Carrauntoohil Horseshoe

Date walked: 25/09/2017

Time taken: 5.42 hours

Distance: 13.3km

Ascent: 1207m

Was taken aback when I read Mountains of Scotland's report on MacGillicuddy Reeks I didn't think Ireland had mountains of this grandeur.

I did the horseshoe of Beenkeragh, the ridge to Carrauntoohil and down to Cahir and then from there back down to rejoin the hydro track.
There are several routes which take in Carrauntohil from the other side; I wanted to do Beenkeragh ridge, so this was the one for me.

There's great parking at the start

Carrauntoohil parking.jpg

And what is know as the hydro track, fairly steep to start with, and then easy going takes you up to the dam

Carrauntoohil hydro track.jpg

This is looking back down the steep part, about 650m, before it turns right and rises for another 1100m.

Then across the dam.

Carrauntoohil hydro dam.jpg

On google earth there are paths, and in hindsight I should have gone further along and joined the path up to the start of Beenkeragh ridge. Instead I slogged up the heather, grass and rock by cutting up early. Though having said all of this I saw no evidence of a good path further along.
No harm investigating though as you are still going to have to gain the height either way.

Carrauntoohil slog up.jpg

Got a nice photo of an interesting wee bird on the slog up as well

Bonny wee bird on Beenkeragh.jpg

Then the scrambling starts, but it's pretty tame. Think of a longer, bigger section of An Caisteal from Twstin Hill to the bealach.
Very quickly at the summit of Beenkeragh

Carrauntoohil from Beenkeragh.jpg

and a great view across to Carrauntoohil. Views all round are worth the effort of getting up this high.

The ridge proper starts

Carrauntoohil Beenkeragh ridge.jpg

and is a mixture of paths

Carrauntoohil Beenkeragh ridge path example.jpg

and scrambling

Carrauntoohil Beenkeragh ridge scramble top.jpg

The end of the ridge with brother o'shea's gulley. It looked very steep and very eroded

Carrauntoohil Beenkeragh ridge brother o sheas gully.jpg

As Mountains of Scotland says, if you were to do this in reverse, then the path down to the bealach from Carrauntoohil is likewise very eroded. I and a couple of German holiday makers were going up this section and it was straightforward

Carrauntoohil up to summit.jpg

it's only the bottom section that is eroded. There is a good path most of the way to the summit.

A view across to Beenkeragh from Carrauntoohil summit

Carrauntoohil Beenkeragh summit and ridge.jpg

Had lunch at the top.
The other routes I'd considered were brother o'sheas gulley and the heavenly gates and down the zig zags

Carrauntoohil zigzags.jpg

I was very happy with the horseshoe.

The ridge to Cahil is easy

Carrauntoohil over to Cahil.jpg

A good view into what is a very large and impressive corrie

Carrauntoohil loughs from Cahil ridge.jpg

The second part of the walk is very tame. Up to Cahil

Carrauntoohil Cahil.jpg

with a nice view of the estuary

Carrauntoohil view from Cahil.jpg

I did finish a lot earlier than I had thought, and should have gone down and taken a look at the Atlantic and what looks like a fabulous beach at Rossbeigh. Next time.

From Cahil down

Carrauntoohil down from Cahil.jpg

and then back to join the hydro track a short distance below the dam.

It was very benign conditions :!:
Virtually no wind at all on the ridge, although there was a cool breeze on Carrantoohil summit. Not a T-shirt day.

I would be less Blasé in a gale, and I wouldn't be doing it in wet or icy conditions. But that's just me.

A grand day out :wink:

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User avatar
Location: Killadysert
Interests: walking, ski touring, mountain biking
Activity: Mountain Walker
Pub: Not really a pub person
Mountain: So far Bidean nam Bian
Place: So far Glen Coe
Gear: Good sturdy walking boots
Camera: Canon Powershot SX700 HS
Ideal day out: I enjoy all walking, scary scrambles which test the nerve or a gentle walk amble around a loch enjoying the views and being outdoors. Tracks that I can ride my mountain bike on.

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