Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s Highest Mountain

Name of walk Carrauntoohil, Ireland's Highest Mountain
Date of walk 2008-08-14
Distance walked (miles) 10
Duration of walk 7 hours 50 minutes
Weather Overcast but warm
Peaks on walk Carrauntoohil, Cnoc Toinne
Walked with Brendan, Steve O`Callaghan
Parking Roadside far end of the Black Valley
Friday was one of the few decent days, it rained a lot over the two weeks and the mist was down over the Reeks on most days . We set off from the cottage at 7.50am and picked Steve up at eight (Brendan`s second cousin who has the farm two miles down the valley) and set off for the Black Valley which was to be our starting point for climbing Carrauntoohil (3406ft or 1040m) in the Macgillycuddy Reeks in Kerry. Only 5% of the people who climb the mountain ascend from the Black Valley. There are no paths here and it is very isolated. Steve had climbed it from here before so he was acting as guide.

The Black Valley is a long journey to a dead end. On the way we passed Cummeenduff Lough. There was no wind so the reflections were good.


Looking back the way we came.


We parked just off road and set off for the yellow farmhouse at 9.15am, then off right up to the corrie that holds Lough Curraghmore. The mist is down on Caher but due to clear by lunch.


We had to walk round to the far side of the lake.


.....and then climb up to the top of the plateau! Most of the walks I have done I compare to Kirk Fell from the front, the steepest route in Lakeland. This was a lot steeper! Kirk Fell is two hours to the summit. This would take us 3 hours just to the plateau! As I mentioned before there are no paths so you just take the way up that looks "do-able".


View back across the lake to the way we came.


View down from about half way up does not show how steep it was. Hands and knees were needed all the time and tripping up was not an option!


View over into the next valley.


Not far to go now?


The plateau is finally reached! View to Lough Cloon. Caher off right, another 1000m+ mountain.


It took just over three hours to reach the plateau which is about 30ft across. Down the other side is the Devil`s Ladder route from Cronin`s Yard. The most popular route up as there is a path all the way, but it too is steep and there is the added risk of the people above you dislodging rocks. Looking out at Lough Gouragh and Lough Callee.


Looking to the summit of Carrauntoohil from the plateau, still a good hour away


Looking back to the plateau and our route back over Cnoc Toinne. Black Valley route on the right.


The ridge of Caher.


Looking across the many Loughs to Dingle bay.


The awesome ridge of Beenkeragh.


The summit cross.


Brendan and Steve.


All of us at the summit cross.


The notice bottom left has a skull and crossbones and the warning "Turn Back Now!" I guess that`s not the way down! Lough Leanne top right.


A great view of the Eastern Reeks.


Brendan Pointing out Carran, The Bird and Gullaba, the mountains surrounding our cottage.





We had lunch in the summit shelter and then set off back down to the plateau and then over Cnoc Toinne...


Looking back to Carrauntoohil from the route up Cnoc Toinne.


The route back down to the car started steeply over grass, then even more steeply over rocks, grass and bracken. Very hard on the knees! We made it down eventually, the whole walk taking seven hours and fifty minutes.

Another good day.