Clomantagh is a pleasant hill. It offers swathes of grassland, windswept trees, old stone walls running hither and tither and excellent views. But be warned – curious potential danger lurks there for the unsuspecting walker!
The starting point referred to by oldsoldier and jackill gives direct access onto the hillside. The summit is about 1.5kms across this rural idyll. Various stone walls are hopped, and the exposed limestone and windswept trees keep the walk interesting. However there was also extensive electric fencing, which seems to run next to most of the walls. A slip while hopping a wall could be shocking! I don’t know if they were live or not, but I wasn’t testing them! Several sections of the walls were collapsing or close to collapse. The reason for the electric fencing is clear –there were many cattle out on the hillside and the fencing prevented them from roaming beyond their allotted space or damaging the walls. This brings me to the second danger. Cattle attack! I had read csd’s experience of aggressive cattle on Mount Oriel last week with great interest. And earlier today I was unceremoniously ejected from the summit of Tory Hill in south Kilkenny in a similar incident. In that instance there was no gate to hop over so I had to hide in the gorse after running away with 5 cows in hot pursuit! Imagine a man sitting in the thorniest of hiding places, listening with fear as he hears the crack of twigs and heavy breathing as his pursuers pass close by. I resolved that one by using the rocky mini cliffs on Tory Hill to make good my escape.
Back to Clomantagh. As I descended I entered an area of about 30 cattle. A re-run of my earlier rout on Tory Hill nearly occurred. They all lumbered over and moved in close. There were no gates or hedges in this area and I was facing fight or flight. wicklore then bravely decided that enough was enough and it was time to stand up for us bipeds. Through crafty techniques and the use of two walking poles I managed to get to a place of safety (over a wall 200 metres away!). While I’m sure they don’t mean deliberate harm, their habit of closing in together and pushing each other forward could result in an unintentional crush. In a curious reflection of a childhood game they insist on running up each time you turn away. This kind of experience is not for the faint hearted! My technique? – lots of waving of arms and shouting at them! (This works for a couple of seconds before they move back in, so keep it up as you move)
Cows notwithstanding, Clomantagh is a lovely hill with a pleasant feeling. The lonely ruined cottage mentioned by jackill and a larger ruin just inside the forest nearby hint at another, possibly pre-famine, time when perhaps this hill was used in a different way. This was a sad thought, but was balanced by my happiness in having completed all of the MountainViews listed hills and mountains in Leinster, as Clomantagh was the last. Linkback: mountainviews.ie/summit/902/comment/5956/