A Walk for the Weekend: The Hag’s Glen walk - one of the Reek’s longest trails

Breathtaking and diverse scenery on the 16km route makes the tougher parts worthwhile

Nowadays the route across is well trodden but must always be treated with care.

Nowadays the route across is well trodden but must always be treated with care.

 

It’s that time of year again. Daylight has lengthened to 16 hours and the thoughts of regular hill walkers turn to a twirl along the longer ridges in Ireland. One of the longest and finest is the circuit of the Hag’s Glen in the Reeks. Apart from the mighty scenery all around, it offers long stretches of easy walking spiced up by traverses of the Cummeenapeasta and Beenkeragh Ridges, two narrow arêtes which add an edgy challenge to the day and perhaps might be too much if you suffer badly from vertigo.

It is best to plan to do this walk during settled weather when there is good visibility and light winds. Be sure to be well hydrated and start early so that you will have attained the ridge before the heat builds up.

Leaving Cronin’s Yard Car Park follow the Hag’s Glen Markers until you cross the metal stile at which point you can start heading up to Cruach Mhor (932m), a steep climb with a boulder field near the top which requires some agility. Cruach Mhor marks the start of the Cummeenapeasta (The Coom of the Serpent) Ridge. This is a narrow crest marked by rock pinnacles.

Hardy types used scramble across the pinnacles but a fatality some years ago when a large slab came away means that this is not recommended. Instead keep to the track on the lake side. Nowadays the route across is well trodden but must always be treated with care.

Knocknapeasta (988m), marks the end of the ridge and from there around to Carrauntoohil (1,040m) the going is easy. Along this stretch you will be captivated by the contrasting views of lake and valley and the great cliffs and Cooms on the sides.

The slog from the top of The Devil’s Ladder up the scree path to Carrauntoohil’s summit will be a test of your mettle as your leg muscles will be beginning to protest at the demands being made on them. Take time for a good rest on top and soak up the views of the route you have travelled and, more ominously, the way ahead, where the Beenkeragh Ridge looks quite intimidating.

Once you have ascended the scree slopes to the start of the ridge you will find that it is not so bad at all and there is a choice of going over the pinnacles or following the path that winds around them. Another painful slog up the scree slopes to Beenkeragh (1,010m) will bring you to the home stretch.

You will have to take care as you descend a boulder field leading down to the col before the short pull up to Knockbrinnea (847m), which is the last peak on your circuit. Head north east from the top down the steep slopes and don’t turn down into the glen until you can see the bridge over the Gaddagh River which will lead you back to the comforts available in Cronin’s yard which include a cafe and showers; a most wondrous facility indeed after such a trek.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.