Cummeengeera Horseshoe is truly an epic hike. I had planned to do it for a long time, ever since we went for a little walk to the famine village in the valley last year. The hike loops around the Cummeengeera valley, better known as Rabach valley; after a famous inhabitant – Cornelius O’Sullivan (An Rabach – The Rabach). The walk takes in several of the Caha mountains and the views are spectacular, even on a dull day.
I started the walk in Lauragh and followed the Beara Way track towards Cashelkeelty. From there, Knocknaveacal (513m) was first on the agenda. It’s a fairly gradual climb over grassland to a ridge between Cummeennahillan and Knocknaveacal and from there it’s only a short distance up. Already, the view towards Knockatee is impressive.
The weather however, was less impressive. From Knocknaveacal I went on to Tooth Mountain (590m) but visibility became poor and cold crosswinds and rain and drizzle made it all a lot less enjoyable. However, the only way was forward and Coomacloghane (599m) loomed on the horizon (although not always visible through the thick cloud). It was a zig-zag hike up to the summit and at times it looked like a sheer drop was up ahead, but there always were a ways around it.
At last, it started to clear up a bit. One minute I was walked in thick mist, the next a spectacular panorama became apparent. Eskatarriff (600m) was next on the list and the timing could not have been better as I read about the fantastic view from the summit. The Sheep’s Head peninsula and Bantry Bay are visible on the south, Hungry Hill is south-east, Kenmare Bay on the north, and the view west is that of the narrowing Beara peninsula meandering into the Atlantic. Oh, and the stunning Glenbeg Lake is right down below in the valley.
The steep cliffs on my left into the Rabach valley made navigation easy and next on the list was Lackabane (602m). Looking at it from a distance I was looking forward to the summit as the mountain looks awesome and it was also the tallest on the agenda today.
A rather steep ridge is the quickest way from the top of Lackabane – via Curraghreague – to Deelis (406m). It is quite a steep ridge with steep drops on both the left and right. A short climb then leeds up to Deelis. Again, it was covered in cloud so the view wasn’t there.
A zig-zag trail on the north side of Deelis took me down to the road into the Cummeengeera (Rabach) valley. This was actually one of the slowest parts of the hike today. The grassland was so slippery I had to take my steps carefully. Further on, bogland and tall grass again slowed progress. All in all the hike took me nearly 7 hours today and the sun was soon about to set. Looking at the map now, I think a decent towards Gortavallig (Foilemon) would have been somewhat more sensible. Either way: the Cummeengeera is truly one of the Beara peninsula’s most epic walks. Even in crappy weather.