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The Summit

Monthly newsletter of MountainViews.ie for guestuser

November 2012




EAST, WEST, NORTH and SOUTH Route ideas and places to go.

Dermot Somers Talk | Meitheal needs help | Overtrousers | Boulders on top | Get Ireland Walking - healthy wind of change? | MountainViews 2.0

Northern Errigal route: video and track

Mournes Heritage Trust - reply to previous questioning article.



2012 - 2013 Winter Talks Series: Initial talks announced.
Full details here: www.walkersassociation.ie
  • Weds, 21st Nov, Dermot Somers, well known speaker on outdoor and cultural issues.
    Dermot Somers is the well known Climber, Writer and Broadcaster. He has made and presented television programmes for both RTÉ and TV3 including an award winning documentary on the Eiger and travel programmes in Siberia, Iran and the Sahara.
    More information here

  • Jan 2013, Hillwalkers Pub Quiz organised in conjunction with the Wayfarers Association This popular annual event is on again - last year it raised around 1000 Euro for Mountain Rescue.

  • Feb 2013, MountainViews Presentations and Awards Evening Another popular annual event with presentations on various topics and awards for members achieving list completions. This year the MountainViews book of summit lists will be launched, the most comprehensive and accurate book of its kind.
These WAI events will be held in the Landsdowne Hotel, 27 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 4. Directions here http://www.lansdownehotel.ie The event is free, however there will be a voluntary collection.

Report 17th Oct, Michael Gibbons, noted and often controversial archaeologist.
"New research into the Archaeology of Irish Upland & Islands" This meeting had a devoted and attentive audience. There is a report here

The Walkers Association are interested in taking on new people for their committee to help run their successful events series.

More here: www.walkersassociation.ie

For a full list of Challenge Walks, visit here.

WAI Photo Gallery - They would like you to upload some of your pictures (Ireland or abroad) to this?

MOUNTAIN MEITHEAL: Video Project Needs MV Members Help

As regular readers will know MV supports Mountain Meitheal, MM, the voluntary path repair organisation. The two organisations MM and MV have some similarities. Totally volunteer ... both been around a while (since 2002) ... small core of strong supporters with wider circle of occasional helpers ... achieving something definite for all hillwalkers. So can I ask MV members to help boost the profile of MM by voting for their "Better Together" video.

I received the following from Chris Avison, long term organiser in MM recently:

"Mountain Meitheal has submitted a two minute video in this year's "Better Together" competition organised by The Wheel. The competition was officially launched at the European Parliament Building in Dublin by The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins on 27th September.

Mountain Meitheal is a small club of volunteers carrying out sustainable trail repair and maintenance work in Ireland's mountains. The trail work can benefit the hills and those that use them. This work is carried out entirely by volunteers and funds are always in demand for tools, equipment and insurance. The competition is an opportunity to have a go at raising badly needed cash in these recessionary times.

There are ninety videos this year and Mountain Meitheal faces stiff competition! Some entries have been made by professional film companies for organisations with large budgets. Mountain Meitheal's amateur video was made to have a go at raising money for the club and to benefit the hills! It is the only mountain club in the competition.

Please help by encouraging as many people as you can to click on the link below and vote now and often until 19th November. At this stage it is not the quality of the video but the number of votes that count. Just click on this link every day:


To see how your voting counts go to the leader board: bettertogether.ie/leaderboard

Another surge of voting for Mountain Meitheal should help a lot! It is all over at 5pm on 19th November so please vote every day until then."


More information at www.pathsavers.org

Mountaineering Ireland sponsoring "Lynam Lecture 2012" Dawson Stelfox, one of the stalwarts of MI, will be giving the 2012 Lynam Lecture. The lecture will be held in the Edmund Burke Theatre in Trinity College, Dublin on Thursday November 29th. Doors open at 7.15pm and the lecture will start at 8.00pm
The content is going to be about greater ranges and mountaineering rather than MV's usual material, but still, some may find it of interest, particularly in shedding light on Joss Lynam's interests other than hillwalking. Details

Member Harry Goodman uploaded this picture of lonely Crockfadda NE Top in Donegal.
I had the pleasure of visiting this place some years ago but I never saw the view of the Errigal to Muckish ridge revealed here when the murk lifts.

In short: Discovery

NORTH: A great walk up a gem of a hill
Slievemeen in the Mournes sparkle on an autumnal day for member Trailtrekker, whose walk started almost at sea level, and reached great heights in terms of beauty.
Trailtrekker on Slievemeen: A Great Walk up a Gem of a Hill
If you want to do a more lengthy walk than the routes already described, I can recommend a great walk that I took on the bank holiday Monday. The route starts at only 18M above sea level, is approximately 4km in length to the summit and took me 1.5 hours to reach the top. I had planned out a 13km circuit over Slievemeen, Slievemartin and Crenville as being a perfect walk for a long summer even ... Click here

NORTH: Multimedia! Errigal from North, Video and GPS Track
Errigal's status as one of Ireland's haughtiest peaks is unquestioned, but some may consider the ease of an ascent via the 'normal' route via the south-east ridge something of a disappointment. Such folk are directed to gerrym's track of his ascent from the north. From here the mountain looks ridiculously Tolkeinesque in its pointiness, and the climb up the north ridge provides a genuine taste of adventure. Gerry's route crosses Mackoght too, and stronger walkers could easily extend it over the nearby Aglas; a great taste of the latter section of the Glover Highlander. Interested parties will also want to check out the link to his video of the route, one of several excellent visual records of the Irish hills he has uploaded to YouTube.
Inspirational video:
gerrym on Video - Climbing Errigal from the North
http://youtu.be/cvH0QJjLeOg If you want to climb Errigal in near guaranteed solitude on a much more challenging ascent then try an approach from the north. Starting at Procklis Lough and following an old bog road before clambering up large scree slopes, through rock windows and steep gullies to appear at the summit. With a climb of Macknoght and a walk back along the shores of Atlan Lough makin ... Click here

and the nuts and bolts track is at gerrym on Errigal from the North
An approach to Errigal from the north, starting at little Pr walk, Length:15.6km, Climb: 871m, Area: Errigal, Donegal NW (Ireland) Errigal, Mackoght Click here

NORTH: Five Mullaghs, four tops
The appeal of the Sperrins is 'selective', but they provide grand tramping country for those undeterred by a fair few fences and a load of bog. simon3's track is an A to B walk over The Five Mullaghs (a chain of summits rather than a series of Dario Argento horror films) which will net you four tops. The route is largely traced by fences providing easy navigation, so the walker can concentrate on the open prospects and seeing if they come to any more definite decisions about the exact locations of highest points than we did. Summiteers can easily add Learmount Mtn S Top to the start, and less easily add its main top (it's a short distance but very energy-sapping) by means of an out-and-back diversion.
simon3 on Mullaclogha to Mullaghcarbatagh Ridge Walk: The 5 Mullaghs
This linear walk starts from the high road on the saddle bet walk, Length:11.8km, Climb: 485m, Area: Learmount Mtn S Top, Sperrin Mountains (Ireland) Click here

NORTH: Opposing views
Culliagh SE Top provides two totally contrasting views, reports Harry Goodman, stunning in one direction, an invasion of wind turbines in the other.
Harry Goodman on Culliagh SE Top: Last but by no means least in my list of Donegal NW tops.
I climbed this hill on 25 Oct 2012 as my final top in the MV list for Donegal NW. I parked at a large pull in area on the right (S) side of the minor road C0744301200 and then went NE along the road for 600m to where a gate crossed it. Once past the gate I initially followed the line of a fence left (N) up the rough grassy slope but soon abandoned it and headed NE directly for the top. Although fr ... Click here

WEST: A compact horseshoe walk in the Tweve Bens
Member liz50 supplies a neat four hour trek taking in three summits, and starting at the iconic Kylemore Abbey.
All hail to this new contributor, notably a fast rising summiteer.
liz50 on Cnoc Breac: A compact horseshoe walk in the northern Tweve Bens
Climbed Knockbrack as part of a pleasant horseshoe walk of approx 4 hours starting from Kylemore Abbey. Turning left out of the carpark walk along N59 for approx 300m before taking a track on the right at L75185 58057. Follow the track past a lime kiln and well before climbing steeply up the northern slope of Benbaun to the summit L765 568. Drop down steeply to the south to the col with Benbrack a ... Click here

WEST: Edge of the wilderness
Isolated from the Nephin Beg Range in Mayo, the small but interesting Bunmore offers views to east and west, and not a little tragic history, reports sandman, another prolific bagger.
sandman on Bunmore: Edge of the Wilderness
Bunmore Hill a low level hill situated between the coast and the Nephin Beg range with fantastic views both inland and across to Achill that is if you ignore the disused aerial and shed close to the summit. I parked beside an old cottage roof collapsed at F81698 12425 and walked 25 meters further in road turning right which allowed me open mountain access to the summit at F81429 11500. On the a ... Click here

SOUTH: Tame in terms of a challenge, but otherwise quite wild.
So says member simon3 of Knocknagree SE Top in the Caha Mountains, who discovers some quite photogenic loughs.
group on Knocknagree SE Top: Lacks prominence or grace but is wild and has lake views.
This rocky place is a bump the tail end of a ridge that comes from Hungry Hill. It can be reached from the green road that comes north from Rossmackowen. There is a little parking at V73923 47658 or start on the main road. Attractions are the photogenic lakes in the area "Glas Lough", and an interesting aspect of Hungry Hill. Click here

SOUTH: No lack of scenery here
The diminutive Lackacroghan Hill in Slieve Mickish in Cork offers a panorama of sea, sky and shore to compare with any in Ireland, reports kernowclimber.
kernowclimber on Lackacroghan: No Lack of a View!
If you plan your time wisely, this hill could easily be combined with a trip to Dursey Island to climb Cnoc Bólais, and/or Knockoura near Allihies. Leave the R572 at the Firkeel Gap before Garinish, where the Beara Way swings eastwards along a small road. There is ample parking at V53570 42130 just before the paved road terminates. From here we followed the unpaved farm track upwards which contour ... Click here

SOUTH: A twisty turny thing, part 1...
Down in deepest darkest Beara lies the behemoth mountain of Hungry Hill, complex of ascent and awkward of access. To the west lies a tangled upland of lesser summits fortunately breached by a bog road that takes the sting out of the initial stretches of simon3's track which bags five summits set amidst 'pristine wilderness', an expression which usually (as here) means 'superb views' but also 'nasty navigation in bad weather' and 'tough going'. Hungry Hill itself can be added by the hardy.
simon3 on Knocknagrees, Maulin and Lackawee.
Parking and driving is difficult along the small public road walk, Length:18.6km, Climb: 1145m, Area: Knocknagree SE Top, Caha Mountains (Ireland) Kn Click here

SOUTH: A twisty turny thing, part 2...
The land to the south west of Mangerton does well on the deep dark scale too, and simon3 has provided another example of a five-top-bagging-navigational-exercise with his track exploring this remote area of tragic history and massively exaggerated rockeries. As with the previous track this walk can be extended to include the parent summit (and Knockanaguish), and likewise is probably a trip more suitable for experienced hillfolk than for the novice.
simon3 on Perching Rocks and Hidden Waters: The Tail of Mangerton.
Ridges can be a short sharp shock, awing us with knife edge walk, Length:19.1km, Climb: 672m, Area: Knockbrack, Mangerton (Ireland) Knockbrack, Drom Click here

EAST: Mind your step
Slippery even when scorching, that's Tonelagee in Wicklow, says LizzieMurray, with a slightly delayed account of her trip (literally) back in May.
LizzieMurray on Tonelagee: Solo Success
Did this mountain 25th May 2012 as a solo adventure. It was a beautiful day must have been late 20s at the car park over at St Kevins Way. I made my way across the road until I could find a safe place to cross the ditch and made my way upwards. Was quite tough as I only started hiking in March of this yr. Although it was scorching hot the mountain was still very slippy and boggy in parts. Managed ... Click here

EAST: Glenmalure to Glendalough and back
A nice days walk with a sensible starting point providing excellent facilities on your return. The track follows established paths. There is a bit of climb at the start from which it brings you over a gradual incline to Derrybawn with its excellent views. The track then switches over to The Spink and contours via Lugduff and Mullacor before descending via the Wicklow Way back to the start.
simon3 on Glenmalure Lodge walk to assorted peaks.
Going anticlockwise this route take in several well known su walk, Length:19.4km, Climb: 960m, Area: Carriglineen Mountain, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) Click here

EAST: Bray - Greystones
Not so much a mountain walk as a hill climb, this is a pleasant seaside walk which can easily be tackled in either direction. There are ample parking facilities at either end and plenty of excellent facilities. The views from Bray Head are superb in all directions.
march-fixer on Bray - Greystones Coastal Track
Starting in Bray near the promenade, this track heads up ove walk, Length:15.2km, Climb: 677m, Area: Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) Click here

EAST: A good easy to follow track
A new short summary for the popular Slievenamon in the South Midlands, from member jackill
group on Slievenamon: A good easy to follow track
Start from the roadside north of Kilcash at S317 288 just in front of a farmyard.Park on the roadside, which is narrow, as best you can. Be careful not to obstruct the farm entrances. A rough signposted track leads off to the west, up the mountain. The route up the mountain is on a substantial track so you can't really go wrong, just follow it uphill with the forestry on your right. At the top of ... Click here

EAST: Mulciber Marathon
Once again, another track to test your stamina and equipment. The walk up Brockagh and on to Tonelagee is most enjoyable but I always find the trip from Stoney Top over to Mullaghcleevaun a hard slog with plenty of bog hags. The track then comes down the north side of the valley before crossing over and following St; Kevin's Way from Turlough Hill back to the start. Could be liable to a Mountainviews health warning if you are not used to long hikes!
Mulciber on Figure 8
I used Tonelagee as the center for this walk, climbing from walk, Length:34.7km, Climb: 1652m, Area: Brockagh Mountain, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) Bro Click here

Sorry if we didn't mention what you posted .. there's a list of all contributors for the month later.


The four tops
Member sandman suggests a circular route called the Goles Road Circuit in the Sperrins taking in four tops and a 14km trek.
sandman on Goles Road Circuit
Overview A horseshoe walk that takes in two 600 meter plus summits in the high Sperrins Approaches Via Glenelly Valley road Start Park at start of walk at deserted farm on Goles road H6773395938 room for 5/6 cars.Walk in road for app 25 meters turning righr at first lane leading up to another farm yard which is a working yard but not lived in. Points visited Turn right in fa ... Click here


Call for upland photos.
Last month we requested you send in photos of upland usage, mostly in Ireland. Anything from turf cutting, to windfarms to signs to abuse. This all to help Irish Upland Forum a body seeking to bring together those who have interests in the uplands such as farmers, environmentalists, planners and recreational users. Thanks to Dessie, Sean O Rourke and SharonBree for sending in various difficult to lay your hands on pictures.
If you are a mountain photographer do please keep an eye out for the odd and unusual in the uplands as a subject for pictures as well as the topics of friends and landscape. Such pictures could be very useful in future.

OT we know, but we are glad to report that MV member and assistant on this newsletter, Colin Murphy, launched his first novel, called 'Boycott' on October 25th. A good crowd were there, auguring well for this historical novel (which credits MountainViews for some information!).

American Highpointers visiting.
Broadly speaking there is an equivalent activity to bagging/summiteering in the US, known as Highpointing. It features reaching State and County Highpoints. The editor of the Highpointers Club magazine will be in Dublin Tues, Nov 13th and if anyone is interested in meeting him for a drink and a chat let us know at admin@mountainviews.ie

Call for MV representation on Mourne Outdoor Recreation Forum
If you read the article later on Mourne Upland work you will see the following: "The Mourne Outdoor Recreation Forum [MORF] meets twice a year as a mechanism for users to engage with MHT/ NT and some statutory bodies and we are keen that MV has representation."
It's probably worth putting a few points about this. MountainViews is a website and a community of like minded people based around that website with a committee. It is not a representative body (MI, UFRC) or an umbrella body (WAI). Nevertheless it has a small and evolving role in some hillwalking issues in Ireland, north and south, because it has a following and it has some passionate members who articulate issues in a way that is somewhat absent in the Irish scene. This can facilitate communication and progress.
So, if you are interested in the issues in development in the Mournes and would consider attending the MORF for MV, do get in touch with admin@mountainviews.ie

Get Ireland Walking and MI - Wind of Change?
Here's something sponsored by MI (Mountaineering Ireland) and of interest to those with a keen scent for a new direction in government funding for hillwalking and walking (in the Republic in this instance). There is an ad for "Get Ireland Walking Project Manager" on the MI website.

I hope indeed that this is filled and anyone who reads this who is interested can get details from the MI website. What little I know of Get Ireland Walking is very positive. But what is significant is that this project is sponsored by ".. a number of health promotion agencies, including the Health Service Executive ..".

This novel health funding for walking is excellent, however to my mind sits uneasily with the current ideology of MI. It's timely to discuss this given that MI's current strategic plan is coming to an end. This is an the organisation that says that "mountaineering" describes what they do and claims that the activity of hillwalking fits within this, even though hillwalking in terms of national participation is probably 20 times larger than the rest of the activities they are involved with. Where will walking (ie walking, not hillwalking) fit I wonder? Will it also be supposedly part of mountaineering?

My own belief is that MI, starting with its new planning period, should morph into a federation or grouping of several sports, each with appropriate national focus, each looking after the specific disciplines of their respective activities. Thus it could better do what Get Ireland Walking wants which is "..develop the culture of walking in Ireland ..".
Can't see that being done by telling the new walking participants fresh from a trip around the local park that they're all mountaineers, can you?
Can't see this getting the sustained focus needed from a Board, however well intentioned, stretched over such a range of activities. How many hours a year would the new activity get at the Board?
Can't see said walking culture being developed purely by professionals and without a national voluntary structure for inspiration and accountability.

For years I and others said that hillwalking also needed a culture in its own right. For years it has been shown that this is quite possible in initiatives like this website and in bodies like the WAI or UFRC. It would be great if MI thought about the necessary structures in doing what Get Ireland Walking wants. And while thinking about the structure for developing the walking culture it also thinks about working with hillwalking culture.

To conclude: Let's hope the new task MI is taking on is a cause for reflection on culture and structure.
In my view MI should be facilitating a separate national focus and organisation for each sport it represents. Meanwhile MI should respect its traditional interests in climbing and greater ranges for which it has been more successful at developing a culture. As well as doing the things that apply to all of the sports like insurance and training.
It would be great if it reformed its magazine and online policy to reflect multiple sports and reach different constituencies properly without the inappropriate smörgåsbord that is the current approach.


Following the article questioning upland development in the Mournes in the September 2012 issue (click here), we have received the following from Matthew Bushby of the Mournes Heritage Trust MHT.
While MHT are conciliatory on some points such as on consultation, on the "staircase" on the lower northern slopes of Slieve Binnian and on other points, they robustly present their case on the need, justification and methods for their approach. Judge for yourselves.

Before you read it you may like to some abbreviations expanded:
  • NIEA: Northern Ireland Environmental Agency
  • EHS: Environmental Health & Safety
  • MHT: Mournes Heritage Trust
  • ASSI: Area of Special Scientific Interest
  • SAC: Special Area of Conservation
  • NT: National Trust
  • NITB: Northern Ireland Tourist Board
  • MV: MountainViews.ie
  • NGO: Non Governmental Organisation

Article for MountainViews

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on some of the issues raised in Peter Walker's recent article (Sept MV Newsletter). My aim is to explain the context that is behind MHT's approach and in doing so, hopefully address some of the concerns that have been raised. The Trust welcomes feedback and is keen to discuss the issues; site visits are the best way of doing this and we encourage anyone interested to contact us to make arrangements.

Slieve Binnian
The erosion control and path repair work referred to at Slieve Binnian was carried out in 2011 to address critically eroded areas that were identified as in need of urgent repair in the Queen's University Belfast's Mourne Mountains Footpath Condition Survey 2002 for EHS (now NIEA), and in other reports, and through on-going site monitoring. The matter was also considered in the context of:
  • the new biodiversity duty on public bodies under the 2011 Wildlife & Natural Environment Act (NI),
  • the NIEA Eastern Mournes ASSI Condition Assessments that identify recreational use as having a significant impact on the rare montane heath and grassland communities,
  • and the increasing concern about the impact of large organised events in upland landscapes (http://www.outdooreventplanning.com/)

The majority of the 1500m project used aggregate paths, a technique that aims to mimic the character of the path surfaces that have developed naturally throughout the Mournes; the most sustainable paths in the Mournes are often on exposed mineral soil running along level contours, where the impact of water is reduced, a surface preferred by many users as evidenced by path experts across UK and Ireland. Moreover, the aim is not to make the experience safer or less challenging or less enjoyable, simply more sustainable. We also liaise closely with other land managers carrying out erosion control and path repair work at other similar designated sites across the UK and Ireland to ensure we are in line with current best practice. These considerations generally inform all our work.

Photographs of built and natural aggregate paths in the Mournes

Aggregate new build path Slieve Binnian

'Natural' aggregate trail typical in High Mournes

However, the first section up from the col (pictured in Peter's article) was particularly eroded and steep and the only real option that was practicable was to use stone pitching (approximately 150m).
Below are photographs showing erosion at the sites in question in 2010 before the repair work

Looking down to the col

The ridge above Buzzard's Roost

ASSI/SAC designation puts certain constraints on techniques, in particular, no in-situ scree or hard geology can be used as it is a selection feature. This means that stone has to be brought in, and given the quantity required for the overall project, use of spoil from derelict quarries was deemed to be an efficient option. We looked at previous path work such as up to the Donard/Commedagh col where quarried stone had also been used in the pitching, so we felt our approach was not out of sync. We also wanted to achieve a 'platform' or 'slab' as opposed to a short/small step to cater for different stride patterns of walkers and runners, and this larger slab pitching is typical now in much path work in protected areas such as the Cairngorms.

In order to control user flow we also used stone to block areas around the pitched path and at 'control points' to influence site lines and avoid new desire lines developing. There was also a significant amount of landscaping carried out at the time, with turfs used to cover eroded areas and to help demarcate the route.

Unfortunately, just as the entire project was nearing completion, the wildfire of April/May 2011, which burnt 10 square kms in the high Mournes, swept through the site and 'fried' the vegetation leaving the works very exposed. It is important to note that more than half of the work on paths is spent on landscaping around the path, and this effort was almost entirely taken out by the wildfire. Desire lines are opening up in many areas due to the fact that the burnt vegetation is not providing demarcation as it used to (e.g. Slieve Lamagan).

Photographs showing completed work before and after the wildfire in 2011.
Before wildfire
Pitching above the col
Looking down on the same pitching

Above the crag


As a result the angular profile of the pitched section in question was more evident than would have been as the edges are now exposed etc. Fortunately, the vegetation is growing back, but it will take a few years for it to recover.

However, following discussion with users groups on site, we appreciate that this section does not sit as well as it should in the landscape and for that reason we will carry out remedial works to try and blend it in better. We also acknowledge that some boulder piles at control points have pronounced crowns that could be re-profiled to blend in better, whilst being mindful of the need to retain the 'control' effect. As resources are tight, this will start soon but will be carried out over a number of months using both in-house staff and volunteers.

Capital and Revenue Projects
Government does not currently provide strategically resourced funding for an on-going 'stitch in time' approach to erosion control and path maintenance. The result is that erosion, which may have been avoided with minor on-going maintenance, gets worse and, as the above Queen's report identified, in many places has become critical. Management bodies have little recourse but to secure funds in any way possible and this is usually through capital grants that are one-off and are very constrained by funders' criteria, timescales and procurement regulations. Capital projects have their place, in particular, large scale funding is required to get on top of major erosion, but the preferred situation is to get to a position where in-house path teams can keep on top of problems.

Photographs showing in-house path team works

Percy Bysshe

Glen River

Volunteers play a big role and the success of Mountain Meitheal and the Mourne Upland Path Volunteers (MUPV) have shown that much can be achieved; carrying out very sensitive work. The path at Ben Crom to the Binnian/Lamagan col has been repaired primarily by volunteers including MUPV, walking clubs, business in the community groups and youth groups.

Photographs of path work at Ben Crom carried out by MHT volunteers

Before - 2011

After - 2012

Glen River
The article also referred to works at Glen River. This was carried out primarily with capital funding and there was a lot of pressure to move quickly due to financial time constraints. Moreover, the extreme rainfall hit us just at the end of the works in June 2012 causing considerable surface wash-off, but that seems to be stabilising now with a bit of follow-up drainage. We are also continuing landscaping with turfs and will be sowing grass seed to stabilise the ground and provide a nursery crop that will catch native heather and grass seed. This is used by NT on Slieve Donard and elsewhere in the Lake District and Cairngorms and may be used for Slieve Binnian.
The heavy, prolonged rain would seem to be accelerating erosion in some areas particularly at higher levels and on fall-line sections. This was observed by MHT staff and a path consultant at upland sites on 8 and 15 June 2012 when 70.6mm and 86.9mm, respectively, of rainfall was recorded in the Mournes during a longer period of rainfall (typical high rainfall may be 10-20mm p.d.).

There are concerns that we have not carried out any consultation. I recognise that we should have been more proactive in raising awareness of the plans and the issues involved and to get agreement on techniques/approach, and that is something I hope to improve on. However, we have tried to raise awareness and monitor attitudes. For example, we consulted with focus groups including reps from OECs, and walking and running clubs etc. on the plans/techniques for the Slieve Binnian works to gauge support and inform the final design before the project started, and felt that there was a general agreement for the approach we were to take. We have also carried out user questionnaires at different sites during works and over 86% were supportive of the techniques. Moreover, anecdotal feedback from users on the routes when our staff are out and about has been highly supportive.

Bridge at Glen Fofanny
The decision to install the bridge followed an approach by private mountain trustees and grazers who had concerns with regard to the impact of recreational use on the designated heathland and the disturbance of, and dog attacks on livestock. There are no asserted public rights of way in the area, which adds to the complexity of the issue.
A small bridge at the same location had been washed away years ago and there was a general view that this was a key cause of many users not following the route along the Bloody Bridge quarry track to the Bog of Donard, which was considered to be the best way of addressing the above issues. The quarry track had also been repaired as it was un-walkable in sections, causing users to stray off the route. MHT worked closely with the landowners, which also included NI Water and the National Trust to find a solution. There is indication from landowner feedback and site observations that it is helping guide users onto the preferred route.
In designing the bridge we needed to make sure the bridge wouldn't be washed away again, and we looked at the design of other bridges in remote locations, and considered also that the site was within the lower field boundaries and close to the large water pipe; so it was felt at the time that the design was appropriate. Opinion has been mixed on the aesthetic aspect and that is something we will take on board.

Mourne and Slieve Croob Strategic Path Review
The Trust was aware that we needed a strategic background to managing recreational use in the Mournes and had applied for funding 5 years ago to develop a plan. This was not forthcoming at the time, but we had the opportunity to secure funds for path works in 2011 and for the above reasons felt we had no option but to seize the opportunity. In 2012 funds for a report were made available by NIEA and Sport NI and consultation was carried out as part of the development of the Strategic Path Review early this year with a range of interested parties. Again, clearly this process didn't pick up the wider group that we would have hoped for and we will take that into account as we go forward. However, the report provides a strategic framework for the wider recreation community, landowners, statutory bodies and NGOs to work towards an agreed approach to address the issues raised in the report. That process is starting and will involve establishing a 'working group' alongside on-going consultation etc. MHT are keen that MV members can contribute and will keep Simon Stewart informed as things progress.
The Mourne Outdoor Recreation Forum meets twice a year as a mechanism for users to engage with MHT/ NT and some statutory bodies and we are keen that MV has representation. The next meeting is planned for the end of November 2012.
The Helping the Hills Wicklow conference (organised by Mountaineering Ireland) was a great opportunity to network with users and land managers , and to share experience and address issues, and the planned development of principles for upland path work in Ireland will also contribute to the development of an agreed way forward.

Planned Works
The planned works that Peter refers to are for erosion control and related path work (a total of 3275 linear meters) at:
  • Slieve Binnian from the North Tor to Summit Tor (992m)
  • Carricklittle Track along the Mourne Wall heading towards Slieve Binnian Summit Tor (1072m)
  • The Brandy Pad to the saddle of Slieve Donard/Commedagh (1211m)
The sites were included in the Queen's 2002 survey referred to above, and funding has been made available from Sport NI and NITB to carry out work from November 2012 until July 2013. The Trust has met with a number of interested parties to discuss the project, including a recent meeting with representatives from Mountaineering Ireland, Mountain View and the Ulster Federation of Rambling Clubs, and it will take on board comments and suggestions with regard to the approach. Detail is available on www.mournelive.com, and again an invite is extended to anyone wishing to discuss the project or make a site visit to contact us. Finally, I hope this article goes some way to at least explaining the issues that impinge on The Trust's work, and also that our intention is to always take informed decisions, and to further a strategic approach, along with interested parties. If you should wish to contact us please do so at:

mht@mourne.co.uk or
Mourne Heritage Trust
Newcastle Centre, 10-14 Central Promenade
Newcastle, Co Down
BT33 0AA, 028 4372 4059 (that's 048 4372 4059 from the Republic)

MountainViews is interested in information and photographs about any other proposed upland work in any part of the Republic or Northern Ireland. For example, there are renewed calls for the reintroduction of a bridge near the Glenmacnass Waterfall in Wicklow, which could have serious conservation and aesthetic consequences.


Availability to all members of the new map presentation, part of MountainViews 2.0

The website now allows all logged in users to view the new map presentation system which presents tracks and summits together with additional information at a click. This has taken months to put together and is a response to the member questionnaire where members repeatedly asked for a better user interface. So for the new interface, see the announcement and quick tutorial here
simon3 on Trial of part of MountainViews 2.0
You need to be logged in for this. Click on Summits | Areas, Features, Routes. If you do this in a separate tab you can keep these comments available. Now, you should see the new interface. It has two maps: Overview and Detail Each map can be expanded using the gripper bar in the bottom right. Overview is to help you find areas in general. As you move the cursor over the blue shapes o ... Click here

As publisher it was rewarding to see favourable comments that appeared such as this one
CaptainVertigo on Mark 2 - Very Exciting!
Just began mucking about with the new options! (Click on Summits | Areas, Features, Routes.) I must say that I have been eagerly awaiting these changes, and find them very exciting. I have always wondered if the day would ever arrive where we would have more detailed mapping. And when Simon introduced the GPS Tracks Upload I thought that this was a huge advance. The success of the Tracks idea is ... Click here

Comment from publisher. Inevitably, perhaps, after a major change like this, members feel stimulated to suggest a whole range of other things they would like such as much improved threaded discussion with much better indexing. This is something the website and committee would like also however we are limited by resources and time in getting this sort of feature to work. This is the sort of project that a willing walking programmer might like to help with.

And equally inevitably as more people have started using the system, more bugs have come to light of which some have now been squashed. Do please report issues.

Improved photo sizes

The website now captures photos you may upload and stores them up to 800 X 600 pixels, that is twice the previous size. As new pictures at the bigger size come in you will see them at a larger size starting in the Summits | Area, Summits, Routes section of the website. Larger size displays will follow in other areas of the website in time.

General Forum Digest

Last month provided a 'digest' of issues in the General Forum. Here it is again for October:

wicklore on General Forum Digest
In the last newsletter we included a list of all General Forum comments that had come in. We grouped each comment by topic, and discovered that in September we had 104 comments covering 16 topics. This high number was partly due to the number of comments posted on the popular Islands of Adventure 2 trip. Other topics such as path development in the Mournes etc also proved highly popular (and conte ... Click here


Gear reviews.

Keeping your legs dry is often an afterthought when you've already spend €300 on your waterproof jacket. Most people do go for waterproof trousers that are much cheaper than their jackets. However, remember that you get what you pay for and poorly fitting, leaking and barely breathable waterproofs can ruin a 'soft day' in the Irish hills. Thankfully, there are many options between €150 and €200 that are suitable for Irish hillwalkers.

For waterproof jackets most people go for Gore-Tex or eVent. The newest contender on the block is Polartec NeoShell. There is some debate over which is best and which is most suited to the mild wet Irish climate. Personal experience would say that lab tests say they perform brilliantly but out in the hills it is never as simple. But, they still offer the best option for staying dry(er) and warm. There are also further options in the confusingly diverse own brand waterproof technologies offered by different companies; e.g. The North Face's HyVent or Mountain Equipment's Drilite.

The features of waterproof trousers are quite simple. Some look for external pockets, but I think that they just end up filling with water. The most important element should be fit. The fit should provide freedom of movement — especially if you intend on scrambling — but not be so loose that excess fabric flaps in the wind. The leg needs to be long enough to allow the rain to drip over the boot, but short enough that it is not catching under the boot.

Zips and access are another key consideration. While full-length zips are the most convenient, they are also the most expensive. Add in the extra weight and the increased chance of leaking and it is obvious that full-length zips are not essential if only using them in Ireland. A quarter length zip offers access over boots but can be tight — make sure to test them out in the shop. The best option is provided by three-quarter length zips — easy on/off, less faffy and the option to open the zips at the top and let some air in.

Rab Latok Alpine Pants - €200 — 440g — eVent 3-layer Despite the name these are well suited to the Irish hills and meet many of the above criteria. They are light and the design is clean with no pockets. The cut is quite snug so it is recommended to try them on first. The three-quarter length zips make them easy to get on and off, and also open from the top for venting. They are a little heavy and warm for summer use, but they are suitable as your year round waterproof trousers. This all comes at a price, and there are better value trousers, but maybe not quite as well suited as these.

-- Tom Sweeney (MV Member)

I asked Tom about what seems to be my perennial problem with overtrousers: Repairing them. He said:
Simon, I've done well out of repairing trousers with gore-tex patches - even though they are meant to be only temporary. The other option is spinnaker tape - it is an adhesive nylon repair tape which is better suited to repairing tents. Usually get it in outdoor/tent shops.
I've gotten stuff professionally repaired by this crowd: http://www.lancashiresportsrepairs.co.uk. But, shipping costs are often a pain. There used to be a company in Tullamore doing similar, but I think they're no longer there.

A place for the minority interested in Summiteering, Bagging or Highpointing.

Death of Clem Clements, Hill Scientist
A few members of MountainViews will know of British based Clem Clements, who has made a significant contribution to hill listing over several decades, including the initial list of Humps in England and in Wales, helping to discover several Welsh Marilyns, and compiling the list of Irish Marilyns and Hewitts. MountainViews current and as yet unpublished list of summits with 100m prominence, an extension to the Binnions, is using Clem's work.
During the month Clem died after a short illness at the age of 89. At a recent gathering of the "Relative Hills of Britain" group in Portree Clem was given the so-far-unique Hill Scientist award.
A very interesting and at times poignant video with Clem Clements was made last year by Myrddyn Phillips. There are various references to work he did on Irish lists in the video.
Click here for video

Rocks on top?
We asked last month about summits whose highest point consists of a rock resting or perching on the top such as can be found on the two Saggartnadoishes in Donegal. Another member mentioned a possible third such top on Dromderalough just SW of Mangerton. On a recent visit there it became apparent that there are an astonishing number of oddly perched rocks in the area, though whether the boulder on Dromderalough is actually the highest point will take surveying to determine.
simon3 on Stony Ridge, on balance improbable
There's plenty of boulders left by glaciers all over Ireland. Drumnalifferny and the Saggartnadoishs come to mind. And there's plenty of them at odd, unstable angles. However recently I was on the ridge with the Dromderaloughs just SW of Mangerton and there seemed to be more than I have ever seen in any one area before. Geologists: why so many here? Why so many at unstable angles? And is t ... Click here

This month.
Kudos to our contributors.

We welcome the following new members who enrolled this month. abbo, Aileen, AlanG, answerps, asmyth35, bayman, bfinlay, bobbobo, Bosco66, bproctor, breandn, Brendan102, Charlie-Delta, charliec, charliedelta, chniakchniak, Colm1, csang, c_niconaire, Daithiburns, DamianConnolly, dantenieboski, DatAttept, David-Guenot, davidsloan_1, davidwhelan, Declan2000, deeb, dsysuev, dubgael, durandii, ecekissjoel, eunice, Flacky, gearywest, germac, gerryjtp, gguest, Hill-climber, jlkingsbury, johnjdemp, johnykinz, katethewalker, kelma, keogh, kevin07, kitog, kubik222, lilrodge, lrodger3, Marelle, martinele, Mikecarrick, mountainleader, moussevic, neocaching, Niallmccarron, nigelc, nilsdc, nomae, norge, norman400, owenmccarthy, paddywoodworth, Padraigod, paulahanley, pobrien1957, podufaigh, rob_devery, RoundwoodRambler, sawwsea, seamusCampbell, Shem, skor, smcder, smont, Stevemul, tadgh78, tb, tedorstewart, weeman, wexfordwalker, willronan, windy (84)

Our contributors to all threads this month: Astrofizz01 (1), Bleck Cra (5), CaptainVertigo (10), Conor74 (4), Dessie1 (1), Garmin (2), Geo (2), Harry Goodman (2), Hilltop-Harrier (2), HoschIchenheim (1), Jaak (2), LizzieMurray (2), Mulciber (1), Peter Walker (7), Trailtrekker (1), aidand (1), brian_M (1), bryanmccabe (1), concorde (1), david bourke (1), dhmiriam (1), dr_banuska (5), gerrym (3), Communal summary entries (16), guestuser (11), jackill (2), jlk (1), kernowclimber (3), lennyantonelli (3), liz50 (1), maclimber (1), mad2climb (3), march-fixer (12), mcrtchly (3), peter1 (1), roberto (1), sandman (4), scannerman (1), scapania (2), simon3 (21), slemish (1), wicklore (6)
For a fuller list view Community | Recent Contributors

There were comments on the following summits , Ben Crom, Bunmore, Carrigshouk, Cnoc Bólais, Cnoc Breac, Croslieve, Cruach Leac Chonaill, Cullaghacro, Culliagh SE Top, Errigal, Knockaphuca, Knocknagree E Top, Lackacroghan, Nephin, Sceilg Mhicíl, Slieve Beagh South East Top, Slieve Foye, Slievemeen, The Paps East, Tonelagee
and these tracks Black Hill, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Bohilbreaga, Sperrin Mountains Ireland, Brockagh Mountain, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Carriglineen Mountain, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Collon Hill, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Corriebracks, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Craig Fach, Snowdonia Britain, Crockmulroney, Donegal NW Ireland, Croslieve, Cooley/Gullion Ireland, Dart Mountain, Sperrin Mountains Ireland, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Errigal, Donegal NW Ireland, Glyder Fach, Snowdonia Britain, Ireland, Connaught , Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige , Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige , Italy, Veneto , Italy, Veneto , Italy, Veneto , Italy, Veneto , Learmount Mtn S Top, Sperrin Mountains Ireland, Loughsalt Mountain, Donegal NW Ireland, Moel Hebog, Snowdonia Britain, Moylenanav, Donegal NW Ireland, Skerry Hill, Antrim Hills Ireland, Slieve Binnian, Mourne Mountains Ireland, Slieve Gullion, Cooley/Gullion Ireland, Slievenahanaghan, Antrim Hills Ireland, Snowdonia Britain, Snowdonia Britain, Sorrel Hill, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland tracks and these walks were created Goles Road Circuit

Thanks to all 1031 who have ever contributed summits or routes info and forums.

For a full list view Community | Contributors Hall of Fame

Summary. MountainViews now has 5974 comments about 1023 different hills & mountains out of the total in our current full list (1057). We need more comments, better comments and more balance for every summit as our rate for "data completion" now that the 150m summits have been added is currently around 49% There's plenty (34) of opportunities for you to be the first to comment on a summit. Listing summits in "Lists & Logs" (tick MV completion information) 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. Suggest access routes well away from houses, gardens or that could conceivably impact farming activities. 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. Ask permission where appropriate.
  • 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
    Report quads in national park area (in which they are banned). For Wicklow please phone the Duty Ranger: 087-9803899 or the office during office hours Telephone: +353-404-45800. Put these numbers in your phone, take regs etc. Let MV know of contact numbers for other areas.
  • If you have climbed some of the less well known places, we would appreciate a summit rating.We could use your help in making ratings for the unrated mountains which you have climbed, such as: Bunmore, Knocknascollop NW Top, Lettertrask, An Bheann Mhór, Cró Bheithe, Cnoc na Deirce Bige, Cashlaundrumlahan, Brickany, Maumakeogh, Cruach Léithín and some 1 others. and also GPS readings for summits.
  • If we can, let's make MV have more than one route up a summit so as to reduce the tendency for paths to appear. Your grid refs in comments for different starting points show up on MountainViews maps.
  • MountainViews are on Twitter as MountainViewsIE. Follow us and we will follow you back. Any queries to secretary@mountainviews.ie

This newsletter

This newsletter Editor: Simon Stewart, Homepage: www.simonstewart.ie
Assistant editor: Colin Murphy
Track reviews: Tom Condon, Peter Walker
General Forum Digest: Mark Brennan
Gear reviews: Tom Sweeney
Book reviews: Conor Murphy, Aidan Dillon, Peter Walker
Graphics design advice: madfrankie
Newsletter archive. View previous newsletters mountainviews.ie/newsletter
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