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gouganebarra
2010-09-01 23:12:46
Suggestion for West Cork walk
Conor74, I'd suggest that you could climb Shehy Mor (and combine it with Djouce and Doughill mountains for a longer walk). The best access for climbing Shehy Mor is from the unclassified road which runs out north-westwards from Kealkill (it's a turn left off the Cousane Gap road, you'll find it on the area map on this site), and climbs to a 300m pass in the hills north of Gortnaloughra townland. Before you reach the pass, and quarter of a mile downhill from it, you'll see on the right a large gate with track beyond. You can park here. A sign says no trespassers, but I've walked here many times and never had a problem. You follow the track uphill to where it meets forestry on the right, and shortly you follow the track away up to the right. As the track rises it eventually takes a sharp left to follow the contour, but you should break off the track here and head up the mountain veering slightly to your right, towards an obvious col ahead (any ascent other than this is up dangerously steep, wet ground). Once you reach this, you'll see you're on a long ridge which you can then follow, by turning sharp left, the half mile to Shehy Mor's summit. The fall away to the south is tremendous and gives huge views of inland West Cork and Bantry Bay, and the Shehy mountains to the north. You can follow this ridge on north-eastwards till it drops away, to give more views, but I found descent from here was difficult, as the path is eventually blocked at the base by insurmountable wire fences. So return the way you've come, though you can detour further by continuing south-west from the point you joined the ridge, which is high ridge too with high lakes, though you should return to descend by the same route. Once back at your car (this walk without detour shouldn't take more than 1.5 hours), you have the option of climbing Djouce Mountain, to the north-west of where your car is parked. This side of it is quite steep and rocky, and you descend the col to the north-west of Djouce and then up to the summit of Doughill. I haven't climbed the last two, but they are regularly climbed as a pair, and this trio (with Shehy Mor) is a tradition going way back (see J.C. Coleman, 'Journeys into Muskerry'.). Although you double back from Shehy Mor to the other two mountains, you have at least covered three of West Cork's high mountains. You can drive to the start point from Inchigeelah also, twelve miles or so north of Dunmanway, by taking the South Lake road signs from the south side of Inchigeelah, but you'd need an OS map to navigate this. You'll probably have one anyway, and it will be a great help with reaching start point either way. This is the best high ground near to Clon or Skib, but there's always the Gougane Barra horseshoe further inland (see www.munsterhillwalks for route or this website also). Enjoy the walking.


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