Ascent of Knockboy on 2014-09-04

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:supported by Rose
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, September 4, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
    Elevation:2316 ft / 705 m

Ascent Trip Report

An eastbound xcountry hike ..... 5km, 2 hour RT.

For the 3rd day, of our 17 Day Ireland Trip, the plan was to drive the "Ring of Kerry". We got an early start and with our B&B host's advice decided on a ccw direction. We didn't have any problems with the tourist buses, as talked about in the guide books .... we met up with only one bus, and that at the very end of the drive. Luckily we were following the bus and from what we saw, we wouldn't want to be driving in the opposite direction .... they take up three quarter of the narrow road.
The drive is outstanding and the whole peninsula is very mountainous with plenty of climbing opportunities.

When we got to the town of Kenmare we still had a lot of day left, so we decided to check out the TH for this COHP. The drive to the TH was fairly straight forward with no problems.
I commented to Rose, "Not too many tourists drive these types of roads and get to experience this beautiful/nude mountain scenery dotted with rock and sheep." Up close and personal and pretty special for sure. We should note that a number of sheep like to pose for photos.
Once at the TH the route ahead was too inviting, so I decided to go for it. Rose waited at the pass and
while I was away a local stopped to check on her. Michael, a German immigrant of 17 years, chatted with Rose, advising her, "He should not be hiking alone."
"Don't tell me, tell him." was Roses reply.

What follows are the driving/hiking directions to the HP.

From the bridge over the Kenmare River, on the east side of the town of Kenmare, we drove south on Hwy #N71 for 8.3km to the road juction in Bonane with a number of signs, among them "Ford Guests" and "Priest's Leap, 7km". Weavers Knit Shop is on the corner.
We turned left onto the "Priest's Leap" road and followed the signs (generally southeast) to the top of the pass at 7km, at 3km we past-by the Ford House on the left. It starts out as a narrow 2 lane road, reducing to one lane for the last half, where it climbs/winds its way up the mountain. Sheep grazing on both sides of the road and at few places on the road. It is a small somewhat rough but good drivable/asphalted road.

At the pass there is a small rock monument on the left (east) side, engraved "Priest's Leap 1612-2012". A small parking is across the road with a Steel Cross 20 yards away.
This pass is the Kerry/Cork County Line, a fence line heads northeast to a north-south ridge line at about .8km .... as far as I can tell this is the County Line (see Google map). The HP is to the northeast (beyond the north-south ridge line) at about 2.5km from the TH and can't be seen from the TH.

I should note that Rose and I feel that this pass should be aptly renamed "Lover's Leap", evidenced by the condoms on the ground.

I walked/climbed on the right (south) side of the fence line, northeast to a fence corner on the ridge .... the HP can be seen at 60 degree Compass Line (my new route line). I hopped over the north-south ridge fence, walked around a large white sign "Sanctuary Grouse Project" (didn't see any grouse), dropped-slightly/crossed a small creek (the outlet of a small tarn to the north), hopped over a second fence line (old & broken) and climbed/reached another a fence line going directly towards the summit. This is also an old fence line and at places there are posts only, no wire fence.

I arrived at the top with with no problems, a concrete Trig Pillar marks the spot. I didn't stick around long to enjoy the superb open panorama as clouds threatened in the distance. I backtracked to the TH.

This is an easy route to follow and moderate in its climb, the only problem on this all grass route is the wet/boggy terrain for perhaps 25% of the distance (memories of my Pennine Way through hike in England). From what I could see this is all sheep grazing land, animal paths are all over the place.

We drove back down to Hwy #N71 with no problems, being very very lucky ..... we did not meet any incoming traffic !!!! I don't know what would have happened.

We returned to Kenmare and continued/completed the "Ring of Kerry Drive", meeting up with the bus as noted above. We stopped at the Factory Outlets in Killarney before going for dinner in town, getting back to our same B&B in Beaufort at 19h30 hours ..... a long enjoyable day.

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Sheep on road to Priest's Leap Gap (2014-09-04). Photo by Ben Lostracco.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:972 ft / 296 m
    Extra Gain:66 ft / 20 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.1 mi / 5 km
    Route:xcountry hike eb from priest's leap road
    Trailhead:Priest's Leap road to the west  1476 ft / 449 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country
Ascent Statistics
    Time:60 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:45 Minutes

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