4 of 5 – Carrauntoohil

Eire’s & the island of Ireland’s highest peak, nestled in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks at 1039m above sea level; an exquisite location on the Ring of Kerry peninsular.

Up early we drag ourselves out of the tent and get ready. It isn’t an early start however as we faff about having breakfast and get ready. The sun is out and we’re in shirts, obviously I’m prepared just in case!

It’s almost 11 before we set off with just over 11km on paper. The day was going to be quite different to those we’d done so far; unlike the other peaks in England, Scotland and Wales we’d climbed Carrauntoohil was all on private land. It felt less manufactured for an easy climb and we weren’t disappointed! And, I guess because of location, it wasn’t as busy.

Gently up the valley then BAM! Straight up about 300m in 800m forward climbing what is known as The Devil’s Ladder to the saddle between Cnoc na Toinne and the summit. It’s a lovely walk to the ladder crossing the stream, passing the lake, watching butterflies as we become surrounded by the peaks.

Then we are at The Devil’s Ladder, basically a path up a submerged waterfall. It is a brute of a climb, comparable to the upper section of Snowdon’s Watkins Path but bigger. We have a bite to eat in preparation then off R goes, scurrying up. We stop half way at the saddle before the climb eased for the last push to the summit. The views are amazing!

Lunch at the top. A few others are also there. It was glorious. We suck up yet more unbridled views all around us; back in land and out to sea!

Then back down we go late in the afternoon. I’d chosen a different path back down Brother O’Shea’s Gully, this was a loose, tumbling scree slope to begin. Going was just as tough as coming up as we slip and slide our way down. It is extremely peaceful and beautiful. We perch on a few ledges with waterfalls cascading beside us.

Finally popping out in the valley floor we retrace out steps. Proud to have accomplished what has been the toughest and most spectacular climb we’ve done so far.

It is getting on now. My legs once more are feeling it. R on the other hand is off down the path in the distance; I can’t keep up!

R is that pixel in the distance….