Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Glengarra Wood Horseshoe, Galtees

Rhododendron trees
After a week of night work I decided to make the most of the two days off I had and also the good weather and headed first thing for the Galtee Mountains instead of home to bed. I decided upon the Glengarra Wood horseshoe as this was an area I hadn't visited in years. After a long drive through the forestry the walk starts  just after a ford of a stream at Cullenagh. The start of the woodland drive was a wonder of old flowering rhododendron trees that arched over the road giving glorious tunnels.

I left the car at 7.35 and was soon out on the open mountainside striding up the broad southern spur of the equally broad Greenane. The Galtees are a compact gentle range of mountains that run generally on an east west axis , where a series of spurs reach south and where the northern side is steeper and is punctuated by four glacial corries which each hold lovely lakes. I soon reached the summit at 802mtrs and headed along the broad ridge towards the conglomerate rock outcrop called O'Loughlans Castle. This outcrop bears an uncanny resemblance to the ruin of a man made structure. The ground underfoot is usually tediously boggy, but today, after the recent spell of good weather the gong was firm and progress was easy. Even the peat hags that normally bar the way and necessitate detours and much jumping were dry enough just to walk over. The one disappointment was the scarring in evidence after recent activity by motorbikes.

O'Loughlans Castle with Galtymore beyond

Mossy Cascades
I was soon down at the col under Galtybeg and the 160mtr pull up here got the heart pumping. The top soon arrived and off down again to the col above Lough Diheen with its cliffs and on for another 200mtrs to the summit of Galtymore, at 919mtrs one of the few 3000ft tops in the country. A little brunch here and I retraced my steps to the col and crossed under Galtybeg and then southeast towards the confluence of a triumvirate of streams where they entered the forest. This is a nice easy decent and the forest glen looked wonderful with the new leaves on the deciduous trees. The stream itself was a sparkling series of mossy cascades that led to a series of plunge pools that would be very tempting in the summer when we get (hopefully) some warm weather. Soon I was back in the forestry and a couple of kilometers more saw me back at the car. It was a lovely relaxing walk of 12k with  just over 900mtrs of climbing. It was a nice way to start the day off.
Lovely confluence of streams
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