There is something mystical and magical about the place. It starts like many other tramps (as locals call walks or hikes:)) - inauspicious country road that takes you to the basic carpark surrounded by fields filled by cows and sandflies. Then the first couple of hours of the rather bleak walk. But once the steep ascent starts the walk begins to slowly transform itself. The path gets narrower, with sheer drops – how on Earth do you bike here? After some more arduous climb you almost there: the REAL land of the hobbit begins.


But as you get higher and deeper into the birch woods, the forest starts looking more and more like from a fairy tale.

Creepy, twisted, crooked and knurled branches take on eerie and somewhat uncomfortable shapes. With each step you expect to bump into a giant spider, a hobbit – or a Baba Jaga house, standing on a chicken foot. A tale of tales starts developing in your hear as you walk in the deafening silence of the wet, misty forest...

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At times, it feels like you are walking on an expansive memory foam. Soft and spongy, the ground seems to be encasing your feet with each step, retaining the shape for a brief moment. It makes you feel connected with the little plants, floating slightly above the ground.

Maybe this is why hobbit were barefoot?

The diversity - and beauty - of these little soldiers of forest ground is astounding. They come in many shapes and forms, adapting to the micro-local environment that they grow on.

And with the moisture comes the mist, adding an air of mystery to the already magical place. Light and shadows start to play with your imagination, shapes appear and disappear with each step. The greens get even greener. The ground turns into a water bed, each footstep producing a range of wet, squishy sounds.

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Kirwan track offers some of the best tramping to be had - especially in early spring or late winter, when you can expect 4 seasons in a day (or two).

After rain the track can be muddy – especially the last part: although the route follows 4x4 track, you can expect huge pools of water that will slow your progress down.

Kirwan Hut is excellent: well maintained with great views. Montgomerie Hut has more ‘character’ – pretty simple and run-down. If you go in early spring / late winter you are likely to have the place to yourself (plus hobbit and Baba Jaga of course!). Definitely grater than most of the Great Walks.

Kirwan Hut

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Montgomerie Hut

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