Stumpa Barr na hAbhann - who? And thus a pleasure to bring a sunny smile to this strange girl's face when I alighted on her shoulder. 20 years ago, I enquired at the Climber's Inn in Glencar if anyone went up “there” - being the Reeks and was told with inevitable Kerry sarcasm that some did but not all returned. And so last week on the pretext of Puck, I encouraged Girl Friday to the Peninsula. When she was still suffering from being Girl Tuesday Night, I slunk off for a look. Conditions were Kerry Grade 7; access other than the main Toohil track was unclear and time was (more Puck pressing) of the essence - so the nearest at a 4pm kick-off into black, unknown territory was good.
Enter Stumpa. Soaked to the skin getting the gear on; access from Lough a Chuis; venture into half tracks, sheep runs, heather and impenetrable contours. An awkward pull up to her calf, meet the Toohil “motorway” at a concrete-plugged waterfall and a tough ascent into shattered sedimentary bits. Hello - clear skies and scorchio heat. The summit is reached, then reached, then reached again. For the Reek virgin, the panorama of the choire from Her Stumpiness is only mindblowing. The ridge is magnificent at every point, some of which are positively scary.
A fist of impenetrable blackness sat behind the Carn and slowly opening fingers, reached out to me - home James. Given the griplessness threatening the access route, I descended over her brow instead. More heather, more outcrops, but dry. Back at the car and Fingers the Fog Finagler opened his rain-filled palm and re-drenched me in an instant.
I’ll be back to do the ridge, when it’s cool, clear, cloud-free and grippy. Must put that in the diary for another 20 years. Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/18/comment/1096/