Gap of Dunloe and Purple Mountain, Ireland.

Name of walk Gap of Dunloe and Purple Mountain, Ireland.
Date of walk 2011-07-12
Distance walked (miles) 10
Duration of walk 7 hours 50 minutes
Weather Sunny then overcast
Peaks on walk Purple Mountain, An Chathair, Tomies Mountain in County Kerry
Walked with Brendan and Tom
Parking Kate Kearney`s Cottage

The weather was perfect today so we headed off early via Moll`s Gap and the Lakes of Killarney to walk the Gap of Dunloe up to Purple Mountain (2730ft), over An Chathair and Tomies Mountain and back to Kate Kearney`s Cottage. A circular walk of about 10 miles.


The photo below was taken from Moll`s Gap across the Black Valley to the Gap of Dunloe in the centre and Purple Mountain on the right. The eastern Macgillyguddy`s Reeks on the left.


We stopped off at Looscaunagh Lake. Excellent reflections.


Shores of The Upper Lake.


Looking across The Upper Lake to the ridge route of Purple Mountain.


We drove through Killarney and followed the signs for "The Gap of Dunloe". I took the walking route from Jim Ryans "Carrauntoohil & MacGillycuddy Reeks" walking guide. Here is a photo of the route guide.


It had a route description too, but as most of the mountains are totally pathless, the Irish guides are heavily reliant on GPS positioning. This is not a lot of use when you are english and heavily reliant on visual clues and distances and armed with an OS map and compass! So telling me "there is a cairn at 757:89445:85850" is just taking the piss!!!!! Thankfully the sun was shining and mist looked unlikely, so three sets of eyes and a map and compass would serve me well! The horses to take the jaunting cars up to the Head of the Gap. We preferred two feet and the viewing rewards of a leisurely stroll. It was about three and a half to four miles to reach the Head of The Gap......all up hill!


Looking across the first small lake to Purple Mountain on the left.


Looking towards The Gap from across Black Lake.


The Gap contained quite a few dwellings, but quite a few ruins too, all in prime positions.


View up Auger Lake.


The boys stop and admire the view. We had seen no one so far, a couple of cyclists would pass us a bit further up.


View back down Auger Lake.


Brendan and Tom approaching the big boulders.


Serpent Lake.


Looking back from the bridge.


Finally we can look back from The Head of the Gap at our route up.


The way up.


Looking down on The Head of the Gap, a few cars around now.


Close up view into The Black Valley.


Summit view.......The route up to Purple Mountain does have a distict path for most of the way.


Glas Loch nestled in a small corrie.


Too many midges to stop for any length of time.


Tom spots a frog.


Good views over the MacGillycuddy`s and down on Glas Loch.


Climbing up the rock scree to the summit. Brendan is on the grassy hill below, admiring the view!


Looking back down to The Gap of Dunloe.


Tom on the summit ridge.


Looking across The Upper Lake and Looscaunagh Lake (where I took the beginning pix) to Kenmare Sound.


The route ahead. Shehy Mountain on the right, our route is to follow the ridge to the left with a possible detour to Shehy Mountain.


We had lunch on the summit of Purple Mountain......still midges galore! Muckross Lake to the right of Shehy Mountain..


Coming down the Purple Mountain ridge.


Tom on the lower summit. The weather is looking a bit iffy over the Reeks, it was at this point we decided to miss out a detour to Shehy Mountain.


Looking back to the final drop off of Purple Mountain from the route up to An Chathair. Brendan and Tom in the distance.


The whole of the Purple Mountain ridge is now in view. Brendan and Tom looking tiny in the distance as I wait for them to catch up.


View down to The Gap of Dunloe valley.


Looking down on Lough Leane from An Chathair summit.


The descent from An Chathair (below) is steep, awkward and over rock and scree made from quartz conglomerate. I take it in my stride and I`m on the summit of Tomies Mountain when Brendan and Tom are still not yet half way down. They are still in the rock section so I chill out on the cairn for 20 minutes or so.


Brendan on the summit of Tomies Mountain wih An Chathair and Purple Mountain behind


View to all the highest peaks in Ireland.


The descent is over paths. I head for the shack with the green roof centre right, then would follow the track off left that would lead to the main road and back to Kate Kearney`s Cottage......It was not easy as the heather is knee high and the ground is steep.


Then it is wading through bracken time.


We made it back to the car park in just under seven and a half hours and stopped at one of the cafes for a cold drink and a coffee.

A good day! But some difficult descents for the unpractised.