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JACKILL
2009-04-07 13:54:15
Conor74- Mount Brandon
Start at the carpark under the Faha Grotto( marked on OS map) on the hillside overlooking Cloghane. There is room for 8-10 cars.
Walk up the track past grotto and on until you cross over a wire fence. At this point you will be near the crest of the ridge. You now have 2 options. You can continue on the well marked lower path which will lead you around into the valley under the Faha ridge overlooking the Paternoster lakes. At the top of this valley ,cross the stream, you will see a track leading up at the left-hand side onto the col from where you turn left and climb approx 150 mtrs to the summit of Brandon.
The other option is to continue on up to the crest of the ridge after the wire fence and follow a low line of stones upwards. This stone line will after a short distance start to veer to the left away from the crest of the ridge. Do not follow it, stay near to the crest which will turn slowly towards the right. You will eventually gain a grassy platform after crossing another fence at about 790/800 meters elevation, here starts the more difficult section which has many rocky steps to negotiate.
I would urge you to be very sure about the ability of your party before attempting this ridge.
It is difficult in good weather and in bad weather/visibility/winds might not be such a good idea.
If you decide to do it then stay as close to the top as possible. When you are approximately two thirds along it you will come to a section near a large slab where there seems to be no way forward, Take your time and explore as there is an option to drop down to the right. When you find it you should be able to make out where others have walked before.
Again be very careful, I stand to be corrected but it was on this section some years ago a female walker fell to her death. The drop down is from memory 6/8 feet and not pleasent as if you fall forward there is just open air between you and the valley floor.The photo from GWPR marked July 2002 is taken at the bottom of this drop looking forward. Once down you are confronted by a wall of boulders and rock that seems to offer no way onto the col. Follow your nose through the boulders contouring carefully up to the right. You will find yourself on a steep slope with a faint track in places which you can climb to gain the ridge. If you meet a wire fence do not cross it, as you have gone too far, rather go back and start upwards as soon as you can.
You will gain the ridge west of point 891mtrs, from there again turn left to reach the summit of Brandon.
If you think that this is sufficient then the only route back in both cases is from the col back down and out the lower track over the paternoster lakes.To extend the walk the option is to continue along the ridge as far as Mullaghveal and from there either up to the Conor pass or down to the road near loch Dubh. If you want to do either of these options its probably best to leave a car at your endpoint or you've got fair walk ahead of you on tarmac!.
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