Cruach Mharthain sits in the shadow of giants - with the awesome Brandon ridge a stones throw away - but has a presence that is not in any way diminished. A 4km long ridge rises gracefully to a conical peak that actually draws the eye more than those big brash neighbours. It sits pretty much on its own and this offers the opportunity for some stunning views.
Starting in Ballyferriter, where there is plenty of parking, I walked west out of town along the R559 and took the lane left at
just after the hostel/shop. (There would appear to be other options off the R559 from studying the map). Follow the fushia lined lane uphill until it ends at a house - take the farmgate just before, enter field, negotiate gorse, cross fence, more gorse, cross fence, on ridge - job done (nearly). This gorse in Dingle is serious stuff and can do alot of damage to bare legs - i can post a picture if u like?
Even from the lower reaches of the hill the views are stunning - the peaks of Brandon sitting above cloud, the curve of Smerwick Harbour and the dramatic headlands of the Three Sisters and Sybil Point. There is a fence running all the way to the top with a visible sheeptrail alongside - i realised this on the way down and had to endure somewhat more challenging ground for most of my ascent. Walking along the top views open out to Dingle Bay to the south and in the late evening sunshine i could make out great detail on the hills on Iveragh, including a clear Reeks. An area of the hillside has been damaged by fire recently, with the odd cottontail declaring hostilities over. The sun sitting low cast a golden glaze over the waters of the Atlantic and i wouldn't of been surprised to see Moses leading the Israelites ashore.
My brief glimpses of the tops of the Brandon ridge disappeared (as they were to do all week) as the Blasket islands came into view. Eagle Mtn to the SW was also covered in heavy cloud. As i covered the last steeper section to the top i too became lost in the cloud, though not before seeing a kestrel hovering over the slopes below. Top reached in an hour/ 2 miles - a turn in fence marks the spot (could have been in the Sperrins!). Could easily continue westward to take in the whole ridge and have a pleasant walk back along not to busy roads. I went back the same way and was nearly down when i realised i had left my camera at the top - ARRRGGG!!!! Yes i did go straight back up again and yes i was completely knackered when i did get back down at 11.00pm as light faded.
Walk of about 4m and less than 2 hours - unless you want to do it my way and have double the fun? Good for an evening walk and more than worth it for the views over a beautiful stretch of the country. Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/813/comment/3941/