Featured Track of the Month A mountain stronghold
This month's selection is a relatively short mountain walk on the fringes of the Dingle peninsula to the Caherconree fort and beyond to its summit, resplendant of view and reeking of history, courtesy of bunsen7. A worthwhile walk in its own right and a potential kick-off for many more extensive excursions.
Bunsen7 on Caherconree from Bothar na gCloch
Main walk Start: 10:06, End: 13:22, Duration: 3h15m, Length: 5.8km,Ascent: 630m, Descent: 632m Places: Start at Q71657 05651, Caherconree, 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)
Tourist route up to Caherconree fort and thereafter to summit proper overlooking Derrymore Glen. The route was pretty wet all the way to the fort, even in early June, so maybe that's why the landowner is amenable to allowing walkers access. The scale of the fort wall is impressive. Start/end point could be useful for longer linear walk across the slieve mish if you had a second car closer to Tralee perhaps (or as an escape route in bad weather).
NORTH: Pale Bluestack Eyes
tseepra has visited Donegal's splendid and uncompromising Bluestacks, following a version of the classic circuit from the north. This is an outing with a lot of in and out as well as up and down, with terrain that doesn't particularly lend itself to navigating in nice straight lines, but that renders it a very interesting area for connoisseurs of the rough and pathless; an obvious adjunct here would be to start over Glascarns Hill to add a little bit more.
tseepra on Croaghgorm (Blue Stack) and Lavagh More in one route
Croaghgorm (Blue Stack) and Lavagh More in one route. Descent between the two was not too difficult, the way up Lavagh M| walk, Len: 17.4km, Climb: 900m, Area: Ard na gCaor, Bluestack Mountains (Irela ... Click here ...
NORTH: Making a short story long ...
Although Curraghchosaly Mountain in the Sperrins is a relatively short ascent, pdtempan explored further west to the unlisted Ballynatubbrit Mountain.
WEST: Ye will, ye will, ye will
Knockanes in the Burren offers a fine walk over karst limestone with tremendous views, including one of Father Teds house, writes Damian120.
Damian120 on Knockanes:
A good hike over the traditional Burren karst limestone. A few minor scrambles if approaching from the left. The views are astounding and offer up a picture-postcard setting that encompasses, Mullaghmore, Sliabh Rua and even Father Ted's house. ... Click here ...
WEST: An easy afternoon walk
Farbreiga in East Mayo is a relatively easy clamber through low heather with fine views from the summit, writes phonohan.
phonohan on Farbreiga, (Fear Bréige):
Started from a small road almost due North of Farbreiga at G 1690 0398 (we were staying within walking distance). Only one fence to cross (easiest point is at a prominent Rowan tree), then straight up through low heather to the secondary N summit shown as 373m ASL on OS 50K map. 10 more minutes to the trig point. A cloudy day so views a bit subdued and hazy towards the horizon. Best views E tow ... ... Click here ...
Featured summit comment
Photo: MV Contributors: a selection of Ireland's Sugar Loaves: cw from top left: Great Sugar Loaf - Wicklow, Sugar Loaf - Caha Mountains Glengarriff, Sugarloaf Hill - Central Knockmealdowns, Sugarloaf - Wicklow (E Donard), Little Sugarloaf (Bray & Kilmacanogue).
Not this Sugarloaf, that Sugarloaf! Number1Grumbler
Intro: Well, it could have been worse - Google could have sent them driving all the way down to Rio. Oh wait ...No1Grumbler explains it better in an amusing comment posted on May 31.
Sugarloaf: I think you want the other one
The Sugarloaf-Lobawn circuit is usually one of my walks reserved for a short winter day. However, the post-Covid return saw an unusuallly sensible group of Grumblers decide on gentle walks as we return to hill fitness. This Sugarloaf seemed like a good idea. The usually quiet forestry entrance (S95662 95723) was already full of haphazardly parked cars as we pulled on boots etc. A couple in a Range Rover pulled up looking puzzled:
“Is this the Sugarloaf?” -“Yes,” “So where is the visitor centre?”
It seems that Google Maps had brought them here instead of the Great Sugarloaf near Bray.
Different Grumblers expressed a mixture of pity, schadenfreude and amusement as the couple sped off (hopefully not to the Sugarloaf hill in the Knockmealdowns). We have all been lost before (including a notorious incident climbing the wrong mountain in Skye’s Black Cuillin) but at least we’d been close. However, as we set off on a repeat of route 3860 up the Forestry, turning right at the “big stone”, we met another group descending, after realising they too were on the wrong mountain.
In all we were to meet four different parties navigating on phones with Google maps and who thought they were near Bray and wondering why the sea was so far away.
We tried not to be outraged or preachy, after all we were young idiots ourselves, and the day was long and clear. At the end of the good track, we made our turn E then NE and began the unrelenting ascent. Voortrekker, who is a youth, skipped up the contours with customary agility- stopping occasionally out of politeness, the rest of us huffed and puffed on the hottest day of the year, regretting the toll taken by a year of lockdown.
From the summit, we walked E to the 635m top, and then decided that our initial route was too short for a summer’s day. We dropped NE over heathery ground to reach the higher forestry track, and after strolling pleasantly along this, headed N for lunch in Cavanagh’s gap. Our return was uneventful- the steady climb to Lobawn, then following the broad shoulder NW, before descending SW over heather then grass down to the Black Pits for a delightful tea break in glorious sunshine by the river. A short climb saw us take the forestry track that skirts the lower N slopes of Sugarloaf, with views of the trophy houses across the glen, until by a commodious vicus of recirculation, we were back at the “Big Stone” and a short hop to the cars.
As Voortrekker said, “there’s probably some poor fool driving to South Africa now to climb the wrong Table Mt.”
SOUTH: The Needles And The Damage Done
Some of the roughest country in all of Ireland lies in a horseshoe around the Cloon Lough in Iveragh's Dunkerron mountains, and cha has chosen to explore it by first climbing up through the ridiculous spindly and watery area around the higher Lough Reagh, using this to gain the grand highway (admittedly a somewhat badly maintained one) that climaxes on the massive pyramid of Mullaghanattin before a very steep descent to the tarmac oasis of Ballaghbeama Gap. As described transport or a road walk would be required, but however one manages it this is truly one of the best walking areas in the country.
cha on Extended Cloon Lough Horseshoe via Lough Reagh Aiguilles
We took inspiration from Track 2207 and parked at the Ballaghbeama Gap but about 1.5km on the SW side where there is a l| walk, Len: 18.0km, Climb: 1171m, Area: Dunkerron Mountains (Ireland) An Corrá ... Click here ...
SOUTH: Mystery of the deep on a mountain.
Reaching the summit of Shehy More in Cork, Wicklore was amazed to discover a crab the length of his boot 546m above sea level and 20km from the ocean!
wicklore on Shehy More, (An tSeithe Mhór):
The idiom Like a fish out of water describes someone who is out of their depth, or thrown in at the deep end. (Ironically both definitions refer to actually being in the water, not out of it!). I discovered a most apt example of a fish out of water on Shehy More, both in its literal and figurative sense.
Mountainviews abounds with examples of oddities in the uplands Peter Walker ... ... Click here ...
SOUTH: 'Time, like an ever-rolling stream...'
Illustrating the flexible nature of walking routes over time is TheDutchman's track from Beara, retracing a previously submitted outing from several years ago (ascending the VL of Maulin and several satellites). He discovered improved parking but also some access considerations during his descent, a reminder that one must always deal with the conditions on the ground rather than assume the writings of a previous visitor remain gospel.
TheDutchman on 210607_Castletownbere Hiking North
Did the track 2867, by Onzy, there is more parking space now at the gate, at parking place at V720 482, possible 4 cars | walk, Len: 12.5km, Climb: 688m, Area: Maulin, Caha Mountains (Ireland) Maulin ... Click here ...
SOUTH: Fire devastation in evidence.
The recent mountain blazes that afflicted the south west have left an obvious, ugly mark on Coolsnaghtig in West Cork, writes Fergalh.
Fergalh on Eagles Nest, (Nead an Iolair):
Followed Ciarraiochs excellent route up and down to the col and from thence to the summit. Sadly some of the fire devastation is much in evidence around the bridge. Would like to add this is a tricky hill as there is a lot of water on and off the slopes it so really only for the experienced hillwalkers and expect some heartache as it is not easy whatsoever. Although echoing conor74's comments wor ... ... Click here ...
EAST: A reservoir of history...
Seahan in the Dublin Mountains presents great views over the Bohernabreena reservoirs, writes Colin Murphy, who dug into the historical origins of the name.
Colin Murphy on Seahan, (Suíochán):
The views from the summit of Seahan are quite limited, but if you take the trouble to descend to about 450m at roughly point O 090 210 and follow the contour NNW you will be rewarded with fantastic views over the Upper and Lower Bohernabreena Reservoirs nestling in Glenasmole. Incidentally, I've always wondered what the name meant but could never find a translation for 'breena', but a little persi ... ... Click here ...
EAST: Super Troopers
simon3 has taken a slightly indirect (or at least distant) approach to the popular Wicklow summit of Scarr, commencing at the Trooperstown car park away to the south, enjoying some expansive views along the way. It's all fine open country, with Kanturk easily included at little extra effort and longer excursions possible for fans of tough conditions underfoot.
simon3 on Trooperstown Car Park to Scarr.
This is a 16k walk with about 600m of ascent. On the day we did it, we had some fine views before the weather closed in| walk, Len: 16.1km, Climb: 616m, Area: Wicklow (Ireland) Scarr ... Click here ...
EAST: Small but sweet Little Sugar Loaf in Wicklow is a mere 20 minute trek, but offers amazing sea and mountain panoramas, along with Neolithic art, write Padodes and Dessie1.
padodes on Little Sugar Loaf, (Giolspar):
Its an ill wind that blows nobody any good, they say, and certainly the chill wind that has been blowing snow and ice across the Wicklow Mountains for almost two months has not been totally unkind. I find it has obliged me to renew acquaintance with humble yet more accessible outliers, and I have been pleasantly surprised. The Little Sugar Loaf is a good example. Barely 342m at its highest point ... ... Click here ...
Sorry if we didn't mention what you posted .. there's a list of all contributors for recent month(s) later.
Removing Rubbish from the Hills (Repeat from last month)
Over the years hillwalking clubs that I have been in have organised cleanups.
I can remember in the early 90s that there was a well established civic tradition of clean up in the Wayfarers which had been ongoing for years or decades before I was involved. I vividly remember a group of Wayfarers systematically going round the top of Lugnaquilla with rubbish bags literally as other people were dropping it. Same with the Ramblers who then as now have organised whole walks with clean up as a theme, bringing home multiple large bags of rubbish, certainly as recently as just before the pandemic. I have been on these: a club officer turns up at the carpark with a bunch of black plastic bags and there is a competition to remove the most.
are currently promoting a campaign with the same objective. a challenge to all walkers and climbers to remove one item of rubbish every time were out. It is called "One From The Hills" and you can read more about it by clicking here: www.mountaineering.ie/aboutus/news/2021/?id=355
Volunteering for 2021: 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
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.
MountainViews is a great resource based on over 1300 people's contributions over 18
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
Firstly, a correction to last month’s sea-bird blog: many thanks to my sister Betty for pointing out that whilst kittiwakes are gulls, fulmars are not. Although superficially similar, they are more closely related to petrels, shearwaters and albatrosses. I recall watching in my youth a televised climb of the Old Man of Hoy, a dramatic sea-stack in Orkney (/summit/B4927/). On one particular pitch, Yorkshireman Joe Brown was severely and most unpleasantly attacked by a fulmar as he approached its nest (fulmars defend themselves against predators by spraying stomach oil from their mouths). I wonder if he’d also offended it by calling it a gull and this was the fulmar’s revenge… And so to this month’s business:
"Winter it is past and the summer's come at last", so the song goes, and in July the wild fruits are ripening on the hills. The first of these wild fruits to ripen is the humble fraughan or bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), rich in vitamins B and C, minerals, antioxidants and virtually calorie-free – our own indigenous super-food. I've spotted the maroon-coloured flowers on some of my recent outings in Tyrone, on Mullaghcarn, Curraghchosaly Mountain and Oughtmore. These will ripen into dark blue berries with a velvety, whitish bloom. In Munster they are known in English as whorts (a short form of whortleberry) and in East Ulster they are blaeberries, from Ulster-Scots. They are fairly easy to distinguish from any other type of berry by the form of the bush and its leaves:
http://www.wildflowersofireland.net/plant_detail.php?id_flower=26&wildflower=Bilberry However, if you are not familiar with them or are unsure what you have found, don’t eat the berries, as some other fruits can be poisonous.
The tradition of people heading for the hills in mid to late July was once almost universal throughout rural Ireland and has been maintained or revived in many places. It sometimes involved a mountain pilgrimage, the most well-known, of course, being the ascent of Croagh Patrick in Co. Mayo by thousands of pilgrims on ‘Reek Sunday’, the last Sunday in July. More often, though, it was a fun day out for the community, not necessarily with any religious aspect, and it also provided an opportunity for courting couples to meet. No less than 78 Irish peaks (most of them listed in MV) have or once had traditional hill/mountain assemblies, 9 in Connacht, 15 in Munster, 15 in Leinster and 39 in Ulster. That these various local hill-gatherings under different names and guises all had their origins in pre-Christian celebrations was shown convincingly by Máire MacNeill in her ground-breaking book The Festival of Lughnasa (1962). These festivals also included patterns (at which patron saints were venerated), sports and fairs, such as Killorglin’s Puck Fair, held in the same season at the beginning of the harvest.
A good crop of fraughans was taken as a positive sign that the other crops to be harvested in the following weeks would also be plentiful. Some of the fruit was inevitably consumed on the spot (tell-tale sign: purple mouth and tongue!). The rest was brought home and made into pies, jams and sometimes wine.
In the gently rolling countryside of North Wexford the tradition was to climb Carrigroe Hill (232m) (/summit/1019/) on the last Sunday in July, known as ‘Fraughan Sunday’, to pick berries. Further inland, on the Carlow/Wexford border, local people made a rather more challenging ascent to Caher Roe’s Den, high on the watershed south of Blackstairs Mountain (735m) (/summit/85/). This cave is named after Cathaoir na gCapall of the O’Dempsey clan from Laois. After he was dispossessed, he turned
rapparee and stole horses. He was hanged at Maryborough, now Port Laoise, in August 1735. The Den is reputed to hold his treasure. The climb to Caher Roe’s Den was also made on the last Sunday in July, known there as ‘Mountain Sunday’.
Fraughans were also picked around Blackstairs Mountain, but some of the best spots were on the lower slopes, for example at Coonogue near the Scullogue Gap. Some people picked for their own family’s consumption. Others picked commercially (if not very profitably), as shown in these two newspaper reports:
“The fraughan picking opened at Coonogue Wood, near Ballymurphy, during the week. There were many visitors in the wood on Sunday and they enjoyed themselves picking the fruit. So far no buyers attended, but it is expected that buying will open during the weekend” (Enniscorthy Guardian, 8th July 1939).
“The buying of fraughans opened in Kiltealy Village during the week at prices from 6/6 to 7/- per stone [six shillings and sixpence to seven shillings for approx. 6kg]. A large number of women and children from the district have been engaged in picking the fruit along the hillside of the Blackstairs and Mt. Leinster” (Enniscorthy Guardian, 3rd August 1946).
It would be interesting to know whether fraughans still grow at Coonogue and whether anybody still takes the trouble to pick them. Any MV members in the know?
Festive Assemblies on the Heights (just a small selection)
Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo (/summit/65/): climbed by thousands of pilgrims on ‘Reek Sunday’.
Keshcorran, Co. Sligo (/summit/887/): ‘Garland Sunday’ was celebrated in front of the caves. The name probably comes from the garlands that were used to decorate holy wells for this festival, such as Cormac’s Well at Cross and Tobernalt near Lough Gill.
Corraun Hill East Top, Co. Mayo (mountainviews.ie/summit/372/): ‘Garlic Sunday’, a corruption of ‘Garland Sunday’. As well as bilberries, local children also picked pale berries called caora aitinn, which were bottled in whiskey, buried, and kept as remedies for ailments. These were probably unripe juniper berries. Juniper is usually called aiteal, whereas aiteann usually means ‘gorse’.
Benbeg, Co. Cavan (/summit/378/): a festive assembly was held on ‘Donagh Sunday’ at Black Rocks.
Slieve Snaght, Co. Donegal (/summit/250/): on ‘Heatherberry Sunday’, the Sunday before the ‘Gooseberry Fair’ at Buncrana (July 26th), the young people of the six surrounding parishes converged for sports and dancing at a well called Súil an Tobair near the summit of the mountain.
Mullaghcarn, Co. Tyrone (/summit/371/): The tradition of climbing the mountain on ‘Cairn Sunday’ has been recently revived.
Slieve Croob, Co. Down (/summit/388/): the mountain was climbed on ‘Blaeberry Sunday’ or ‘Cairn Sunday’. People carried up a stone to help bury the Twelve Kings believed to be lying under the Twelve Cairns at the summit. There they danced to fiddle music.
Arderin, on the Offaly/Laois border (/summit/399/): the people of the surrounding area met on the mountain for ‘Height Sunday’, which included races, trials of strength and leaping over fires.
Tory Hill, Co. Kilkenny (/summit/962/): an annual pattern took place on the 2nd Sunday of July, locally known as ‘Tory Hill Sunday’ or ‘Frochan Sunday’. On the flat ground below [the hill] called the Faithche (now the townland of Fahy), great games of hurling were said to have been held, sixty players to a side (MacNeill, 230-231). It sounds like a lot of fun, with everybody being guaranteed a chance to play, but I wouldn’t fancy refereeing!
Devilsbit Mountain, Co. Tipperary (/summit/513/): There is an annual pilgrimage to the mountain on ‘Rock Sunday’, with Mass celebrated at the summit.
Seefin, in the Nagles Mountains near Mallow and Fermoy, Co. Cork (/summit/721/): ‘Going up to Leacht’ (the name of the burial cairn at the summit).
Caherbarnagh, near Millstreet, Co. Cork (/summit/135/): people gathered on the mountain on ‘Latiaran Sunday’. Latiaran is a female saint well-known in the Duhallow area of North Cork.
(to be continued - more fruits to serve)
The MountainViews ANNUAL, brought out in 2021.
We published the annual in Feb 2021, in the midst of the pandemic.
For 2020 the Annual has 64 pages in 18 Articles about walking on hills, mountains, coast and islands here and abroad. Some working around Covid19, some despite it, some for the future.
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 email@example.com for a discounted price.
Last month we had a fine crop of improvements to report on as a number of projects happened to have reached significant points. Not so much to mention this month.
Here's what we described last month:
Moved and improved hosting
Named Starting Places
Area and Subarea names for summits
and you can get more detail by clicking here Bug squashed
Following a mention by member Bunsen7 we uncovered a bug preventing user comments being made on GPS tracks. This is fixed now so you can put a comment on any existing user uploaded track.
Bunsen7 on Commenting on saved tracks
I see a comment box on tracks but can't work out how to use it. Is this function in use? If so, any chance of a quick explanation?
I can rate the track but can't seem to add comments. For example, if a track was uploaded quite a long time ago, it might be useful to give updates etc, rather than adding a new track. ... Click here ...
MountainViews now has 9586 comments about 1666 different
hills, mountains, island and coastal features out of the total in our current full list
(2204 on island of Ireland). 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
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
2700 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.
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
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.
Visit the MountainViews Facebook page.
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Book reviews: Aidan Dillon, Peter Walker, Mel O'Hara
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