Sunday, 10 December 2017

A Fine Round On The Galtee Mountains

Proper cold weather has arrived over the last few days and I'm hopeful that this coming week will see snow and ice on the hills. I was hoping that the Galtees would have a decent covering but when I got there it was plain that there had been just a dusting so the ice axe was left in the car. I parked once again at the excellent Kings Yard where toilets, changing facilities and snacks are available and it still costs only €2 to use the carpark. I was keen to take advantage of the fine chilly morning by having in or around a six hour day so I decided that I would include Temple Hill in the route which would stretch things out a bit. In order to make the outing a bit different to my normal ones I decided that I would head towards Temple Hill first. There had been a frost overnight so it was nice not to be sinking into the normally boggy ground and of course the going is therefore a little easier.

Heading in to Glounreagh

The views getting better

From the yard I followed the trail up and into Glounreagh until I reached the footbridge where I crossed the river and set off up the punishing 300mtr climb to my first summit of the day Monabrack at 630mtrs. Any lingering chill I felt quickly disappeared as I rose up the steep grass and heather slope. It eventually passed and I was able to then enjoy the easy descent to the saddle to its northwest before descending steeply to the ford at the Blackrock River which is one of my favourite places in these hills. Next up I faced the equally steep 350mtr climb to my second summit Knockaterriff 692mtrs which passed slowly but surely. It was a glorious morning to be out with no wind to drive the chill into the bones and great views to be enjoyed all about. I next turned from the rather featureless summit and headed for the boggy saddle under Temple Hill 785mtrs which is one of my favourite mountains. Normally it is a rather torturous affair to cross this area but this morning I was able to literally walk on water 😇 as I crossed the frozen ground. It was here that the first breeze of the day arrived and made it feel a bit more wintry.

Temple Hill
The near 200mtr climb to the summit wasn't too bad but none the less I was delighted to finally reach the snow dusted summit cairn. This is one of the best viewpoints on the whole range and I paused a little while here to soak in the fine views. I returned back to the saddle and set off up the long slog to my next summit Lyreacappul 825mtrs some 230mtrs above me. I had the bulk of my climbing for the day done when I reached here and by now the breeze was actually quite stiff so I just put the head down and pressed on. Once I reached Carrignabinnea I found a nice sheltered spot and enjoyed a nice spot of lunch as I looked over the large plain to the north. As I ate, a little lenticular cloud formed over Galtymore (919 mtrs) and it was fascinating to see just how quickly it changed and suddenly the summit was shrouded in mist. I guess this was a harbinger of the change promised in the weather forecast and sure enough by the time I reached the summit of the highest mountain in the range, the wind was buffeting and Dawsons Table was definitely no place to linger. I dropped directly south from the summit cairn and headed to the lovely meeting of three little rivers between Knockateenatoung and Knocknagalty and from there I walked the 2.5 kilometres back to the car. It had been a super enjoyable outing with around 18 kilometres covered and about 1400mtrs of climbing all in six hours. Here is hoping that some proper snow and ice arrives soon. My winter hardware is getting restless 😵😵.
From the summit of Temple Hill towards Lyracappul and Galtymore

Towards the Ballyhouras


Lunch spot
The way down

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