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Bin Ridin
04-04-07, 13:04
With thanks to Bob Montgomery, Irish Times.

Rising up through the barren hills

GreatRoads: The Shehy Mountains (Part 2) In his second Great Roads article, Bob Montgomery continues on through the Shehy Mountains to Priest's Leap

On our last journey we travelled through the Shehy Mountains from Kilgarvan to Coomhola Bridge. There's a signpost there for Priest's Leap which is where we're headed, the turn for this spectacular road being just a very short distance from Coomhola Bridge.

Within a few kilometres of the start of this road it begins to climb quite steeply along the edge of Coomhola Mountain (472m) while the wonderfully named Cooleenlemane River hugs the valley floor increasingly far below on our left to the west.

The hills on the other side of the valley are most striking for their very clearly-defined and exposed strata running mostly at an angle of 45 degrees - one of the best examples of this feature I've seen anywhere.

The landscape, in contrast to the road from Kilgarvan to Coomhola described in the previous article, quickly becomes barren mountainscape, reflecting how much more exposed it is than our previous subject. At this point a word of warning is in order, for this is a narrow road with a number of sharp blind brows reminiscent of the brows on the road to the top of Slieve League in Co Donegal which will not be to everyone's taste. However, if you do decide to continue along this road be prepared for some magnificent views both to the north and to the south.

Although the road is narrow and bumpy - although not unacceptably so - there are plenty of passing places. There is a point where one crests a particularly sharp brow to unveil a view of the most extraordinary beauty northwards towards the Macgillycuddy Reeks, while southwards in the direction from which we have come, Bantry Bay and Whiddy Island are visible.

The landscape on either side of the road is barren save for a small ribbon of trees clinging to the lower slopes of the eastern side of the valley. A roadside cross marks the highest point of the road before we begin to descend towards Kenmare in the distance. This side of the mountains is less barren and the road quickly descends into a tree-covered landscape. The road itself on this side of the mountaintop is also of much better quality, perhaps reflecting the predominant direction of the wind and weather patterns.

Eventually the road ends in a T-junction, a left turn followed by a right taking you out onto the N71 beside Mileens post office, from whence one can head south west to Glengarriff or north to Kenmare.

In many ways the most striking feature of this road over Priest's Leap, apart from its spectacular views, is how different it is in character to the road from Kilgarvan to Coomhola Bridge, only a few kilometres away and which we described in this series two weeks ago. But then, that's one of the great beauties of the Irish landscape - its ability to pack widely differing landscapes into such small areas and to surprise again and again.

Garfieldus
05-04-07, 01:18
wtf is bob montgomery?

de crowe
05-04-07, 06:06
he has a column in the motoring section of the irish times supplement on wednesday. John wheeler also has a motorcycle section which is ok with a lot of bmw reviews and news.

Garfieldus
05-04-07, 11:15
he has a column in the motoring section of the irish times supplement on wednesday. John wheeler also has a motorcycle section which is ok with a lot of bmw reviews and news.

is he the p**** from grattan?

Jockser
05-04-07, 17:48
wtf is bob montgomery?

He used to race & hillclimb a Kadett GTE (& if that's not showing my age I don't know what is :rob ) with the long defunkt Dealer Opel Team Ireland. A decent skin & Not a bad pilot either. Horrid knowledgeable about motoring history. I think he has some sort of gig with the RAC in Dawson St too.