Friday, October 30, 2015

Visiting The Reeks From The Quiet Side.....Curraghmore To Cnoc na Cuillan

29th October 2015;
Yesterday I went back to Kerry again for another outing on the mountains. After doing the Hags Glen round last week I wanted to do something a little different today so I decided to risk the long drive into the Black Valley. I arrived at Kate Kearneys before the jarvies had started to ply their trade so I had an uninterrupted drive through the extraordinary Gap of Dunloe. It is always a breathtaking sight and I found myself excited by the prospect of once again immersing myself in this wonderful landscape. Then you crest the "Head of the Gap" and the Black Valley lies displayed below you and beyond the mountains stretch into the distance. It is simply beautiful. Even though you have been driving for several miles on a twisting narrow little road to reach here you still have a long way to go to reach the furthest recesses of the valley. Thankfully the road had been resurfaced and it isn't too bad on the suspension of the car now. I drove until the road joins the Kerry way and where it becomes the entrance to a private home and I parked here. Even though I had had a clear run it had still taken over half an hours drive to reach here from Kate Kearneys. I visit this furthest spot all too seldom as it is a pain to get here in the tourist season and in the winter the nature of the road can make it dangerous if there is a risk of frost etc. Anyway I was here now and I was loving it. Here is just about as remote as it get in these parts and the scenery is epic with everything from waterfalls to high rocky mountains to please the eye.
The east Reeks from Curraghmore

Leaving the car

Cnoc na Toinne

 I walked along the Kerry Way for a couple of kilometers before heading up to the right and heading for the wide gully that descends from Curraghmore 822 mtrs. I went up a twisting ramp on its left side instead and exited onto the summit by climbing up some mixed wet ground that gave me the opportunity to use my hands. I have been on this top a few times before but it must have been five or more years since my last visit and today I was blown away by the beauty of the place. The views across to the main ridge of The Reeks was particularly pleasing. It's amazing the difference a slightly different perspective can make. It is a relatively short and easy plod up to the summit of Caher and now I was back on familiar ground. The one thing that struck me , apart form the views, was the distinct chill in the air. Here at 1000mtrs there was more than a hint of the approaching winter in the breeze. I could see the usual numbers heading for or leaving the summit of Carrauntoohil and it made me appreciate all the more the quietude of the route I had chosen (I hadn't seen a soul up to this point). I had a bite to eat on the summit of Carrauntoohil and descended to the "Ladder" and continued to the summit of Cnoc na Cuillan. I then descended to Brazzil and from there went directly down to the car. Four hours forty five minutes for a thirteen kilometer round with about thirteen hundred meters of climbing and the only place I had seen anybody was on Carrauntoohil. I must venture deep into the Black Valley again soon.
Carrauntoohil from the summit of Caher

Looking down into the Brida Valley


The view west from the summit of Carrauntoohil
Looking back from the summit of Conc na Cuillan

Towards Killarney
Heading down and trying to race the weather

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