Picture from David-Guenot : Glenkeel Lough and Glenkeel Top in the sunshine, from the steep SE slopes of Canshanavoe
Picture: Glenkeel Lough and Glenkeel Top in the sunshine, from the steep SE slopes of Canshanavoe
Wild and remote-Part One David-Guenot 15 Apr 2014
As I was preparing my trip to Béara in March 2014, I noticed there was no comment for Glenkeel Top on MV, and only 3 members had climbed it. Its modest height, the fact that it remains unmarked and on the edge on two OS maps, and most of all its relative isolation from other MV summits are the main reasons. Intrigued, I decided to include it in a circular walk, starting from the Healy Pass, taking in Knockowen, Cushnaficulla, Knockeirky, Glenkeel Top, then back to Knockowen via Knockeirky's S ridge (Canshanavoe), down to Stookeennalackareha and up the road back to the Pass.
From Knockeirky, I descended SSE, on rocky, then soft, boggy ground, facing Glenkeel Top in the distance, until I reached the end of a small finger-shaped lough at V836551 (Point A). I then followed the cliffs' edge to the E, enjoying the beautiful scenery over Glenkeel Lough until I found a convenient route to go down, avoiding the cliffs. Reached a low point crossing a stream beneath a small waterfall at approx. V837546 (Point B) and started ascending on boggy, slippery ground. I soon reached a shoulder which led me underneath the rocky summit ridge (see pic in Part Two). A short pull-up took me to the top. The summit area consists in a large, flat slab of red rock. The higher point lies on the southern end of this slab. There is also a minor top to the S, which I first thought was higher. The views from the top are really enjoyable, even though higher mountains bar the horizon. Loughs, cliffs, and a beautiful view towards Bantry Bay (best seen from the minor top). But most striking is the wilderness and remoteness of the whole area, particularly to the N of the summit. Not a single trace of human activity, no road, building or poles, no path, fence or posts, it was just me, rocks, bogs and water !! Only from the minor top were a few houses down in Adrigole merely visible. And then there was this small "dam" made of concrete blocks to the S end of Glenkeel Lough. I reached this point after a few minutes' descent, and was helpfully guided by a few sheep who escaped from me upon this line of blocks to the other side of the lough. From there I ascended "Canshanavoe", taking time to look back at the beautiful scenery over Glenkeel Lough and Top, with Glenlough Mountain in the background. I veered slightly SW and after a 30 minutes' climb, reached a flat area of long, flat slabs of rock and got stunned by the spectacular views: to the SE, the impressive SW cliffs of Glenlough Mountain; to the S, Bantry Bay and Adrigole Harbour; and to the SW, the massive, cloud-covered outline of Hungry Hill, which amazingly looked like an erupting volcano !! Another 10-15 minutes climb to the N then led me to pt. 523m, where I stopped for a snack, enjoying the beautiful scenery to the NE. Large patches of sunshine were peering through heavy clouds, enhancing the colours of the moor, before the clouds finally won the race and it started snowing.
Point A: V836 551
Point B: V837 546
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Picture from David-Guenot : Approaching the red rocky summit (left), minor top to the right
Picture: Approaching the red rocky summit (left), minor top to the right
Wild and remote - Part Two David-Guenot 15 Apr 2014
Then started the long slog back to Knockowen along the Canshanavoe ridge. The snow soon stopped and melt immediately, and despite a few detours to avoid some peat hags, ponds and the usual boggy patches, the going was relatively easy until I reached the SW slopes of Knockeirky. It was now a matter of finding my way across long slabs of rocks, separated by narrow but soggy lines of grassy ground. Crossed a stream S of Cushnaficulla and began my second ascent of the day of Knockowen, on boggy, slippery ground first, then again across large bands of rock. Reached the top of the "Spine" about 1h15 after I had left pt. 523m on Canshanavoe. Next (and last) target of the day: Stookeennalackareha (see comment on this summit for end of the walk).
As a conclusion on Glenkeel Top: definitely to be taken as part of a longer route, and worth the detour, as the surroundings are beautiful and remote.
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