Today was forecast as a bright sun-filled day and originally I had made plans to climb Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s tallest mountain. As my plans fell through, I did not want to waste the opportunity and decided on another epic hike in the Caha mountains instead.
Hiking up Hungry Hill from the Healy Pass a few weeks ago, I had some time left and quickly ran up the other side of the pass towards Knockowen. I hadn’t enough time before sunset left that day, but vowed to come back soon and today was the day.
Via a hill with the easy-to-remember name Stookeennalaokareha I hiked up Knockowen. From there, a loop over Cushnaficulla and Knockeirky took me to the furthest point of the hike, Glenkeel Top (overlooking Glenkeel Lough). Onwards over the ridge of Canshanavoe I headed back to Knockowen and then via Claddaghgarriff back to my starting point.
I left the Healy Pass at around 10:30am and the hike would be about 23 kilometers in length. Naively I thought I would have plenty of time. It turned out to be a race against the clock trying to get back off the mountains before dark. The terrain was quite difficult and wet in places and I had to walk around Glenkeel Lough and cross the streams coming in- and out of it twice.
Although the wind was at times very cold and strong it was a very pleasant day and the views made well up for any discomfort. I couldn’t take many pictures of the Bantry Bay side as the sun (low on the horizon as it is this time of year) was quite blinding over the sea. The Glenleek and Glenlough area is very remote and void of human activity making this quite a special place.