There are summits that would hardly ever be pursued if they did not appear on a certain mountain list and, as John Desmond noted in 2006, Knockboy South Top probably falls into this category. My own experience of the mountain, at the end of a long and arduous day, was so unexpectedly enjoyable, that it reinforced my belief that it can often be the much derided mavericks on a list that can “wow” the walker, rather than their more celebrated neighbours
Yes, the target is a mere “rim” preventing Curramore Lough from spilling downhill: you wouldn’t call it a mountain had someone not gone to the trouble of checking its credentials in advance. My slow and careful descent off the main top took place in bright autumn sunshine, highlighting the magnificent Cork landscape and Bantry Bay, and the closer I got to the lake at the foot of South Top, the more I realised that this would be not just a treat but a really rewarding one.
I thought that I would have to stay way wide of the lake on the eastern side to avoid a swamp, but as I got nearer I found that (despite very heavy rain earlier this mid September) the conditions underfoot were fine. As I passed within metres of the lake its deep blue was splashed with autumn sunshine and I couldn’t help but think of the Dolce and Gabbana couple cavorting on a Mediterranean shore to the heavenly strains of Parlami d'amore, Mariù! (I now ask the serious reader to use YouTube to experience the music of Giuseppe di Stefano while reading this piece.)
Getting from the lake to the summit takes but a few minutes. In fact the biggest challenge is a very well-constructed barbed wire fence. That fence stops just short of the lake at a place that looks dangerously swampy so you are better off staying on your own side until you find a low spot with stones on either side. I would say that many a marriage prospect and remarriage prospect has been left hanging on that fence so proceed with caution. Here you are on the summit of South Top divided from the mother mountain by a dazzling lake, and to the east and south the special mountain landscape of West Cork and the awesome spectacle of Bantry Bay.
I managed to walk most of the way back to Priest’s leap Gap on a contour that avoided any real ascent or descent, and the first part of that trek was often on exposed flat rocks saving my creaking ankles from trauma. The sheep have pioneered the route and done their work well. The constant presence of Bantry Bay to the south offered a D&G perfume to my wandering soul that transcended the sheep droppings underfoot and left me at peace with myself and the world. Come sei bella!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzW_RQtVeM0 Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/389/comment/18315/