Sunday, 18 March 2018

Trip to Moylussa & Ballycurragan Forest

In our constant search for new routes and mountains to climb, our outing on Sunday 18/03 took us to east Clare. Moylussa the highest point in County Clare at 532 meters part of the Sliabh Bearnagh range was our destination.
After turning off the motorway at Killaloe exit we stopped for some tea / coffee. While we were here the weather took a turn for the worst and there was a snow shower. We considered our options and decided to press on.
Passing over the 300 year old bridge we crossed the Shannon and entered Killaloe,birth place of Brian Boru. We took the Scarriff road and parked up at a car park near the entrance to Ballycuggaran wood. Ballycuggaran is named after the O Cuggarans who were an important clan in the court of Brian Boru.
Initially this walk is on forest paths and it follows the East Clare way for some time. It’s a fairly steep walk and with the snow fall getting heavier as we gained altitude, we assessed the situation and decided to carry on.
After some time the forestry gives way to open mountain, and there is a sleepered section leading all the way to the summit. Visibility was down to about 200 meters at the summit, and with driving snow and a biting wind we did not linger long at the boulder marking the summit at 1748 feet.
From the summit the expanse of Lough Derg can be seen, as well as the Slieve Mish mountains in Dingle and across to the Galtees. Today however with swirling snow we had no view.
Retracing our steps we made our way carefully down hill. This was quite tricky in places as the snow and steep gradient made for slippery conditions underfoot. Thankfully everyone made it down safely and there were no fallers. As we descended visibility increased and we got tantalizing views of Lough Derg spread out below us. It whetted our appetite to return again, when hopefully the weather would be kinder to us.
We reached the car park where there are toilet facilities, however these were locked, not much point in having them there if you can’t access them.
We continued on to the Lakeside Hotel in Ballina where we had some well earned refreshments and a heat from the stove in the cozy bar. Everyone agreed that despite the weather is was a good walk and well worth the journey down. Definitely have to return.

PS  Don’t order the chowder it’s bland and tasteless.

“My father considered a walk among mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing “...Aldous Huxley.

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