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jim holmes
2007-01-27 18:02:09
"Mullaghcleevaun" from jim holmes Contract pics
Picture: Mullaghcleevaun (Contract pics)

Billy Byrne's Gap
Being reasonably au fait with most of the summits in Wicklow, on Wednesday last I took my weekly bogtrot to somewhere where I’ve always pondered on, but alas to where I’ve never actually physically been….Billy Byrne’s Gap. Now whilst all the surrounding hills have enjoyed the proverbial blister or two, I never did have rhyme nor reason to potter this piece of the hillwalkers heaven.
Starting from the parking area north of Black Hill a gentle pace took me over Black Hill itself and then on to Moanbane. Relatively quickly on my approach to Moanbane (from about 500m altitude and up) grassy bogland turned to a blanket of snow with a hardened ice crust. This was the making of a wonderful afternoons rambling with the snow giving an almost clean/sterile glow (never did like those mucky sports like rugby) to the day that was in it, despite little or no “Blue” to the skies above.
And here is where my pondering begins…this may very well be an ill-informed question but who was “Billy Byrne” and why was this his Gap? No doubt this has already been answered, most probably in this very forum…..still as I continued on and battled the deepening snowy slopes of Mullaghcleevaun this became an ever burning conundrum to me. This, and why I hadn’t brought crampons, oxygen regulator, oxygen bottles…..oh and a helicopter would have been of use too.
On the summit of Mullaghcleevaun I allowed myself 10mins. break (darkness would only be an hour away) gave a toast to Billy Byrne (Hot Chocolate…...not of the “sexy thing” nature) and wondered how I would work the heater in my helicopter and where did I park it……? No I remember now….that was the high altitude starting to take over.
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