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Peter Walker: Track 3204 in area near Faill an tSáis, Brandon Group (Ireland)
Brandon north to south...come on pilgrim
Length: 29.9km, Creator time taken: 7h29m, Ascent: 1526m,
Descent: 1538m

Places: Start at Q51867 13809, Faill an tSáis, Masatiompan, Piaras Mor thuaidh barr, Piaras Mór, Brandon Far North Top, Brandon North Top, Brandon, Brandon South Top, Brandon Peak, Gearhane, end at Start
Logged as completed by 2
My previous visits to Brandon have been somewhat fixated on the Pilgrim’s Path and the Faha Ridge, so when it came to attempting to mop up the rest of the group I had to as good as walk the ridge from end to end. Fortunately I’d already done An Scraig and its cubs…in the context of the Brandon ridge they are like the breakfast you did not order or the dessert that keeps repeating on you.
Here be dragons...
Unsurprisingly to return to a starting point necessitated starting from the Cloghane side, and a bit of driving back and forth ended up with “about 200 yards south of the Heritage Centre” being appointed as the ideal place to leave the car. A few hundred yards past that the Dingle Way was picked up as it made its way up minor and green roads to a sharp left bend a few hundred metres SW of the summit above Faill an tSáis. A track, helpfully signposted “Sauce Creek”, leads off here and was used to get close to the easy final rise.
From here it seemed rude not to inspect the very, very impressive abyss of Faill an tSáis itself: as my compadre Dave has pointed out, this would be a bad place to do anything daft (and my mobile phone had no signal at the top either). So I wheeled away from potential oblivion and rejoined the Dingle Way. At this point this is a very conspicuous track, but once you cross the little stream running down from the Masatiompan / Piaras Mor col it turns steeply uphill and becomes much tougher to follow (but marked by posts). By this point the early morning murk had deigned to lift to a point just above Masatiompan’s summit, so I elected to leave the path and climb up the more aesthetic east ridge. Of course, this being Brandon the clouds were back in-situ by the time I reached the summit.
Piaras Mor
Visibility was briefly restored at the col and over the comically insignificant “top” (but still in the Best Irish 100 list! Must fix that…) of Piaras Mor thuaidh barr, but once I started up the bizarre rubble pile of Piaras Mor the gloom returned. This made for some incredible atmospherics over Brandon Far North and North Tops, with the drops on the left seeming unfathomable (as opposed to “being roughly 250 metres”). Now I was on familiar ground and it was on the summit of Brandon that I encountered my first humanity since leaving the road…three French backpackers singing loudly and blowing raspberries. Who ever knew that Monty Python and the Holy Grail was a documentary?
The spooky north side of the ridge
Fortuitously I both left them behind and dropped out of the cloud by continuing south. So taken was I with the allure of Brandon Peak that I almost forgot to take in Brandon South Top. The pull up the latter was longer than it had seemed when I looked at the map the night before (I know…who would have thought it, eh?) and I was a bit puffed by the time I bumped into two more people on the crest of Gearhane (who limited themselves to saying “hello”…French backpackers everywhere, please take note). Unusually for me I immediately found the zig zag track leading to the valley floor near An Loch Geal. I was back on a road now, but unfortunately nobody had stolen my car from Cloghane and abandoned it here…and so I had another 9.5km of tarmacked masochism to go just to make sure there was nothing left of my feet.

Brandon Peak

I even bought another bottle of Lucozade from the little shop in Cloghane on the way. Getting old, it seems.

Uploaded on: Thu, 24 Mar 2016 (21:54:10)
Trackback: http://mountainviews.ie/track/3204/  
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Note: ALL information such as Ascent, Length and Creator time taken etc should be regarded as approximate. The creator's comments are opinions and may not be accurate or still correct.
Your time to complete will depend on your speed plus break time and your mode of transport. For walkers: Naismith's rule, a rough and often inaccurate estimate, suggests a time of 8h 31m + time stopped for breaks
Note: It is up to you to ensure that your route is appropriate for you and your party to follow bearing in mind all factors such as safety, weather conditions, experience and access permission.

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British summit data courtesy:
Database of British & Irish Hills
(Creative Commons Licence)
"ASTER+": Hillshade and Contours
Courtesy of Tiles GIScience Research Group @ Heidelberg University More detail here