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Slieve Bloom Area Printable format
Maximum height for area: 527 metres Summits in area: 12
OS Map(s): 54 for all tops Set Area Map On
   

Walk Guide 62 for
Day Challenge - 4 Slieve Bloom Tops
Maintainer: peterturner
Guide rating stars (Guide rating: 2.78)

MountainViews.ie Picture from walk Day Challenge - 4 Slieve Bloom Tops, Slieve Bloom
Overview
Walk length: 21.4km   Ascent: 744m   Duration (without stops): 6:00 h:mm
This walk brings you along the Slieve Bloom Way, ascending to 514m at Stillbrook Hill, along the Laois / Offaly border and returning to your start point via the SBW. It is a good route for MV peak-baggers to knock 4 of the 10 mountains in one trip and with 6 hours endurance and much heather/bog trudging it is a challenge to anyone's stamina. Doing the route in reverse is just as easy and you can if feeling extra hardy and have the time include Wolftrap and Arderin as well (add extra hour for each mountain).
Points visited:
Start = N282 025 - A = N280 024 - Castleconor - Stillbrook Hill - Head of Glendossaun = N245 010 - Carrolls Hill = N225 025 - N245 008 - Barcam - B: Return to SBW = S260 992 - Finish = N282 025
 (Guide last changed: 2008-03-24)

MountainViews.ie Picture from walk Day Challenge - 4 Slieve Bloom Tops, Slieve Bloom
Approaches
To get to the start of the walk take the R440 out of Mountrath and follow all R440 signs. You should notice on the drive up past Castleconor a small quarry on the left and shortly thereafter you will meet twin SBW road signs. Head past this twin sign and park on the left at the forest entrance a short distance on (Gortnameele). This drive is approximately 30 minutes from Portlaoise Town to give Dublin peak-baggers an idea of time.

Start - Stillbrook Hill
At the start you will head off following the yellow man for a short distance (approx 5 mins) until you reach the top of your first climb on the forest track. Here at this point A [N280 024 (Point A)] you should clamber up the peat bank on your left and ascend up to Castleconor Hill (407m) using the convenient forest ride. Your summit is not much to write home about (see summit photos under Castleconor on this site) but you can at least knock it off your list. Descend and turn left upon reaching the SBW again. Follow the track further in the same direction until you reach your first expansive view at a truck turning circle on the left of the track. Clamber once more up the peat bank on your right and despite it being marked as a track on the OSI map ascend the forest ride to the edge of the forest. Once you reach the edge bear right following alongside the forest and at some point make the final assault to the top 'area' of Stillbrook. Look for the heather-covered trig pillar at your foot if you enjoy torture.

MountainViews.ie Picture from walk Day Challenge - 4 Slieve Bloom Tops, Slieve Bloom
Stillbrook Hill - Barcam
Head SW from Stillbrook Hill towards the two fingers of land jutting out to your right. Use the sparsely pole-marked Laois/Offaly border if visibility is limited as a position line. You will pass near the head of Glendossaun valley (see attached photo) on your way to Carroll's Hill. The detour out to Carroll's Hill is worth the trek for two reasons. 1. It is one of the few places in the Slieve Blooms that narrows enough to allow you to see two valleys at once and 2. It has outstanding views on a clear day west towards Offaly as well as views of the horseshoe you will make around Barcam forest and in the near distance is Arderin. Returning from the summit of Carroll's Hill you may notice the y-junction in the heathery ground that slowly departs towards Barcam. Follow this, keeping a good 50 metres from the forest to keep your views and ease of terrain. As you contour around the forest the ascent of Barcam will rise before you and even at this point in the walk you can begin to feel your heart sink as you see yet more heather-trudging ahead of you. Barcam is your fourth (or fifth if you started from Wolftrap) summit and from it you get a good view of Glendine and Arderin (A potential sixth summit as stated earlier).

Barcam - SBW to Finish
From Barcam (using the base of the summit path of Arderin as your guide or SSE in poor weather) head down towards Glendine Gap. It is possible to extend the walk to Arderin and descend Glendine Valley using the SBW but if you are starting to tire you would be best to give your legs some respite by using the tar-sealed road and descend to point B on the road where you rejoin the Slieve Bloom Way. From here it is simply a matter of following the yellow man along various forest rides, forest tracks and tussocky ground back to your starting point. From point B to the start of the walk is around a further one and a half hours.

Point A: N280 024 (turn area map On)
   


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