1 February 2010


Saturday; last day on the road; grass stiffened white with frost, thin ice in the puddles, my route took me across Crow Hill, then the Knockmealdown Mountains.
From near Knockclugga the sea at Dungarvan came into view and here the distance of the journey we'd taken struck me - to leave views of the Atlantic and six days later to come into view of the Irish Sea... I lingered on this cold, high mountain pass for a little while, before descending towards the main road.
At the top of the road pass stood two stone huts, used in coach road days to water and rest tired horses, after their hard uphill climb.
Pine encroached paths led us to this beautiful lake, Beal Locha. Said to be bottomless; it's told that, decades ago, a priest passing on his way to a dying parishioner was stopped by a hag, in an attempt to prevent him from offering comfort to his parishioner. The priest, in a fit of rage, threw the hag into the lake. The dark waters, cursed since then, hold no fish or plant life...
About 4pm we emerged out of pine and walked the final short distance into Clogheen, where I'd promised myself an eagerly awaited pint. Later that night, with a couple of friends, we tucked into bacon and cabbage and plates of chips.
Sunday morning, three men, a dog and a goat squeezed into a little green car for the trip back to Kerry, whizzing past the mountains, woods and valleys that I'd spent the past six days navigating through.
The Irish welcome is without a doubt alive and kicking!
Both the people I met along my journey and the country I passed through were what made it an memorable and brilliant experience.
The things I'll remember along the way are drinking tea and eating ham sandwiches with Dan Joe on his farm near Millstreet; picking my way along the Blackwater to the nuns at the Nano Nagle Centre, where I was fed with soda bread and jam. Forest tracks and green roads over Kilworth Mountains; freshly home-baked currant cake and apple tart at Tom and Mary's home, near Araglin; the helpfulness and flexibility of the B&Bs and finally the invaluable support of Christy Roach - who volunteers his time to up-keeping and developing a major part of the Blackwater Way.
The support from the B&Bs along the way, both to myself and all hikers, is excellent. They provide transfers from the hike to their B&B, and back again in the morning; home cooked meals, or a drive to the local pub; picnic lunches to set you on your way.
Most of all though I need to thank John and Ester from Cronins Yard, for trusting me with Bob. Cronins Yard is the starting point for climbing Carrauntoohil, just outside Killarney. You'll find car parking, a coffee shop, toilets and showers, plus maps and books for sale. If you are climbing Carrauntoohil, or in the MacGillycuddy Reeks, this is an excellent place to start.
To find out more about the Blackwater Way check out www.discoverireland.ie/walking or click here
One of the reasons I did this is to raise money for Kerry Mountain Rescue.
If you would like to make a donation please send a cheque/postal order/bank draft, made payable to Kerry Mountain Rescue, to the following address:
Nathan Kingerlee, Outdoors Ireland
Stookisland, Cromane, Killorglin, Kerry.
Also attach your own name and address and one of the Mountain Rescue Team will be in touch to thank you.
Here's a list of places I stayed along the way:
Geararoe B&B - Eily Buckely
029 70099
Ard Na Coille B&B - Sheila Crowley
022 47482
Nano Nagle Centre
022 26411
The Old Train House B&B - Billy & Majella Mulqueen
025 39337
Hickey's B&B - Eileen & Tom Hickey
058 50007

1 comment:

  1. Our journey is only just beginning! I'll post some more details here over the next couple of days...