Details of Day 3 of my Wicklow Way walk from Roundwood to Glenmalure.
After a hearty breakfast in the Coach House, I visited the local Centra to pick up a packed lunch and walked back the 2.5km to re-join the Wicklow Way from Roundwood at the 39km mark.
A nearly 4km section of country road walk was the opening leg of the Wicklow Way today. To be honest, this was probably my least favourite section of the Wicklow Way. The surrounding scenery was very picturesque (in particular around Oldbridge). However the road was steeply inclined in places and you just didn’t get the usual rewards of stunning views after all the effort.
Getting Off the Road
I turned right off the roadway and on to a farm lane at around the 43.5km mark. As I continued my climb upwards I noticed a kindly homeowner had a sign-up allowing hikers the use of their outside tap for drinking water.
It’s then over a stile and onwards along the border of an evergreen forest. I was at a good height now so got to enjoy some lovely views of the rolling countryside.
A gap in the forest is the location for the Brushers Gap Hut. This is one of 3 such huts constructed by Mountain Meitheal along the Wicklow Way. While the Hut was deserted as I passed, there were signs of recent visitors to the Hut and I believe it is regularly used by hikers to camp out in.
After leaving the hut, the route brought me out onto the open mountain. I had read that there are Gosan Stones close by here which mark the sunrise on the equinox twice a year but I wasn’t able to see them and continued along the Wicklow Way.
Just before I turned right on to a laneway at 46km I spotted a mountain runner out exercising. These guys really are crazy as I was already feeling the long kilometres in my legs. Fair play to them I say!
I continued upwards along the border of another forest. Then across fields and down towards the Glenmacnass Valley. This was a very pretty forest walk on both sides of the R115. I continued across the road and back into the forest traversing a lovely wobbling wood bridge over the Glenmacnass River.
After the river crossing it’s uphill again and soon I had my first glimpse of the Glendalough Valley on my Wicklow Way from Roundwood.
It’s downhill then towards the Glendalough Visitor’s Centre. There are options here for lunch such as the Glendalough Hotel or in the nearby village of Laragh. Again, with the Covid restrictions in place I wasn’t sure how these would work so opted to eat my packed lunch along the shore of the Lower Lake.
Glendalough itself is amazing. Take some time to view the Monastic city (you pass right by it) with it’s stunning round tower.
The crowds around Glendalough and the visitor centre and lakes seemed alien to me after the past few days of solitude along the Wicklow Way. I quickly passed them by though as I made the steep trek up by Poulanass Waterfall. I was glad I had my lunch before attempting this climb as I definitely needed the extra energy.
Following the waterfall the Wicklow Way turns into the Lugduff valley and the start of a 4-5km uphill trek of 400m to the shoulder of Mullacor. This was definitely the toughest part of the Wicklow Way. The incline seemed to go on forever! When I did finally reach the top of my climb, I crossed the boggy surroundings to Lugduff via a boardwalk.
It was downhill from there and difficult underfoot in places. This descent brought me into the Glenmalure Valley. Amazing views up the valley, along Lugduff ridge and then southwest to Art’s Lough, Fraughan Rock Glen and Lugnaquilla.
The majority of the remainder of the walk (c. 4.5km) was through forestry as I approached Glenmalure. This was actually the only time on my Wicklow Journey that I took a wrong turn. There was tree felling ongoing in the forest as I walked through. At one part just on entering the forest, I noticed a large machine making its way to the forest trackway. I was keen to quickly be out of it’s path so didn’t take enough care looking at the yellow man direction postings. When I came to the next junction and there was no signposts I realised my mistake and was able to double back fairly quickly.
It was lovely to see the Glenmalure Waterfall across the valley through gaps in the forest. When you reach the Mullacor Hut you are about 3km from Glenmalure which is the 62km mark in the Wicklow Way.
In total, I walked 29km on Day 3. This included a 2.5km walk from Roundwood and a wrong turn in Glenmalure forest. It took me 6 hours and 40 minutes and I completed 23km of the Wicklow Way.
As I rounded the corner to the Glenmalure Lodge (my accommodation for the night), it was a hive of activity around the car park. Reinforcements had arrived! I was delighted to see my Mam and Dad sitting on the benches outside the Lodge. We had a lovely meal in the Glenmalure Lodge that evening.
Elevation for Day 3 of the Wicklow Way from Roundwood. You can see the steep climb after Glendalough to Mullacor.
Check out my previous post on Day 2 of the Wicklow Way