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2013-11-12 17:47:54
Height of Folly - says O'Toole
This is about the height of folly – literally and figuratively. Literally, it is the bizarre story of why farmers are wasting public and private money putting fences on the top of mountains, making beautiful places ugly. Figuratively, it is about the way, even in a national crisis, the authorities still have plenty of time for the worst kind of bureaucratic foolishness.
We are blessed on this island with breathtakingly beautiful coastal mountains, landscapes that lift the heart and cleanse the soul. But if you walk across these mountains or even look at them from the road, from the Blue Stacks in Donegal, through the Burren and all the way round to west Cork, you will see an inexplicable but apparently implacable blight. Thousands of feet up, where there is nothing else but bare rock and thin soil and harsh scrub, there are now miles of ugly high tensile wire. Over the past few years, the hills have been alive with the sound of sledge hammers driving in fence posts and horny-handed men stringing barbed wire between them.
Why could this be? I have to admit that when I’ve come across these monstrous constructions in the Burren, I’ve assumed them to be the result of the great Irish land madness: farmers saying “I’m going to stake out my personal territory even if it’s on the top of a windblown hill where, at best, a few sheep may graze.”
But I’ve been wrong. The strange truth is that farmers don’t want to do any of this. They’re being forced to do it by the authorities. Hard as it may be to credit, the State is forcing small hill farmers to use money they can ill afford just to make some of Ireland’s most beautiful places ugly. But this is not even the wackiest aspect of the story, for now the State has decided to use taxpayers’ money to subsidise the erection of these fences.
The problem lies with two of the terms and conditions for the single farm payment that comes from the EU and that forms the basic income of almost all small farmers. They read as follows: “There must be appropriate fencing for the farming enterprise. Appropriate fencing means stockproof fencing that will control the applicant’s animals and also the neighbouring farmer’s animals. In mountain/hill areas this generally means sheep fencing,” and “There must be defined external boundaries except in the case of commonage.”

Sensible proposition
You can see that this starts out as a perfectly sensible proposition: a farm should have properly defined and fenced boundaries. But when the farm is a hill farm that includes high areas of natural wildness and beauty where the only farming activity is the grazing of a few hardy sheep or (in the case of the Burren) cattle, the sensible proposition becomes the height of folly.

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Summit Comment
Torc Mountain W Top: Big brother ....
hivisibility a day ago.
Here's a picture of Torc itself from Torc West Top. Approx 600m between the two summits.

Summit Comment
Barnahowna: Fine-weather photo
bryanmccabe 2 days ago.
Thought a fine-weather photo of Barnahowna summit was needed!

Summit Summary
Maumtrasna North-East Top: Worth a visit!
Collaborative entry Last edit by: bryanmccabe 2 days ago.
Maumtrasna NE top, approximately 2km NE of Maumtrasna, is worth a visit in its own right. The most direct access is via the steep ridge up to nearby spot height 542. One possible starting point is...

Ott Mountain to Slieve Meelmore
Aidy 3 days ago.
Started at the Ott/Blue Quarry car park on the Moyad Road, and took a route taking in six summits, going over Ott Mou... walk, Len: 10.9km, Climb: 730m, Area: Ott Mountain, Mourne Mountains (Ireland)

Summit Comment
Crossderry: Summit No 2 of a fine ridge walk.
hivisibility 2 days ago.
Here is another view of Crossderry taken from Mothillín. You can see the twin peaks at the summit area. The summit proper is the one on the right. Knocknabreeda in the background.Its pretty rugged...

Glenbeigh to Galway's Bridge
GSheehy 3 days ago.
I?m putting this one up because it was a club walk and I was thinking about the other day. There aren?t too many clu walk, Len: 40.5km, Climb: 917m, Area: Glenbeigh Horseshoe (Ireland)

Summit Comment
Mothaillín: Fabulous views to the west from the summit.
hivisibility 3 days ago.
Fine view towards Broghnabinnia and Caher from Mothillín summit.

Summit Comment
Mothaillín: Summit area as seen from Crossderry.
hivisibility 3 days ago.
Mothillín summit from Crossderry.

Peak bagging in The Sperrins in autumn
peter1 4 days ago.
Again, the use of a mountain bike is highly recommended for this route, if you are a solo walker. I left my bike in a... walk, Len: 16.2km, Climb: 1048m, Area: Mullaghclogha, Sperrin Mountains (Irela

Forum: General
Cable Car to the Hellfire Club - 20/10
cave-dweller 5 days ago.
Hello, There is a meeting being held in the Yellow House Pub in Rathfarnham in Dublin 14 tomorrow night at 8 pm about some proposed "redevelopments" in and around the Hellfire Club/Montpelier Hill...

Summit Comment
Crossderry: Towards Knocknabreeda and Stumoa Dúloigh
hivisibility 3 days ago.
The view towards Knocknabreeda fro Crossderry summit. Stumpa Dúloigh in the background. Knocknabreeda summit is located over to the far left of the ridge.

Slieve Foye
Onzy a week ago.
Sunday route over Slieve Foye and along the ridge for a bit... walk, Len: 9.9km, Climb: 439m, Area: Slieve Foye, Cooley/Gullion (Ireland) Slie...

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