ROUTES: Lough Hyne and Knockomagh Hill

This Paddy's Day, I escaped to West Cork for some peace and quiet on the island retreat of Inis Beg. Close to the fishing village of Baltimore lies the only inland saltwater lake in Europe: Lough Hyne.

Overlooking the lake stands Knockomagh Hill at 197m. Easy run? Think again.

As you run onto the stony trails of Knockomagh Wood Nature Reserve, you have a moment to enjoy the hillside trees (Spruce and Oaks mainly)but after only a few hundred metres of flat the path a gruelling path regularly interspersed with rocky steps takes you to the top.

The forest trail starts out at 10 metres and within less than 2km you are taken to the summit at 197m. Average ascent grade may officially be 10% but due to a few flat sections that connect the upwards paths in a zig-zag trail, the actual climbing inevitably feels harder.

Once you break to the summit you feel like you've arrived in the Scalp or Howth race as very narrow paths broken by slippy sharp rocks takes you through heather and gorze.

Multiple viewing points give you a great vantage point over this remote region of West Cork and a slight loop further down allows you to descend on a flatter faster trail.

Should you find yourself near Baltimore or Skibbereen, then this little gem is definitely one to do, although the hill itself only makes for a stiff 5k run, there are lovely undulating country roads close by that allow you to take in the fresh water breeze first hand.

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