Sunday, 26 March 2017

Cardiac Steps & Torc Mountain

To give ourselves a break from big walks, we decided to do a nice and easy one this time. Torc Mountain is suitable for any level of fitness and even boots aren't necessary. On a dry day you can do it safely in runners as most of the way you walk on timber sleepers.

Torc Mountain Footpath

Climbing up the stairs
We left our cars at the bottom of Torc Waterfall. To make our walk a bit longer and more interesting we headed back the road to Cardiac Steps first. This trail goes up the north slope of Torc but it won't take you to the top. It goes about half way up before leveling for a while and then descending again back to the forests and lakes. You won't reach the top this way but you'll be rewarded with gorgeous views of Killarney town, Muckross and Leane lakes, and Shehy, Tomies and Purple Mountain on your left hand side. Climbing up the stairs it's a good exercise but better pace yourself if you don't want to get out of breath too quickly. There's hundreds of them! This part of the trail is dark, cool and shady so you won't overheat during ascending. The presence of rhododendron plants is responsible for making the place even darker and you can see how it takes over the forest making the growth of anything else very difficult as the light isn't sufficient. Despite it's beauty it's an invasive plant. Trying to control it in Killarney National Park is a constant battle for over 30 years. Given a chance rhododendron would swallow all Ireland's woodlands in no time.

The view towards Tomies and Purple Mountain

At the top of Cardiac Steps
At the highest point (about 300 m.a.s.l.) you'll find a well and a little shelter although we didn't need any shelter this time as the day was warm and sunny and just perfect.

An alternative starting point is the Dinis Car Park if you want to do only Cardiac Hill loop without climbing Torc.

After admiring all the views and taking some pictures we followed the path back down to the point where it meets The Old Kenmare Road which is a part of The Kerry Way.

You're now in the valley between Torc and Mangerton. Just follow the road until you see the little signpost for Torc Mountain and the footpath turning right. From there it's advised to keep to pathway to prevent erosion. Please respect that and remember that you're in National Park area. It won't take long to get to the top as walking on sleepers is relatively easy and they cover most of the trail. As you climb higher the views start stretching towards the Eastern Reeks and further when you look to the West. The place can be quite busy on a sunny dry day and you will meet walkers from all different countries.

The view towards Eastern Reeks from Torc Mountain Footpath

Us and some Polish walkers we met at the top 
The top was surprisingly windy and chilly and keeping the camera steady was a hard job, but the visibility was just amazing... 

We spent only about 10 minutes at the top before heading back down and following The Old Kenmare Road once again to meet the right turn for Torc Waterfall and walking down to where we started.
The walk takes about 3 hours and it's 13 km long (Cardiac Steps loop and Torc Mountain). It's a perfect place to do some training before doing bigger climbs and longer walks.

Killarney town and the lakes seen from Torc Mountain top

It was a really enjoyable day out. A pity that only 5 of us could do it as the rest of our club members were busy running races or doing other things. We hope to have a better number next time! See you on Sunday, 9th April in the Galtees :)

No comments:

Post a Comment