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Re: HighwalkerHi Highwalker. As a self-confessed beginner to hiking you have set yourself a very big challenge! You hope to hike from Glen of Imaal over Lugnaquillia and on to Glendalough over 5 nights, camping in the hills along the way. You say you are a beginner to the sport so I hope my following suggestions are of use.
The route you propose is about 20- 25km max ( I'm doing this from memory without a map so my figures could be off). It would be hard to see how to make it a 5 night trip in this case, as even at a very slow pace of 2km per hour you'd do it in 12 hours walking!
Several kilometres of the route in the mountains are along the border of the Glen of Imaal military range. Without good map reading skills you wouldn't realise you'd strayed into the range until a sharp voice barks out "DON'T MOVE!", and a soldier appear from the heather to guide you back to headquarters gingerly avoiding mines and unexplored ordnance along the way. (this happened to a fellow MountainViews member who regaled us with this story on our Wicklow MountainViews walk in October 2010.)
A large portion of Glendalough is a National Park meaning lighting fires is not allowed, and camping would need permission. I'm not saying people don't do it, just that those are the rules there.
On a fine day the Wicklow mountains are great, but low cloud and rain are a constant possibility. In poor conditions the route you hope to take would carry you across some of the bleakest and most featureless bog in Ireland. There is a reason the Dublin/Wicklow & Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue teams are so busy - this is tough territory for the unprepared. Part of your route would take you near the fabled Three Lakes - an area people go to practice navigation it is so featureless! ( and the Third Lake has never been found!)
I only say all of this because you say you are inexperienced, and I think it's a mighty challenge for a beginner! So after all my dire warnings what can I offer? Well if the timing suits I'd join you for a day, or assist you in completing the trip in two days. You also have lots of other equally worthy, but somewhat safer, options such as tackling the Wicklow Way or other well marked routes. Good luck In whatever you choose to do! (ps- by heading down off the mountains into Glenmalure after Lugnaquillia you open up the possibility of camping in that valley, and of using a Wicklow Way hut another night on the way back over the mountains into Glendalough)
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