[RWD version 1 ]
Route taking in Knocklaur, Devilsmother and Devilsmother North top, starting from Glennacally Bridge (V93526 80439).
I started out intending to follow Fingalscave's track 1267 but clearly visited on a very different day. In particular track 1267 crosses two streams, the Glennacally and the Glenfree, and I had huge difficulties crossing both. The result of my wanderings upstream can be seen on two occasions due to the torrents pouring through what may normally be quite placid streams. On the second crossing, I did find a better place to cross; on the first however, I wandered upstream to find an amazing carved out river valley and a few waterfalls, but alas, no place to cross. I wandered downstream again, and realising my entire day was forfeit unless I could cross, just plunged in where the two rivers meet, stayed on my feet, just about, and emerged a bit damp. My wanderings upstream on the second crossing did provide a drier ford.
The upshot of all this wandering about was that I was way off course and, in particular, no where near the 'ramp' noticed and used by Fingalscave to ascend Knocklaur (see his comments on Knocklaur hill page). Instead I looked straight up at a wall of a hill which looked staggeringly steep. I did get up, and the track shows my route, but it is hardly one I would recommend. At times it felt almost vertical and I had to climb grabbing handholds of mud. Any major slip and I felt would have slid down a vertical 150m before stopping - maybe I might have lived, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have walked out!
I'm a hillwalker, not a climber, and felt this was on the limit, and maybe a little beyond, my capability. There is no taking away the satisfaction of having done it however! After this drama, the rest of the round felt pedestrian. Just charge over the tops and descend back to your starting point at the bridge, a steep but easy descent.
So the message is, if planning a similar route; cross the Glenncally river early, even at the bridge, and keep it on your left as you head towards Knocklaur, and, find the ramp mentioned by Fingals cave and use it for the ascent of Knocklaur, try ascending anywhere else and you are likely to regret it.