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Hiking up Hungry Hill From the Healy Pass

Last week walking the Cummeengeera horseshoe walk, Hungry Hill loomed on the horizon. I decided that day my next hike would have to include Hungry Hill. The last time I went up there was very early in the morning to hopefully catch the sunrise from the summit. No such madness today, but I did opt for a more interesting route, starting at the top of the Healy Pass and taking in Coombane and Derryclancy.

Frozen lakeA lake frozen over at the summit

The time of year demands an early start as the sun sets at a measly 26 minutes past four. As I set off a shower drifted past, the strong cold winds perpetuating sleet and hail over the hillsides. Luckily it wasn’t long until the sun appeared again. It would be like this for the rest of the day, pleasant bright sunny spells followed by ice-cold winds of rain and sleet.

Bantry Bay from DerryclancyView over Bantry Bay from Derryclancy

On the way up the view over both Bantry Bay and Kenmare Bay get more impressive with every step. Meanwhile Hungry Hill looms on the horizon looking quite demanding. Hungry Hill’s northern side is quite steep however I walked around the base of the mountain to its north-eastern side which is more gradual. In just over two hours I was stood atop the summit.

The view is immense. It includes Kenmare Bay and the snow-capped McGillaCuddy’s on the North, Bantry Bay and Whiddy Island on the East, Castletownbere and Bere Island are clearly visible on the South and the West is dominated by the nearby Caha mountains Lackabane and Eskatarriff.

CladdaghgarriffView from Claddaghgarriff

Another hour or so brought me back down to my starting point at Don’s mountain cabin at the top of the Healy Pass. Not feeling completely exerted just yet I decided to try my luck on the other side of the pass; Claddaghgarriff and Knockowen. It’s a bit of a steep track going up but you quickly get rewarded by excellent views over Glanmore Lake and Kenmare Bay below. Hungry Hill and the other mountains I climbed earlier also made for an impressive and satisfying sight.

Apache on CladdaghgarriffApache on Claddaghgarriff

There is a whole range of mountains that can easily be reached from this side of the Healy Pass. Knockeirky, Knockowen and Ram’s Hill are just a few, and Coomnadiha and Droppa are just around the corner from there. The Glenlough plateau is on the east and covers a vast, remote and uninhabited area dotted with lakes.

That is to be kept for another day, however, as I had to turn around before reaching Knockowen. It was almost 4 o’clock and if I wanted to get back to the car I truly had to call it a day. At a small peak called Claddaghgarriff Apache and I admired the view, turned around and within 45 minutes we got back to basecamp one at the top of the Healy Pass.

ClashduffBantry Bay from Clashduff