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kernowclimber
2012-02-05 20:14:51
"Building bridges in Wicklow? Yes!!" from kernowclimber Expand pics
Building bridges in Wicklow? Yes!! (Expand pics)
Led up the zig-zag pathway
I‘ve been watching the recent exchange of opinion on the pros and cons of pathways up mountains. Recently, I have been doing a lot of field work in Glendalough (Wicklow) and have had cause to walk up the zig-zag pathway from the ‘miners’ village’ above the Upper Lake to Van Diemen’s Land numerous times. This beautifully engineered road was constructed in the late-1860s by the Mining Company of Ireland to facilitate the movement of lead ore downhill to the dressing floors (incorrectly named the ‘miners’ village’) from the mines at Van Diemen’s Land. It has delightful features like stone culverts diverting streams beneath the road and is now well used by walkers who stream up the route to the Spink in their thousands each month.

However, above the zig-zags, the road is reduced to a mere track. This has been heavily engineered with the installation of a stepped route created by laying granite boulders (with heavy scoring by angle grinder to prevent slippage), small bridges over the Glenealo (which can’t decide whether to stick or twist when it comes to a water channel), and further up, railway sleepers laid across the bog. Huge white bags of granite dropped by helicopter currently lie beside this ‘path’ bearing testimony to on-going works. Quite apart from the fact that I am not keen on the surface and question its safely when icy especially when one is travelling downhill, I also contest the wisdom of the need to create this pathway at all.

Why? Because the old mine road actually swung left over the Glenealo at 308046 196192 and then crossed over the top of a cutting for a former incline tramway running up to the mines. The old road then continued uphill, passing through the heart of the Van Diemen’s Land Mine and its fascinating industrial archaeology, ending close to a structure that was a crusher and waterwheel pit right by the current track to the Spink. So, we already have a purpose built route, that, with a little rehabilitation, would have obviated the need for and considerable expense incurred in the installation of a new track that is always going to be highly prone to erosion. A track that has had money needlessly spent on it when a perfectly good route already existed, and one, I might add, that is a great deal safer for the inexperienced/casual stroller. I fail to see why anyone who could read a C19th OS map could have missed this road, let alone fail to see it on the ground today, it’s course is so blindingly obvious.

Maybe there is a case for rehabilitating this old road above the zig-zags (2 bridges required to cross the river and the tram track and perhaps a walkway/membrane for boggier sections upslope). This would reopen an historically fascinating route that would ease the pressure and bad erosion on the track that is now used above the zig-zags but which was not there in the C19th. Unfortunately, it’s been a case of reinventing the wheel where the Glendalough-Spink walk is concerned.
Only one user told.. by Pazapas   (Show all posts)


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 17 Next page >>
Summit Comment
Slieve Binnian: New developments
Mrswoodlands 2 hours ago.
Climbed Binnion from the Carrick Little car park yesterday. We went up the Mourne wall as described by other contributers. While hugging the wall, as described, we noted a clear track not previous...

  
Track
Central Dingle Quartet from Anascaul
Bunsen7 a day ago.
Follow the track from Anascaul lake car park northwards up onto the mountain plateau.Track leads northwards from lake... walk, Len: 15.8km, Climb: 949m, Area: Stradbally Mountain, Central Dingle (Ire

  
Summit Summary
Seefin Mountain W Top: Bog and rough ground.
Collaborative entry Last edit by: melohara 3 days ago.
Car park space at R66276 16811. Over or around the gate and head uphill on a good track that crosses the hill near the summit of Seefin Mountain East top.Follow the track on downhill from the cres...

Summit Summary
Seefin South-East Top: Seefin South East Top is easily visited
Collaborative entry Last edit by: melohara 3 days ago.
Seefin South East Top is easily visited from the track leading to Seefin Mountain East Top and Seefin Mountain West Top which starts st R66276 16811. Just follow the track to R65202 17892 from whe...

  
Track
Pic du Midi d'Ossau
David-Guenot 2 days ago.
The idea came from my 60-year-old, freshly retired neighbour, as we and some other members of the local badminton club m walk, Len: 16.2km, Climb: 1353m, Area: France, Nouvelle-Aquitaine ()

  
Summit Comment
Carnaween: The visitors book box near the summit
Aidy a week ago.
Just wanted to show the brilliantly constructed little box which contains the visitors book. It was too wet and windy on my visit to take it out and risk ruining it. A few shafts of light breaking...

Summit Summary
Seefin Mountain E Top: Up the old bog road.
Collaborative entry Last edit by: melohara 3 days ago.
Car park space at R66276 16811. Over or around the gate and head uphill on a good track that crosses the hill near the summit.On the crest of the hill the summit cairn is over a wall to your right...

  
Summit Comment
Carnaween: Bad Weather Adding Drama To Great Views
Aidy a week ago.
I used the commonly taken route from Disert Graveyard (worth a visit in its own right) over ground that was alternatively boggy or pretty steep. It was freezing cold in these parts, with a strong ...

  
Track
Pic Rouge de Bassiès
David-Guenot 3 days ago.
This was the first of the two big hikes I did in the Pyrenees in summer 2016. Hiking in the summer often means a sunny d walk, Len: 16.3km, Climb: 1342m, Area: France, Midi-Pyr?n?es ()

Summit Comment
Corrin: A family stroll.
David-Guenot a week ago.
Climbed this hill in November 2014, with a friend who used to live in the area. Starting at the Coillte car park, we did a nice loop on the forest paths, circling around the hill in an anticlockwi...

  
Summit Comment
Luggala: Fancy View from White Hill
davsheen 2 weeks ago.
Autumn's evening view across to Luggala/Fancy from White Hill on route down from Djouce using the Wicklow Way boardwalk section.

  
Forum: General
MV Mountain Gathering 2017
Onzy 5 days ago.
Always a great night ... all welcome.


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