Stats: Weather, cloudy with sun breaking through the haze ; distance 7 Km, Height gain 308m.
Most of the usual suspects were out this week, The Grand Master (Dermot Gunne), The Master in the Field (John ), Hugh Sweeney, Ken Keaveney, Norman McCloughlan, Pat Cashin & Noel Doyle.
Noel opted to skip the first stage of the walk and leaving his car at the walks end, he planned to meet us as we approached Enniskerry. Hugh also opted to leave his car at the end as we needed 2 cars at each side which left myself (Ken) and Pat to ferry the 6 walkers to the start, where there are 2 parking spaces at the boarded up gateway, Cookstown Cottages, Kilcorney (51.188307, 6.144697), the logistics are mind boggling.
We set out on this charming river walk and after a short way up the track we took our usual division down to the river gorge, it is definitely worth the interruption to divert to the river.
We re-trace our steps back to the main track and continue for almost a kilometer to another favorite spot, ‘Lovers Leap’ a fantastic vista, vantage point, but perhaps not for the faint hearted or any Lug with Acrophobia.
We follow the Dargle River and continue up the valley until we meet the R760 near the Dargle Valley Golf Club where Noel was waiting for us. We now have a little road walk and head towards Enniskerry past the entrance to Powerscourt and turn left after St. Patricks Church onto Forge Road and past ‘The Forge’ (hence the name), which was built in 1855 with the typical horseshoe shaped granite doorway.
At the top of Forge road we went straight through the junction (with Enniskerry village to our right) and at the next junction (just at St. Mary’s Church), there is what looks like the start of a path in the gap through the wall but looks very overgrown. We battled our way through the overgrowth and after a very short distance it opened out to a very distinct and interesting track for the rest of our walk.
We were now entering the Knocksink Woods and joining the Glencullen River and after a small walk we discovered our usual sus area and broke for refreshments. After sus we veered off track into a field to avoid a cliff section and picked up the track once again at the far side of the field.
This was a second magical stretch to our walk and turned into an adult version of a kid’s theme park, with us straddling trees and traversing gorges like a bunch of exploring kids (well maybe kids with arthritis). Partly what made this such a special walk was the natural forest which was not linear like so many pine forests, artificial and uniform, this was random and created by mother nature and therefore carpeted with wonderful flowers, primrose as far as the eyes can see. The pathways were lined with bluebells and huge swathes of wild garlic. The riverbanks of this valley were heaving with full bloom of Blackthorn / Sloe, which looked like snow covered trees. (Really this is a walk you would like to bring a mot on )
We emerged onto Bridge Road at Ballybrew (53.210037, 6.213523) where the cars were and Hugh brought the drivers to collect their cars from the walk start and we all headed back to the Powerscourt Arms for refreshments and a chat after another successful excursion.