The “longest, hardest high level walk"
...in Ireland was how Paddy Dillon described a proposed walk across the tops of a number of the summits in his “The Mountains of Ireland”, stretching from the east end of the Mangertons and across the Dunkerrons and the heart of South Kerry. As I live between the two ranges and have spent many great days around both, I decided I would give it a go and see if I could maybe “open up” a new walk for those who like the tough ones, albeit with some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. I should point out that I did not try this on consecutive days, but over the past 5 weekends, most of the outings were in the 8-9 hour bracket so if anyone can do it day after day (as I know Dillon really meant in his challenge!) I doff my cap to them. I did however, of course, pick up the route at the point where I had left it, usually in cols but over the last couple of walks that meant getting back to the top of a summit reached in the previous outing, these are noted in brackets. I also did it east to west, he suggests west to east. His route has Coomcallee and An Bheann Mhor at one end, whereas I decided to complete the range with one further outing from there south west to the end of the Iveragh Peninsula. I didn’t encounter any access issues, but I am aware of some around Derrygarriff where one must stay to the south and east of the fence that leads down from the summit to the road, so would suggest that anyone trying it go to the individual entries on Mountainviews for any news. Incidentally, the route is largely covered by Discovery Series 78 and 83 though afair the area around Crohane may require 79 too. Each stage was a 2 car outing, relied on family to ferry me around both Mangerton stages, had a (very fast!) friend on the 4 treks across the Dunkerrons. I might give further details, distance, ascent, exact routes etc. in a breakdown in the walks section in due course, but for those who are interested here are the 52 mountains summitted along the way.
Day 1 - Loo Bridge to Kenmare – Carrigawaddra, Crohane, Crohane SW Top, Bennaunmore, Stoompa East Top, Stoompa, Mangerton, Dromderalough NE Top, Dromderalough, Knockbrack
Day 2 – Kenmare to Barfinnihy Lake – Knockanaguish, Peakeen, Peakeen W Top, Derrygarriff
Day 3 – Barfinnihy Lake to Ballaghbeama Gap – Boughil, Cnoc na gCapall, Bascadh, Knocklomena, Stumpa Duloigh SE Top, Stumpa Duloigh, Stumpa Duloigh SW Top, Knockaunanattin, Knockaunanattin W Top
Day 4 – The Cloon Horseshoe – Mullaghanattin, Beann NE Top, Beann, Beann South Top, Beann SW Top, Beann Far SW Top, Sallagh, Finnararagh, Coomnacronia, Knocknagantee, Teermoyle, Coomura
Day 5 – Knocknagantee to Dromid – (Knocknagantee), Cnoc Breasail, An Bhinn Láir, Coomcathcun, Coomnahorna, Coomcallee, Beann na Stiocairi, An Bheann Mhor, Glanbeg
Day 6 – Coomcallee to the Atlantic Ocean – (Coomcallee), Esknaloughoge N Top, Esknaloughoge, Staigue NE Top, Staigue Top, Eagles Hill, Mullaghbeg, Beenrour, Cahernageeha, Farraniaragh