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Ballyhoura – Garrane Loop

September 26, 2011

On Saturday last I took advantage of a really lovely autumn day to do the 35km Garrane Loop at Ballyhoura.  The weather was perfect, mild with a little sunshine and even a gentle autumn mist deep in the forest.

An unusual sight this year - on every ride I've been here before has been cast in gloom or mist, so it was nice to see sunshine dappling through the trees.

One of the lovely things about Ballyhoura is how, after hauling yourself up deep forest tracks and trails, you suddenly burst upon a wonderful view out over Limerick to the River Shannon in the far distance.

There are over 50 km of purpose built trails here, and the work that went into them is very impressive. I just wish all the timber bits weren't so slippy.

This long section of timber trail runs over marshy ground. Its where I had a nasty fall last time - I just about made it this time after a bit of slithering around.... I just have to keep reminding myself of the Golden rule - don't touch the brakes!

One great thing about the trail is that every section has its own personality. This outer part of the Garrane Loop twists and humps like a BMX track, its huge fun to ride.

On the long descent down back through the forest, the evening cooled down and a lovely mellow mist hung in the air where the trees were thickest.

I’ve done four of the five loops at Ballyhoura now – the only one remaining is the giant Castlepook Loop, I suspect thats beyond me this year now the days are growing shorter and the trails are growing muddier. One for the Spring I think.


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  1. Phil, seems as though some great (all weather?!) singletrack is popping up within reach of Dublin… I need to visit again…

  2. You definitely should – the new all weather tracks are very good, especially at Ballyhoura (they had the world Singlespeed championships there last August). The ones near Dublin are a bit short, but still good. Not up to Welsh standard yet for facilities but getting better… so do hop over after you finally hit Patagonia!

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