A quite strenuous but spectacular walk from Adrigole, skirting the lower slopes of Hungry Hill and other mountains in the Caha range, to the popular fishing town of Castletownbere.
Starting in Adrigole, a small coastal settlement overlooked by Hungry Hill (685m) you initially make your way along tarmacked road past the seafront before heading inland. Once you pick up the Beara Way track you’re now on often steep open hillside for the majority of the day. As there is little in the way of a track from here you’ll need to rely on your friends the “Yellow Men” signs to point the way. Whilst you work your way towards Castletownbere enjoy stunning views of the Caha Mountains, Atlantic Ocean and Bere Island. Past the halfway point you will cross a couple of small but beautiful waterfalls each with a pool making a great spot to enjoy a stop for lunch. The final sections skirt the edge of a large peat bog before joining the main track downhill to Castletownbere.
This is a fishing town so fuel up on the “catch of the day” or a bowl of steaming seafood chowder at one of it’s many fine restaurants.
Be sure to stop for a pint at MacCarthy's Bar, made famous on the cover of Pete McCarthy's book "McCarthy's Bar: A Journey of discovery in Ireland".
Although this route does have the benefit of the Beara Way's "Yellow Man" marker posts, they are very spaced out and often only visible from higher ground. If visibility is low this could make navigation difficult. We recommend using the Macs App on your smartphone if you can.
Most of the terrain crosses open grassland with little in the way of an obvious track so do think twice about attempting this during bad weather or low visibility. If the weather does close in whilst you're en route there are a couple of escape options to make your way down to the main road.
Food & Drink
There is a small store in Adrigole at the beginning of the route where you can pick up some snacks. Alternatively, to save stopping, there is the local store in Glengarriff which has a deli that can make you some delicious fresh sandwiches, open daily from 8am.
Points of interest
Standing at 685m tall, and straddling the county lines of Cork and Kerry, Hungry Hill is the highest mountain in the Caha range. Its name derives from the Irish "eadar goil" meaning "between an inlet of the sea" but if you were to ask a local they may tell you "It's got quite an appetite for bodies!" However, dont let this put you off as you'll be keeping to its lower slopes on this walk rather than attempting the summit. It has also lent its name to a famous 1940s novel by the British authour Daphne du Maurier.
The Aghakista Bridge over the Kista stream was part of the original route from Glengarriff to Castletownbere. This ‘old road’ to the town preceded the current south road and the bridge was replaced by Brandy Hall Bridge a little way downstream. Across the stream you can see the remains of a 19th century Tuck Mill known locally as “Florry Kelly’s Mill”. The Tuck mill was powered by diverted water from the stream and used to shrink woolen cloth by churning it in vats.
D.F.MacCarthy's poem "The Old Mill" celebrates this spot and the families that once lived here.
Along with your usual kit list for a day out on the hill you should consider packing gaiters, poles and an extra layer. After lots of rain, specially early on in the season this walk (when not walking on tarmac) can be very boggy and waterlogged. We recommend therefore that you use good quality waterproof hiking boots.
In complete contrast, if you're lucky enough to be walking this on a fine day you might regret not packing your swimsuit as there are a couple of lovely waterfall pools along the way.