[RWD version 1 ]
Glanteenassig (Gleann Ti an Easaigh), on the Dingle peninsula, is just about as pretty a spot as I have seen on my travels. How I could have missed it on my previous sojourns in nearby Faha is beyond me now. I certainly remember someone here suggesting that it would be a good place to start an ascent of Stradbally/Beenoskee but I chose to come from An Com Ban side when I ventured that way, possibly because Glanteenassig is split in two by Discovery Maps 70 and 71 and I was too lazy to merge them. (MV didn't have our current magnificent maps back then.) In fact the only reason I entered the valley on this occasion was in search of a short route up Dromavally, an outlier Arderin that, in my ignorance, seemed to require bagging rather than respect.
I discovered that Coillte permits one to drive the whole way from their forest entrance (Q 6209 0833) to the "inner car park" (at Q 5998 0784) and there are plenty of viewpoints along the way. In fact, I almost veered off the road on several occasions as I took in the scenery. Dromavally's north eastern flank is a cliff but it is green, shapely and in your face cliff and it is jaw droppingly attractive: the Romantics would have soiled themselves at the sight. But that was just a taster. Arriving at the "inner car park" was like driving into the middle of a John Hinde postcard. Bijou lakes of navy blue nestled in a narrow keyhole of high ground with buttresses, cliffs and steep slopes everywhere. High above were the exposed diagonal rock striations of Stradbally with pinky purplish scree slopes beneath. It's just a magic place. I abandoned any notion of doing a quick "up and down" Dromavally and instead figured that I ought to try a circuit of the head of the valley. A Coillte sign indicated that authorisation was required to proceed beyond the vehicle barrier at the southern end of the inner carpark but I was satisfied that this was intended to avoid the public walking on a forest road while work was actually in progress, and was certainly not intended to prevent bona fide hillwalkers from accessing Dromavally in the quiet of the morning when there was no one about to ask. (A way of avoiding this conundrum would be to park at Q 6084 0805 and head south between the cliffs and Lough Slat and gain the summit from there: I think this is the preferred Coillte option and one might savour Dromavally's north eastern cliffs to one's right as one passes).
The pull up from the inner car park, at circa 210m, to the summit at 552m, is difficult enough, initially along a fence between newly planted and felled forest, and then on steep grassy slopes, gradually softening as height is gained.(The OS Map suggests trees to the summit: not true, only on a minor belt of the lower slopes) Gaining the summit is really the main work of the day over: the rest is pure hillwalking heroin. From here I walked southwest along the broad spine taking in the unobstructed views of Iveragh across Dingle Bay to my left and the prettiness of the steep sided valley on my right. A real thrill came as I contoured towards the head of the valley, descending gradually along the edge of the cliffs and seeing constantly changing views of the pocket. A river tumbles over the head ( Q 5880 0714 ) through soft ground and offers an escape route to the forest road below if required. I continued around the cliff horseshoe, until I was on the very steep ground over the Loch Cam, and contoured until I found a gully safe enough to descend. Circling the lake was a simple matter as Coillte have erected a boardwalk the whole way around.
A short route. Only one Arderin, it to be a beached whale apart from its missing NE head. But what a mighty bang for your buck! A longer route would begin with Dromavally and contour around the head of Glanteenassig , on to Stradbally and Beenoskee, with a return by the scree slopes down to Loch Cam for those who enjoy a slide. (OR if you want a real day out see TRACK 2012) NB Coillte's summer opening hours for cars 7am to 10pm with a €30 callout charge for defaulters. Much shorter hours apply from 1st September.