March 2019 newsletter from MountainViews.ie
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The Summit

MountainViews newsletter for guestuser

Mar 2019

HILLWALKING
NEWS - INFORMATION - RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS - FEATURES - FORUMS


  International PIC OF THE MONTH

NORTH, SOUTH, WEST, EAST, MIDLANDS, England, Scotland , Atlantic Route ideas and places to go.

Members' meet Mournes, Sat 6th April

Skiing in Ireland!! Mournes, Wicklow, Silvermines

A Grand Day Out Reports from Eamon O Callaghan

Map Review East-West's Comeragh Map

Challenge Walks

Three videos featured this month. gerrym, mcrtchly/kernowclimber, ToughSoles

UPCOMING EVENTS for HILLWALKERS

MOUNTAINVIEWS: Hillwalkers' Winter Talks
  • Friday 22nd Feb Report.
    MountainViews Gathering.

    Éanna ní Lamhna
    Naturalist and hillwalker
    Some 65 came to the MountainViews gathering Guest speaker Éanna ní Lamhna well known broadcaster on RTE, spoke "Wildlife on our hills - by day and by night" with a wide selection of pictures carefully selected for what you can actually see on the hills from ravens to hen-harriers and voles. In the past Éanna completed the Irish county highpoints and her very competent commonsense style with a dash of Irish and Latin got her rapt attention and strong applause..


    Toughsoles
    Waywalkers
    Toughsoles This couple has managed to discover and document something really novel for Ireland - the Waymarked Ways walking experience ("waywalking"). This enterprise has revealed many interesting insights and perspectives.

    There was the usual awards ceremony for people who have completed specific challenges or done something for hillwalking and/or MountainViews

    Click for more photos.

  • 8th April 2019. There will be a talk by members Martin Critchley and Sharron Schwartz of "Purple Peak Adventures".

    Black sand desert - Laugavegur, Iceland
    The title will be "Trekking the Realms of Vulcan: Adventures in the volcanic highlands of Iceland and Ethiopia". Join us as we trek two incredible routes through two very different countries, in different continents, with very different cultures, climates and landscapes, yet underpinned by a similar geology.



These meetings are being organised by the MountainViews committee. Talks are held in the Lansdowne Hotel, 27 - 29 Pembroke Road, Dublin 4 unless otherwise stated. Entry is free unless otherwise stated. There is a voluntary collection. Directions here www.lansdownehotel.ie . The excellent bar facilities allow you to have a drink with other hillwalkers before or after the event. You can get a meal before the meeting also. Should you wish to stay overnight then please consider staying with the Lansdowne.

Organisers
We continue to have a deficit of talks organisers for 2019. This is impacting the community's ability to create an interesting and varied programme, despite the reasonable attendances we get. It's a relatively light bit of volunteering as such things go and if you were thinking you might help, get in touch by email at secretary@mountainviews.ie .

The meetings as advertised above will go ahead and we have plans for further members meetups on the hills for 2019 to announce in the coming months.

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

Maulin from the slopes of Prince William's seat.

For original summit, click here.


Photo: simon3

International Pic of the Month

View to the NW from just below the summit of Slættaratindur, Faroe Islands.

For original track, click here.


Photo: mcrtchly

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

Featured Track of the Month
That Knocksinking feeling
This month's selection is a totally summit-free outing from jgfitz, following a very interesting-looking route through the relative fleshpots of the hills near Enniskerry in County Dublin. It starts with an ascent of the gorge of the Glencullen River within Knocksink Wood, a quick shlep along the road, then beverages in Glencullen Activity Park before a new trail leads around an old golf course and up towards Three Rock Mountain before heading back to the road. It doesn't always need to be about the summits.

jgfitz on Knocksink Wood to Glencullen and Stepaside
Main walk Start: 10:12, End: 15:28, Duration: 5h16m, Length: 14.3km, Ascent: 578m, Descent: 520m
Places: Start at O22080 17477, end at O19109 24072 7.2km NW from Start (statistics such as Ascent or Length etc should be regarded as approximate. Duration depends on the speed of the person making the track)

Knocksink Wood on the outskirts of Enniskerry is a lovely nature reserve. After an easy 2 km hiking, the remaining 2 km of this wood gets gradually more challenging. Make sure to take a left turn over the bridge across the Glencullen River, and continue upriver into the wood as the gorge deepens. The wood gets wild and wonderful. Eventually, as you ascend steeply towards the road and away from the river below, take good care as it can be slippery and dangerous in wet conditions. For the 1 km road from there to Glencullen, it is advisable to wear a yellow vest for safety reasons. Glencullen Activity Park (GAP) offers a welcome coffee on a cold day, and is the access point for a new off-road hiking trail around the former golf course and onwards towards Three Rock. On this occasion, we chose to turn east just before reaching Three Rock, descending to the road at Barnaculia, crossing it, and then down through Fernhill to emerge onto the Enniskerry Road and Stepaside. An excellent and very satisfying hike. (We were delayed at the beginning of the hike, so one would expect to complete it in perhaps 45 minutes less than it took us on this occasion).

Glencullen River within Knocksink Wood






NORTH: Army dreamers.
Once the haunt of the British Army, Camlough Hill in the Cooley/Gullion area, still bears some of those metallic military remnants, but is a cracking summit nonetheless, says Peter Walker.
group on Camlough Mountain, (Sliabh gCuircín): Army Dreamers
Relatively recent history has liberated Camlough Mountain from the bonds of the military: some metallic paraphernalia remains high on its slopes but if one puts that aside it's a cracking little eminence set in splendid country. Start from the minor road across the hill's southern flank at (054 239); a couple of cars can be cautiously slipped onto verges hereabouts. Follow the road (locked gat ... ... Click here ...


NORTH: Thereby hangs a tale…
Hangman’s Hill in the Dartry Mountains offers great views of Sligo Bay and its name has rather gruesome origins, explains magnumpig.
magnumpig on Hangmans Hill: A northern approach
It's fairly straightforward to access Hangmans Hill, Keelyogyboy Mtn NE Top and Far E Top from the north. On the N16 take the local road opposite the graveyard, and proceed until you come to the entrance to the forestry. This is the best place to park. Proceed south along the local road on foot for about 10 minutes until approx. coordinates G79039 39668 (I'm not sure how to add coordinates so hope ... ... Click here ...


WEST: Ireland’s highest waterfall?
At 220m the cascade from the SE slopes of Tievnabinnia in the Sheeffrys is arguably the highest in Ireland, writes David-Guenot.
David-Guenot on Tievnabinnia, (Taobh na Binne): One of Ireland's highest waterfalls ?
I thought I'd share this pic I took while exploring the summit area of Tievnabinnia E Top recently. This amazing waterfall cascades down the SE slopes of Tievnabinnia. The OSI map suggests it would be at least 220m high, which would mean it may be one of the highest waterfalls on the Emerald Isle. Just wonder if it's the same as the one which appears on Milo's pic ? ... Click here ...


WEST: 'There's weather out there...'
Three substantial hills sit guardian over the bulbous isthmus of Corraun out in the west, and conormcbandon has had a meterologically adventurous day traversing all of them. Unfortunately this meant missing out on the excellent prospects such a walk affords in better conditions. Brisk walkers could top/tail their day with ascents of several smaller summits just over the sound on Achill itself.
conormcbandon on A circuit of Corraun
This a circuit of the three big hills on Corraun.Cloud cover and a hard wind driven mist really came in hard on Corraun | walk, Len: 18.0km, Climb: 1088m, Area: Cnoc Leitreach, Achill/Corraun (Ireland ... Click here ...


WEST: A grand day out in the west
Snow and blue skies both enhanced eamonoc’s stunning east-west traverse of the Croagh Patrick Ridge, but also made the going quite tough on occasion.
eamonoc on Ben Goram, (An Bhinn Ghorm): A grand day out in the west
A Christmas gift had deposited me in the luxury of the Westport Woods Hotel for the weekend, so with some time to spare decided to Traverse the Croagh Patrick Range from East to west, after a very Cold and frosty friday night drove out the R335 to Belclare Bridge. Had to walk up to Western way from here as the side roads were treacherously slippy, the climb up from the Western Way to Crott Mountai ... ... Click here ...




SOUTH-WEST: Nowen Knows My Plan
A straggly group of hills mooches inland from Bantry Bay in the south-west, with Nowen Hill as its highest point. But the closest of the summits to the sea is Mullaghmesha, and thegrimes has taken the opportunity this presents to admire the view over the coastline. There's also the ruins of Castle Donovan at the start, and an easy ascent mostly along a transmitter access road; there is limited boggy ground however. There's also the possibility of including Nowen Hill's subsidiary tops on the return.
thegrimes on Mullaghmesha Loop
Pleasant, non-challenging loop walk, beginning and ending at the car park by the bridge south of Castle Donovan ruins.So| walk, Len: 11.1km, Climb: 405m, Area: Mullaghmesha, Shehy/Knockboy (Ireland) ... Click here ...


WEST: The Pilgrims Path less travelled
Madfrankie takes the less-trodden Pilgrim’s Path from Teelin to explore the wonderful Slieve League and experiences some ‘jaw-dropping, gob-smacking’ views!
madfrankie on Slieve League South-East Top, (Sliabh Liag barr soir ó dheas): The Pilgrims Path less travelled
The Pilgrims Path which starts from near Teelin (the path is well sign-posted from the village) is an interesting approach to the SE Top, and would be more lauded were it not for the more spectacular cliff-hugging route from Bunglass Point. From the car park (about 6 spaces) the track ascends the valley, passing Croleavy Lough, before angling right (northwest), and eventually petering out 500m fr ... ... Click here ...


SOUTH: Glentrasna circuit without the road walking
IainT’s route through the Cahas sticks to the hills and provides some terrific views and dramatic waterfalls and loughs.
IainT on Droppa: Glentrasna circuit without the road walking
A slightly shorter version of Onzy's route avoids the road walking and still takes in all the best bits of the Glentrasna circuit. Park by the bridge at V826596, cross it and go along the road rightwards to the farm. Just after this turn left on a rougher track until this ends at a fence. About 20m up this is a gap taken by another rough track which zigzags up to end in open moorland. Go up this ( ... ... Click here ...


SOUTH: Take your own sweet time.
You’ll encounter a cornucopia of rocky lumps and bumps and wild perched lochans on your route to Sugarloaf Mountain’s stunning summit views, says IainT.
IainT on Sugarloaf Mountain, (Gabhal Mhór): A superb route that deserves to be better known
I followed Liz50's description (below) from the west, starting up the forestry track from the Leitrim Beg standing stone (V849512). This takes you quickly up onto the higher reaches of Nareera, where sheep tracks run up to the SW Top above Lough Keel, a brilliant viewpoint. I detoured north to take in Nareera N Top for bagging reasons, but it's probably a better walk if you don't. A cornucopia of ... ... Click here ...


SOUTH: Sun and snow on the classic northern horseshoe
IainT enjoys a spectacular circuit of the Galtymore Horseshoe, bags a number of summits and has a close encounter with a bunch of ravens for good measure.
IainT on Galtymore, (Cnoc Mór na nGaibhlte): Sun and snow on the classic northern horseshoe
If you want to see Galtymore at its best then the classic northern horseshoe is far superior to the approach from the south (but you forego the advantage of the high start, so it's much steeper and more energetic). Plenty of parking half a mile up the boreen east of Clydagh Bridge, then follow the easy forest tracks, well waymarked as the route to Lough Curra. Eventually this leaves the forest and ... ... Click here ...


EAST: His default hill…
He’s ascended Slieveboy Hill in North Wexford about fifty times, but still enjoys the superb views of the Blackstairs from the summit, reports scannerman.
scannerman on Slieveboy, (An Sliabh Buí): Default hill
I've forgotten how many times I've gone up this hill, must be over 50. I live relatively close so its the easy option when larger 'expeditions' are a non starter. It has a very decent balcony walk on the eastern side and superb views of the Blackstairs from the top. ... Click here ...


EAST: Misty morn…
Every cloud has a silver lining as Simon3 discovered on Maulin in Wicklow, capturing a sprite-like wisp of mist illuminated by the sun.
simon3 on Maulin, (Málainn): Misty morning
Just sometimes and just for a short while a damp forest can show a misty fairy side. And so it was one January day after a heavy raincloud had passed and the sun had magicked this sprite into the air. ... Click here ...


MIDLANDS: An early nomination for ‘Moron of the Year’
Apparently someone thought it would be funny to expend a great deal of energy and effort demolishing the trig pillar on Croghan Hill in the North Midlands, discovered TommyMc. A later post announces that Offally County Council plans to replace the damaged pillar.
TommyMc on Croghan Hill, (Cnoc Cruacháin): Trig Pillar demolished by vandals
The trig pillar on the summit of Croghan Hill has recently been all but demolished by what seems to be an act of wilful and destructive vandalism. The remains of a large burned-out tyre now sit alongside the ruins of the trig pillar. It's hard to understand the mentality of whoever did this. Apart from that, the circa 650m gentle walk up from the community centre is as idyllic as ever. I was ch ... ... Click here ...


ENGLAND: Shopping on the high street
The Far Eastern Fells are where the wonderland of England's Lake District starts to become a bit infected by the more prosaic and pudding-esque attractions of the Pennines. Onzy has continued his campaign to tick off all the fells in Wainwright's Guides with a nice leg stretcher in this neck of the woods, starting over the formerly forbidden summit of the Nab before following the line of the High Street Roman Road north almost to Ullswater. Plenty of variations to this route are available, and it should be noted that this is one of few bits of this National Park where one has a chance of solitude.
Onzy on Lake District: Eastern Martindale Circuit
Classic circuit in the lakes taking in 10 Wainwrights and two other peaks...| walk, Len: 21.7km, Climb: 1052m, Area: Bonscale Pike, Lake District - Eastern Fells (Britain) Bonscale Pike, Arthur\'s Pi ... Click here ...


SCOTLAND: Like the West, but bigger
melohara has done a fair amount of walking in the Scottish Highlands in the latter part of 2018, evidently beavering away at the list of Munros. One of his excursions was over the straightforward and geographically unremarkable summits of Beinn a'Chochuill and Beinn Eunaich towards the west coast, a fairly easy day (with the best part of 1200m of ascent!) with the reward of quite wonderful views of the spectacular Ben Cruachan massif over Loch Etive...your track reviewer is getting all misty-eyed at the memory.
melohara on Beinn a'Chochuill and Beinn Eunaich
Two straight-forward Munros which can easily be reached when travelling to or from Glasgow Airport. The start / finish | walk, Len: 13.8km, Climb: 1183m, Area: Beinn a'Chochuill, Glen Etive to Glen L ... Click here ...


ATLANTIC: The Lone Islands
More possibilities from the almost Narnian landscape of the Faroe Islands from mcrtchly and kernowclimber, this time an almost absurdly spectacular ascent of the highest point in this Atlantic archipelago, Slættaratindur. It's a short climb by local standards, mostly on clear trails but sometimes in rather exposed positions, but the visual rewards (if visible, given the variable climate hereabouts) are 'considerable'.
mcrtchly on Faroese High
Slættaratindur (flat summit) Mountain, the highest point in the Faroe Islands, is located in the northern part of the i| walk, Len: 4.1km, Climb: 517m, Area: Unid, Unid () ... Click here ...


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

MOTLEY GATHERING



New book on Beara Peninsula

Just published: BEARA is a stunning new book from Irish landscape photographer Norman McCloskey. Featuring unseen work, made throughout the last two years, BEARA sheds new light on one of Ireland's best-kept secrets.

The Beara Peninsula on the south-west coast of Ireland is a spectacular landscape of mountains, valleys, glacial lakes, bogland and of course the wild Atlantic ocean. It is where Norman McCloskey's adventure with photography began, 26 years ago, after visiting the town of Kenmare for a weekend as 20 year old, and quickly making it his home.

Endless inspiration has been on his doorstep throughout the years as he developed a real passionate connection with the landscape and created a body of work which today hangs on walls and in private collections all over the world. BEARA follows McCloskey's first book published in 2013, PARKLIGHT - Images of Killarney National Park, which was the first photographic book on Ireland's premier national park.

This new book offers a more personal look at the landscape that is closest to him and one that is only recently beginning to see it's potential as a world-class destination.

Reviewer Wanted
If you are interested in reviewing this, get in touch with admin@mountainviews.ie




Why I only take one holiday flight a year

This article is a Harbinger of a painful Environmental Change.
Click Here.


MI Hillwalking Committee - action needed today.

simon3 on MI hillwalking committee seeks members.
Applications sought for members of new Hillwalking Committee The Board of Mountaineering Ireland has agreed terms of reference and an initial work plan for a new Hillwalking Committee and is now seeking applications for membership of the committee. Background At our AGM in 2018, a motion from the Irish Ramblers Club was passed to establish a Hillwalking Committee. A Working Group ... ... Click here ...





Slieve Donard
from Slieve Muck. Sharron Schwartz
MOUNTAINVIEWS MEMBERS MEET Saturday 6th April, Mournes

Why not make a weekend of it!
The walk is open to everyone and in particular mountainviews.ie members and friends
There will be a number of route options but all will include the summit of Slieve Donard, the highest in Ulster. Depending on the weather the walk will continue to Slieve Commedagh and may include part of the Brandy Pad, an old smugglers route from the coast.
We will be based in the town of Newcastle in Co. Down where there are a large number of accommodation options from Bed and Breakfast right through to the luxurious Slieve Donard Hotel.
A post walk meal will be arranged in a restaurant in Newcastle where you will have an opportunity to relax and enjoy the company.
If you would like to come along or require further details, please contact Liz at elizabethashton2014@outlook.com



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

A Grand Day Out

By Eamon O Callaghan

 



Onzy at Col De Lyss
our esteemed committee chairperson.

A Grand Day Out

Having completed nearly 800km of walking last year in various locations here in Ireland and abroad, found it hard to pick what for me was a grand day out, but eventually decided on two. The first being a fantastic and arduous Alpine climb in the Monte Rosa group of Alps, the climb to Margharita Hut at 4554m,  accompanied by fellow Mountain views member  Dave Owens (Onzy)!!. Starting point for this climb was Alagna Val Sesia altitude 1191m, a couple of cable car rides brought us to Passo Salati 2980m, and from there it was a demanding hike which included climbing up vertiginous ladders  to Capanna G Gnifetti at 3647m.

A restless night here was followed by a very early start to begin the climb. Immediately behind the hut we were faced with the crossing of approx 42 Crevasses, these safely negotiated led to easier ground and up to the Col De Lyss at 4000m, from here a further climb upwards brought us to the terminal slopes of Margahrita, which were very steep and challenging following our 4 and a half hours of high altitude climbing thus far, successfully summited at 4555m,  we were a little disappointed because the weather had limited any views from the top, but none the less a fantastic and grand day out in the Monte Rosa group in the Alps. Must mention, this being Dave`s first adventure into high altitude mountaineering, he really enjoyed the experience and was a great companion. Track can be viewed on Website No 3880.



View towards Lyskamm peak

 

 

 

 

 

A grand day out in Galway

Most notable day in Ireland was a visit in late November with my son Ewan to the three most westerly peaks of the Maamturks Mountains, followed by the ascent of Letterettrin Hill overlooking Lough Fee.



On ascent of Búcán, Killary Fjord in view

The three Maamturks, Búcán, Leenaun Far North West Hill and Meall Cheo were approached from the west in brilliant November sunshine, on the steep ascent of Búcán a brilliant view over Killary Harbour unfolded below and to the west. The top of Búcán is in a splendid location, to the North the Mountains of Mayo crowned by the mighty Mweelrea, south the Twelve Bens and to the east the bulk of the Maamturks.



Benchoona from Búcán

This is a fine tight small circuit and only took less than 3hrs to complete. With time on our hands an ascent of  Letterettrin Hill was made from the shores of Lough Fee, at 333m the views once  again from the top were fantastic, directly south Benchoona looms large and across Killary Fjord lies the mighty Mweelrea.

 



Mweelrea from Letterettrin.

Skiing in Ireland

By Julie Ascoop

January 2019

 



Taking the skins' off on Tonelagee (view over Fair mountain in the Wicklow Mountains)

Most winters in Ireland bring snow onto our mountains and for those among us who can ski, the view of snow capped mountains so close to home is a real tease. I’ve spent many years trying to ski in Ireland with very limited success, but last year it looked as if the trying and lessons learned finally paid off. In March 2018 conditions were really perfect in Ireland after a week of continuous snowfall across the country.


Still, it wasn’t easy as most of the roads into the mountains were closed and of course once you get to the mountains you still need to get to the top somehow. My partner and I have tour ski’s which are like alpine skis but much lighter (about half the weight) and with special bindings that let you either fix or unfix the heel. This means that you can ‘walk’ like you see cross country skiers do but also ski downhill like alpine skiers. To walk up we fix ‘skins’ under the skis and with these you can walk up pretty steep slopes. We don’t get to use our tour skis very often in Ireland but when we do it is magical. No more mucky, slippery tracks but beautiful white hills that are so silent and unbelievably bright when the sun comes out. You might hear, or fall into.., a stream under the snow and meet a deer lost in the whiteout but there is nobody else and even the sound of a distant car or plane is dampened by the snow.


The first time skiing in Wicklow I went to Camaderry in Glendalough as I thought the route up would be nice and gently sloping for ‘skinning up’. This was true, but it is warm beneath the tree cover so the snow doesn’t stay long and there are quite a lot of rocks on the slope of Camderry so it’s not the safest mountain for skiing.



A cloudy Silvermines day (Shannon mtns)


We did much better in the Mourne mountains in 2013. The local authorities there went through extraordinary efforts to clear the road over the Spelga pass, using large excavators to clear nearly two metres of snow. It meant we could drive up to 350m without any problems and there were many people out there with their sleigh’s and snowboards as well.  We skinned up to the top of Slieve Muck mountain which was easy enough, but then made the mistake of going down the south/west side. A big lesson learned as on this side of the mountain the snow had melted and then frozen again leaving us to head down over an icy wavelike surface which was impossible to ski on. We quickly moved to the North West side of the mountain again where the snow was only magical. It was a pity we were so tired from the icy slope or we would have climbed up again for another spin.

Back in Wicklow, Lugnaquillia is an obvious attraction for skiing of course. It is high so there is snow at the top of this mountain nearly every winter. The difficulty though is how to get high enough to be able to use your skis. Approaching from the ‘zigzags’ the walk is too wet and too long to walk on your ski boots. Mine are special ski-touring boots with a walk setting and Vibram soles but you still don’t want to walk on them for more than an hour. Via Fraughan Rock glen it is too steep, both for skinning and because of the avalanche risk. You are really out on your own here in winter so you need to be extremely careful. All that said it is a beautiful mountain in snow and for someone with snowshoes the approach from the ‘zigzags’ may well be suitable in snow.



A nice long run with Turlough hill reservoir in the background


Fast forward to 2018 with its orange weather warning for snow. Having enough snow clearly wasn’t going to be a problem this year as there was enough for skiing in our street in Dublin already. Getting to Wicklow was a whole other story and for days we anxiously monitored every website and blog that would give information about the condition of the roads. I have a small 4x4 with snow chains, a towing rope and a shovel, but even so we eventually waited until the roads cleared. On a small reconnaissance trip we found out that the mountain roads change to ‘single track’ in the snow and anyone who gets stuck is basically blocking the road. Not something we wanted to risk being responsible for, so we bided our time.



Ready to go downhill on Tonelagee


It was already raining in Dublin by the time the roads were cleared, but we shouldn’t have been worried. Lashing rain at +5 C in Dublin meant a whole pile of snow fell in Wicklow again and this time most of the roads were clear. In order to minimise the walking distance to the snow, carrying our skis, I decided to go to the highest place you can drive to in Wicklow, that is still generally accessible: The Wicklow Gap. There was good snow all around here and we skied both on the path up to the old lead works and on the South West slope of Tonelagee, which was really perfect. With the car parked along the road (at +480m IO 07132 00526) we were straight off into the snow. The passing Paddywagon tour bus gave us a big wave and off we went at a nice gentle incline of about 15 degrees increasing to about 25 degrees.


No dragging yourself through the bog here like we normally do when hiking, but the quiet swishing of the skis on this nice cone shaped mountain with hardly any rocks coming through the snow on this South West side. There was not enough snow to cover all the heather, but we found a nice open ‘piste’ winding its way around the west side of the mountain. It was a lovely climb. The snow as crunchy and soft as it is in the alps, but pristine and completely ours with nobody else around. Closer to the top we found more vegetation and decided we were high enough for a ski run down. The views were great from here, with Turlough hill straight ahead set amongst mountains slowly losing their snow covering. But there was more than enough here for skiing and we had such a lovely carve-ride down that we decided to give it another go up and then another one.  Alpine skiers find this hard to believe, but the way up is just as nice as going down!



Snowchains on the R755 in March 2018.

-------------------------------




Could you do it too? Well, you’d need to ask yourself first if you are a really competent skier because there are no marked pistes or rescue services here. You also need to have done some form of avalanche training and ideally have the rescue equipment. Avalanches have happened in Ireland and killed people, so it is something you’ll need to educate yourself about. I did a weekend tour-skiing course in Scotland which is a great place to start and very similar to Ireland. After that I went on several ski-tours with professional guides in Switzerland, Austria and Italy.

Tour-skis or cross-country skis are the best equipment for going uphill and downhill, but you could have a great experience out there in snow shoes too.

 

BOOK REVIEW


Cover of map.

Comeragh: a modern 1:25,000 Scale Map from East-West Mapping

Great news for hillwalkers on the south inland ranges.  More discussion needed on naming.


 

East-West Mapping has introduced a 1:25000 map for the Comeraghs.  This is part of some additions planned that include the Galtees and Knockmealdowns.  Such hillwalker oriented mapping is extremely welcome.  Last year I was walking in the Galtees and was immediately plunged back to the best available other map, the OSI 1:50k.  This series, while far better in turn than its predecessors the half-inch to the mile and having good contouring, lacks much of the surveyed detail needed by walkers.  Detail such as the forest tracks, indications of land cover, points of historical interest.


Extent


The Comeraghs are longer N-S than E-W.  The map covers the N-S extent properly, however has to make a choice with regard to the E-W coverage.  To the East it doesn’t cover Croughan Hill, a fine vantage point for looking into and photographing Coumshingaun.  However Croughan Hill is just the one such and its non-inclusion is made up for by the summits included to the west in the Monavullaghs.


Has it happens relatively recently I went up two of these westerly summits, Milk Hill and Bleantasour Mountain (called Knockarargh on this map) – see track/3451.   Previous visitors trying to use the existing mapping in this area had mentioned route choice difficulties here.  “.. Crossed this felled area with great difficulty” and “.. like a grassy swamp full of stinking pools of water and head high reeds “.  The new map with its accurate forest roads and footpaths makes the choices relatively easy. 



The Planned Series for the south east inland ranges.

Access to around 40% of the summits in Ireland is through forests and that includes some of the hills of the Comeraghs.  For example Crohaun (called Crookaun) to the south.  It is surrounded on three sides by trees so the excellent forest road and track approaches shown on the map are very necessary.


Ways of reaching the hills are also shown by a variety of devices such as the “boot” symbol and in the north of the area the waymarked ways.


The famous Coumshingaun coum (called Coomshinaun) has some equally famous cliffs around it.  The map chooses to use a crag symbol here, similar to what you might find on an orienteering map.  Unfortunately the crag symbol obscures the contours.  I know I am not the only one who prefers maps to indicate extreme slopes simply using the contours.  This is evident as used on OSI maps, avoids confusion and also avoids the somewhat subjective choice as to what is a crag.


Names


We should all applaud East-West maps research on the names of places.  It is important to find and preserve names, at least on an inclusive basis.  For example the highest point 792m in the Comeraghs.  MountainViews called this significant summit Fauscoum or Fáschom for years.  It was never a comfortable fit because, well, a mountain isn’t a coum.  Nothing was marked on the OSI 1:50000 map. East-West have uncovered the name Kilclooney Mountain for this place.  Through correspondence with East-West it appears that this is an excellent name with good historical justification.  So MountainViews now uses this name as the principal name for the place.  There are other candidates where MV would consider using East-West names.


However we are also very conscious that hill names in Ireland are a mess.  Most of the names were originally in Irish and were manglicised in the original Ordnance Survey of the 19th century.  Although they were inauthentic representations of the names the source was people of that period that did know them from local tradition.  To sort this out there is an official body in the Republic called Logainm and another in Northern Ireland.  Take a look at Logainm.ie to see the scholarly, measured and well referenced approach they take. But, be aware, although enthusiastic and having good standing and methods, they are underfunded.


Earlier we mentioned the name Crohaun, or at least what MV calls Crohaun.  Logainm refers to this summit and calls it the same in English and Cruachán in Irish (see https://www.logainm.ie/en/1165926?s=crohaun)  East-West call this Crookaun with Irish form Cruachán Deireadh and do not include any of the official Logainm names.  Crohaun is one of a number of such name changes.


Crohaun has been used for at least centuries.  It is also used in classic Irish hillwalking literature.  For example “Mountaineering in Ireland” (1939) by Claude Wall.  This says “The Comeraghs are continued in a southerly direction by the Monavullagh Mountains, lacking the coums of the former range, but providing a fine bold ridge with Seefin (2,387), Coumaraglin (2,000) and Farbreaga (1,953), the most prominent tops.  The ridge terminates in Crohaun (1,591) .. “ (p 22)


Dozens of other organisations have used the Crohaun name.  A quick glance at Google will show use by www.prehistoricwaterford.com, megalithomania, munsterrunning.blogspot.com, IMRA SE, Irish Times, Lawlorshotel, data.gov.ie, irishbirding, planning applications, discoverireland, Wikipedia etc etc


For Ireland to successfully reform its placenames we need to respect what has gone before.  This was signally what the OS did not do in the 19th century.  Correcting the mess now requires an agreed process, provided in the Republic by Logainm.  This records, notes alternative names and allows for a structured discussion.


By changing the name to Crookaun and suppressing the existing official name, confusion is added to, not alleviated.  Modern readers of older work are cut off from historical names.


All in all the map itself and the promised Galtees and Knockmealdown maps will be hugely useful.  We strongly recommend people get the map and support East-West by so doing. While we applaud East-West research into names we believe such research needs to be used differently.

 

 

Review by Simon Stewart.

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:

Vast wilderness in Sweden, from MV users mcrtchly and kernowclimber
MV user gerrym goes out in the snow and finds actual cliffs in the Sperrins
Stars of the MV 2019 Gathering the Tough Soles walk Louth's Táin Way

Videography by Peter Walker.

CHALLENGE
A place for those interested in Challenge Walking


Click here for the Challenge Walk Calendar



Challenge Walk Notes for March 2019

 


Cold quartzite on the Maamturks.

Whilst February never sees a whole lot to report on, Challenge Walks wise, it is a month when many a Challenge Walker realises "a lot done, more to do!"

We (the greater Challenge fraternity) tend to "winter well". . . and sure what harm.

But now with a co ck-step in the evenings and the fact that my regular winter residents, a family of mouses, yes mouses (different personalities to mice!) have now vacated my heavy leather boots for a more upwardly mobile property (next door's boiler house), there really is no excuse not to be getting out and about and clocking-up some underfoot mileage!

 

Already, two of the big guns within the Challenge Walks Calendar are totally sold out for this year.



The ever popular Blackstairs Challenge was fully booked within 9 minutes and if you wanted to secure a place on the forthcoming Maumturks Challenge you had a window of only 8 seconds from when the booking site went "live" to starting the ball rolling so as to input colour of rain gear etc.!!

It beggars belief how these great Walks can sell out quicker than Garth Brooks can give away free back stage passes to a Mickey Bubbles concert!

Understandably, a lot has to fall into place when organising a Challenge Walk. To have all your ducks lined up in a row (or at least your Hillwalking boots) will always be a tricky ask. This is another reason as to why MountainViews is only delighted to help promote Challenge Walks where it can . . . and host the Challenge Walks Calendar.

The host Club's date of Event can shift a tad differently each year too - be that because Easter is early or indeed late . . .  or even student exams may need to be allowed for.

With this in mind, this merry month of March won't see any Events either. Nope, not until April will things kick off in earnest. But when they do, it's straight into the deep end with the Maumturks Challenge.

This Walk is well documented as being one of the very toughest Walks on the Calendar and the 8th of April should see 200 jovial souls (curiously, everyone is always happy-out at the Start!) tear off on an initial climb of 500 metres up the famous Corcogmore. The latest the Maumturks landed on, date wise, was almost into May one year. On this day I had my fabulous calves sunburnt to a crisp (wasn't a happy bunny, no, not one bit), but incredibly the following year the Walk landed on one of its earliest dates, at the very start of April.

On this day we were all knee deep in snow for the first two thirds. In fairness, it was spectacular . . . but it was seriously, seriously cold. Stopping for a picnic wasn't really a viable option but of course you need to keep fuelled, so when the pasta lunches came out they actually began freezing before our eyes! Reaching the Checkpoint at Letterbreckaun later that Challenge, would find the lake totally frozen over! Twas tricky refilling water bladders on that day!




Knockmealdowns Crossing.

This year will see the ever popular Knockmealdowns Crossing land a week after the Maumturks on the 13th of April. Many a year sees this Challenge land a week before the Turks which puts this great day at the very start of the Calendar too and as such, the day will totally revolve around the weather (and wind!).

The Knockmealdowns Crossing, to put it simply, is a fabulous Walk with famous hospitality from the lovely boys and girls from Peaks Mountaineering Club. The Challenge takes the Walker over the Knockmealdown mountain ridge with Knockmealdown Mountain being the highest peak. Atop on this iconic mountain it is spectacular . . . but it can be ever so fresh too!

When you take a look at the greater relief and all its contours on a map you'll see how the winds can funnel and accelerate even on a normal day . . .  but when it's breezy . . . like lads, when I tell you the wind could "split a flea" - this is not an exaggeration!! One of the wildest days I have ever walked was on this great Challenge. On this Day the Checkpoint at Kncknafallia Cairn had to be pulled. This Checkpoint is either two mountains before or after Knockmealdown Mountain (depending on which direction the Walk traverses on the given year). It was so wild it was an impossibility for the stewards to pitch a tent! For fifteen minutes I traipsed around in whiteout looking to get my card stamped like the thoroughbred Gobshoite that is.

Of course we had all been informed of this earlier in the Walk - but it kinda reminded me of old school days really . . . "he's a grand lad, always nice to his teachers - but he needs to sit up straight, to absolutely start paying more attention . . . and to stop starring out the window at the mountains" !!

So I guess I missed the memo on that one, but by God it was bitter doing "ring-a-ring-a-rosy" round an enchanted cairn on that Day!

 

So without doubt, the early Challenge Walks in the Calendar, which will soon be upon us, can be some of the most intriguing and of course enjoyable. Will there be wind, will there be rain. Is the ground still frozen or is there even a dusting of snow?? Either way it's always "Sunshine and Buttercups" in the eyes of the Challenge Walker - so come along and support a Walk near you and see what all the fuss is about!

Onwards and Upwards Boys and Girls, Keep Safe and Enjoy your Day!


-- 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.

simon3 on A Guide to Irelands Mountain Summits
MountainViews first book available online and in many bookshops.

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 ...
Bulk sales to groups such as Scouts/ Guides: contact admin@mountainviews.ie for a discounted price.

This month.
Kudos to our contributors.

We welcome the following new members who enrolled this month. 12oclockhills, 2theorchard, Aghinagh, aholmes231, aidanc, Aloc70, AlyK, AlyK22, anthonychilds, apunch, Belmontie, berno1, blowin, bolton12, brenfahy, Brian53, briand665, CathyWolfe, Celine, chunghop, ciara.murphy294, colmmc16, daithi84, DamienJ, DeclanDeclan, delmonte4, Derek90, djingo, domhnallur, Dommo51, Dragon, DSprott01, EddieMc, EmmaD, Eoin_Beirne, Fergusbrien, finkey86, firedub, Flying_Waterbed, FrankM8, g0hio, galteewalking, gearoidofoighil, Gerhard, Grumbler, High-King, holmpatrick, irishjim35, isobeloduffy, itshimkeith, Jackflash1980, Jmaherfca, JoanAthlone, JochenW, JoHeaney, Johnharding, Jrs, kanero, kevinoconnell, kevk, Keyflow, Kezz90, kieran.ruby, LauraKilbane, LiamGalway, Lynchie, Lyonel, MaddenBrian, Magpie50, Margot_Collins, mckennad, michalcebulski, Migs, mikeg0hio, MikeKeane, Minx, mnttam, Mountainbrophy, ms25, murphym78, niallcomer, ochils_trekker, oparkins1995, Palisades1, Pattyd, paulpsherry, Pdh63, Peaks, PekkaPiggy, petercoxphoto, Pikonino, Pmcgin13, Poly, rangertobi, Reubenhaylett, Robus, Roger.Acton, rooeyorua, rosieson, rscanny, Sar, Sarahdonn, ScottK, Sebastian7, shanemull, shellybopp, Silecoco, Sliaibh, Sod, Sparks61, Tef, tommob, Tomobrien, Trekozoic, Varadamo, wendynewell, wildhodgie (117)

Our contributors to all threads this month: Bunsen7 (2), Colin Murphy (3), Damian120 (3), David-Guenot (2), Fergal Meath (1), Fergalh (2), FinbarrC (5), IainT (10), Ifor (1), JoHeaney (7), Onzy (9), Pepe (1), Peter Walker (2), TommyMc (4), TommyV (9), caiomhin (1), conormcbandon (1), davsheen (6), donalhunt (1), eamonoc (7), ewen (3), Communal summary entries (6), ilenia (1), jgfitz (1), madfrankie (1), magnumpig (3), markwallace (1), mcrtchly (2), melohara (147), peter1 (1), scannerman (1), simoburn (5), simon3 (7), thegrimes (1)
For a fuller list view Community | Recent Contributors

There were comments on the following places , Aroher Hill, Belmore Mountain, Ben Goram, Birreencorragh, Brougher Mountain, Bruse Hill, Carrignagunneen, Carrigshouk, Cashel Hill, Chimney Rock Mountain, Croaghanmoira, Croghan Hill, Devilsbit Mountain, Devilsmother, Donalds Carn, Douce Mountain, Doughill Mountain, Dromderalough NE Top, Droppa, Galtymore, Hangmans Hill, Iorras Beag, Keeper Hill, Knockastia, Knockaunapeebra, Knockaunbaun, Knockfin, Knocknaskagh, Lough Curra Mtn, Mangerton, Maulin, Muldersleigh Hill, Mullaghdoo, Nareera, Nareera North Top, Nareera South-West Top, Naweeloge Top, Seefin Mountain W Top, Shehy More, Slieve Beg, Slieve League South-East Top, Slieveboy, Slievenaglogh, Slievenamuck, Slievereagh, Sugarloaf Hill, Sugarloaf Mountain, Sugarloaf Mtn West Top, Teevenacroaghy, Tievnabinnia
and these shared tracks Am Bathach South Top, Loch Duich to Cannich Britain, Barranisky, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Barranisky, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Beinn a'Chochuill, Glen Etive to Glen Lochy Britain, Beinn Ghlas, Glen Lyon to Glen Dochart and Loch Tay Britain, Bonscale Pike, Lake District - Eastern Fells Britain, Brockagh Mountain SE Top, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Cnoc Leitreach, Achill/Corraun Ireland, Cnoc na Searrach, Donegal NW Ireland, Collon Hill, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Collon Hill, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Creag a'Mhaim, Glen Shiel to Loch Hourn and Loch Quoich Britain, Djouce, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, France, Occitanie , Galty Mountains Ireland, Galway Coastal Hill Ireland, Kilclooney Mountain, Comeragh Mountains Ireland, Killeagh, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Knockatagglemore, W Limerick/N Kerry Ireland, Loch Lomond to Strathyre Britain, Mangerton, Mangerton Ireland, Mullacor, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Mullaghmesha, Shehy/Knockboy Ireland, Oughtmore, Sperrin Mountains Ireland, Seefin, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Slieve Rushen, Breifne Ireland, Slieveroe, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Steel Fell [Dead Pike - Steel Fell], Lake District - Central Britain, Sweden, Stockholm , The Fannaichs Britain, Unid, Unid , Westaston Hill, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Westaston Hill, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland tracks were created.

Thanks to all 1355 who have ever contributed place or routes info and forums.

For a full list view Community | Contributors Hall of Fame

Summary. MountainViews now has 9189 comments about 1750 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 (409) 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, Jack Higgins, Piotr Stepien
NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE. View previous newsletters mountainviews.ie/newsletter
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