Sunday 3rd February 2019

Day 6 Carraganass Castle to Gougane Barra

Distance 20k

Terrain, Soft and icy, boggy mountain tracks.

Track, moderate to strenouous.

Passport stamp, Cronin's Bar /Hotel.

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jjcakes

We set off from Gougane Barra with Niamh who had driven up from Cork to join us. A beautiful dry morning and the walk began with a 4km trip to the summit.

At first it was an easy path, but soon it became very slippery and difficult, one step at a time, due to the Icy conditions.,We stopped at 2.7k to admire the views over the now blacklake, beautiful.

Near the top we pass a few small lakes which are possibly part of the River Lee source. The terrain flattens out here for a few kilometers before descending . A large overhanging Rock presented itself, a perfect place for the lunch of delicious homemade scones courtesy of Niamh and Ellie. A bit further on we passed two stone structures Chimney like in appearance. Further on down and we come across a beautiful herd of Dexter cattle. The path here has some posts with cattle skulls attached.

Then out of the blue appeared the Sus Barra, with table,chairs and shelter. We had our picnic there let's hope people don't rubbish this place, but there are already signs. Respect.

We walked on down though a sponge floored forest, bare feet here during a summers day would be very refreshing. Just then we noticed a rooftop. Curiosity crept over us when we noticed smoke coming from the chimney in a green roof.

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We knocked, and are invited inside.An elderly man was lying in bed keeping warm while listening to classical music on the radio.

He has been living here for 47 years.His wife died 20 years earlier.

He is a basket weaver and grows organic vegetables, both of which he sells in summertime.

We asked if he needed anything, he said he had everything. If we liked to get fresh water from the spring we were welcome.

He was about to get up to cut Hazel Rods and feed his animals. He invited us to take a look around before leaving.

What a magical place !

We took a moment to appreciate what we had just been privileged to witness.

It was downhill from here for about 1k before turning uphill once again. Up through a very steep forest this was a very difficult climb, Niamh kept our minds occupied with information from a recent trip to Garnish Island, and before we knew it we were turning to face a less severe climb to the top.

It was around this place that Donal O'Sullivan took a last view of Berehaven where his family had lived and ruled for over 400 years.

The descent from here was difficult and had safety hand rails in a few places to ease the danger. It was necessary to walk down backwards. Eventually we came off the mountain.