Leaving one car at Pier Gates, we drove to Oldbridge parking on a grassy verge ( OldBge X (O15823 01944)
). Just ahead on the left is a well surfaced track that leads steadily uphill past farms and several new houses. Follow this until the point where it swings sharply left and leave it to head through a gateway straight ahead onto a grassy boreen that leads onto the lower slopes of Scarr. Just past an NPWS sign, follow a discernable track through the bracken on the far right close to the trees, at the top of which bear west over low gorse, heather and bilberry to meet with a ridge path up to Scarr.
Dramatic vistas reward the walker from the ridge: Knocknacloghoge, the tumbled down rocks on its slope gleaming white in the sun, interspersed with beautiful swathes of golden gorse and purple heather mingling with the greens of bracken and conifer; in the valley below, Lough Dan, the wind creating continually changing mazy patterns over its inky blue surface, and on the skyline the gleaming quartzite peak of Great Sugar Loaf. The heightening wind sent clouds hurrying across the sky casting immense brooding shadows over the land whipping the ragged white heads of the nearby bog cotton into a frenzy.
A steady climb over ground that is occasionally boggy and rocky in places brings one onto the grassy summit of Scarr with its small cairn and big views. Moorland undulates east towards the coast merging with deep green swathes of forestry and a colourful late summer patchwork quilt of fields, beyond which is the sea. And all around, wave upon wave of purple tainted mountains fade away into indigo, blue and smoky grey.
Descending in a NW direction provides fine views over Tonelagee, its slopes sweeping down to the Glenmacnass River flowing like quicksilver below. Close to the Old Military Road it cascades chaotically down over rocks to the glen below, its harsh cadence periodically audible before being snatched by the wind.
Our route over the heath to Kanturk offered exceptionally fine walking, passing by a phallic shaped rock at F (O12505 02798)
, bog pools and several glacial erratics like giants’ marbles accidentally dropped in a game eons ago. Grand views of Scarr lay behind us, rising skyward like a shark’s fin, and as we descended NE over short wiry heather, Lough Dan again came into view. On its NW shore is a sickle-shaped beach of golden sand deposited by the Inchavore River that meanders in serpentine fashion down the valley to empty into the lake close to a thin ribbon of trees.
Caution was needed as we made our descent over steep ground towards the Inchavore River; the heather and bracken is waist high in places and obscured rocks beneath. We soon came to a rocky pathway bounding forestry leading towards Lough Dan. A small cairn and a pile of stones on a rock outcrop on the path direct the walker down through the trees by a mossy wall (G (O13223 04310)
) to gain a copse of oaks beside the river. Our next objective: Knocknacloghoge. Linkback: mountainviews.ie/summit/210/comment/6040/