Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Lough Duff Horseshoe.

After working the night shift and off the next couple of days I took advantage of an early start and headed for Kerry again this morning. I normally shun driving through The Gap of Dunloe at this time of year as it can be something of a war of attrition with tourists and those lovely people "Jarveys" who make their living fleecing tourists by offering pony and trap rides through this beautiful spot but as I was driving through before 9am it was almost tourist and traffic free and I was parked and ready for the off by 09.10. The forecast good weather hadn't yet materialized and some bits of mist were to be seen but the tops of the round were clear and I was hopeful of things improving.
Steeper than it looks here. Up the gully in the middle

Gaining height and the views expand

Carrauntoohil looking spectacular

Almost straight away you are climbing and quite steeply at that but at least height is gained quickly and the views back along the length of the Black Valley are lovely. The gully up the east face of Broaghnabinnia offers some nice scrambling which was all the better today as there was very little water coming down. At the top of the gully the wind was quite strong and carried a distinct chill that felt more like Autumn than Summer but the rain was staying away. On the way to the summit I had the excuse to stop from time to time as I feasted on whortleberries..yum yum. This is a lovely walk where you find yourself in the middle of the Iveragh Peninsula with nothing but wild mountain scenery to be found in every direction. It is also nice to be somewhat in the shadow of the much higher Reeks and they look very spectacular. From Braaghnabinnia the views to the Brida Valley and beyond towards Mullaghanattin are great and when the weather is really good the views stretch all the way to the Skelligs. Today things were a bit grey and the strong chilly breeze meant I didn't delay in heading down to the col below the ridge that leads to Stumpa Duloig 784mtrs. Once on that ridge the going is initially quite scrambly with some rock bands crossing the way but higher up it is predominantly grassy and easy going.
The ridge above Lough Duff

Wonderful views to the west

And to the east

I stopped for a bite to eat at the airy summit and after a short rest I continued on my way. Easy walking follows for the next kilometer or so before you start to lose height and the ground gets rougher and at times wetter. From the low low ground you can drop down to the valley and follow the river out but I opted to stay high and climbed to Knocknabreeda 569mtrs and from there I went to the next top almost a kilometer further on and then dropped steeply but easily down to the top of the waterfall above Lough Reagh. It was a simple task to cross the much diminished river and then onto the next gully and back easily to my car. Even though it was the high tourist season I hadn't seen another walker all day and that only added to the allure of this lovely area.
The Reeks looking spectacular

Bog Garden

The day definitely improving

A tough place to try and scratch a living..from a time when starvation was never too far away.

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