Monday, August 22, 2011

Cloudy Boughil

On The Summit of Boughil

Friday, 5th August 2011
Staring and Finishing Point: Barfinny Lough

Classification: Dillon, Hewitt

Height: 631 metres
Dillon Count: 46

It seems that the worst time to plan any hillwalking in Kerry is during the summer months. Kenmare is literally besieged by mountains with the rugged sandstone Cahas of the Beara Peninsula to the South, the Shehy mountains to the East and the Derrynasaggart and Reeks to the West. This fantastic conglomeration of mountains was incidental for most of the week I spent in Kenmare as they remained mostly covered with a thick soup of dark, brooding and often rain-laced clouds.

One mountain that I could see from the doorstep of our holiday home was Boughil and on the second-last day of our stay, the obstinate clouds finally moved from it's summit and I made the short drive early morning towards Killarney to take my first hike in a number of months.

Boughil sits a short drive from Molls Gap and forms an impressive bulk when driving from that direction. Dominated by the mountain is the picturesque and serene Barfinny Lough. Indeed from the shore of the lake, the steep slopes of Boughil look quite intimidating.

There is plenty of space for parking beside Barfinny Lough (carpark is here). From the carpark, follow the road back in the direction of Molls Gap until you reach a fence running up Boughil. This fence leads all the way to the summit of Boughil. Whilst as easy as it gets from navigationally, the mountain's steep and rocky slopes do put up a fight and will get the pulse racing.
Squall over Moll's Gap (from Boughil)
Squall over Moll's Gap

Keeping with the theme of my week, soupy cloud had moved in during my climb and by the time the small summit cairn came into view, the cloud had completely engulfed the upper reaches of the mountain and visibility was down to less than 50 metres. As I took a much needed swig from my water bottle, the light drizzle begun to morph into heavier rain and i reconsidered my idea of crossing to Cnoc na gCapall and started back on my descent of Boughil.

Picking my way down the slippy rocks, I could see squalls of rain all around. One particularly heavy shower seemed to have stationed itself over Molls Gap whilst another was heading for Kenmare in what looked like an orchestrated effort to hit all the tourist spots in one fell sweep. Lower down the mountain, I started to move in and out of the cloud cover. This led to a very strange and vertiginous sensation - by times it felt like the clouds were below me as 'peep-holes' intermittently
opened up to reveal glimpses of Barfinny at the foot of the mountain.

Barfinny Lough from Boughil
Barfinny Lough from Boughil

In summary, Boughil is a very handy hill to bag and the fact that the fence can be hand-railed to the summit means that there are no navigational issues. The only real challenge is the steep slopes which got quite slippery after the rain shower. I can't comment on the views from the summit due to the cloud cover. However, from very early in the climb, there are great views down to Barfinny and over across Molls Gap and the surrounding countryside. Probably best when linked with Cnoc na gCapall (itself a Dillon) to make a longer walk.

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