Irish Mountain
Running Association

A Kerry Round...

Conor MurphyJul 25 2020, 9:57pm...a topic that has raised its head a few times before. Within days of his success in the Reeks Skyline, Brian Mullins went out and ran every summit in the range...and tacked on Purple Mountain, Tomies and a few Dunkerrons. So we looked at his route, tweaked it a bit, and came up with a map of a possible round, hoping to kick start some discussion. While it's not the longest route, it has one section taking in long scrambles up Knocklomena, Stumpa Duloigh, Broaghnabinnia and Caher that could be fairly brutal...
Paddy O'LearyJul 26 2020, 10:04pmWhat's the rough distance on that route, Conor? Robbie and I spent ages trawling over the maps of the Reeks trying to figure out a list, but always get stumped by the Dunkerrons. There's so many of them, where does one stop?
Brian MullinsJul 27 2020, 8:39pmYerrah lads I planned that route over a decade ago after a long phone call on the Bob Graham Round with Simon Fairmaner. My key requirement for any round in Ireland was to include the highest peak in the country similar to Bob Graham, Paddy Buckley and Charlie Ramsay. I also thought it should start and finish at Kate Kearneys Cottage to give an incentive to try and get back within 24hrs in order to get a pint or more depending on how fast one could be! With those very simple conditions it immediately became clear that if you took OSI Sheet 78 and included every Arderin and Arderin Beg (basicaly any well defined summit above 500m) up to the Ballaghbeama Gap Road Crossing you’d have a fairly logical circuit albeit one with big ascents and descents and lots of scrambling. The return to Kates from Torc was not trivial at that time over a decade ago but now is a bit better due to access issues being solved though it still has some horrific route finding through Glena to Tomies. You will become most intimate with Rhododendron!

That route worked out at 51 peaks and approx 65ish miles and 30,000ft. I had thought to add the Cloon Lake Horseshoe (other side of Ballaghbeama Gap Road Crossing and adds 10 peaks, 10miles and another 7-10000ft) but wanted to complete the 51 peak version in 24hrs first!

As it happened since that phone call not only did I not even attempt the Bob Graham but I ended up racing in Europe and elsewhere every year so it kind of fell off the radar. More significantly due to the hard work and dedication of many others the Wicklow Round materialised and has become a genuine challenge with some seriously impressive completions.

The outing after the Reeks Skyline last Tuesday was a nice day on the hills but after 13hours, 35 peaks, 35miles and 19,000ft I knew getting under 24hr would be tough given i would be doing the section from Torc to Tomies in the dark without logistical support (I was out of food after 13hours and uncontaminated water is tricky after Molls Gap). Excuses excuses! With all that said I plan to give it an honest effort, with proper logistical support at road crossings, during the next period of good weather around the full moon in August. If anyone wants the list of peaks and the maps etc I can send them on to Robbie or someone else on the committee as I don’t really do social media or all the mutual appreciation societies that those platforms entail. Much better to be running on the mountains!!

I wouldn’t even presume anyone would be interested in doing this route. If you are though be warned of the scrambling (Cruachmhor to Cnoc Na Peiste, Hags Tooth, Beenkeragh to Carrauntoohil), steep ascents and descents (Caher to Broaghnabinnia, Brassel up and down), the outliers (Brassel Skregbeg, Mothallin, Knockbrack) and the terrain is just very very hard on the legs and makes any other range in the country feel like a running track.
Paddy O'LearyJul 30 2020, 7:28pmLooks something savage, Brian. Fair play. I've only done bits and pieces in around Hags Tooth and from Beenkeeragh around to Cruach Mhór, so excited to get a chance to hopefully give this a shot someday. Whenever this whole pandemic ends and the US stops being a bollox with visa holders leaving, I'll be planning a longer trip back home and would love to consider some sort of attempt at this. That was my initial plan for the week of Reeks Skyline, so great to see the adventures you got up that week. And excited to follow your effort at the next full moon!