Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cloon horseshoe wildcamp

After a niggly chest infection and a month away from the mountains I decided to head for Kerry for a couple of days. The weather forecast was good so an overnight stay in the wild was called for. As I was still not fully recovered from a chest infection I decided to split the Cloon lake horseshoe into two days. A leisurely start to Saturday meant I didn't leave home until midday. I arrived at the lake outlet at 2pm on a glorious sunny afternoon which held a distinct nip in the air that hinted at the approaching winter. The walk starts along a good track that runs alongside the lake. All about the scenery was wonderful and wild. The bag was fairly heavy as I had brought the two man tent, self inflating mat and all the usual extras that are needed for two days on high. Progress was steady and I soon arrived at the end of the good track at an old farmstead ruin. Now I had to head onto the wild mountainside and and its difficult underfoot conditions. Wet rutted and rocky ground lay ahead until I gained a coll under Ballytrusk. From here some scrambling options presented themselves and I soon reached point 532mtrs. Easy ground and ever expanding views ensured that the top of the mountain soon arrived. This is unnamed on the map but I will call it Beast Hill as it has a height of 666mtrs. The view down into Coomura and across to Knockmoyle was spectacular. I took stock here and decided that south on the slopes of point 636 would make a good spot to set up camp.

So at five pm I set about getting my home for the night together. This was soon accomplished. I had a superb view over Lough Coomlougha and onto the Reeks. A short wander about to enjoy the superb cliffs on the east face of Knocknagantee and it was time for dinner. A culinary masterpiece of pasta and cheese sauce followed by coffee and biscuits went down a treat. By the time the wash up and other bits and bobs was done it was time to climb to point 636mtrs and enjoy a beautiful sunset. And so to bed.
A short spell of reading and I was ready for sleep. It is truly lovely to nod off to sleep and the only sound you can hear is the grumble of a grouse. A long and restful night followed and I rose, well rested at 7.30 the following morning. The clear skys of the night before had acquired a covering of cloud, but this was at 3000ft and didn't obscure the views and touched only the tops of the Reeks. A chilly breeze ensured that I didn't linger over breakfast and I was soon repacking everything up and ready for the day ahead.

Today's plan was to cross over Finnararagh and then on the wonderfully wild and rugged ridge and on to Mullaghanattin. The light was dull and the landscape had acquired a monochrome quality. I was feeling a little tight in the chest but a combination of walking and good old fashioned clear outs ensured that things improved. The rugged and wild nature of the terrain meant that time passed very quickly and I was soon climbing the steep slopes up to point 752mtrs above the Pocket. The top of Mullaghanattin soon followed and I then discovered that I had to retrace my steps to point 657mtrs and descended the broad spur, all the while enjoying the rugged scenery behind Lough Reagh and followed the Glasheengarriff stream back to the road and my car. All in all a lovely couple of days.
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