|Type of Route||Arrows||Distance 8 km||Grade Easy||Estimated Time||Total Climb|
|Loop Walk||Purple||8.2 km||Moderate||2 -5 hrs (one way)||300 m|
This walk is through forest, fields, and quiet country roads with great views all around. From the mapboard at Altar Church in Toomore, follow the purple arrows for 0.5km through the forest walk. Turn left for Goleen, walking along quiet country roads and farmland tracks. Rising and falling to re-join the Schull Toormore Fastnet Trail and return to Altar Church via the forest.
The Gortyowen Loop route is marked with purple arrows which you need to look out for.
Starting at the trailhead map (1) follow the rough road up alongside the church. The road climbs a little round some bends and very soon you see a small gate (2) on the left leading to a path down and across the field.
Now follow the path and proceed up the grassy valley watching out for flowers and wildlife along the way. After about one kilometre you emerge through a farm gate onto the public road (3) where you need to turn LEFT.
The road rises sharply but soon levels off and then descends steadily for about 500m to a cross roads (4) where you should turn RIGHT. The road is again rough and quite steep in places, passing a few houses but always keep going STRAIGHT ON until the road levels and descends to a small gate.
A gravel and grass path alongside the drain eventually swings left and continues down the edge of the field alongside a stream until it reaches another small gate. Here you turn RIGHT along a wide stone track between fields until you see a small gate ahead of you exiting onto the road (5).
Now turn RIGHT and follow the road steadily uphill for about half a kilometre and as the road levels off you see a junction (6) where you turn LEFT up a borheen (small road). This road winds through forestry and farmland for almost a kilometre until you come to a junction (7) where you need to turn RIGHT. You now walk down a winding descent until suddenly you reach a large road (8) where you need to turn LEFT.
The road is now very straight, in contrast to the previous leg, and to you right you will see an area of wetlands rich in wildlife. The road soon rises a little and you’ll meet a bigger road (8) at a bend. You continue STRAIGHT ON along this larger and sometimes busy (by West Cork standards) road. After just 300m you will see a quiet side road going to the RIGHT (9) and you should follow it uphill past the farm buildings.
This leg is just under a kilometre and it rises over 50m bringing you to a junction where a side road goes off sharply to the right. (10). Follow this side road gently uphill as you pass two houses and the road then levels off and your journey back to Toormore is now all downhill.
Continue westwards for about one kilometre and then the road descends quite steeply, swings to the left past a derelict ruin covered in ivy and you should see a farm gate (3) to your left signposted to Toormore. You might recognise this from your earlier journey so you follow the grassy path down the valley to emerge onto a stony track which brings you back to Altar Church.