Bridia Valley to Glencar
Distance: 10.5km | Ascent: 350m | Time: 4hrs 15mins
A sheep on the Lack Road above Bridia Valley
Start: Maghanlawaun, Bridia Valley (V 7795 8150)
Finish: The Climber's Inn (V 7250 8410)
OS Map: No. 78
The title of 'Lack Road', which traverses the next mountain pass, gives the wrong impression of a wide sturdy trail. In reality it is little more than a sheeps path that zig-zags back and forth up to the height of 380m. On a clear day, spectacular views back across Bridia Valley and Broaghnabinnia can be seen to the south-east. To the north-east, the ridge-line stretches from Curraghmore to Caher. This ridge is a gateway to the MacGillycuddy's Reeks, which are home to 9 out of 10 of Ireland's highest peaks. Kerry Way Walkers are advised not to venture near these peaks unless they are extremely confident in the use of a map and compass. No sign-posted trails are in this region.
Once having reached the top of the mountain pass, a new vista lies ahead with Lough Acoose below at the far end of the valley and the Dingle Peninsula on the distant horizon. The next 1km descent is quite steep and can become extremely slippery in wet conditions. Great caution must be taken on the way down. The gradient eventually levels off near the Gearhanagour Stream. The Kerry Way follows the stream towards scattered farmsteads at Derrynafeana, marking the end of a tough 3½km off-road section.
The Kerry Way follows a boreen to the north for the next 3km. It flanks the east of Lough Acoose before briefly threading its way between a hillock and Slievanore and reaching the main road to Glencar. Turning left at the T-Junction, the road hugs the shores of Lough Acoose for 1km before passing through a coniferous forest for 1km at Gortmaloon. The road can be quite narrow in places with several blind bends. Walkers should stay alert to oncoming traffic and walk on the wide side of each bend to provide the most amount of visibility to motorists. After passing the turn-off for Shanacashel, the final 2km of road section starts to straighten out before reaching the Climber's Inn.
Weary walkers who wish to err on the side of caution can avoid the Lack Road in bad conditions. Simply follow the road west from Maghanlawaun for 9km to reach Glencar. This low-level road is not part of the Kerry Way and therefore has no 'walking man' signposts. Pay due reference to OS Map 78 if taking this option.