I read Gerry McVeigh's Knockanaffrin Track Notes (2338) with great interest and enjoyment and watched his sumptuous video on this ridge not once but many times, and I will be watching again ( http://youtu.be/NsXkJlzGjqs ). I take everything Gerry says very seriously because he has vast experience and knows what he is doing.
But in the end of the day, the impurist in me won out. I needed to get the three northern Comeragh Arderins done and dusted in jig time. For logistical reasons. That meant a quick run up Laghtnafrankee as a kind of training exercise, much as others have done, to be followed by a cunning plan to shorten the ridge walk considerably. Please bear in mind that today was a dull cold but dry mid March day with Knockanaffrin's head hidden in the cloud. I could not afford to wait for perfect weather to complete this renowned walk. And given the day that was in it I felt entitled to pare the walk to a minimum to meet the demands of my long suffering family..
I make no bones about the fact that I quickly abandoned any notion of a 16km circular walk as per Gerry's route and boy was I pleased to be leaving out the trudging through the forest bit. Give me the open mountain any day over the narrow partings of the green seas.
The only real question to be decided was where to start (given that for me, as a solo operator, the finish has to be at the same place!). The map suggested Moanyarha Bog and I was delighted to see that option confirmed in one of our MV Short Summaries. Our Mountain Comments Section revealed conflict on the issue of whether the bog road to the base of Knocksheegowna was passable in a motor car with one of us saying Yea and the other Nay (unless you had a four by four). Well I have a 2002 Alhambra and one of the great things about a car that is too young to be vintage but too old to worry about is that you can bring it just about anywhere. And that's what I did. I drove to the base of Knocksheegowna along the bog road and the rest was a simple trot along a very fine ridge. As a rule of thumb I would say that the love of one's car is subject to the general rules applicable to all Love. The car owner is besotted for the first two years, and puts the vehicle on a pedestal., But, after that, a bit of give and take works wonders and it is not unreasonable to ask one's beloved to traverse life's ups and downs and indeed the odd flooded pothole. If the beloved shies away from such vicissitudes one might as well trade him in.
See the write ups, look at the pictures and watch the sumptuous movies elsewhere. But know from me that there is indeed a short sharp route to the Knockanaffrin Ridge and back.
Oh and one other thing. My ascent was dry underfoot. My descent crossed a marsh. It was easy enough to avoid a soaking by leaping from tuft to tuft but I'm not certain you'd get away with that after heavy rain.