Trail Length

10.52 km

Trail Difficulty

Hard

Trail Type

Looped

Walk Description

Park at a small group of trees right beside the river and bridge. This spot is about 50 or so metres further on from the coiltte car park but a good few km before the main car park at Baravore. Cross the bridge and simply follow the trail – at the next junction keep left and follow a number of large switchbacks all the way up the side of the valley. You will come to another main fork – but hang right and follow the lesser trail up – the other fork heads towards a dead end in a cirque that looks like it is used as some sort of bird watching area. Anyhow follow the trail ever onwards – it starts to peter out before ending in a open area. Its a sort of small meadow that is gradually being claimed by the forest. Look for a gap on your left – you will have to cross a muddy ditch here and all four limbs will be needed to get up to the top of the ditch. Now you head in a roughly north-west direction. This is a fairly boggy area so boots, gaiters and trekking poles are recommended. You will see a fence in the distance if you keep this in sight and continue heading north-west you will eventually reach the lough. Art’s lough is a little gem and being so isolated its very likely you will have it all to yourself. Big flat granite boulders along the edge are prefect for a lunch break and the prefect peace and solitude are just the tonic after a week stuck behind a desk in the big smoke. Now for the difficult bit – you are going to head down into the fraughan rock glen via the boulder field to the west. You follow the outlet stream from arts lough – it soon disapeers beneath the boulders but no worry – just head downhill. The slope here is very steep and there are plenty of hidden niches and crannies among the rocks to trap and sprain an ankle. Take it very slow and easy and note another fence further down the slope as eventually you will be reaching this point. When you get to the fence follow it down until you finally reach the bottom of the valley – then head to the river and cross over at just about any point. WARNING – the descent down through the boulder field to the the rock glen should not be attempted in wet or recently wet conditions or in anything other then very clear visibility! I can’t stress that enough! Now simply follow the forest track down the rock glen, and head back up Glenmalure valley, past the youth hostel, baravore car park and along the tarmac road to reach your starting point.
Rated hard due to the boulder field descent – otherwise straightforward. Total moving time is 3.5 hours – add extra time for lunch beside the lough and if you have not attempted the boulder field descent before. This is also a walk where it might be a good idea to let people know where you are heading in case you come a cropper in the boulder field.

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