St. Patrick's Day – what could be more fitting than heading up above the head of Glendalough and walking a bit of St. Kevin's Way. It is not a strenuous walk and really great for clearing cobwebs from the head. The terrain is mostly sound and the only part of this trek that requires care is the descent diagonally down the face of Camaderry. This trek should be completed in an anti-clockwise direction as will be evident later from the steep descent down across Camaderry. Requirements: Poles, good boots and gaiters - (as well as all the other prerequisites!)
Parked at the Wicklow Gap and headed up the access road to Turlough Hill. The views NW over Glenbride are wonderful of a bright fresh morning. At the SW side of the lough rampart take the track heading SW to an old concrete (communications?) shack sitting on top T06357 98232 of Tomaneena, just past an old quarry. We proceeded further on to the NW edge T06054 98367 in order to enjoy the views to the west and south.
It is hard to believe that there is a subterranean track all around the perimeter of the lough and within the rampart holding back waters above. The drip troughs located all around this track are monitored daily to constantly check on the integrity of the basin above. All in all, it is a beautiful piece of engineering. One has no concept of the vast underground cavern and machinery whirring away within the mountain below the lough. This initial test of concept has now been replicated successfully in the Czech Republic, and maybe elsewhere.
Retrace your steps E and then NE back to the top of Tomaneena, then veer E and then SE towards Camaderry. Take care of twisted re-enforcing steel bars sticking up out of the ground all over this area. Pick up the established track at T07319 98305 and follow it all the way SE to the top T08158 98078 of Camaderry. It would be a pity ot stop at the cairn here on Camaderry when there is so much more promising views further on at the next top.
We therefore carried on SE along this established path to T09041 97337 where there is a little cairn on the top of '667'. Do walk a little further east so as to enjoy the near 360 degree panorama that can be seen all the way round from the NW, clockwise to the Irish Sea in the E and right around to the SW. As good as anything you will see from Djouce - without so much effort!
Rather than retrace our steps back to Turlough Hill we decided to descend down across the ENE face of Camaderry and then 'drop down' to Lough Nahanagan. There is a beautiful view T08463 98725 of the lake from this high vantage point, with the rain now falling, making it worth the while in selecting this route. While there are deer tracks to follow, this a route not to be recommended in snowy or icy conditions! It is also more suitable to be descended than ascended. The track is not dangerous, if followed carefully. There is no rock-climbing or rock-descending involved. However, the recommended poles are usefull here!
At the lakeside it is just a short stroll back to the car park. A beautiful trek with great variations.