Following my recent visit to the McGuillicuddy Reeks, I promised myself to return soon to explore the Black and Brida valleys running between the mountain range. The view from the top of the Devils Ladder a few weeks earlier had given me some insight into the splendor of the valley, but being at ground level is the best way to experience the magnitude of the mountain range. Having previously experimented with panoramic stitching in Photoshop, I knew the best way to capture the valley was to combine several shots into one; my mission on the day was to do just that. Having discussed my plans the day before with my brother, he decided he would tag along for the trek. In all the years we have been coming to Killarney, neither of us had explored this area, so we were looking forward to what it had to offer.
|My brother Alan enjoying the view!|
We approached the Black valley from Moll’s Gap South of Killarney on the Kenmare road. Once at the gap, we turned left and took the first right down into the valley. The road is windy and narrow, but you soon find yourself immersed in the beauty of the natural habitat with the Owenreagh river running along the right hand side of the road. The road into the valley intersects with the “Kerry Way” walk, a walk that starts just outside Killarney town near the river Flesk and runs all around the Iveragh peninsula. We decided to drive as far as we could following the “Kerry Way” route until we turned off to the Cummeenduff lake. Passing the lake, we parked in a lay-by as far as we dared go and proceeded to get kitted out. We set off on foot along a narrow road until we intersected the “Kerry Way” walk again. The road led to a farm, the most isolate farm I have ever come across. Both of us pondered on what it would be like to live in such an isolated part of Ireland, getting to the shops must be a real hassle we mused.
The Brida Valley
Walking around the side of the farm, we continued on until a decision had to be made whether to stick to the “Kerry Way” route or head upwards towards the base of Carrauntoohil. We decided on the latter. I knew from my climb a few weeks previous that there was a lake at the base of mountain and I was anxious to explore it. The lake in question is Curraghmore, the source of the Cummeenduff river that flows into the Cummeenduff lake that feeds the Gearhameen river and untimately flows into the Lough Leane. Having survived the steep incline to the lake, we took a breather and had some lunch. After several ham sandwiches and a nice warm cup of tea, I decided to get the camera warm up with a few shots of the lake with the mountains in the background. Not feeling too happy with what I had captured, I followed my brother over a hill to get a good view of the valley from up high.
|The Black Valley|