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The Summit

Monthly newsletter of MountainViews.ie for guestuser

March 2013




EAST, WEST, NORTH and SOUTH Route ideas and places to go, also Poland this month.

MountainViews can now generate GPS routes from uploaded tracks

Gear reviews: Waterproof Jackets and Cheetah Head Torch | Comment on MI Mission Statement | Continued forest access: Coillte issue briefing. |

MountainViews book in the shops.



2012 - 2013 Winter Talks Series
Full details here: www.walkersassociation.ie
  • Weds Mar 13th 2013, John G O'Dwyer hillwalker and writer will speak on the "Ancient Pilgrim Trails of Ireland".
    Many of us will have seen his contributions to the Irish Times. He set out to walk these trails, in so far as he could identify them. He started one at Slemish and eventually finished at Skellig Michael. (Note date change)

  • Weds 17th April, 2013, John Cruise hillwalker will speak on the Camino Via de La Plata- the Roman route from Seville to Santiago, 1000km.
    The word Plata ( silver in Spanish ) was believed to provide the origins of the name but it is more likely to be a version of the Arabic words " Balatta" or al- Balath meaning paved or wide.

  • Sat 20th April, 2013, Landscape Photography Workshop
    The Walkers Association is running its popular course on Mountain and Landscape Photography again. Book early as this can sell out.
    Details and booking arrangements are here.

These WAI events will be held in the Landsdowne Hotel, 27 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 4. Directions here http://www.lansdownehotel.ie Note: There is a fee for entry to the MV/WAI evening, whilst other events are free with a voluntary collection. Please note: MountainViews is a non-profit and asks for a fee from everyone coming to the Annual Talks including those collecting awards.

Fri Feb 22nd, 2013, MountainViews Presentations and Awards Evening with Evelyn Cusack. We held this event with attendance at around 80 with some people having travelled from Cork and Northern Ireland. It featured Evelyn Cusack, Deputy Head of Forecasting for Met Éireann, who talked about Irish Weather. It was really interesting. The 2013 meeting also saw the MountainViews book of summit lists launched, the most comprehensive and accurate book of its kind. Apologies The committee is sorry for running out of copies of the book for sale on the evening.
Peter Walker spoke humorously on his experiences walking in Ireland (as opposed to Britain). New features of the website got a short explanation. (Sorry also, I haven't managed as yet to find a way to be funny in a tech presentation.)

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

More on Walkers Association 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?

Our next work day of 2013 will be Saturday 09th March 2013 in Glendalough. If you are a regular volunteer we are looking forward to seeing you out again. If you have recently joined our mailing list why not come along and give it a try? We will be working in the Wicklow Mountains National Park repairing a section of the BLUE ROUTE putting in, drainage and a bogbridge on a very eroded section of trail to join up with the Spink. For details on these techniques see pages 42,43,44 and 56, 57 of The Mountain Meitheal Handbook of Trail Design and Construction. Volunteers to shift sleepers are required - no special skills needed. For those unable to work on the sleepers there are plenty of other tasks available so don't be shy - come along and give a little back to one of the most visited attractions in the country.
If you can't make it on the 9th March the dates of work days for the rest of the year are listed at the end of this notice.


09/03/2013 24/03/2013 06/04/2013 21/04/2013 04/05/2013 19/05/2013 01/06/2013 16/06/2013 29/06/2013 14/07/2013 27/07/2013 11/08/2013 24/08/2013 08/09/2013 21/09/2013 06/10/2013 19/10/2013 03/11/2013 16/11/2013
More information at www.pathsavers.org

Member John Sheehy took this picture of dawn over Snowdonia, Wales, from Three Rock Mountain, Co Dublin. It is really hard to get a clear view as good as this. The distance is around 140km to Snowdon, the higher of the two peaks to the left of the sun. The photo was taken with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 225mm.

MountainViews new book in the shops.

A Guide to Ireland's Mountain Summits - The Vandeleur-Lynams & The Arderins
MountainViews first book available online and in many bookshops.

As members will know, for over a decade, Mountainviews.ie has been providing unique information to hillwalkers on all aspects of exploring and enjoying Ireland's upland areas. It's been a collaborative effort by over 1000 of you, and currently contains over 6000 comments on 1057 mountains and hills on the island of Ireland with around 500 tracks uploaded also. It is the first place to attempt to gather all of the information about Irelands summits in one place. As you know it provides a range of lists allowing users to set themselves goals of varying sorts of difficulty.

While we believe online resources are the backbone of walking information into the future, books definitely will continue into the foreseeable future. And this book compiles together a number of lists of Ireland's summits but also the different mountain areas on the island. There are background articles on the history of the lists, summiteering, using MountainViews etc

Specifically the book has the 269 Vandeleur-Lynams, the Arderins, the Hundred Highest and the County Highpoints. These lists include a handy box, which you can tick to indicate you have conquered a particular summit, as well as information on height, ranking, mountain area, county, OSI map and grid reference and prominence.

Collins Press came to us about this book last year. At that point we had already produced a draft version of the book and we were delighted to accept their suggestion that we publish through them.
MountainViews is a voluntary community and any returns from the book will be administered by the committee for the benefit of MountainViews and the sport of hillwalking in Ireland. By buying the book you are supporting MountainViews. While we only expect realistic returns from this book, these are nevertheless important given that there is no membership fee for the website and no support from the government. In fact, consider buying a number of books and selling them to your friends or to your club.

In short: Discovery

NORTH: A squidgy slog
Trostan has magnificent views on a rare clear day, but enjoying them requires a very squidgy, energy sapping slog through the mud….two accounts from tsunami and Jaak.
tsunami on Trostan: Squidgy Slog
We each have our favourite mountain, and those that stick in our heads can inevitably be summarised by one word - majestic, magical, and treacherous as examples. For Trostan I’m going with – squidgy! 550m of soul destroying, strength sapping Squidginess to be precise! Thankfully this has now been ticked off my County High Points list and I need not feel compelled to return. The walk started out ... Click here

NORTH: Dino soars
Dino has been out and about in the Sperrins, contributing a fine afternoon's stroll (with good accompanying detail) over a top that often requires 'tidying up' after a more extensive itinerary: Crockbrack. This is one of the more easterly tops in the range, and as such the views in that direction are pretty expansive. Any MVers wanting 'a bit more' out of their day could easily loosen the strings of this loop to include Oughtmore and Craigagh Hill, the two hills being separated by a col with oddly steep sides for such a rolling range.
dino on Crockbrack
Route inspired by route card from "Landscapes from Stone: Wa walk, Length:12.3km, Climb: 547m, Area: Crockbrack, Sperrin Mountains (Ireland) Crockbra Click here

NORTH: You've Been Framed
Once again accompanied by an excellent YouTube clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-WQrExuZM4&list=UUMhmcA3Bwe1X4niYiswhU0A&index=2) recounting a lovely winter's day up through the forest and onto the high moorland of Mullaghmore. The return is all road walking but can be made to include White Mountain too, and Bohilbreaga can be visited on the way up.
gerrym on Moydamlaght to Mullaghmore
http://youtu.be/o-WQrExuZM4 A winter walk over Mullaghmor walk, Length:10.6km, Climb: 417m, Area: Mullaghmore, Sperrin Mountains (Ireland) Mullagh Click here

NORTH: A familiar degree of tussocky cussedness..
The header says it all! Read more of Peter Walker's colourful description of his ascent up Oughtmore in the Sperrins.
group on Oughtmore
Click here

NORTH: Blimey...has everyone forgotten the Blair Witch Project
nilsdc has been camping in the Bluestacks. Regardless of the dubious psychology of spending nights under canvas his route is fine and adventurous, especially under the winter conditions under which it was tackled. A substantial number of variations are possible; the walk is along a section of the main ridge of the range, and gaining it earlier and/or leaving it later could net anything from one to seven further tops.
nilsdc on Camping on Cloghmeenhill
Camped a very cold night and walked to Silver Hill on a wind walk, Length:18.3km, Climb: 616m, Area: Carnaween, Bluestack Mountains (Ireland) Carnawe Click here

EAST: Two counties, less trodden.
Croaghan Kinsella was under a blanket of snow, which added to the appeal of this somewhat remote Wicklow top, reports scannerman.
scannerman on Croghan Kinsella: In praise of....
Took a short sortie up croghan on sunday after the snowfall, it made for hard going and snow shoes would have been helpful at times. Nice to feel the snow underfoot all the same and gaze over a white landscape. Not a high mountain but a bulky one with several routes combining balcony walks and some really fine views all around. It does'nt draw the crowds either, the relative remoteness and mode ... Click here

EAST: A top swamped in a sea of earthworks…
Wexford's few attractions for the hillwalker diminish even more with the development of a wind farm on top of Gibbet Hill, according to paddyhillsbagger.
paddyhillsbagger on Gibbet Hill: Building site at the top.
Walked Gibbet Hill as part of completing the Nth Wexford area and found the top relatively easily by following the other commenters routes. What they didn't come across was the building site at the top for a new wind farm. A stones throw from the trig are the works offices, an access road and the foundations for a turbine. The trig and nearby cross look swamped and abandoned in a sea of earth work ... Click here

EAST: Easy access, fine views but shared with masts.
Another Wexford top scarred by the ever-forward march of technology…yet it doesn't take from the views of the surrounding countryside around Slieveboy
group on Slieveboy: Easy access to fine views.
Easy access from T026 575 which is on an untarred but passable enough road from either Askamore or Camolin. There is a tree stump marked Kidds Gate at this point and parking for a few cars. The forest track winds round the hill and I went left, right, left at junctions to gain the summit. The top is awash with communication masts and associated debris which swamps the trig point, but the 360 degre ... Click here

EAST: Lugnagun - A terrible beauty is born!
A harvested forest clears the way to the summit of Lugnagun in Wicklow, and also unmasks the wonderful 360 panoramic view, reports Trailtrekker.
Trailtrekker on Lugnagun: All is changed, changed utterly, a terrible beauty is born!
Well not quite and I'm sure that Yeats himself would think that quote itself is a bit misplaced. However, there has been one very significant change to this area since all previous comments and it does have a significant affect on the view, access and the summit! The forest to the south and south west of the summit area has been harvested. A number of the trees that have not been cleared lie acros ... Click here

EAST: Peaking and troughing
simon3 has contributed an up-hill-and-down-dale route in the Wicklow hills, over War Hill, down to the Dargle watershed, up again to traverse Maulin and Tonduff before a long descent and reascent takes the walk down to just above the Powerscourt Waterfall and back up to Djouce before returning to the start. Those following this route will experience a wide variety of landscapes and underfoot conditions; an excellent summary of what Wicklow has to offer.
simon3 on Circuit of Glencree starting from R759
From War Hill this goes over the upper reaches of the Dargle walk, Length:17.4km, Climb: 1009m, Area: War Hill, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) War Hill, Ma Click here

EAST: Deeper Magic from before the dawn of time...
A section of this route was also experienced by Garmin and myself from the Crone Wood car park, following the Wicklow Way into the upper Dargle valley before striking up to Maulin and Tonduff and returning the same way. During the descent the day became increasingly snowy and idyllic; indeed, in these conditions the appearance of a lamp post, a faun and a talking lion would have seemed entirely plausible, especially when compared to the deeply surreal aftermath of the MV book launch the previous evening.
Garmin on An excursion for the two that did not fade!
After a great night at the annual talks and awards event and walk, Length:15.7km, Climb: 719m, Area: Maulin, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) Maulin, Tonduff Click here

EAST: Sucker Punch
These and many other walks in the Wicklow area tend to be easier under 'proper' winter conditions, but mcrtchly's route over Tomaneena to Conavalla is one of the ultimate examples; a gargantuan sucking bog rendered relatively benign under frozen ground. Variety could be added to the return journey by taking in Camaderry, and the properly dedicated could go as far as Table Mountain before about turning.

WEST: A boulder approach
Mweelrea SE proved a hard slog for paddyhillsbagger, but his approach did reveal an interesting landscape of large free-standing boulders and rocky outcrops.
paddyhillsbagger on Mweelrea SE Spur: Hard slog!
Did Mweelrea SE Spur along with Teevnabinnia to complete the Mweelrea area list. Started from L840 633 near the pier at Clogh. Proved to be a very steep, boggy and tiring walk through rough terrain. The views were magnificent however. There were a lot of large free standing boulders and rocks between the 2 tops and some rocky outcrops mark the summit of the SE Spur. Click here

WEST: A pleasant route up one of our most iconic summits
MV member Wildcat encounters some unusual holes, not to mention the extraordinary cliffs that grace the iconic Benwiskin in the Dartry Mountains.
Wildcat on Benwiskin: Pleasant route from Glendarragh
Drive along a series of side roads from Grange and find your way past the waterworks to Glendarragh, the glen between Benbulbin and Benwiskin. There's a large parking area beside Luke's Bridge (grid ref 698473). Just beyond the bridge, take the left fork and follow the surfaced road eastwards (towards Benwiskin) as far as grid ref 707472, where the road crosses the stream by bridge. A gravel track ... Click here

WEST: Cliffs, fearless sheep and bog holes
MV member Colin Murphy has that sinking feeling as he ascends Conwal North in the Dartrys, and then gets surrounded by strange sheep…
Colin Murphy on Conwal North: Cliffs, fearless sheep and bog holes
There is a parking spot for a couple of cars beside the road at G860 507. Directly opposite this is a short stony track that rises north towards the impressive cliffs on Conwal North's western side. Proceed up the track for about 100m until you see a steep, grassy gully intersecting the cliff face, running SE. This is very firm underfoot and relatively easy to climb, and when you get to the top yo ... Click here

SOUTH: Do I or don't I...bring the machete?
lonleyjake would have been most fortunate to avoid others in the Tomies/Purple Mountain area on a Sunday, even if he did go up there in December. His track seems to adapt the popular Tomies Wood stroll above Lough Leane to visit Shehy and Tomies mountains; from memory the slope leading to the former from that direction is 'rough'. He has missed out Purple Mountain but it's very easy to add it.
lonleyjake on Near Shehy Mountain, Purple Mtn (Ireland)
walk, Length:13.8km, Climb: 704m, Area: Shehy Mountain, Purple Mtn (Ireland) Shehy Mountain, Purple Mountain NE Top, Tomies Mountain Click here

SOUTH: Inspiration in unlikely places
Mangerton in Kerry once provided an inspiring and reward day's outing for Pat Falvey. Regular contributor wicklore follow in his footsteps in search of similar inspiration.
wicklore on Mangerton: Inspiration in unlikely places
In his book ‘Reach for the Sky’, Pat Falvey describes his first hillwalk in Ireland. He was in a deep depression following the failure of his business. The banks were circling like crows to take his home and everything he had. His secretary’s father, Val Deane, persuaded Pat to join the Cork Mountaineers on a climb of Mangerton to ‘take his mind off things’. Pat didn’t want to go but kept his abse ... Click here

SOUTH: The Pros and Cons of Hitch-Hiking
Over in the Galtees andrewhoward has been stretching his legs with the full traverse of the range, a walk that needs two cars or a lot of practice at showing a bit of leg to passing motorists but that will bring the level of satisfaction and accomplishment that only a good long walk in the hills can grant you (and on a clear day, a vastness of panorama that's pretty much unique in these islands). The more determined / masochistic / believers in the viability of every route in Paddy Dillon's 'Mountains of Ireland' can try to include all the outlying tops too; one for the 'really strong' as opposed to the 'quite strong'.
andrewhoward0 on Galty Mountain Challenge!
We decided to take on the entire Galty Mountains Range in on walk, Length:28.3km, Climb: 1187m, Area: Slieveanard NE Top, Galty Mountains (Ireland) S Click here

SOUTH: Liquid motivation
0pt0 has submitted one of Ireland's more obvious 'game of two halves' walks: the traverse of Purple/Tomies Mountains in Kerry combined with the length of the tourist-addled Gap of Dunloe. The scenery is very good throughout but I would personally recommend that the route be done in the reverse direction to the track submitted, especially if one intends a celebratory beverage at Kate Kearney's Cottage afterwards; the jarveys tend to stable their horses in the road one walks down at the conclusion of the route as entered, and nobody will thank you for stinking up the bar.
0pt0 on Gap of Dunloe + Purple Mountain
walk, Length:17.2km, Climb: 934m, Area: Purple Mountain, Purple Mtn (Ireland) Purple Mountain, Purple Mountain NE Top, Shehy Mountain, Tomies Mounta Click here

SOUTH: Robbers ancient and modern
One of the finest walks in the south-west is the circuit of the Rabach's Glen on the Beara peninsula, a tremendous tangle of six summits, sensational land and sea views (that track submitter Onzy was aggressively denied by the weather), and some very steep slopes at the beginning and end of the day. Suitors should note that a charge (4 euro as of 2010) is levied for parking at the start.
Onzy on Cummeengeera (Rabach's Glen) Circuit
Circuit of Cummeengeera based on route from Adrian Hendroff' walk, Length:12.6km, Climb: 1022m, Area: Tooreenbaha, Caha Mountains (Ireland) Tooreenba Click here

POLAND: A little piece of Poland...
Alternatively, if Ireland is just too easy a drive there's always Poland, although that's a relatively lazy trip for a veteran of Australia and South Africa such as mcrtchley. A quick Google image search for Okr?glica reveals the different approach to hillwalking in Eastern Europe, and also some pleasingly rugged tops.
mcrtchly on Circuit of Trzy Korony
Pieninski National Park is on the border between Poland and walk, Length:7.9km, Climb: 616m, Area: Poland () Click here

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


Upside down environmental priorities

The redoubtable wicklore spotted this small but frankly ridiculous oddity in Kerry. He explains it better than we could:
wicklore on Someone loves the fauna, not the flora
On a recent walk of Mangerton I came across this scene at the start of my walk at the northern approach to the mountain where the trail begins that leads up to the Devils Punch Bowl. There is an A4 sheet of paper pasted to a tree overhanging the little stream. The A4 sheet of paper contains a number of images of wildlife and is an advertisement for the services of a wildlife photographer.
As ... Click here

Official help on environmental issues.

Maybe help is at hand for issues such as the previous one.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has launched a new iPhone App, See it? Say it!, to help people to report environmental pollution in their towns and villages.
The new App makes it easy for people to report a pollution incident the moment they see it. Using the App you can now take a photograph of the pollution incident, input GPS location coordinates, add a summary description of what you want to convey and your contact details and this will automatically be sent to the relevant local authority for follow up. You can download the App now from the iTunes App Store (search iTunes for: 'See it Say it') or visit http://goo.gl/gOJMa.

Niamh Hatchell of the EPA answered questions on an Android version and on PURE as follows:
Firstly, in relation to android version:
Initially our budget only allowed for us to develop this on one version - so the iPhone won I'm afraid (especially as an android user myself!) However, if the app is a success and is being used regularly we will then be in a position to look at launching an android version!
In fact, we had a very positive response over the past few days, with lots of requests for an android version, so I believe we are already looking into doing this as soon as possible. I will keep you posted on any development.

In relation to PURE - we would hope that this will very much assist the work PURE is doing. A particular bonus of the app is the GPS location, which will make it easier for local authorities to find the sites quickly. Ian Davies of PURE is well aware of the app, and was to feature in the RTE piece - but timing did not allow. So, the app it will complement the great work already being done by them. Hope this answers everything.

Full press release at: http://www.epa.ie/news/pr/2013/name,51054,en.html
If anyone tries this out, MV would be interested in a review.


Members in the Republic will know of the serious situation with regard to the possible sale of Coillte harvesting rights and the almost certain resulting loss in whole or part of easy of access to forests and surrounding land and summits in the Republic.
Mountaineering Ireland recently organised an Oireachtas (Irish parliament) briefing for parliamentarians interested on the issue with the Impact trade union. This is a valuable initiative by MI where they are deploying considerable expertise. Nevertheless this issue is by no means resolved.
Take a look at the MI report here. It discusses the lack of an economic rationale for the sell off. The list of references at the end of the article is also extremely interesting.

For further information see the last newsletter here.

Other issues of note. Proposed Bill on Access to the Countryside
In 2007 Ruairi Quinn proposed a private members bill in the Dail regarding "Access to the countryside". Robert Dowds, a Labour TD, has circulated a new version of this amongst interested parties. There was a meeting recently about this which a number of parties attended including MV, WAI and MI. It's early days for this initiative however here is a reference should you be interested in following it up.

Comment on MI Draft Mission Statement for their Strategic Development Plan 2014 on.
Reviewed by Simon Stewart.

Group responsibility sits alongside personal responsibility
Personally I don't much like things like zombie navigation where walkers visit the hills blindly following a group leader. For this and other reasons I would applaud the MI emphasis on personal responsibility and training. It could go further. Walkers should be supported to learn and appreciate where they are walking and the culture of places and experience.

So how to promote responsibility? Many hillwalkers main contact with the sport is through clubs. So it's essential that the clubs are on the same page. Isn't there a need therefore to have another value alongside personal responsibility, and that is club or group responsibility? Isn't there a need for a value to promote cooperation?

There's a value in the proposed Mission Statement about recognising relationships and trust covering "activities, membership and work". While I wouldn't entirely write this off, in its current form it's really too vague to mean much. There's essentially nothing on clubs, on necessary structure, on communication or on bodies with a national reach (like say, Mountain Meathail) in the Mission Statement. Now, it's not my contention at all that MI should seek to do everything or control other groups. But a mission statement should articulate a bit more about the role of a representative body in the organisational context it finds itself rather than just advocating personal responsibility.

Perspective on sport development
The proposed Mission Statement brackets hillwalking and climbing together, a reasonable position given that these are the two fundamental activities of mountaineering. Many argue, rightly in my view, that a mountaineer must participate in both. Where does that leave the 85% of the membership (and great numbers of potential members) only interested in hillwalking? This is where the Mission Statement goes vague. It talks about "the activities of hillwalking and climbing". However I think a better way of characterising the situation is that there are two sports, hillwalking and climbing both of which have a set of disciplines. Mountaineering is a hybrid that combines these two for a minority, in much the same way as triathlon combines the different sports of running, cycling and swimming for those that are interested.

Would you agree it would be comical to tell runners that "you are in an activity, not a sport" or " really you are a triathlete - Ironman is where it's at"? Would you further agree that it's questionable to tell hillwalkers that they are in some diminutive activity of mountaineering, where it's really at, even though they constitute by far the majority? The point is that mountaineering is a duathlon but most of the members of MI are only interested in one part of it. They aren't being catered to by trying continuously to mix the sports.

What's needed is a step change in MI culture for the 2014 SDP where it more explicitly values each of the sports it represents. Sports, generally, are usually characterised as having disciplines. This is perhaps easier in competitive sports but it is possible and valuable in MI's sports. So for MI a good start in changing the culture is in recognising the disciplines of its sports. For hillwalking there are a whole range of disciplines from club walking, small group, family, challenge walking, summiteering, holiday walking.

Viewing the list of 7 Strategic Objectives there's various things that a representative body can do. Many are of the worthy and necessary variety - the plumbing of the sport in conservation, access etc - but following on from the confusion about what the sports are, there's nothing much about sport development. Nothing about creating the right environment for disciplines to flourish and for innovation, and for finding and handling the unmet needs. In my view there needs to be another objective. Foster structures of value to the sports being represented.

What practical difference would this make? Well, flowing from an appropriate respect for each of the sports there should be an appropriate national body responsible for sport development for each sport, perhaps each a division of MI. Just as it is important for MI to bring together people interested in "Helping the Hills" it is important to bring people together to "develop the sports". So while there is indeed an objective of "a talent development pathway to high performance" this, as far as I know, is a code word for "helping competition climbers" which is fine but a pretty limited form of sport development. Let's support this, but also ask why is there no mention of supporting the disciplines of the majority sport, hillwalking?

A good start would be to have a public seminar to consider what is needed in Ireland for a viable and vigorous culture for each of the sports MI professes to represent. Having considered what is needed at large and what might be possible with social technology and media funding, then it would be possible to see what MI might effectively contribute (or not) with what methods and with what collaboration with other parties. Hopefully doing something like this would embody a real instance of partnership which the Values section strives to define.

Youth Policy alone doesn't address the developing demographic.
Finally I would like to say something about Youth Policy. Personally I got a good early exposure to the outdoors when young and I thank the agencies that made this possible. Youth policy is essential. However Ireland's population (6.3 million) is rising, fastest in Europe and changing rapidly. Over 50's in Ireland make up 28% of the population, growing faster than any other age section. Astonishingly, the proportion of the male population over 65 in the Republic grew 18% in the 5 years 2006 to 2011 (CSO). Unlike most sports, MI represents ones that allow entry and participation at most ages. Just as MI has responded to the health driven request to create a culture for walking it needs to have a positive policy towards encouraging growth in participation in the sports it represents at all ages. So what it needs is not a youth policy so much as Youth and All Age policy. The plan should have targets for every age group, as well as youth. While we are at it there could be a policy for immigrants also.

MI's document is here.



We were off the air for about 30 hours following some hosting difficulties recently. Hopefully these have been resolved and won't reappear. Detail here See here simon3 on WEBSITE HOSTING Issues NEWS
Outage as of Thurs 28th now ended. As a result of issues beyond my control the system stopped working yesterday. This was down to DNS (Domain Name Services) changes not yet happening and the temporary DNS having routing problems. I regret the problem. As far as I can remember it was the longest outage in the last 3 years. We are changing the way that the website is hosted, most likely today ... Click here

In MountainViews 2.0 Tracks can now be converted to Routes.

Let's suppose you are planning to go walking somewhere and have seen one of the tracks put up by another member and you fancy trying it. Currently you can print out the route as a map, which will also include the vital statistics for the walk such as length, ascent and summits visited. However if you are like many you may want information in further outdoor forms such as a GPS route. For those not so accustomed to GPS units this is something like a route card with which the GPS can show you your route as a succession of places you need to get to.
If you view a track now there is a new "Export Data" feature under every track. This has a new EXPERIMENTAL feature which allows you to create a track out of a route. You can set the number of points that you want in the resulting track. Older Garmin GPS units allowed only 50 points, newer 100.
Currently the feature outputs a GPX file and cannot directly upload to a GPS unit without help from a tool like Gartrip or GPSU, however we intend improving it so it can write directly to at least Garmin devices. Nevertheless this is extremely handy even as it is.
There are design issues that do need to be addressed. It is easy even as an experienced walker simply to place too much reliance on a GPS route, losing a basic sense of where you are in relation to major landmarks. Comments on how the experimental design can be improved to avoid this and other difficulties are welcome.
As in the past the export feature can also give you the original uploaded track. When doing so it cleans up data to remove some of the many oddities that consumer GPS units seem to be prone to creating in their outputs. For example it removes "last reading stutter" where the unit can sometimes output the first few positions of a day using the position it had the last time it was turned on. There is now also a feature to simplify the track so that it uses less points. By using a special route pruning algorithm this can be done in such a way that the track loses the least important points. It is necessary because should you wish to upload the track to a GPS unit you may find that the unit is unable to accept more than limited number of points because it is full or because the device limits the number of points that can ever be uploaded for a track. This is often 500 for Garmin units for example.

You may need to change old bookmarks or shortcuts.
Still clicking on that old link to MV you put in years ago? Could be a bad idea because some old links will prevent you seeing the new interface in all its glory or may not even work. Replace with a new one.
See here simon3 on Revised interface - need to change shortcuts.
If you are using an old shortcut or bookmark from your PC or whatever to access MountainViews, you may be missing out on the new interface. The simplest shortcut or bookmark should refer to http://mountainviews.ie Which will work fine and brings you to the new summit and track display. Some time ago Mountainviews urls were changed to a simplified form. For example: Mountai ... Click here

Software and web developers

MountainViews has one or two helpers who have kindly volunteered technical help on the website. But we could use more! Get in touch via admin@mountainviews.ie
Software and web work on a website like MountainViews has quite a range of interesting problems. Currently we are working on improving the manipulation and maintenance of lists (nkenealy) and on improving the route export feature. The latter involved modifying the Douglas-Peucker route simplification algorithm to allow it to include only the most significant x points in a route.
We also could use help in many other areas from icon design to hosting interface. Resolving the most recent DNS difficulties that caused an outage, while interesting, would have been better handled I am sure by someone with more experience than we have at present.


Gear reviews.

Last month Tom discussed soft shells. This time he discusses waterproof jackets.

Waterproof Jackets

The waterproof jacket is one of the first pieces of equipment you will buy, and probably one of the most expensive. It will be sold to you with the premise that it contains more technology than it took to get man to the moon and is 'guaranteed to keep you dry'. Perhaps I'm not using mine right, but I've never found a waterproof jacket that has been able to keep me completely dry in all conditions in Ireland.

This is a testament to the persistant wet (rather than heavy rain) and relatively warm climate that we have. The waterproof breathable farbics in these jackets are simply designed, and much more effective, in less-humid cooler conditions. Despite the inability of waterproof jackets to keep you dry on a soft Irish day, a good jacket will still provide you with the best protection from the wind, cold and rain.

I'll discuss the 'top-end' products, but there are many many options in terms of price, performance and features. There are own-brand fabric jackets which are in the €100 - €200 range that are suitable for the Irish hills.

But, no matter how good the other options are, the best is still a Gore-Tex jacket, along with the recent competition of eVent and Polartec NeoShell. You can argue the differences and what is best, but all have been proven in the lab and in the mountains. There are variations on Gore-Tex with ProShell being the best performing, ActiveShell being more breathable and Peroformance/Classic being a bit better value. To further confuse these technologies, the fabrics are joined with different outer materials and the linings may also be constructed differently. It is very easy to get bogged down with technical detail, but you want to get a good jacket and get out in the hills, not study for a PhD in waterproof technologies.

What we're talking about here is an all-round hillwalking jacket.The super-light jackets that are great in your pack in summer, but not very durable, are there are own sub-category. Another product not considered are the options from Paramo. These jackets keep you warm and dry using a system copied from animals. This is opposed to the membranes technologies mentioned above. They seem well-suited to the Irish climate and get positive reviews from those that use them. Unfortunately, I've yet had an opporunity to try them.

Beyond fabrics, there are also the features of the jacket. Waterproof jackets have come a long way in the last 15-ish years, and most have the standard features you need. These include tailed drawcords, storm flap over main zip, adjustable hood and waterproof pockets. In terms of pockets, I believe 2 high pockets are all you need. Pit-zips are there for cooling down, but they're just another place that water can get in and they add weight.

Mountain Equipment Tupilak Jacket
GoreTex ProShell
€350 (can be found on web for about €250)
This has been my main waterproof jacket for about 4 years now. I think of it as the best waterproof I've ever had and I'm going to replace it with the same jacket. But, when I come to review it there are a few things that let it down. The rubber velcro wrist closures broke after a year, the fabric wore through on the bottom drawcord and the hood drawcords don't stay tight. But, it goes to show how good everything else is that I still like it. Not least, this jacket has kept me drier than any other jacket. It is designed for ice climbing and mountaineering, but this slim fit also means that there is no excess fabric to flap in the wind. It is also slightly longer than most mountaineering-style jackets. The two pockets are large and high, with waterproof zips. The main zip is also waterproof with a small flap underneath it. Although other jackets will provide proper stormflaps over the main zip, I've never had any water get in through the zip. I'm not a fan of pit zips, don't use them and would prefer this jacket without them. At 505g this is relatively light, but when wearing it feel heavy enough to inspire confidence in the face of Irish horizontal rain.

Rab Latok Alpine Jacket
If you're willing to look beyong GoreTex then this is a great option, and a great value option. eVent has been around long enough now and has proven itself as a viable alternative to GoreTex. This is a really no-nonsense jacket - just 2 high pockets, with waterproof zips. Again, main zip is waterproof with just a small flap. There are no pit zips but the jacket comes in at 540g. Shop around and you can find this jacket for close to €200. Highly recommended, not just for Irish hillwalkers, but anyone venturing into the mountains.

Mountain Equipment Matrix Jacket
GoreTex XCR and PacLite
No longer available
It might be strange to mention a jacket that is no longer available, but after 8 years of use this jacket is worth a mention. The concept sounds obvious - heavy GoreTex in the high wear areas, and light, more breathable, GoreTex in the rest of the jacket. This made the jacket both light and durable. The only downside is the light GoreTex PacLite (now ActiveShell) was not as good at those really wet days or providing a bit more rigid protection from the wind. That said, the jacket performed well for about 5 years, and is now retired to messy farming work. I don't know why there are not more jackets with this fusion of fabrics - the results would be very suitable for many Irish hillwakers. The closest current jacket from Mountain Equipment is probably the Supercell - but this is all GoreTex ActiveShell with reinforced face fabric in high wear areas.
More information than you ever wanted to know about waterproof breathable fabrics can be found in this thorough article on UKHillwalking - http://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/page.php?id=4556
*Approximate price based on UK£

-- Tom Sweeney (MV Member)

Cheetah Headlamp Review

It is surprising how many mountain rescues there are each year due to walkers or climbers being 'caught out' by failing daylight. Admittedly many of these persons are probably casual walkers but even seasoned outdoor users can succumb to the loss of daylight for example through a route taking longer than expected or even inquiry. I always carry a light weight headlamp in my bag even on summer days and in winter I have often completed the last hour or so of a walk in night time. Many modern headlamps also have other safety features, such a flashing SOS mode to attract attention and red light mode for map reading at night which reduces the effect of a white light on 'night vision'. Finally, a headlamp also opens up the possibilities of night walks especially on moon lit evenings.

There are a multitude of different makes of headlamps on the market, the vast majority of these today use LED bulbs which are brighter and use less energy than equivalent filament bulbs giving longer burn times. The Cheetah headlamp is a new Irish made headlamp and was supplied for review by its makers. For this test I have compared the headlamp with my Petzl Tikka XP model (although now no longer being made it is comparable with newer Petzl models). The Tikka XP use a single Luxeon LED whilst the Cheetah uses the more energy efficient CREE LED (which gives 2-3 times light output for the same energy consumption). The TIKKA XP uses 3 single use AAA batteries (you can use your own NiMh rechargeable batteries but these have less lifetime). In contrast the Cheetah has an integral rechargeable Lithium Ion battery which is mounted on the front of the lamp (which should be cheaper to use than buying batteries for the Tikka). Physical differences between the two lamps include the Cheetah having a full head cradle strap (the Tikka has a single strap but the Cheetah can also be converted to a single strap), the Cheetah has a (much) larger reflector and is heavier (150gm for the Cheetah vs. 96gm for the TIKKA with batteries). The two most important factors for the user (after weight and form) is the brightness of the output and the run-time on batteries. The Cheetah has two output modes (140 lumens on high mode and claimed throw of 100m) and the Tikka has 3 modes (plus a temporary super high mode and flashing mode) with the normal high mode output of 60 lumens. Even on low mode the Cheetah is much brighter than the Tikka on normal mode (bottom picture). The claimed run time for the Cheetah is 5hrs on high mode and 24hrs on low mode. The claimed output of the Tikka on high mode is 60hrs but in practice the output is reduced by 50% after 5-6hrs. The Tikka does include a useful indicator on its side which changes colour as the battery voltage decreases. The Cheetah gives a wider beam than the Tikka with a pronounced centre spot; the Tikka has spot and diffuse mode.

The Cheetah is comfortable to wear, although the large reflector does make you look a little strange (middle picture). The longer reach of the Cheetah light does give you a greater range than the Tikka, but it can be a bit over bright (even in low mode) when looking at the ground or if climbing. I find that the full cradle strap of the Cheetah to be a bit more comfortable than the single strap on the Tikka (top picture). Run times on the Cheetah appear to be close to those quoted but as with the Tikka, brightness will fall off as the battery is depleted but not as much as with filament bulbs. The main concern about using the Cheetah when hill walking is the use of a fixed rechargeable battery. With the Tikka I can replace the batteries when out walking if they fail but with the Cheetah you always have to remember to charge the battery before use. Headlamps from other manufacturers which have rechargeable batteries also allow the user to use standard AAA or AA batteries in an emergency; not so with the Cheetah. Time for a full recharge is quoted at 12 hours, mains and cigar lighter power adapters are included so you could top-up your charge when driving to the hills. The life of the battery is not quoted, but typically Lithium Ion batteries have duty cycles of 500 to 1000 charges. Another concern about the Cheetah is the durability of the attachment of the reflector to the battery which is held in place by a single screw bolt. This allows the reflector to be directed up and down but could become loose over time, however the screw bold can be tightened by the user. The Tikka uses a click stop setting to hold the position of the reflector. The Cheetah costs €50 plus €8 delivery (including chargers) whilst the newer version of the Tikka XP2 costs about €55. Rechargeable headlamps from Petzl cost about €150 but there are many cheaper non-rechargeable options from about €15 upwards.

In conclusion, the Cheetah is good value for money and gives a very bright light with excellent runs times. It lacks some of the features of many modern Petzl headlamps (such as red LED modes, SOS modes and adaptive brightness). It would be excellent for casual use and use by workmen in night-time situations. However, I would have reservations for its frequent use by hill walkers, especially if walking alone when you risk the chance of being stranded if the non-replaceable battery runs out. However, if you are in a group or carry a spare torch/headlamp then it would certainly illuminate the route like a search light. For more information contact www.cheetah.ie

Martin Critchley, 6th March 2013

This month.
Kudos to our contributors.

We welcome the following new members who enrolled this month. adaly, alanrmorris, alwatson, Birdie, Bissboy, Blueskies99, boshea, brendanos, cmax, colliemix, collinss10, Colum, Dazzz, dermot650, DShiel, EddieCosgrove, finlayd, freddickinson, helenshanahan, irishskier, jamesk320, JHegarty, Joe1960, JohannaK, johnmurray1966, John_Murphy, jrmei, JSears2111, katherine, kimbogreen, Magicmist, MartinK, MbHostel, Mchel, mickeyjo, Moneenman, morrini, nandy61, normapratt, norrinder, Oileanach, Oryx, Prefontaine, robertdowds, rodcunha, Sarkuns, shanewtully, SlieveAlan, StDaly71, stevemcgrath01, Twod1916, upandcoming (52)

Our contributors to all threads this month: 0pt0 (1), Astrofizz01 (1), Colin Murphy (3), Donard850 (1), Garmin (2), Jaak (4), Jim Holmes (1), Onzy (2), Peter Walker (2), Trailtrekker (3), Wildcat (2), ahendroff (3), aidand (1), andrewhoward0 (1), dhmiriam (1), dino (5), gerrym (1), Communal summary entries (8), jackill (1), jop68 (1), kernowclimber (1), lonleyjake (9), madfrankie (1), mcrtchly (4), muzag (3), nilsdc (2), paddyhillsbagger (2), scannerman (2), simon3 (10), thomas_g (5), tsunami (1), wicklore (5)
For a fuller list view Community | Recent Contributors

There were comments on the following summits , Arroo Mountain, Benwiskin, Carran, Carran Far North Top, Carran North-East Top, Conwal North, Crockbrack, Croghan Kinsella, Gibbet Hill, Knockullane, Knockullane E Top, Lugnagun, Mangerton, Moylussa, Mweelrea SE Spur, Oughtmore, Slieve Gullion, Slieve Meelmore, Trostan, Truskmore, Truskmore SE Cairn
and these tracks Ballyhoura Mountains Ireland, Bluestack Mountains Ireland, Carnaween, Bluestack Mountains Ireland, Crockbrack, Sperrin Mountains Ireland, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Galty Mountains Ireland, Galtymore, Galty Mountains Ireland, Great Sugar Loaf, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Knockmealdown Mountains Ireland, Knockmealdown Mountains Ireland, Maulin, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Mullaghmore, Sperrin Mountains Ireland, Nagles Mountains Ireland, Poland , Purple Mountain, Purple Mtn Ireland, Shehy Mountain, Purple Mtn Ireland, Slieveanard NE Top, Galty Mountains Ireland, Temple Hill, Galty Mountains Ireland, The Bones, MacGillycuddy's Reeks Ireland, Tomaneena, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Tooreenbaha, Caha Mountains Ireland, War Hill, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland tracks and these walks were created (none in period)

Thanks to all 1047 who have ever contributed summits or routes info and forums.

For a full list view Community | Contributors Hall of Fame

Summary. MountainViews now has 6065 comments about 1028 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 (29) 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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