re-surface the street through the town. It is butt bruisingly rough. The first challenge is the hill that rises gently at Gour. Here about 130 metres of height is gained but the increasingly wonderful views are ample compensation for the effort. The view back towards Castletownbere and the bulk of Hungry hill is beautiful and up here the blue sea and rugged shore compete for your attention. I took the opportunity for a brief stop so as to really enjoy the view. Next comes a beautiful gentle descent that comes ever nearer to the sea as you head west. The breeze was directly into me so some effort was required to make good progress. After 5 kilometres you reach the crashing shore at Cahermore and then a gentle climb gradually rises to the pass above Allihies. This gains another 80 or so metres but what a spot to stop and enjoy the stunning scenery laid out beyond. Rugged shore, rugged hills, distant mountains and islands rising from the sea. It is simply wonderful. Mind you some rain was also to be seen and I caught the edge of a shower as I neared the pretty village of Allihies. It was a brief affair and soon I was enjoying blue skies again.

After the descent from the pass, the short but steep climb into the village comes as something of a shock but it is soon over. The next four kilometres are just gorgeous. A narrow but well surfaced road twists and turns along by the shore and is a wild and wonderful experience. Next comes a steep climb that had me struggling to simply keep moving. At times the gradient is very steep and overall almost 100 metres is gained. I managed to stay on the bike but it really tired me out. At the top you pass through a rocky notch and you head down to a beautiful bay at Gortahig. The scene is gorgeous but some care is required, as the road is steep and twisted. The respite is short lived though, and you are faced with another 100 metre climb that I found very hard on my already tired legs. Once at the crest I stopped for a few minutes to recover and soak in the view. Thankfully the remaining route as far as Lauragh had no big hills and I made reasonable progress. The stretch between Eyeries and Ardgroom being particularly lovely.

When I reached Lauragh I was already pretty spent, so I was fairly dreading tackling the Healy Pass. At the start of the day I had thought that I might take the coast road from here and then return to Lauragh over the pass on the main road and then do the Healy Pass. That would have added twenty kilometres and over 200 metres to the day, but the way I was feeling, that was out of the question. After a rest and a bite to eat, I bowed to the inevitable and turned towards the pass. Before too long the climbing begins and I was down in the bottom gear, just willing the kilometres to pass. They did, slowly but eventually I rose up into the wild open mountainside. Glorious and all as the day and scenery was, I was hardly enjoying it. I suffered practically the whole way and the final few hundred steeper metres at the top turned my legs to jelly. I got there though and on the descent on the far side I was able to recover a fair bit. Once down in Adrigole, I was once again riding into the breeze, but I was now on the homeward stretch. That stretch seemed to stretch on for a long while but eventually I reached the turnoff to the campsite and I coasted back to the tent. I was very tired and glad to dismount. The first thing I did was simply sit awhile in my chair and relaxed. A brew and another bite to eat restored me somewhat and a little later I went and had a good swim the the sea. I was delighted to have completed the cycle and the rigours and efforts were receding in the memory.
Over 82 kilometres, 1040 metres climbing in just under four hours.

Sunday August 2nd;

The weather this morning was even better than yesterday and the  first order of business was to put on some sunscreen. I was excited about today. I had decided to enjoy a hike on Hungry Hill and ascend via the southwest ridge. It must have been over ten years since I last went up the mountain on this route. It offers a nice scramble up a series of rock bands. Some of these are vertical and have to be avoided but some offer excellent sport. I had contemplated leaving the car where it was and walking directly from the campsite but it would have meant a five kilometre walk on the road at the start so I drove instead. The verges of the roadways in the area are a riot of colour at the moment. Fuchsia, montbretia, meadow sweet and loosestrife give a glorious display and it is a pleasure to see. When I reached the end of the little lane I parked discreetly and set off into the wild.
And wild it certainly is. The amount of steep rock on display makes this a special mountain. The southwest ridge is right in front of you and it looks great. I followed the track in past the small lake and after climbing a little ways I was able to scramble up the first section to the crest of the ridge. From there it is a matter of climbing what you fancy and detouring around some of the difficult bits. The scenery just keeps getting better and better. Below and to the west, Bere Island lies and the little town of Castletownbere nestles under the hills that stretch to the end of the peninsula. To the left the savage rocky ground swoops down from the summit across towards Knocknagree. The many rock bands along here would make finding an early descent from that ridge difficult. I made good progress and enjoyed a few spicy scrambles on the way up. As I said, some sections are vertical and would pose difficulties to very good rock climbers but by picking your options carefully some great sport can be enjoyed. I recall on one occasion over 10 years ago, telling the doyenne of Killarney Mountaineering Club, the incorrigible Tim Long, that the section he was attempting looked very "fallableoffable", much to his amusement.
The rather wonderful southwest ridge

Pick a route (carefully) and enjoy

To the west

All too soon the broad boggy summit plateau is reached, but what a thrill to relax a while and simply soak in the views.On a calm, sunny day such as this there are few places finer to be. The clarity in the air was great and I could see the mountains stretching all the way to Caherbarna and beyond. The Iveragh peninsula competed with the closer hills and the inlets of Kenmare and Bantry bays shone blue. I was loving it. The main summit (682 metres) is just 6 or 7 hundred metres away and I headed across the bog to that.Then an easy descent to the northwest sees you reach the rugged broad ridge that leads to Knocknagree. I say it is easy, and it was on a good visibility day like I had, but in the mist and cloud, then care would have to be taken to avoid dropping down too early into some complex ground. Once on the ridge, things don't get too much easier. There follows a constant series of up and down little steps that are forced on you by water, bog and rock strata that always seem to block the way. It is complex and enjoyable. Just don't be in too much of a hurry. After reaching a couple of small pretty little lakes there follows a steep pull to the summit of Knocknagree (586 metres). Up here is a great vantage point to look back and admire the bulk of Hungry Hill. It was here I saw my first soul of the day. An Asian gentleman who was wearing a large sunhat (the kind with the big visor in front) and a net covering the face.
Heading to Knocknagree

Looking back from Maulin

Next up comes Maulin. The ground becomes easier after Knocknagree and an easy descent to a boggy col if followed by a slog up to the broad summit (621 metres). A final pause to admire the expansive views before I dropped easily into the glen in the southeast where I joined a farm track. The Beara Way trail crosses this track and once I reached it I turned and followed it back to my car. On the way I met a young man who was nearing the finish of the Way. He informed me that he hadstarted his hike in Limerick and walked to Tralee. He then completed the Dingle Way before also completing the Kerry Way. Now he was almost after completing the Beara Way and to finish he was going to continue and complete the Sheeps Head Way. What a super effort that would be. Over 700 kilometres is required to do that lot. A proper long distance hike for sure. I enjoyed the walk back to the car and once again I was able to enjoy the full might of Hungry Hill as the trail goes deep into the valley on its western flanks.

I arrived back to the car  5 hours 30 mins after setting off. 18 kilometres covered and 1230 metres climbed..The dip in the sea a short while later felt delicious. 

Monday August 3rd;

I was heading home today, but before that I was keen to get another hike in. It was another lovely morning so I decided to head to the north side of the peninsula and do the iconic Cumeengeera Horseshoe. This is another gem of an outing and it forms a beautiful natural circuit around the wild and rugged Rábach Glen. I drove around to Lauragh and followed the long narrow lane to its end and set off into the glen at 10.25. A lovely easy start along a good trail see you enter the wild and rugged glen and after a short pull you reach the crest of a spur coming from the left and the full extent of the glen is revealed. On a benign day such as this it was simply beautiful. In bad weather it becomes bleak and savage. A short drop to the easily forded river and then the real climb starts. A steep 250 metres up through the rock bands allows for some scrambling and after that the angle eases back a little and easier ground leads to the summit of Tooth Mountain (592 metres). What a lovely spot to stop and admire the view. The entire Iveragh Peninsula is on show to the north and of course you are in the heart of the Beara so what is local is equally stunning. 
Entering the glen

Wonderful wild ground and some scrambling can be enjoyed
The going is pretty easy from here on. A gentle drop and rise see you reach Coomacloghane (599 metres) which is adorned by a trig point. A slightly more awkward descent follows to reach the pass that leads towards Eskaterriff and it is easy to get sucked in to descending too far to the west. It would not be a major problem but it would add to the height that needed to be climbed. The long curved ridge to Eskatarriff (601 metres) is on broad boggy ground. Up here you are right at the furthest point from the car, so from here on you are on the homeward stretch. A drop of over 100 metres and a short climb sees you reach Eskatarriff East Top with its super looking rock arret that could be a climbers dream (or nightmare). A final 150 metre climb sees you reach the last top at Lacabane (603 metres) which is followed by a nice airy walk along the ridge before a steep 250mtr descent to a wide gully which descends back to the valley floor. Once down I crossed the very wet ground, full of bog myrtle, to reach the trail I had walked at the start. A short walk back to the car followed and it was all over. 
Looking towards The Reeks


It had been 4 hours 20 minutes of pure pleasure. 12 kilometres covered and almost 1100 metres climbed. 
It had been a delightful end to the weekend. I was a happy boy on the drive home. The Beara delivered yet again.