June 2019 newsletter from MountainViews.ie
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The Summit

MountainViews newsletter for guestuser

June 2019

HILLWALKING
NEWS - INFORMATION - RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS - FEATURES - FORUMS


  International PIC OF THE MONTH

NORTH, SOUTH, WEST, EAST, MIDLANDS, Jamaica, Malta, Scotland Route ideas and places to go.

Ballyhouras: Walking and History John Fitzgerald (jgfitz)

Challenge Walks

Two videos featured this month. gerrym, Christine Gordon

UPCOMING EVENTS for HILLWALKERS

MOUNTAINVIEWS: Hillwalkers' Events, Winter Talks
  • The Winter Talks are over for another season.
  • REPORT 8th April 2019. There was a talk by members Martin Critchley and Sharron Schwartz of "Purple Peak Adventures" with a title of "Trekking the Realms of Vulcan: Adventures in the volcanic highlands of Iceland and Ethiopia".

    Black sand desert - Laugavegur, Iceland
    Attendees were treated to a fascinating talk by these two seasoned veterans.


MOUNTAIN MEITHEAL: Mountain Meitheal are keen to find more people to help.

Mountain Meitheal make practical repairs to some of the more popular areas we walk on, using a voluntary community based approach. (More information at their website.)


 Picture of the month

Beennabrack is situated on the southern end of the Brandon ridge just north of the Conor Pass.

For original summit, click here.


Photo: MountainHunter

International Pic of the Month

Culra Bothy near Ben Alder is closed (but unlocked) due to a health and safety issue with asbestos.

For original track, click here.


Photo: peter1

Regions: MOUNTAIN COMMENTS - TRIP REPORTS - TRACKS - SUMMARIES
In short: Discovery

Featured Track of the Month
Fair Thee Well
This month's selection comes from gerrym, and takes a classic, slightly adventurous route around and up one of Ireland's greatest rock bastions, the awesome Fair Head on the north Antrim coast. There's a lot of shoreline boulder hopping, a scramble up the rent of the Grey Man's Path and a final exhilarating yomp along the top of the huge granite precipice.

gerrym on Fair Head Scrambles
Main walk Start: 12:26, End: 19:39, Duration: 7h12m, Length: 10.2km, Ascent: 325m, Descent: 336m
Places: Start at D15030 41906, end at Start (statistics such as Ascent or Length etc should be regarded as approximate. Duration depends on the speed of the person making the track)

A walk from Marconi's Cottage near Ballycastle along a great stretch of coastline, including along the base of magnificent Fair Head, ascending by the Grey Man's Path and following the cliff tops before descending back to the coast.This is a classic walk I have completed on several occasions, each time bringing exhileration, trepidation and ultimately a great sense of achievement.
There is ample parking at Marconi's Cottage and a farily good path along the coast. It is great fun to walk along the rocky shore below the path when possible. The views from the outset are stunning - across to Rathlin Island and towards the sharp profile of Fair Head jutting out into the sea.

The track can be a little tricky at times and in full summer the vegetation can be an issue as it attempts to reclaim it. An access issue has arisen at 164 426, where a stream drops down into the sea at a beautiful waterfall. there is now a 'Private Land - No Trespassing' sign. I took note of this and continued, sticking to the shoreline (telling myself this was not the farmers land).
Fair Head looms ever larger and the journey around the base begins. The key is to stick like glue to the coastline and not venture inland unless absolutley neccessary and only as far as needed. The rocks and boulders at the coast are free from vegetation whilst those further inland are covered and are a nightmare to negotiate. On a previous occasion I was literally stuck on these boulders and was crying in fustration at my decision and how difficult and painstakingly slow travel was.

It is a breathtaking ride, where hands and bum are used nearly as much as feet. There are stretches of grass and a track of sorts - created i think by the herd of impressive wild goast that live here and I have seen on occasion. Mostly it is moving from boulder to boulder. There is evidence of landslips and sharply broken rock, where boulders have been moving. Taking time and care is essential.

All the while the sight of Rathlin Island impresses as does views to Scotland. The towering cliffs of Fair Head come into view and disappear and the word 'wow' is one to keep handy. Fishing boats checking their lobster pots were the only company on this stretch, though I have seen pods of dolphins more than once here.
I was keeping an eye out for the crack in the cliff line that is the Grey Man's Path and it seemed like a lifetime before it appeared. This is such an impressive fault in the rock , made even more so by a stone plinth capping the exit from the gully. It was a hard battle up from the coastline with no path to follow and plently of brambles and other vegetation. Higher up a track did appear and made for fairly easy, though steep travel up through the gully.

If the travel along the base of the cliffs was impressive the journey back along the cliff tops turns it up a notch. There is a way marked path along the top and you can get as close to the edge as you dare for breathtaking views to the jumbled rock landscape below. The views over to Rathlin gain a new perspective with height and also across to Scotland.

As the waymarked path turns inland there is another 'No Trespassing' sign, also warning of a bull. I crossed the fence and stuck to the cliff edge for a short section through a field and descended on a rough farm track to the coast. This section back to the waterfall mentioned earlier is marked as private land.

A family of seals were basking on rocks to catch what little heat there was in the sun. Late evening light painted a fantastic picture of Fair Head and much time was spent looking back as i headed back to Marconi's Cottage.






NORTH: If you go down in the woods today (but on a different day)...
The extensive northern slopes of the Mournes contain some extensive woodland mostly given over to the Tollymore Forest Park, and jgfitz has uploaded a track that could salvage some exercise and 'outdoors' from any days where mood or condition or conditions don't allow for higher excursions...lovers of bluebells will be very much satiated.
jgfitz on Tollymore Forest Park
When rain and mist covers the High Mournes, this forest park offers a sheltered and yet interesting alternative. Ascend | walk, Len: 14.1km, Climb: 435m, Area: Mourne Mountains (Ireland) ... Click here ...


NORTH: An awful slog.
If you're planning to ascend Leahan in Donegal SW, don't do via Slieve League, as it's a terrible trudge up a seemingly infinite slope, reports Colin Murphy.
Colin Murphy on Leahan, (Liathán): An awful slog...
Usually done in isolation, we decided to tackle this after doing the Slieve League summits and then return to our car which was parked beside Lough Auva to the north. The descent from S. League for 1km was very steep, a mixture of grass and heather and the ground uneven. We then began the ascent of about 2.3km. This turned out to be a dreadful trudge up a seemingly never-ending slope, and boggy an ... ... Click here ...


WEST: Shapely outlier, serious scrambling.
Updated short summaries by Simon3 on two of the Twelve Bens' finest, the glorious Bencorrbeg and Knockpasheemore, both of which offer truly astounding views. Watch out for significant parking changes.
group on Bencorrbeg, (Binn an Choire Bhig): Shapely outlier, serious scrambling.
Bencorbeg dominates views from the mouth of the Gleninagh Valley. Although only 577m, the full extent of this height is seen when the mountain is viewed from north or east, as the mountain plunges steeply almost to sea level in both directions. Bencorbeg will be typically approached as part of a longer circuit, either from the north as the first hill in the circuit or from Binn an tSaighdiura ... ... Click here ...


WEST: Born in a Barnahowna
The Maumtrasna plateau continues to extend, erm, fairly extensively as it very gradually declines to the north-east, rising slightly to the Arderin summit of Barnahowna on the way. ilenia has approached this little-frequented summit from the south-east, making use of a few km of track before inevitable tracklessness leads you onward to the top. Those seeking variety could make a return via the Buckaun ridge to inspect a couple of the countless corries eating into the massif.
ilenia on Barnahowna from the south-east
Completed this walk on 28.04.2019 after doing a looped walk of the Croagh Patrick range in the morning. Last summer I ha| walk, Len: 15.7km, Climb: 359m, Area: Barnahowna, Partry/Joyce Country (Irelan ... Click here ...


WEST: The wow factor
Minaun may be one of Achill's lesser know tops, but it offers astounding views of Keel Strand, Keem Beach, Croaghaun and Slievemore Mountain, writes Damian120.
Damian120 on Minaun, (An Mionnán): Fabulous scenery featuring one of Ireland's best scenic views.
It's often hard to encapsulate such breathtaking coastal scenery in the west of Ireland. Sometimes it is nice to do a relatively easy walk and be amply reward through a series of picture-postcard settings. What a view looking over towards Keel Strand, Keem Beach, Croaghaun and Slievemore Mountain. I had the binoculars and enjoyed unrivalled views of Slievemore Deserted Village at the foot of Slie ... ... Click here ...




WEST: Great ridge walk
TommyV explores the wonderful heights of the Sheeffrys, crossing the ridge between Barraclashcame and Tievummera, and enjoying spectacular views over Doo Lough and Mweelrea.
TommyV on Barrclashcame, (Barr Chlais Céim): Great ridge walk
Parked at the spot mentioned by weedavie at L84489 67685. I followed the road along the Sheefrey pass for about three kilometers. You will come across a Coilte forest which has a road that zig zgs up the hill through the forest. On the last zag the open mountain is on your left. There is a few hundred metres of felled trees to contend with but its not nearly as bad as it looks. After this you will ... ... Click here ...


Featured summit comment
Erratic boulders on the way
MountainHunter

The picture was snapped at Q463082 B, on the SW approach to Gearhane, looking back toward the valley with Ballysitteragh and Beennabrack in the background.

SOUTH: Beauty dawns
It is rare to get views of the hills as a new day dawns, but MountainHunter captured one of the most glorious sunrises from Beenabrack in the Brandon group.
MountainHunter on Beennabrack, (Macha na gCab): Glorious Sunrise
View from the east side of the mountain, looking north easterly, a spectacular mountain for dawn views. ... Click here ...


SOUTH: A night out with a difference ...
Most walkers would find the notion of hillwalking in the Dunkerrons in the dark a bit daunting, but not so for the intrepid MountainHunter…
MountainHunter on Knockaunanattin W Top: Big Little Lake?
I arrived at the Ballaghbeama Gap about 4.30am in the pitch black of the night, I planned to hike to the top and take some photos of the Reeks from the ridge. The weather had other plans though, as fog and low cloud completely blotted out the sky above me, reducing my visibility to less than 50 metres. I waited some time for light to creep into the gap and started the hike with my head torch ... ... Click here ...


EAST: A long, leisurely and rewarding circuit.
Starting five km to the south, MV member march-fixer enjoys an enjoyable trek up Scarr in Wicklow, also taking in Kanturk and the Brockagh tops.
march-fixer on Scarr, (Scor): Wide open views
To visit Scarr Mountain we parked at the carpark above Brockagh Resource Centre T13981 96860 in Laragh rather than risking your vehicle at the more exposed spots. Your trail starts right at the eastern edge of the carpark and moves in an anti-clockwise circuit. This is a lovely track. Make your way north eastwards up onto Paddock Hill. From up here the good views begin, so be sure to constantly lo ... ... Click here ...


EAST: If you go down in the woods today...
Generally your track reviewer would consider himself happy if he never saw another submission regarding Djouce again, but simon3's itinerary with the Irish Ramblers shows sufficient ingenuity that on balance I'll let them off. The whole route is a figure of eight (a deeply underrated shape in outdoor circles) and features a novel approach to the main summit plus much to-ing and fro-ing. And trees, lots of trees. Obvious extensions might be contrived by using one arm of the route for the ascent before returning over Tonduff and Maulin to Crone Wood, another starting point with 'plenty' of uploading tracks already.
simon3 on Long Hill, Forest, Djouce
This is a figure of eight walk taking in a lot of forest walking, Djouce via a gully and various ingenious connections.E| walk, Len: 17.5km, Climb: 750m, Area: Djouce, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) Djouce ... Click here ...


EAST: X marks the spot
Although the journey to the top of Ballinafunshoge presented great views, the hill itself is cloaked in forestry and the high point is indicated by an 'X' on a tree, reports Colin Murphy.
Colin Murphy on Ballinafunshoge, (Sliabh Boc): X marks the spot
Have battled my way through forest for 15 minutes, I knew I was close to the top, but spend a further 10 minutes wandering around trying to pinpoint the exact top using my GPS. Future baggers should note that much of the forest has recently been harvested to the south and east so the landscape is somewhat different than experienced by previous contributors. Finally I emerged into bright sunlight t ... ... Click here ...


MIDLANDS: It's like a jungle sometimes...
Cullenagh Mountain is a straightforward ascent (on the map) but it's prone to surrendering to nature given a chance, hence ceadeile's multiple tracks to its summit to show the way. Once the climb and return have been achieved (looks like a 'don't wear shorts!' sort of deal), there should be ample opportunity to visit other Binnions nearby such as Hewson Hill and Fossy Mountain.
ceadeile on Alternative route to Cullenagh Trig point
An alternative route to Cullenagh Trig point. Note the GPS device was not recording accurately at times between 300 metr| walk, Len: 3.4km, Climb: 115m, Area: Cullenagh Mountain, South Midlands (Irela ... Click here ...


JAMAICA: Jamaica? No, she went of her own free etc etc...
There's more to Jamaica than sun, sand, cricket and reggae, as march-fixer has discovered. There's the odd waterfall too, and your track reviewer is quite partial to waterfalls regardless of their oddness. His track comes from the (relatively less frequented) east of the island, and illustrates an organised trip to the Reach Falls. Unsurprisingly this includes some deeply exotic flora and fauna, but also some nicely exploratory pseudo canyoning too...one should always push the boat out on holiday.
march-fixer on Blue Mountain Summit, Jamaica
To get a good start for this summit trek we decided to stay in atmospheric Whitfield Hall situated above Hagley Gap. The| walk, Len: 15.5km, Climb: 1103m, Area: Jamaica, St. Thomas () ... Click here ...


MALTA: How do you make a Maltese cross (and other zingers)?
The island of Malta isn't generally known as a holiday hiking venue, but that hasn't stopped madfrankie from making a mission of visiting its highest point. Said highest point doesn't seem to have been steeped in much importance by the locals and as such is 'not so much Errigal, more Seltanasaggart SE Slope' but everywhere's interesting the first time and there's some interesting cliffs and the Madalena Chapel to visit nearby.
madfrankie on The Heights of Malta
When you're considering hiking trips abroad, Malta is not likely to be high on anyone's list. It's small and the human f| walk, Len: 8.4km, Climb: 40m, Area: Malta, Dingli () ... Click here ...


SCOTLAND: Alder Statesman
The Ben Alder Forest is one of numerous areas of Scotland that make Slieve Carr seem about as remote as St Stephen's Green, with mountains that pose a genuine challenge to climb in a single day. peter1 has taken on an itinerary that includes a line of four such Munros, aided by his mountain bike and presumably quite strong thighs. Once into the interior it's a grand highway, and the approach could be used for the mighty Ben Alder itself...note that such outings involve at least 40km round trips once leaving public roads.
peter1 on Really getting away from it all!
This group of mountains is probably best approached from Dalwhinnie. Parking is available at the petrol station and the | walk, Len: 18.7km, Climb: 926m, Area: Loch Treig to Loch Ericht (Britain) Bei ... Click here ...


Sorry if we didn't mention what you posted .. there's a list of all contributors for recent months later.

MOTLEY GATHERING


Volunteering for 2019: Strengthening the MountainViews Committee

Currently we have a number of officers on the committee such as chairperson, secretary etc. We really could use some further committee members to achieve our strategic goals and spread the load.
Position In Brief
Ordinary members For those taking an interest in the MV committee or indeed committees in general we can also use some further "regular" committee members without a specific role. There are many smaller quite finite projects that might suit regular members.
Publicity MountainViews is a great resource based on over 1300 people's contributions over 16 years. Great that is if you have heard of it. And that's where we could use some practical publicity help.
The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth Quite apart from programmers, MV's progress can also use help from people who can really follow through on tasks like creating lists, checking stats, researching place names or geology. Whether on the committee or not we value such people's contributions.
Talks Group Not strictly speaking part of the main committee but a position involved in finding and selecting interesting speakers and organising the three events we are running each year.

Contact us at admin -at- mountainviews.ie

The Ballyhouras

By John Fitzgerald *

 

The Ballyhouras – Hiking in a historic landscape

 

In advance of taking my hiking group to the hinterland of my youth (I hail from the Cork side of the Ballyhouras), I decided to brush up on my knowledge of local history so that I might enhance my fellow hikers “experience”.  Whether this turned out to be an enhancement or an endurance test is for others to tell.   Here’s the summary version.

 


The routes mentioned in the text.

We chose the Darragh Hills Loop walk for the day of our arrival.  This eastern part of the Ballyhouras is separated from the main part by the R512 Kildorrery to Kilmallock road.  The trail-head is at R722 169; just turn off R517 at the former Darragh Creamery.   There are three way-marked trails, all suitable for families.  Part of this track aligns with the Cork-Limerick boundary.  Approaching this county boundary in September 2018, we were reminded of our exact location by the Limerick flag flying atop Castle Gale Hillfort (Carrighenry on Discover Map 73), Limerick being the recently crowned All Ireland hurling champions.  Carrigeenamronety is the high point on this loop, and contains the rare Killarney Fern on its slopes.   This 8.4km loop walk is already recorded and described at /track/3027/

 


Top of Seefin

Next day, we hiked the Seefin Loop from the Ballyhoura Trailriders car park (R 655 186).  They operate extensive bike trails, and are very helpful with information on closed trails, etc.  The 14.6km loop is way-marked and is available with full description at /track/2376/ .  For families, it is possible to reduce this hike in two ways, firstly, a car can be left at the car park, with a second car driven to an alternative starting point at the off-road access to Seefin at R 663 117 which takes 2km off the route.  Secondly, the trail is way-marked left at R 647 181, but going straight ahead at this point further reduces the hike to 9.5km.   Refreshments are available at Ballyhoura Trailriders, but Thatch and Thyme in the 250-year old building in Kildorrery Village is to be recommended for its good food and character.


Castle Oliver

 Seefin offers a spectacular view across to Castle Oliver, a Victorian mock castle and estate formerly owned by a family of Cromwellian settlers of that name.  The house contains the largest wine cellar in Ireland that can hold 55,000 bottles.  The most renowned member of the family was Eliza Gilbert (1821-1861), the mistress of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, and who was directly responsible for him having to abdicate his kingdom.  Eliza duly reinvented herself as Lola Montez, the Spanish dancer, in which role she achieved fame (and renewed fortune) throughout Europe, Australia and America before her untimely death in New York.  Her very eventful life is just one of the many stories told in Turtle Bunbury’s book, “1847 – a Chronicle of Genius, Generosity and Savagery”, published by Gill, which I can highly recommend.

 

My music teacher (briefly, when I was young), was Christine Steepe from Ballyorgan, Christine being a descendant of the Palatines. Often confused with the Pallotine religious order, the Palatines originated in the Lower German Palatinate.  How they ended up on landlords estates in Ireland in 1709 is well told in “People Make Places: Story of the Irish Palatines” by Patrick J. O’Connor.  There is also the Irish Palatine Association, which has a museum in Rathkeale, and which has a website with more information. In 1759, some 50  years after arrival in Ireland, there was a resettlement of 66 families from the Southwell Estate near Rathkeale to the Oliver Estate in the Ballyhouras.  With a policy of keeping the Palatines apart from the rebellious Irish, the villages of Ballyorgan and Glenosheen were created on adjacent boundaries of the Oliver Estate.   The resettled Palatines were still German-speaking Lutherans in 1759, had adopted the Methodist religion in their new homeland and indeed were visited on a number of occasions by John Wesley. They wore clothes in their own custom, and even had a burgomeister.  Glenosheen originally had six houses on each side of the road, forming a little street that ran up the hill towards Seefin (photo).  With their background in vineyards, these expert, diligent tillers of the soil, tamed the foothills of Seefin, clearing the oak forest to make allotments of 3 acres per family, and also grew flax as well as fruit and vegetables. Whilst the Palatines eventually merged into the local community, they were still distinct in my youth.  Today, their main legacy is the family names of Steepe, Fizzell, Heck, Bovenizer, Alton, Bartman, Schumaker, etc.  The best known is Switzer, of that well know department store.

 


Glenosheen Historical View

A sign at Glenosheen points to the home of the Joyce Brothers. Patrick (1827-1914) was educated in hedge schools in Kilfinnane and Mitchelstown, but went on to graduate with an MA from Trinity College Dublin and became a leading scholar, historian and music-collector. His brother, Robert (1830-1883) graduated in medicine from Queens College Cork (now UCC), became Professor of English at Maynooth University and then practiced medicine in Boston.  He was also a poet and a Fenian, being friendly with John Devoy and Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa in America.  He wrote such songs as The Wind that Shakes the Barley and The Boys of Wexford.  Space does not permit reference to other writers with an association with the area, other than Canon Sheehan.

 


Palatine House, Glenosheen

The Canon Sheehan Loop is a short, family friendly 7 km loop at Glenanaar, some 3 km southwest of Glenosheen.  Taking L1239 from Ardpatrick, it is accessed at R653 134, and is fully way-marked.  Canon Sheehan (1852-1913) was Parish Priest of Doneraile when he wrote Glenanaar in 1905, a novel based on the 1829 “Doneraile Conspiracy Trials” in which Daniel O’Connell came to the defence of those charged of murder before the Grand Jury in Cork.  A brother of one of the prisoners left Cork on the Saturday evening and rode a horse 90 miles to Derrynane, arriving at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday morning.  O’Connell travelled to Cork through the night, arriving in Cork at 8:00 a.m. on Monday and was given permission by the court to eat his breakfast as the case commenced.   The case is too complicated to explain here, but the protagonists were from the immediate vicinity of today’s Canon Sheehan Loop.   Hen harriers are to be seen beside the Ogeen River on this loop walk.

 

Many hikers will know that the Ballyhoura Way (partially shown on the map) is part of the Beara-Breifne Way, the route taken by O’Sullivan Beare and his 1000 followers on his hasty retreat from West Cork to Leitrim.  They spent the third night on the hill overlooking Ardpatrick.  Having taken only one day’s supplies, and having raided some supplies on their second day, this was their first night without food.  Ardpatrick is also reputed to be the most southerly location visited by St. Patrick in Ireland, but please don’t ask me for evidence of this.

 


What the Black Ditch may have looked like.

At the very bottom of the map, I show one end of Cliadh Dubh, otherwise known as the Black Ditch, an Iron Age linear earthworks stretching 22 km across the Blackwater Valley from the Nagle Mountains to the Ballyhouras, and terminating close to the Canon Sheehan Loop.  Its purpose is unknown, but it was probably defensive.  It is comparable to the Black Pig’s Dyke that runs 200 km across Southern Ulster, the latter having been dated to between 500 – 25 BC.


The Black Ditch today.

I recently traversed 3.5 km of the Cliadh Dubh across country, and took the above photo. At least on this section, it is very difficult because it traverses across private farms; there were ploughed fields, electric fences, briars, etc, but it was always identifiable from the map, albeit in places now reduced to a bland ditch between fields. However, in places it still portrayed the robustness of a defensive structure. A reference article on the Cliadh Dubh is contained in Mallow Field Club Journal, issue No. 28 of 2010.   It is also marked on Discovery Series map No. 73. If one follows this map where it intersects roads, there are signs at the entrance to fields, the illustration above being one such sign.

 

Finally, what is the connection between Adolf Hitler and the Ballyhouras?  It’s very tenuous, it must be said.  Alois Hitler, Adolf’s half-brother, was a kitchen porter at the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin.  At the Dublin Horse Show in 1909, he introduced himself to Bridget Dowling as an “hotelier”.  They eloped to London in 1910 where they got married.  In due course, William Patrick Hitler was born in Liverpool, where he was baptised by Fr. Nicholas Cooke, and a native of Knockainey near the Ballyhouras.  To cut short the story, Paddy Hitler served in the US Navy during WW2, and was used for publicity purposes against his infamous uncle.

 

Enjoy the Ballyhouras on your next visit.  More information at http://visitballyhoura.com/

 

-- John Fitzgerald

 

* Note: coincidentally there are two John Fitzgeralds active on MountainViews. This John Fitzgerald goes by the MV name of jgfitz as distinct from the other jackill

The MountainViews ANNUAL, 2018.

We published the annual in Feb 2019
60 pages in 13 Articles about walking on hills, mountains and islands here and abroad.

The ANNUAL  (Please save and read in a PDF viewer.) (Hi-res version.)

(Obtain PRINTED VERSION - Euro 15)

emVee-Tube

Videos this month:

MV user gerrym on a glorious trip through the Nephin Begs
YouTube user Christine Gordon reminisces about the Irish mountains having become (probably!) the first woman to climb all the 2000ft summits in Britain and Ireland
[ ED: 2000ft = 609.6m ]

Videography by Peter Walker.

CHALLENGE
A place for those interested in Challenge Walking


Click here for the Challenge Walk Calendar



Challenge Walks Newsletter June 2019

 


Blackstairs 2019 

As the rains abate and sunnier weather slowly teases, we leave May with The Challenge Walks Calendar well underway. The very start of that month saw a glorious day out for all the participants on The Causeway Coast Challenge. A beautiful coastal walk, seasoned Challenge Walker and legend in his own lunchtime, Ian Fitzpatrick, remarked how it was hard not to stop to look backwards at the incredible vistas . . . but no need, especially considering this would be the truth for the second half of the Day - as once the Walkers reach Portbradden, they then turn "about face" and retrace their steps back to Portballintrae passing Dunseverick Castle once again. Next year sees Bannside Rambling Club celebrate their 40th year hosting this Event!

Next year too, all going well, The Wayfarers Hillwalking Club hope to celebrate their 50th, yes 50th year of the ever popular Blackstairs Challenge - which this mid-May was once again a great success.

Pretty much all of the 262 walkers on the day finished and received well-earned Certificates. The weather was plenty hot in the cols and valleys, but not surprisingly, it was definitely fresh atop the higher contours. Take a closer look at the photo on the day . . . that's a biting mist spilling over the gentle rise before Mount Leinster! No call from the cuckoo at   Carrigalachan Gap Checkpoint this year – but the tea was in full flow and sure isn’t that every bit as good as a winning lottery ticket!!

The Blackstairs is the perfect Challenge Walk to cut your teeth into for the first time, so it was one Walk that over the years I managed to coerce all the Brats to come along on (walkers over 16 years allowed). Always great to watch as they admit to not realising how tough the day could be. Enjoy their surprise too, as they can't believe how nimble their Daddy is ("considering he's loike sooo fat and loike a hundred years old!! ").

 

Rolling into June and the 29th of the month sees Galtee Walking Club host The Galtee Challenge (31km with a 1700 meter ascent), always an enjoyable day tracing the mighty summits over these hills. A week earlier and the Kingdom calls as Annascaul Walking Club host The Tom Crean Endurance Walk (31km with a 1750 meter ascent) - yet another Walk that sells out quicker than Hugh Jackman matinée tickets! But before either of these two thoroughly enjoyable outings - the legendary Lug Walk beckons . . .

As has been said before, this is a full day . . . and, this is one of the toughest dates on the Challenge Walks Calendar! Taking place on the 15th June with an ascent of around 2450 metres, the Walk comes with a serious mileage count of 37 in old money (56 arduous kilometres in new dosh).

Up at 3:30 (yes teenie-boppers, that's in the am!). Bus at 4:30 am. Walk at 5am . . . then considering that the final cut off time at Table Track is 5:30pm - there will be Walkers out for 14 hours and then some. Back at The Glen of Imaal with a day's entertainment over, it's still at least an hour and a half before the Challenge Walker gets to hit the leaba!

This will be an eighteen hour day for many!

I mean, Rise and Shine at 3:30 in the am and do absolutely nothing else for the rest of the day and you'd be totally Banjaxed either way! Held every other year and proudly hosted by The Irish Ramblers Hillwalking Club. Read here the Lug Walk Report from 2017 that makes for recommended and informative reading!


On the Blackstairs.

/cms/mv1/node/106

As always, up to date information from the different organising parties can be found on the Challenge Walks Calendar

/challengecalendar/

Here too there'll be many a Report from different days on different Walks that certainly give an honest flavour of what to expect before the boots go on.

So Onwards and Upwards Boys and Girls and never forget how even in June the weather can turn in an instant . . . and pack a whistle, they weigh feck-all (useful Challenge tip no.47!).

Keep Safe and Enjoy your Day,

Jim Holmes.

-- Jim Holmes.



Also take a look at this resource managed by MountainViews:

www.facebook.com/ChallengeWalksIreland

SUMMITEERS and PLACE-VISITORS CORNER
A place for those interested in Summiteering, Bagging, Highpointing, visiting islands and coastal places.


A Guide to Ireland's Mountain Summits - The Vandeleur-Lynams & The Arderins
MountainViews first book available online and in some bookshops. The first reprint with numerous minor amendments is available.

Purchase from here.

simon3 on A Guide to Irelands Mountain Summits
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As members will know, for over a decade, Mountainviews.ie has been providing unique information to hillwalkers on all aspects of exploring and enjoying Ireland's upland areas. It's been a collaborative effort by over 1000 of you, and currently contains over 6000 comments on 1057 mountains and hills on the island of Ireland ... ... Click here ...
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This month.
Kudos to our contributors.

We welcome the following new members who enrolled this month. ageary, alanm, Angie, Annamary, ansionnachrua, Asha, Atilla-the-Bun, ballyhoe, Baltoboy, Barryd72, Bazookarama, beckie_28, Ben-b01, BernieM, Bigmackers, Bjoyce, Bobbin, BostonJohn, briankelly, brianodwicklow, Canooky, Car, Chrissieg, christinahussey, cianlynch, Clarksgreenfarm, ConorGilligan, CregganMan, darraghOC, Derrickearly, dhwc, Djotsky, dmisstear, dms78, Doblinger, doggod, Don-Crowley, EdelT, Elfedez, estarr2, evelineduhaime.e, evelynoriordan, Extravaganza, fada, folanstephen, Forramoyle, funiss, GarLmk, garybuz, gaughan, Geraldineitchell, Geraldinemitchel, grainne1, hkjan, hkjan8, Hpotterton, Ivan79, ivanmartin, ivansmartin, Jim-Anne, jockey, John-mark_Clancy, JonF, jonnyhotspur, Jweb999, kaskrien, Kateom, KevinKelly, kevoonie, Kimmy, kmrjack1, krysztal1, learykid, lorna, mallymcd, maoris, Marco123, MaryK1960, Mayo1963, mayomick, Mick-Stuart, Mikethenovice, mischmasch, mo3737649, MountainHunter, Murphy18, myteron, niamurph, nickwalk, nickwalker, NorrieHenchy, novice, nualarigney, pameladagg, pat.f.barry, patfurlong, patmack, PeterBrewitt, pgaughan, Philsmillar, Prem, rdenholm, RedBelly, Remi, Richardcoughlan, richbo, Ripel, Roatf1, robad4802, rolenn70, RossF, RossFoley, Roswayman, S-J, Sassenach, ScottishLee, seandev, Seved, Sgain-dubh, Sheena17, Shimo, Silbana, SkerriesWalking, Skye, slugtrail, slushy, Sparky1, srikanth, stefanio, Stevey, Stewie, Straoil, summit21, sz, Thereseo, Tifred, timredfern, Tullyroe, Wellray, wsslx14, xao, Yellowsun, Z.V (143)

Our contributors to all threads this month: Colin Murphy (12), Damian120 (1), David-Guenot (11), Fergalh (1), GSheehy (2), Liamob (1), MountainHunter (5), Onzy (7), Pepe (3), Peter Walker (4), TommyMc (2), TommyV (6), Ulsterpooka (3), caiomhin (1), ceadeile (20), conorc57 (1), dmisstear (1), eamonoc (1), eugeneryan959 (1), gerrym (1), Communal summary entries (11), ilenia (2), jgfitz (6), kernowclimber (1), leonardt (1), liz50 (2), madfrankie (3), march-fixer (3), markwallace (1), mcrtchly (2), melohara (1), peter1 (4), philmchale (1), simon3 (13), tomlug48 (3)
For a fuller list view Community | Recent Contributors

There were comments on the following places An Cheathrú Lair, Ballinacorbeg, Ballinafunshoge, Ballycurry, Barnahowna, Barrclashcame, Beennabrack, Binn Bhriocáin, Brandon Peak, Bruse Hill, Caherbarnagh, Caherbarnagh East Top, Camenabologue, Caponellan Hill, Carrick Mountain, Carriglineen Mountain, Cloghnagaune, Clogrennan Hill, Corballis Hill, Cullenagh Mountain, Cullentragh Mountain, Cumber Hill, Gearhane, Hewson Hill, Inis Leacan, Kirikee Mountain, Knockalongy South-West Top, Knockaunanattin W Top, Knockchree, Knocknaskagh N Top, Lettershinna Hill, Liathán, Mangerton North Top, Minaun, Mount Leinster, Musheramore, Mweelrea, Oileán an Chlaí, Robber's Pass Hill, Scarr North-West Top, Shantemon, Sleamaine, Slieve Bawn, Slieve Carr, The Paps East, Tinoran Hill, Tonelagee, White Hill
and these shared tracks Aghla Mountain, Bluestack Mountains Ireland, An Socach, Killilan to Inverness Britain, Antrim Hills Ireland, Barnahowna, Partry/Joyce Country Ireland, Ben Bury, Mweelrea Mountains Ireland, Bencorrbeg, Twelve Bens Ireland, Blackstairs Mountain, Blackstairs Mountains Ireland, Bruse Hill, North Midlands Ireland, Carrauntoohil, MacGillycuddy's Reeks Ireland, Church Mountain, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Cloghernagh, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Croaghconnellagh, Bluestack Mountains Ireland, Croghan Kinsella, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Cullenagh Mountain, South Midlands Ireland, Cullenagh Mountain, South Midlands Ireland, Dart Mountain, Sperrin Mountains Ireland, Djouce, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Dublin Islands Ireland, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, France, Occitanie , Italy, Emilia-Romagna , Italy, Tuscany , Italy, Tuscany , Jamaica, Portland , Jamaica, St. Thomas , Keeper Hill, Shannon Ireland, Knockanallig, Caha Mountains Ireland, Knocknaveen, Achill/Corraun Ireland, Loch Treig to Loch Ericht Britain, Luggala, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Malta, Dingli , Mauherslieve, Shannon Ireland, Maulin, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Mourne Mountains Ireland, North Midlands Ireland, Sgurr na Lapaich, Killilan to Inverness Britain, Shantemon, North Midlands Ireland, Slieve Binnian, Mourne Mountains Ireland, Slieve Bloom Ireland, Slieve Donard, Mourne Mountains Ireland, Stockeen Cliff Top, Clare Coastal Hill Ireland, Sugarloaf, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Temple Hill, Galty Mountains Ireland, The Paps East, Paps/Derrynasaggart Ireland, Tomies North Top, Purple Mountain Ireland, Torc Mountain, Mangerton Ireland, West Clare Ireland, West Clare Ireland tracks were created.

Thanks to all 1365 who have ever contributed place or routes info and forums.

For a full list view Community | Contributors Hall of Fame

Summary. MountainViews now has 9309 comments about 1770 different hills, mountains, island and coastal features out of the total in our current full list (2159). We want to get a good gps track showing each of the major ways to visit each of these places and summits in Ireland. If you see an option to add a "Short Summary" then do please consider creating one since another objective is to have a short summary for every summit and island and coastal feature in Ireland. There's quite a few (389) opportunities for you to be the first to comment on a place, not so many on summits, however lots of opportunities for islands and coastal features as we bring them out. We also have around 2000 shared GPS tracks, mostly in Ireland. Apart from a few popular areas, there is a need for more routes in many different areas. Plain shared tracks without descriptions are welcome however if you have time then do please add route descriptions with photos.

NOTICES

Notices
  • If you are contributing, please be careful to respect the interests of landowners. Suggest access routes well away from houses, gardens or that could conceivably impact farming activities. When walking, keep away from gardens or farm buildings. Use stiles or gates wherever possible. Never do anything that could allow animals to roam where the farmer did not intend. Ask permission where appropriate.
  • Take care if parking and do not obstruct roads, lanes and field entrances to access by farm machinery, which can be large. Exercise your dog in parks or forests but avoid countryside or open hillside where they may worry sheep.
  • Report suspicious activity to the police forces, as below.
  • If your car is broken into in an upland area report it to the PSNI or Gardai as this will help them be aware of the issue and tackle it in future. Store the numbers. In Northern Ireland use the PSNI non-emergency number 0845 600 8000. In the Republic you can find the local Garda District HQs phone numbers at www.garda.ie/Stations/Default.aspx. Specifically for the hotspot of Wicklow: the Garda Divisional Headquarters in Bray is 01 6665300.
  • If you hear of a problem area or route, write it up in MountainViews which does everyone a service.
    Report rubbish tipping in the Republic - ring EPA hotline 1850 365 121
    Report recreational quads in national park area (in which they are banned). They are also banned in the Mournes. For Wicklow please phone the Duty Ranger: 087-9803899 or the office during office hours Telephone: +353-404-45800. For the Mournes ring the PSNI (as above) or contact Mournes Heritage Trust. Put these numbers in your phone, take regs etc. Let MV know of contact numbers for other areas.
  • If you have visited some of the less well known places, we would appreciate a place rating and also "Improve Grid Ref" for summits and other places.
  • If you find errors in the basic information about places such as in their names, their heights, county name etc please use the "Propose Places Database Change" option.
  • If we can, let's make MV have more than one route up a summit or to a place so as to reduce the tendency for paths to appear. Your grid refs in comments for different starting points show up on MountainViews maps as well as shared GPS tracks.
  • MV Facebook page. Visit the MountainViews Facebook page.
  • ChallengeWalksIreland Visit the Challenge Walks Ireland page (jointly managed by MountainViews)

This newsletter

This newsletter Editor: Simon Stewart, Homepage: www.simonstewart.ie
Assistant editors: Colin Murphy, David Owens
Summit comment reviews: David Murphy
Challenge Info: Jim Holmes
Track reviews: Peter Walker
Book reviews: Aidan Dillon, Peter Walker, Mel O'Hara
Videography: Peter Walker
Graphics design advice: madfrankie
Development & support volunteers: Vanush "Misha" Paturyan, Mike Griffin
NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE. View previous newsletters mountainviews.ie/newsletter
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