Saturday, 22 March 2014

An energetic climb of the highest mountain near to Cork City

  • Start-point of this walk is less than 40 mins drive from Cork City
  • Ascends the nearest 600m+ summit to the city, approx 32kms distance away
  • An energetic climb, steep in places and very invigorating
  • Can be combined with lower-level stretches of Duhallow Way for longer walk
  • A very impressive stone circle can be visited nearby

 This ascent of Musheramore (644m high), which rises as the highest of the Boggeragh mountains about 16km north of Macroom, and 32 kms north-west of Cork City, can be undertaken by itself as an energetic climb and descent taking about 1.5 hours for someone of average fitness. I've seen people running up and down it, but that wouldn't appeal to me! The splendid views from the top, ranging over most of County Cork and into the mouintains of Kerry, are worth lingering over.

 The start-point is at a road junction just by the Millstreet Country Park, which is a useful landmark for getting here. You can park easily by the entrance to the country park, and just walk back south a short way past the road branching off to the west (signposted for Knocknakilla stone circle). Your path up the mountain is to the right of a fence that runs straight up from here, and you must cross a stile to join the path. The Duhallow Way diverges to the left from your path (connecting walks involving the Duhallow Way both to the west from Millstreet, or to the east from the Glencam / general Rylane Cross area, can be researched by looking up 'Duhallow Way' on '', including maps), but you keep straight up the mountain. After the stile at the start, be careful crossing the level boogy ground at the start : look well ahead to plan your route over the wet ground, which will involve detouring to the right and then coming back in to join the rough path straight up the mountain.

 The gain in height from where you start, at the road, to the mountain-top, is about 300m or 1000 feet, and this great western slope of Musheramore (or Mushera, as it's locally called) is a stunning feature here in the central part of Co. Cork.

 The climb is steep in places, and sometimes over wet and boggy ground, which you'll want to avoid unless you have supernaturally water-proof boots on. This is a climb on which you'll need boots with a good grip. Look well ahead when ascending, plotting your way around wet ground. Look out for stretches of heather, I usually find it grows on the driest places, and you can make a path by following it. You'll get to know the vegetation that grows on damp ground, and avoid it, as you do more hill-walking.

 It's worth taking time to look back at the views developing as you climb up, this is really a walk for a fine day without low cloud, when you can enjoy the extensive views. There is no view of the summit until you get to it, emerging onto the wide summit plateau. A good cairn marks the summit, and you have a 360-degree view of Sliabh Luachra to the north (see my post on the Paps), the Derrynasagart mountains (incl the Paps) to the west, and much of County Cork to the south and east. South-east of the summit, and less than a ten-minute walk, a large cross on a stepped-down summit is a good detour.

 Enjoy the climb, take much care descending and remember this a mountain climb as as it's a hill walk, so take warm clothing, a hot drink, and a good map.

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