Coomloughra Horseshoe (March 2010)
This magnificent walk has it all, beautiful scenery, breathtaking views, a strenuous workout, in addition to a wonderful sense of achievement upon completion. The circuit around Coomloughra takes 6-7 hours to complete and takes you to the summit of Ireland's 3 highest peaks, Carrauntoohil (1039m) Beenkeragh (1010m) and Caher (1001m). In addition it involves crossing the spectacular knife edged ridge (Beenkeragh ridge) which links Carrauntoohil and Beenkeragh. The views from the ridge are second to none and the thrill of crossing it is something I would never get tired of. However a word of warning; it is definitely not for people of a nervous disposition or for those with a bad fear of heights. Crossing it alone or without the guidance of experienced climbers is also not recommended
I completed the circuit last Sunday (March 7) with the Clare Outdoor Club who are based in Ennis. They are a great bunch of people with an infectious enthusiasm for the outdoors. To reap the full benefits of this and many other superb walks I would highly recommend joining an outdoor club.
Normally the circuit of Coomloughra is completed in the order of Beenkeragh first, then across the ridge to Carrauntoohil, the over to Caher and down. Due to the freezing weather last Sunday and the unknown condition of the ridge the leaders on the climb decided that it would be better to do the walk in reverse order ie Caher first, then Carrauntoohil and then across the ridge to Beenkeragh (providing it being deemed to be cross-able upon reaching Carrauntoohil summit). This way even if the ridge was in a treacherous condition we still had reached the summits of Caher and Carrauntoohil whereas if we had climbed Beenkeragh first we would only have one peak completed.
Luckily the ridge was deemed as cross-able. At this point we split into two groups; a choice been given of descending via Caher or crossing the ridge and descending via Beenkeragh. I joined the Beenkeragh group. Crossing the snow covered icy ridge was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Its rugged beauty, the valleys and lakes on either side and the views looking back on Carrauntoohil and forward towards Beenkeragh are images that will stay with me forever. Upon reaching Beenkeragh summit we began the long but enjoyable descent back to our cars where we met our colleagues who had descended via Caher
This was my third time completing this walk and I must say the most enjoyable of the three. It was a crystal clear day with great opportunities for photos