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Dingle Bay from near Moanlaur

SCRABBLER Years ago appeared a cartoon in a sexist organ going by the name of "Spare Rib" (not going half fast enough in Scrabbler's view) depicting a regal Queen Elizabeth 2 of England, astride a white stallion. "Get off my land" she says to a peasant woman - y'know, the whole heap: headscarf, long skirts, Wellington boots, cracked nails (shriek!) - digging up emaciated spuds in some forsaken bog. "And who are you," says Doris, squinting up from her toil. "Why, I am the Queen," says herself, "and my ancestors fought for this land. "Is that a fact," responds missus, "then get down aff that effing harse and I'll fight you back for it." Sin e.
And a man walks past another man's field en route to a self indulgence somewhere over 2000'. Whether he is in the boy's field or near the boy's field, wherever he is, it belongs to Queeny or Doris …, at the toss of a coin. Scrabbler denies himself intellectual discussion on the merits or otherwise of "rights" of way (Oh and of course "responsibilities" of same, about which of course few are less interested to discuss - the beer cans, the open gates, the broken fences, the tea bags, the endless orange peel, the self-satisfied righteousness), and so appraises himself of nothing of the ongoing vitriol surrounding the subject on this suddenly (and not the better for it) arrogant island. He believes however there is an …….. issue; with …… entrenched views.
Access cess

In the dodgy Sperrins I once asked at a farm if I could walk on their land. "Sure it's not mine - it's his over there. So I asked him over there. "Sure it's not mine it's his" (ie the boy I asked in the first place). "Very like a whale," says Hamlet. "Very like a right of way" says Scrabbler. On the way back, I thanked them individually and got a cup of tea and a bun from both. Oh right-of-ways-ist, when was the last time you got a bun from anyone? Doris/Queen, Queen/Doris. At the toss of a coin.
Scrabbler has nice offerings on his last topic of odd stuff in the hills for which thanks and which will appear in Scrabbler May 07.
If you have your own observings or imaginings send it up the track to The Scrabbler.

New, improved! Hillwalkers, access and canvassers.
Last month we made some suggestions about talking to canvassers about the issue of access for hillwalkers. I can personally report that since then I had a good response on three occasions. In one a Fine Gael candidate sent me a substantial letter detailing his work and committment in the area. This was as the result of just 3 minutes conversation with a canvasser.
Why is this important? Simple. It raises the profile of the issue amongst people who are making the laws in Ireland (well, the southern bit of it. However good laws in the Republic could well influence legislation in NI given that Bertie and Ian can now shake hands). And it needs you to help.

Following discussions between the Ramblers, the MCI and MountainViews here are some agreed things you might like to put to your local candidates in the forthcoming (southern) election.


It is suggested that canvassers are first of asked whether they are aware or not that there is an access problem to Irish mountains.

Then the issue should be illustrated by giving an access problem from your own personal experience and how this affected their enjoyment of the hills. Most people at this stage have either had a direct experience of being refused access to a particular mountain or know friends who have had this experience. The situation is getting worse.
Walkers want accessible routes to open uplands

Another point to highlight is the uncertainty faced by both walkers and landowners alike when walkers are unsure about problem areas and farmers are worried about potential damage to their land or being sued. (See note below about this point). It is up to the government to do something about this.
Walkers want to know where they can walk without having an unpleasant experience

The final point to bring up with canvassers is the need for more facilities on the access routes including proper signage and stiles where needed. Furthermore, there is a need for more way marked ways with proper footpaths and on off road routes. 55% of way marked ways are currently on roads or in forests; walking on roads is not safe.
Walkers want improved facilities

Additional Notes
* To date, there has never been a successful claim by a walker against a landowner.

* The Dail subcommittee on the Constitution decided in 2003 that access legislation could be brought forward under the present constitution.

* If canvassers say we have National Parks to walk in, it should be pointed out that only 1% of Irish land is classed as a National Park and this is far too small a percentage

* Most European countries have legislation ensuring widespread access and this includes our nearest neighbours, England, Wales and Scotland.

* In a Bord Failte survey in 2005 over 300,000 tourists stated that they intended to walk our countryside. Ready access is a basic need for walking tourism. Resolution of this issue will benefit both walkers and rural communities

Feedback any responses to MountainViews.
MountainViews.ie does not necessarily endorse the general position from any particular party or group.

Recent Contributions and News
Aldi will have lots of hiking gear this week (from the 5th April says the website).

Now's your chance to pick up the GPS so you can get lost completely accurately, the cheap hiking poles for stabbing whoever is walking behind you and the quick set cement to be surreptitiously put into the backpack of the fastest person.

Website is here with a list of what's available:
Thanks to Roy Madden for this one.
Friends of Hillwalking

Notice of Meeting to launch national Hillwalkers’ Interest Group
Meeting planned for 2.30 Sat 28th April 2007, at Red Cow Inn (adjacent to M50). This exploratory meeting should last around 2 hours.

A short background presentation
A presentation from the Ulster Federation of Rambling Clubs
An introduction to the current proposal
Discussion of special interests in groups
Reporting about special interests to the main group

There will be light refreshments.
If there are particular matters that you would like to raise contact here:? Mail
Post: Hill Walkers Interest Group, 17 Balally Drive, Dundrum, Dublin 16.

General aims of the grouping: here

Walk in Wicklow on Sun 29th April courtesy the Irish Ramblers Club
Participants in the meeting are warmly invited to come to walks organised by the Ramblers in Wicklow on the following Sunday. Meeting times and venues will be provided at the meeting.

What's this all about? (Repeat info) The Irish Ramblers Club invites friends of hillwalking in the Republic of Ireland to join with us in forming a hillwalkers’ interest group, which will be a one stop shop for everything to do with hill walking. The purposes of the group would be to give a sense of identity and purpose to hillwalking/walking/rambling in its own right as a national sport in Ireland, to provide services to hill walkers nationally and to provide a forum for hillwalkers’ views on issues. While this new group does not set out to be a representative body, it would be similar in some ways to the Ulster Federation of Rambling Clubs (see its website www.ufrc-online.co.uk).

Some key suggested features Services would include:

Website, for coordination, news and culture
Trail repair
Challenge Activities and inter-club events
Technical, GPS, Mapping
National Park liaison, Access
Holiday coordination

Membership Open to individuals, clubs and interest groups.

This message appears at the request of the Irish Ramblers Club.
weedavie on Winter Walking is below.
MountainViews Gathering
We are planning a visit to the Achill area the weekend of 11th to 13th May 2007. The details are not finalised but will include walks and a talk/slideshow/discussion. This is intended for hillwalkers with independent navigation ability and reasonable fitness. Contact below to register interest.
Discussion on GPS There's a lot of interest in using GPS units. Currently there is little mapping available for upland use. (This website does have contour maps for GPS -- see Resources section) Various people have been coming up with methods of supplementing what is available and there is an ongoing discussion about such activities. (There is also a suggestion that MV could be used to share GPS data. - why not indeed, but it will take some development.) See here from beckett.
beckett on Re: GPS maps
Just to add some detail to my comment regarding creating Garmin maps. I take the SMC data. Load it up in MapEdit. I then trim the map down to a particular area, say the Galty Mountains. I take the paper OS map for the area and scan it into a tiff format. I then calibrate the scanned image in OziExplorer. The calibrated map can then be added to the Galty mountains contour data. Using the calibrated ... Click here
Newcomer: brenno Describes the delights of Mullacor and surrounds.

brenno on Mullacor
Did the Spink-Mullacor-Derrybawn circuit above Glendalough last Sunday, conditions generally very good although we missed out on the bright sun of Saturday. A lot of erosion especially in the stretch between Mullacor and the beginning of Derrybawn - very muddy and the muddy stretches are getting wider. Might be a case for some boardwalk here - although we all have mixed feelings about these. T ... Click here
Erratics - photos please padodes has an interesting suggestion to celebrate some of the odd solitary boulders the retreat of the last ice-age has bequeathed us. Yes indeed some do just beg to be described.

padodes on Erratics
Erratics are a geological feature of the Irish landscape and many of them have shapes and forms that are just asking to be photographed. It would be interesting to document in this way some of the more interesting and impressive ones. To start the stone rolling, I can supply the following specimen, situated at Ballinrush, SSE of Luggala and Lough Tay in Wicklow (seen in background). It is about ... Click here
Rebel's cave - still mysterious
In the days before satellite navigation many of us were convinced that Lough Firrib (Wicklow) could move when there was mist around. It seems that the Rebel Cave is in the same category, even with GPS

HTWB on Rebels' Cave Glenmalure
Another unsuccessful walk to locate this elusive cave. I approached from above - an easy approach. According to my GPS I was within 2 meters of the map reference given by Tom Milligan (below) and carefully entered into my GPS, AND no sign of the cave. Scrambled around for half an hour, 5 of us, but no luck. Was the map reference a GPS one or estimated from a map? Is it a very small entrance? Does ... Click here
The photogenic Doan
(Mournes) attracted comment this month. Here's one.
Alex92 on Doan
The best approach to Doan is up the Ott Mountain Track, from the car park on the Slievenaman road. Follow the track to the Slieve Lough Shannagh/Carn Mountain col, and then contouring round above Lough Shannagh to the crag. The southern face of Doan presents many slabs and buttresses which offer some short and entertaining routes. The most prominent features on the summit are the 'Elephant's Ear' ... Click here
Newcomer on Slievebawn.

Contributions from newly arrived people in Ireland are very welcome.
katekat on Slievebawn
For the first I want to write there is nothing about a challenge on this summit. There is very wide and comfortable path leading to the top so I can recommend it to families. It is very short and easy stroll up. We climbed up together with my boyfriend in very windy weather accompanying with a heavy rain so it was like a challenge for us.The walk starts behind the Nine Stones car park. You can tak ... Click here
Last comment but not least - a snowhole

Proving that if you scout around enough you can still find enough snow in Ireland to dig in.
Alex92 on Slieve Loughshannagh
A mountain which has a great reward in views without requiring any great effort. Park at the Ott Car Park and approach from the Ott Track. Once you reach the wall at the col, head right and follow the wall up to the summit. From here, many peaks are accesible including Carn Mountain and Slieve Muck. Alternatively you can make your way down to Loughshannagh and take in Doan, which has possibly the ... Click here
Sorry if I didn't mention what you posted .. there's a list of all contributors for the month later.
The MCI (Mountaineering Council of Ireland) are advertising two posts.
1. Access and Conservation Officer (ACO)
2. Members’ Support Officer (MSO)
More info at their website.

The good news with the MCI in my opinion is that they have changed their board structure and they have recruited an experienced chief officer who may well understand volunteer relationships amongst other necessities. Due to staff leaving he will have an opportunity to pick complementary officers.
The bad news is the continuing failure to address several major issues including the total imbalance between activities supported. One illustration - their last accounts showed expenditure of 32252 on the Irish Alpine Association against 389 on the Hill Walking Committee. Over 85% of the membership are hillwalkers.

MountainViews will continue to report MCI activities and cooperate with those that seem in the interests of the sport of hillwalking in Ireland. An example of this is our cooperation over the suggestions to walkers on raising issues with canvassers earlier in this newsletter. However we will also continue to support whatever comes out of the new hillwalking grouping being promoted by the Ramblers Club.
dhmiriam of this parish would like to support a walker in doing the "Hike for Mike" 30 Mile Mountain Challenge - May 2007 near Tourmakeady
She writes "The beloved in car accident over weekend, minor injuries, few stitches, despite the fact he wrote off the car. Witnessed some distressing cases while in casualty and prompted my reply to Mike's fund raiser. I will be in Rome that particular week but would like to sponsor an individual willing to do the trek. Any individual of the mountainviews genre who is keen."
Contact us at the address below to be put in touch. I am sure we all wish "her beloved" a speedy recovery.


gerrym has described an interesting walk in the Western Mournes
gerrym on spelga extended circuit
Overview This is quite a lengthy walk, centred on the beautiful Splega Dam and taking in seven of the mountains in the quieter western reaches of the Mournes. It is a walk of contrasts, gentle ascents and descents being intermingled with much steeper and tougher ones, high mountain views competing with those from valley floors and dry heather being broken with occasional river crossings. Con ... Click here

MountainViews Newsletter Feature.

weedavie on Winter Walking

Every so often, the killer mountain cry hits the Scottish press. There was that sort of weekend at the end of February, two deaths and a dozen people rescued off various hills. I listened to a great radio interview with a member of the mountain rescue. I'm not sure what the interviewer was angling for - insurance policies, licensing or an outright winter ban - but the guy was giving him no change. Yes, there were people up there who'd been inexperienced, well the ones that got through were more experienced now. In the end, he was saying, the best teacher is your own mistake.

It was clear that a central error for the interviewer was thinking that the Mountain Rescue resents a winter call-out. There's a queue to get into Lochaber Mountain Rescue. If you're setting up as a guide it's a great qualification. Mountain Rescue is more likely to get upset at the family that gets lost in the forestry behind their caravan and settle down and use the mobile phone to call for a helicopter.

So don't listen to the talk of doom. Winter walking is great sport. Don't hang up your boots in October. Ireland changes month by month. Experience every day of it you can. Winter is a transformation. An impossibly blue sky and roll after roll of hills gleaming white to the horizon. A corrie you've never noticed before, etched black and white and merging into a luminous grey mist.

I think this winter's been a good example of the way climatic change has gone in recent years. There's been good walking in snow, but it's been spring snow all the way. If you're learning by mistakes, you'll make more in a proper hard winter. My own early mistakes were made around Doo Lough in the mid '70s. For two or three years then winter really bit. I learned a lot on Ben Bury, though looking back I doubt I ever reached the summit. I learned not to split the party, I learned how little edge you need to actually kick into snow to get support - I was wearing ludicrously soft boots. Of course being young and stupid helped. I remember one high speed descent of the Sheefreys, basically ski-position in Wellington boots, just to get a pint in Leenane. All this was done on real hard snow - a deep base properly frozen and a packed surface which you could impact but barely penetrate - perfect for cutting steps or crampons, if I'd heard of any of this at the time. Spring snow's fine but you can just reach through it and hang on to the heather.

The worst I suffered that winter was in Louisburgh. There used to be about 14 pubs in the town - all in Bridge Street or Bunowen Street, none in Church or Chapel Streets, which showed a nice feeling. I went down one night to check out one which my brother said did a fantastic pint of stout. Well they were poured and they were great, but it was minus two degrees outside and the door was open and three sods of turf glowing in the fireplace weren't making much difference. We asked could we shut the door. "Sure, how would they know I was open?"

Pretty much in shock we wandered off and drank about 10 pints of Guinness to recover (I've a vague idea I sang "McPherson's Rant" in Durkan's but otherwise it's a merciful blank.) I missed my way home and went through the ice in the well field. I woke up next morning with incipient frostbite and a hangover that put me off Guinness for the next year.

I'm rambling. To get back to the theme, you learn by experience. The way you get winter experience is by doing it. It's worth being decently equipped - ice-axe, crampons, goggles, head-torch, survival bag. In hard conditions an ice-axe is a specialised survival tool - it can't be replaced by a walking pole. That said, go on a winter skills course and they'll teach you an ice-axe arrest. This involves you, as you fall on a steep, icy, snow slope, bringing the axe across your chest, spike away from you and ramming it into the snow with a flex of your pectorals. Aye, right.

A week after the course , Ronnie and I were doing a route where we were going down a narrow-ish ridge in a snow squall. I knew we'd a 250 metre drop to our left and a thirty metre drop to our right. So I was definitely edging right as the lesser risk when I went over the side. I screamed, threw my hands in the air and then landed on a ledge about five feet down. It was about eight months later I found Ronnie believed I'd done a perfect ice-axe stop.

Ice-axes are a really good way of ensuring you don't fall and can give you security on steep slopes in soft snow. Crampons you don't need until it's icy and then they're invaluable. They can stop a steep icy slope from being scary or get you across a plateau that's become an ice-rink. You can get ones that'll just clip onto your four season boots. Fantastic, if you want to go walking around like the monster in Frankenstein. But flexible, twelve point crampons are perfect on a normal, reasonably stiff boot, no matter how much tutting the kid in the outdoors shop does. Like many other gifts you get for Christmas, crampons can live in your rucksack a couple of years before you first need them. On the other hand, if you insist on using them in the Wicklow hills in the first snowfall of the year, you'll find they're tangling in the heather and schemies in hoods and gutties will be skipping past you, sniggering loudly.

Goggles seldom appear in lists of must-have equipment but if you're heading into driving icy snow they can be a life-saver. Never underestimate the difficulties of navigating in a fast change of weather. Deep snow will quarter your speed. Swirling snow and mist will leave you confused between up and down. Crags below you are disguised, with the threat of a broken neck. This is one time I can see the use of a fully-extended walking pole to probe ahead, or at least to convince the least popular member of the party to walk in front. Always be prepared to quit a route if the risks get too much. It's seldom a single mistake that gets you into deep trouble.

But winter walking rewards us with heart-stopping beauty and a lot of sheer fun. It's amazing how rufty-tufty you feel as you emerge from a snow squall, your cagoule snow-caked and frozen while you're still warm. There's magic in the moment when the cloud opens like curtains to show you the white ridge ahead and then in gradations, the change to the black of moorland and the distant flash of the sea. The fun side's good too. On the ridge I mentioned earlier, when I'd climbed back, we got to the point where the left hand slope had eased. So we thought we'd practise the ice-axe stop we'd learned two weeks earlier. Now if you do it properly, you stop immediately, but what would that prove? So I fell, picked up a bit of speed then rammed the spike in. Well I just kept getting faster, but now I was kicking up a wake of snow behind me that would have done credit to a speedboat. After 150 metres of descent I winded myself, smacking into a huge snow bank. I heard a shout from above and painfully crawled to the side, a moment before Ronnie hurtled into the same spot. We were most likely to damage ourselves laughing. As I said, mistakes are what you learn by.

Site notes If you can set-up your email to get web-format ("html format"), you should be able to get more out of this newsletter.
Getting a map on your GPS. Would you like a map on your GPS so that you can visualise summits, contours etc? Well, depending on whether you have the right sort of GPS and your willingness to do a bit of uploading, we may have the answer.
simon3 on GPS for Ireland, article, download.
Currently MV provides GPS information in the form of waypoints that indicate the summit positions of all of the mountains in our list. While better than nothing this still does not use the full potential of GPS units . Essentially these can show maps and points of interest. There is no commercial product for GPS units at present, however we are pleased to announce the results of various communi ... Click here

This month.
We welcome the following new members who enrolled this month. 123hopp, 98ke329, abc123, adobar, andyboyd, AndyK, an_sionnach, aoife1, bagnallc, bastard, blindjustice, bm42020, bobthedog, bosulliv, brianoc, brownstown11, bsilvia81, Budweiser76, cait, Captainted, carlos 1973, carolbrad, CECIL, cge, ciar4n, cirrus, ckrummel, clatterin, Conor22, cooly, cooly1, cphowlin, cullen, dakota, Damien1977, DBie, dermac, dizzyuptheboy, dkenny, dmrtn, dominic divilly, dphins75, dreen, druss64, EamonCostello, eddiedelnt, EI9EZ, f.brindle, fabio74, flopsybunny21, flynnboi, freethesheep, Gadelius, GERALD, ghaberbush, gillardreid, gj1, gogs, green123, gregga, gsfgfgfgbfbf, gureillatalk, hillbilly599, hipo25, horak, Iain Hovelt, Inazone, ipredictsnow, irenenor, jaceks1, jackmckelin, jcaballo, jcliffo, jeni, jerryodwyer, jimryan, joe91, joncooke, jozef.k, jules, jusanudderolguy, k1murphy, kaplan, katekat, Kathleen Dooley, keithf, Kirsikka, kirsten168, kkaiser, kyleoconnell, lalib2, lanecolinp, liamfox, Lips74, liz105, looee66, lukemcurley, lvanoye, lydons, macduke, madgemcgrath, maesdavid, manboy, Marcus_mag, maresmuriel, mark2007, marksands, marymike, masarik, max, meen22, Michael Elliott, michael taggart, michaelr, mickmac, miconnol, moeng, Mr.Blonde, mushera, neil ma, neil_hosey, guestuser, niallsmyth, noonetrust, orlad, osullivan, oyster, packet, paddyenglishman, Pat Crowley, patrickjlynch77, paulie, peterfoley, pfoley212528, pinkfairy, roisinmcvey, RPT3, sarahanne, scoutur, seanmck, shamanto, shane.daniel, silvertonic, Skidge, smichael, stec, stepheng, stuz, terezacota, thomasbe, thona, Thorny, Triin, vere, vins, Vitoldus, wds, wiiddaly, willvt, wojtason1, z.knapik, zeddicus (162)
Our contributors to all threads this month: Alex92 (7), Andreas (5), BILLNOR (2), CECIL (1), Grayarea (2), HTWB (2), MAP1878 (1), Michael McA (1), Moac (2), NICKY (7), Tom Milligan (1), beckett (2), brenno (1), csd (2), gerrym (1), jackill (2), katekat (2), liam (3), mcna (3), padodes (3), paulbrown (1), pazapas (1), pmaguire (1), simon3 (6), tiktiktik3 (1) and Contributors to GPS information this month were: csd (1), eflanaga (1), jackill (6), simon3 (2)
There were comments on the following mountains An Scraig, Benbrack, Brandon, Brandon Peak, Cove Mtn, Doan, Errigal, Gearhane, Knocklayd, Mauherslieve, Mullacor, Ott Mountain, Purple Mountain, Slieve Bearnagh, Slieve Beg, Slieve Gallion, Slieve League, Slieve Loughshannagh, Slieve Muck, Slieveanorra, Slievebawn, Slievemore, Table Mtn SE Top, Trostan and these walks were created spelga extended circuit, The Gap of Dunloe to Purple,Shehy and Tomies, Upper Avonbeg River Circuit.
Thanks to all 422 who have ever contributed
The five who have contributed most to the site are simon3 (372), csd (182), jackill (126), gerrym (107), Bleck Cra (100).
Summary. MountainViews now has 2277 comments about 459 different mountains out of the total in our current list (460). We need more comments, better comments and more balance for every summit as our rate for "data completion" is currently under 55% Just one mountain remains without any comment, so that leaves just 1 opportunities for you to be the first. Listing summits in "My View" allows you to see what information we need to get more even coverage.

If you are contributing, please be careful to respect the interests of landowners. When walking, keep away from gardens or farm buildings. Use stiles or gates wherever possible. Never do anything that could allow animals to roam where the farmer did not intend.
If you hear of a problem area or route, write it up in MountainViews which does everyone a service. Report rubbish tipping in the Dublin/ Wicklow area - ring PURE 1850 365 121
If you have climbed some of the less well known places, we would appreciate a mountain rating. and also GPS readings for summits.
If we can, let's make MV have more than one route up a mountain so as to reduce the tendency for paths to appear. Your grid refs in comments for different starting points show up on MountainViews maps.

This newsletter This newsletter is from Simon Stewart for MountainViews
Homepage: www.simonstewart.ie
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