Galtee Mountains Loop

A striking profile just off the M8 motorway between Cashel and Mitchelstown – The Galtee Mountains. Photo slide show at the bottom of the post.

We’ve all done it – maybe me more than most – driven past somewhere like this, promising ourselves we’ll look into it!

Well, I decided it was time and bought John G. Dwyer’s ‘Walking Guide for Tipperary and Waterford’. Very good guide and he recommended the circuit of Glencushnabinna as probably the best hike in the Galtees.

A group of six friends from the Wicklow Hiking and Adventure Group, my most welcome guest Tania, from Sao Paulo in Brazil, and myself set off on the hike a few weeks ago.

Definitely enough to mist the brow! A bit of a ‘toughie’ actually. Starting from Clydagh Bridge, traversing three peaks, Cush (639m), Galtybeg (799m) and Galtymore (919m) in that order and back down by Lough Curra and Knocknanuss.

Not too far at about 16km. The climbs and descents are intense, but no scrambling and minimal heather, so the going is very good.

Way more than a beginner’s or casual afternoon hike! A good level of fitness, appropriate kit and good preparation vital.

In the run up I watched the weather forecasts carefully, with a few Plan B’s in mind if necessary. The Galtee Mountains are not the place to get caught out when the weather closes in unless fully equipped for adverse weather and an experienced navigator. It’s just too risky and dangerous otherwise!

John O’Dwyer’s guide also emphasises this important point, where he notes, “around Galtymore summit walkers become disorientated in mist with monotonous regularity”. In case you might think he’s overstating it, have a look at this rescue reported on the RTE News

On the day the weather was ideal!

We had a fabulous hike – it took about 6 hours. Thoroughly recommended and the photos below tell it all!

The north east wind along the summit ridge was severe. One of the very interesting things which was impossible to capture on camera was to watch low clouds ripping through the saddle between Galtybeg and Galtymore, swirling into the open valley beyond. You can’t see this from below. I’m starting to understand why hang-gliding, paragliding, etc, can be so hazardous!

The outing also gave me a chance to try ‘photo-stitching’ some of my shots into a panorama – delighted with the outcome! Really recommend trying this with nice landscape shots! I use the Canon Photostitch software which came with my EOS-M.

By the way, the Galtees form the southern side of the Glen of Aherlow and they have a very nice site explaining the many attractions of the area for walkers.

My suggestion? Go there, you will enjoy!

What great places have you visited around the Galtees and Glen of Aherlow?

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