|5 Hours 16 Minutes|
|Where to Park: Click to download, open in Google Earth||Google Earth Parking Pin|
|The Route: Click to download, open in Google Earth||Google Earth|
I tried a couple of times to do this route, once on a fine crisp day in November. At least it was a nice crisp day when I approached Gatlymore Mountain from the North West.
Sadly by the time I got to the first assent it had started to cloud over, and the ground was very soft with the rain and sleet. So I bailed out and walked up to Lough Curra since I was here so as to speak.
In the South West corner of the coire that holds Lough Curra is a cleft that’s advertised as a scramble route which short cuts one of the assents. I was tempted to go and check it out, but it was too late by now for me to do the summit safely. I chatted to a father and daughter who’d also walked up and then made my way back down.
Next time I tried was at the beginning of March and conditions where much better, although it was a bit windy up top.
I managed a few missed junctions on the M7, you should be able to load the Google Earth pin into your smart phone and get good directions.
A blessing in disguise though, as I eventually set off just after the last shower, and I also managed a nice view from across the Glen of Aherlow at the fine viewpoint. Cush Cois is the prominent cone shaped mountain.
There’s a good car park with plenty of space, though by the time I got there around midday on a Sunday there were only a couple of spaces left.
From the car park there’s a road which goes up to farms marked unsuitable for cars beyond this point. There’s also a SUV track from the bottom car park which is where you want to head. It winds it’s way through some nice forestry and over the bridge crossing the Glydagh River. There is a short cut shortly after the bridge which cuts out of the loop that’s very evident on my trail. I would suggest taking it !
A sign points to the style over the fence and up to the first small but steady climb to Knocknanuss with Slievecushnabinnia beyond
At this point Galtymore mountain looked fine and I was looking forward to the grand views I was expecting from the top 🙂
By the time I got up and past the small promontory at Knocknanuss the weather was closing in and yet again I wasn’t sure I would be getting to the summit. Still every situation has it’s attractions and I got a great view of the cloud base above Cush Cois just before the weather did roll in.
I presume these large cairns mark Knocknanuss, what else could they be marking ! As you can see there is a reasonably well defined path to follow.
Shortly after this the weather cleared up and as I got to Slievecushnabinnia there was a grand view of Galtymore Mountain to be had. An impressive wall as well !
I wondered around for fifteen minutes or so taking in the views and wondering why on earth they would build such a well constructed dry stone wall up here 🤔
There’s another cairn up here, a very chunky one. Maybe it is made from some of the not unsubstantial stones left over from making the wall. The cairn certainly doesn’t mark the highest point, or the lowest point of a bealach or pass. As you can see the wall continues to snake it’s way up the top of the coire to the next promontory.
I doubled back slightly as I suspected the track continued up on the other side of the wall and was surprised by an elderly gentleman lying down having his lunch in the shelter of the wall; it was quite windy by now. Turns out he is quite knowledgeable and the wall would have been a social welfare project. i.e. men paid to construct in times of depression, perhaps during the great depression ?
I walked with the gentleman for a while and when we reached the top of the scramble at Lough Curra I asked if it was doable and he replied that it was and that he had done it several times when younger. It looked steep. I have done some of the more demanding Munros in Scotland and I would want very dry conditions or an ice axe to dig into soft ground. That said I’m sure it would look less intimidating from the bottom up. A nice view of Lough Curra with Cush Cois in the background.
It’s a steady assent up a broken path with some peat hags to cross before a levelling out prior to the final assent up to Galtymore mountain summit.
The actual summit is a short ridge.
God makes it’s presence know at the highest point, but what was interesting me was the geology. At first I though it was actual concrete, but then there was so much of it ! It looks like reinforced sandstone or limestone. It is old red sandstone and shale, though it also has a lot of small pebbles and rock mixed in. So I would assume some type of sedimentary and sea / river washed rocks from ancient times.
I scooted down the other side, a steep but easy descent to the col and a nice view into Lough Diheen.
The crags, cliffs above Lough Diheen with a view up to Galtymore mountain summit. There is a surprisingly thick layer of peat considering it is so high up. I guess I am used to Scotland where the peaks above a thousand metres tend to be rockier. I suppose the tree and vegetation line further south would have been higher up.
Yet another ascent up to a peak with another nice although short ridge, the peak is at eight hundred metres more or less, and I am surprised it isn’t named on the OS maps ? Nice views to the North East.
The descent off this peak is quite demanding, perhaps I was starting to run out of energy a little. Perhaps is probably not the word. I had a couple of bananas and half a litre of milk Kefir with L-Glutamine and whey protein mixed in before setting out ‘my favourite energy drink at the moment’ and I guess after about three and a half hours of a strong steady pace the fuel was used up.
The view of Borheen Lough and the crags above it. Another surprise for me was the complete lack of hydro electrical schemes ? Looked to me as though there were about five opportunities for small scale hydro in the area. Once built they are reasonably unobtrusive. I’m a devotee of renewable energy and small scale hydro and solar would be my preferred options.
The bealach before the ascent up to Cush Cois was a bit damp, but considering this is still the middle of march, not a game changer at all. As I say the energy was starting to run out at this stage. I hadn’t brought any snacks with me and the ascent looked like a slog, but it didn’t take long to get up to the summit of Cush Cois.
The summit has a small cliff to the west and is topped with a thick layer of peat. The underlying rock it the same concrete looking conglomerate on Galtymore summit.
The views in the late afternoon light were beautiful !
South to Galtymore mountain.
North across the end of Glen of Aherlow, more a plain this far East.
From here I thought the cliff carried on round and I veered off to the East where I could see the ridge down to the forest. However once I got further down I realised that although a slightly steeper decent than the previous one’s, it would have been pretty easy and more direct. I saw the path next to the fence posts and traversed back across the Coire to join it.
As this photo looking back up to Cush Cois summit shows, it’s not too demanding an ascent or descent, though there is a path the long way round as well.
Then the path turns West down along some lovely Scots Pines and intersects the single track road to the farms.
This photo taken looking back up to Cush Cois summit from the path.
It’s physically quite demanding due to the ascents and descents, but nothing beyond anyone who’s active and enjoys the outdoors. The views were fabulous 😎