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CaptainVertigo
2013-11-12 17:47:54
Height of Folly - says O'Toole
FINTAN O'TOOLE WRITES in The Irish Times:
This is about the height of folly – literally and figuratively. Literally, it is the bizarre story of why farmers are wasting public and private money putting fences on the top of mountains, making beautiful places ugly. Figuratively, it is about the way, even in a national crisis, the authorities still have plenty of time for the worst kind of bureaucratic foolishness.
We are blessed on this island with breathtakingly beautiful coastal mountains, landscapes that lift the heart and cleanse the soul. But if you walk across these mountains or even look at them from the road, from the Blue Stacks in Donegal, through the Burren and all the way round to west Cork, you will see an inexplicable but apparently implacable blight. Thousands of feet up, where there is nothing else but bare rock and thin soil and harsh scrub, there are now miles of ugly high tensile wire. Over the past few years, the hills have been alive with the sound of sledge hammers driving in fence posts and horny-handed men stringing barbed wire between them.
Why could this be? I have to admit that when I’ve come across these monstrous constructions in the Burren, I’ve assumed them to be the result of the great Irish land madness: farmers saying “I’m going to stake out my personal territory even if it’s on the top of a windblown hill where, at best, a few sheep may graze.”
But I’ve been wrong. The strange truth is that farmers don’t want to do any of this. They’re being forced to do it by the authorities. Hard as it may be to credit, the State is forcing small hill farmers to use money they can ill afford just to make some of Ireland’s most beautiful places ugly. But this is not even the wackiest aspect of the story, for now the State has decided to use taxpayers’ money to subsidise the erection of these fences.
The problem lies with two of the terms and conditions for the single farm payment that comes from the EU and that forms the basic income of almost all small farmers. They read as follows: “There must be appropriate fencing for the farming enterprise. Appropriate fencing means stockproof fencing that will control the applicant’s animals and also the neighbouring farmer’s animals. In mountain/hill areas this generally means sheep fencing,” and “There must be defined external boundaries except in the case of commonage.”

Sensible proposition
You can see that this starts out as a perfectly sensible proposition: a farm should have properly defined and fenced boundaries. But when the farm is a hill farm that includes high areas of natural wildness and beauty where the only farming activity is the grazing of a few hardy sheep or (in the case of the Burren) cattle, the sensible proposition becomes the height of folly.
Well spotted marko.. by march-fixer   (Show all posts)


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Track
Look out for easy path to summit from forest track.
Bunsen7 an hour ago.
Largely replicating track 1291, but showing the trail now going eastwward from the summit to T23444 94039.Views were ... walk, Len: 6.4km, Climb: 304m, Area: Carrick Mountain, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland

  
Summit Comment
Carrick Mountain: If I got there quicker than you it's because I was...
Bunsen7 2 hours ago.
Visited on a beautiful, mild sunny day in Dec 2017. Parked at the forest entrance at Ballylusk as suggested by Track 1291, which I followed. Also had the benefit of the East-West Mapping East Wick...

  
Summit Comment
Ben of Howth: Here's to Howth!
Bunsen7 a day ago.
Having made my first proper visit there this afternoon and doing the Purple "Bog of Frogs" waymarked route (anti-clockwise with the detour to the Ben early in the walk), I found myself marvelling ...

Track
'Off-Grid' in Arctic Sweden: Trekking the Dag Hammarskjöldleden
mcrtchly a day ago.
We first visited Arctic Sweden in September 2016 and walked the middle section of the Kungsleden trail (MV track 3332). walk, Len: 110.7km, Climb: 1726m, Area: Sweden, Norrbotten ()

  
Summit Comment
Spinans Hill SE Top: Brissels or Brussels
Bunsen7 2 days ago.
Climbed both hills on 16/12/17, following the main route described by others here on MV.The forestry between the tops has thinned out a little (or so it seems by reference to previous comments) an...

  
Track
Glen o' the Downs Wood
jgfitz a day ago.
This woodland track can be accessed directly from N11 heading South. After Exit 9, there is a road sign for Glen o' the walk, Len: 5.9km, Climb: 183m, Area: Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland)

Summit Comment
Cloghnagaune: There must be an easier way!
Bunsen7 2 days ago.
This is a rather painful hill to summit from the obvious parking spot at the forest entrance to the south east. Following where others have gone I found myself wading through head high gorse to at...

  
Track
Cloghnagaune Summit and Stone Circle
Bunsen7 2 days ago.
This is a rather painful hill to summit from the obvious parking spot at the forest entrance to the south east. Follow... walk, Len: 4.0km, Climb: 144m, Area: Cloghnagaune, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) C

  
User profile
IainMiller
IainMiller 3 days ago.
A rock climber, hillwalker and guidebook author living, working and playing on the sea cliffs, sea stacks, mountain ranges and uninhabited islands of County Donegal. http://uniqueascent.ie/sea_sta...

Summit Comment
Roaninish: Roan Inish
IainMiller 3 days ago.
Roan Inish (Roaninish) is a low lying storm lashed small archipelago comprising five main islands and a large collection of tidal skerries. The islands are reasonably remote being 4 KM from the ne...

  
Track
The Beara-Breifne Way Day7
mlmoroneybb a week ago.
On Sunday, we were not attacked by the MacCarthys of Drishane Castle but started our walk on the O?Keefe Booning Castl walk, Len: 27.7km, Climb: 362m, Area: Paps/Derrynasaggart (Ireland)

  
Summit Comment
Inishbarnog: Roan Inish
IainMiller 3 days ago.
Roan Inish (Roaninish) is a low lying storm lashed small archipelago comprising five main islands and a large collection of tidal skerries. The islands are reasonably remote being 4 KM from the ne...


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