I’m a regular visitor to County Waterford, often staying within a stone throw’s of the Comeragh Mountains. With three hours to spare last Tuesday, I headed on up them to check out the glacial lakes.
I made straight for The Gap, up through the bog, and heather and muck. The sheep were out in plenty, wondering what was anyone doing going up the mountainside. For such a picturesque set of hills, they are barely frequently by mountain runners in comparison with the likes of Wicklow or the Mournes. Total shame, as I was about to find out…
From The Gap, I headed south east, straight up the steeply contoured mountainside. A cliff hung straight out from the side, and a quick detour around using a thin walker’s path helped prevent a spot of rock climbing. From there, it was a bleak flat mountain as only Ireland can muster up. Only the map showed these impressive cliffs cuddling around blue blobs of water. They were surely worth a visit.
I ran in the direction of Lough Comshingaun. I knew it was straight ahead, but all I could see was flat grass land stretching into the distance. Trusting my map and compass, I continued on, waiting, waiting to fall off a cliff…. until, all of the sudden, the grass abruptly stopped and the cliffs broke straight out from the depths of the earth.
I turned on the brakes within metres of the edge. Instant vertigo flushed through my legs. It was a long way down. Carved out of the mountain was a phenomenally rocky coum filled with a wonderful little lake. I took the opportunity to have a quick sit-down to steady the nerves, as well as to munch on some homemade barnbrack cake.
From Comshingaun, I veered north, running over marsh land to Crotty’s Lough, so named after an outlaw who lay low in these remote hills. Once again, the lake lay hidden until the last moment, nearly falling off the cliff before seeing it. The final lake of the day was Coom Iarthar, found by tripping down a steep slope covered with burnt heather and nasty rocks sticking out at odd angles. From there, it was back via the Curraheen trails, newly marked just this year.
They say that the Comeraghs once played host to a Mountain Marathon. Tales abound of legendary rock climbs and intrepid river crossing over the two day event. Though mountain runners no longer frequent the range as much, the next event proves to be as much fun. The Comeragh Survival Challenge is a three day trek across the mountains, taking place in September 2011. Hopefully they’ll have good weather so that they can see the mountains, lakes, and views whilst surviving.