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Places:Start at V98534 61083, The Priests Leap, Knocknamanagh, Knocknamanagh NE Top, Gullaba Hill, Caoinkeen, Knockboy North Top, Knockboy, Knockboy South Top, end at Start Logged as completed by 1
Overview This route commences at Priest's Leap, a high gap in the mountains, accessed by road, with parking for circa 4 cars. The nearby summit of the same name is a full Arderin but is just a short out and back. There follows a road walk to the base of Knocknamanagh, the ascent of which is the biggest "pull" of the day, followed by an out and back along a grassy/boggy rifge to/from Gullaba. Now you are on the way home, with an ascent of Caoinkeen, and a peaty traverse to Knockboy. Finally, if you are lucky with the weather, there's a glorious descent to Knockboy South T and a contour back to base. 25km. Not for the easily fatigued. Priest's Leap Gap The drive from the south up the Cooleenlemane Valley to the gap is quite exciting. This is dramatic countryside best seen from an older expendable vehicle. My gallop out and back to the Priest's Leap summit was a mere warm up, executed in heavy cloud.
Utilitarians will recognise that the gap at 460m is a super opportunity for a two car crew to save hundreds of metres of ascent by careful planning, not to speak of route shortening. For example, park Car B as close as possible to the head of the valley south of Knocknamanagh. Proceed in Car A to Priest's Leap gap and then reverse my route. Voilà!
I'm sure it took less than a half an hour to walk down to Garranes in the mouth of the Ermeen valley. A bike would do the same job in a 3 or 4 minutes. But bike, or no bike, one then must turn east to begin a gradual ascent to the base of Knocknamanagh. The attached photo is the view looking back along the Ermeen valley towards its mouth from half way to Knocknamanagh.
If you look at my Track carefully you will note that I left the boreen and headed up Knocknammanagh circa V98257 64624. I battled with high grass much of the way up,only temporarily relieved by following an old wall and occasionally finding solid ground. It was a bit of a slog. Later in the day I spied a zig-zag road somewhere on the mountain's south face and wondered if this would have given me an easy "leg up", subject to all necessary permissions. ( For more on this see trackback: http://mountainviews.ie/summit/218/comment/18317/ )
On to Gullaba
By the time I reached Knocknammanagh at 637m, more than 7kms after I left Priest's Leap gap, I knew I was a bit tired. But the broad flattish nature of the ridge NNE towards Gullaba gave me courage to keep going even further away from my car. I left my rucksack at V99520 66300, to ease my burden, and headed off towards Gullaba. The photo below shows the soft undulating nature of this ridge,- which continues the whole way to Gullaba. The walk back to Knocknamanagh is equally gentle.
The Way Home One of the reasons why I chose to take in the Knocknamanagh to Gullaba ridge is that the col between Knocknamanagh and Caoinkeen dosen't go much below 460m which provides a decent bridge to the second half of the journey. There's a little bit of steep ground on the way up but nothing that a bit of zig-zagging will not ease.
Spirit of 84's Super Photo I love Spirit of 84's prizewinning photo of a lone walker on Knockboy looking south towards west Cork and Bantry from Knockboy (with Knockboy South Top in front of the walker on the other side of the lake). That's Bantry Bay at the top right of the landscape.
Uploaded on: Fri, 18 Sep 2015 (22:17:42) Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/track/3100/ To download GPS tracks you must be enrolled and logged in. See "Login or enrol", top right - quick and easy.
Note: ALL information such as Ascent, Length and Creator time taken etc should be regarded as approximate. The creator's comments are opinions and may not be accurate or still correct.
Your time to complete will depend on your speed plus break time and your mode of transport. For walkers: Naismith's rule, a rough and often inaccurate estimate, suggests a time of 7h 11m + time stopped for breaks
Note: It is up to you to ensure that your route is appropriate for you and your party to follow bearing in mind all factors such as safety, weather conditions, experience and access permission.