West Galway has many challenging High Points with fantastic views, Patrick O’Brien and his son Dillon logged another four recently.
A few weeks ago we had a great day of Highpointeering in West Galway and decided to go back for some more.
Our first High Point was Barnacranny Hill E, the Highest Point of Galway City council, at just 75m we thought it would be an ideal start for the day, having finished at its twin, Barnacranny Hill W on our last visit. Not the usual High Point environment, we parked at the edge of a building site just before 8 am and directly in front of us were two grassy hills.
We quickly set off for the top of one of them. Switching on Peakhunter we quickly seen our mistake, the two hills must have been man made from the building works and not the High Point we wanted. Using Peakhunter we then negotiated mud, briars, furze bushes before finally going over a stone wall to log the unmarked High Point. As we turned for the car our early start was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise as we looked across Galway city.
Next up was Keeraunnageeragh, we turned off in Oughterard to travel along the edge of Lough Corrib to an entrance to Derroura forest, the start point we had selected.
With a busy day planned we quickly set off up the forest road for a few kilometers before joining an obvious track to the right that climbed steeply up towards the open mountain. This track ended where it met the Derroura Mountain Bike track and we continued straight ahead using Peakhunter to guide us to the top. Once we left the track the going became quite tough with high heather and grass that held a lot of water which quickly transferred to our walking gear. On the day we didn’t see the supposedly obvious cairn at the top as it was pretty misty, but we were happy to have the official log on Peakhunter and set off returning by the same route but at a much quicker pace using the steep descent to our advantage. The views had opened up also with Lough Corrib and nearby mountains looking great in the distance.
An hour away further west was the village of Roundstone sitting at the base of Errisbeg the next High Point on our list. The views on route were amazing, lakes, mountains and rivers, the roads of west Galway must be some of the most scenic in Ireland.
Driving through Roundstone, Google maps brought us to the top of a small road from which we crossed a few fields to the open mountain. We could see a grassy route to the top and were delighted the going was a lot drier than the other Galway peaks we had climbed recently. I am unsure if there are any access issues on the route we used but apparently there is a more official route on the other side of Errisbeg.
The views behind us as we climbed were amazing, Gurteen and Dogs Bay, the many mountains of Connemara in all directions but reaching the trig pillar the views towards the 12 Pins were truly outstanding.
Peakhunter log done, pictures taken and a quick chat with a family arriving the same time as us, remarkably with a couple of months old child strapped to the Dad and we were off back down the grassy slope towards the car and back to Roundstone.
A quick bite to eat and we were back on the scenic roads again, this time looking for Lough Fee just beneath Garraun and as it was now going towards three o’clock Garraun was most likely our last High Point of the day. Parking at the northern end of the lake we walked keeping the lake to our left with the mountains towering to our right.
Shortly we turned right just before a dwelling house over a gate following a stream steeply upwards. We had a height of 599m to reach and Dillon was shocked to find that after about half an hour of tough climbing we were only at about 200m. Pressing on we kept the stream as our guide for another while but realised that we wouldn’t be able to continue straight ahead as the terrain was almost cliff faced ahead.
Instead we took a route to our left as it was more gradual and finding some white marker posts we followed them all the way to the top. Views at the top were amazing once again with Mweelrea in one direction and Benbaun in the other.
The sun was setting quickly at this stage so we started our descent using the white markers while they existed and then navigated back to the stream and down through the small sheep farm at the dwelling house.
With the weather and conditions on our side we had a fantastic day once again highpointeering in Galway. A long drive home ahead of us we changed our clothes and set off looking forward to a food stop along the way.
More details and pictures on Dillon’s Blog,