A logic of difference
Wicklore, sorry to hear you had in the past such a mixed experience of Bray Head. To escape the lowland fog, I went up on Saturday last and was happy to find no hordes, no rubbish, very little in the way of graffiti around the cross, and no very noticeable damage to flora or fauna (the latter consisting of a stray pony and a few freedom-loving cows). Yes, only a stone’s throw from ‘civilisation’, it’s possible, in winter at least, to have a peaceful and unspoilt walk along the whole length of this ridge.
With regard to the criterion for inclusion in the list of hills above 150m, I can see the logic of what you are saying. A 150m prominence: so be it. From a mathematical point of view, it provides a nice, surgical cut-off point. Or does it? The Little Sugar Loaf is roughly two kilometres distant from Bray Head. For the sake of argument, let’s suppose it were five, or fifty, or five hundred away, with no other hill in between. Would the same 150m-prominence logic still apply in those more distant cases too? At what point does any mountain stand on its own feet? To my mind, the weakness of the present system lies in its over-reliance on maths. It ends up by being contrived. It doesn’t distinguish between one clearly defined orographical feature and another. The Little Sugar Loaf and Bray Head may have a few superficial similarities – a north-south direction, roughly the same kind of rock, a shared glacial experience – but the two have had a very different geological history, separated by eons, and they have a definite, self-contained peculiarity that makes them clearly independent of each other. The present system lends itself also to curious anomalies. To take the case in point, Bray Head, at 240m, is banished to oblivion because it has an unaccommodating yet unrelated neighbour on the other side of the valley, whereas the geologically-related Ben of Howth, at barely 150m, on the far side of Dublin Bay, can proudly claim recognition because it enjoys a little more breathing space round about…
As you can see, I would simply plead for another kind of logic – not so exclusively mathematical, perhaps, but open to genuine, recognisable difference