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The Summit

MountainViews newsletter for guestuser

April 2022


MountainViews ANNUAL GATHERING, May 2022 Our annual in person event returns.

NORTH, SOUTH, WEST, EAST England Spain, the Canaries Route ideas and places to go.

Climbing Mount Toubkal Marion Wallis visits the Atlas mountains in Morocco

Contours Brian Kennan describes their unlikely origins in gravitational science. Also, a mathematical challenge.

Three videos featured this month from gerrym, ToughSoles and IMRA (Irish Mountain Running Association).


MOUNTAINVIEWS: Hillwalkers' Events

  • The Irish Mountain Runners
    celebrating 40 years!

    Friday 6th May 2022. 7:30pm for start at 8pm

    MountainViews Gathering

    We are glad to announce that this is going ahead again in 2022 after missing 2021.

    Open to all walkers, hill runners, hill walkers and anyone else, whether or not members of MountainViews.

    Richard Nunan
    Guest speaker: Richard Nunan. As the Irish Mountain Running Association celebrates its 40th anniversary, the organisation's secretary Richard Nunan is joining us to talk about this impressive sport. Richard is a Ultra Mountain runner and an adventure racer and has completed a wide variety of International events ranging from the Wicklow Round to the more famous UTMB, the PTL (330KM foot race in the Alps) and a couple of World Championship adventure races. So well accustomed to the ups and the downs of Mountains.

    Anne Morrissey
    Guest speaker: Anne Morrissey. Anne has recently started systematically summiteering in Ireland. Formerly she completed the Munros (Scotland) in 2011.
    Anne Morrissey is a member of the Irish Ramblers Club. She compleated the Scottish Munros in Scotland in 2011 after 27 trips to Scotland over a 13 year period. Since then, she has walked in Europe, the US and Japan and is currently tackling the Irish Vandelaur-Lynam and Arderin list. - 20th Anniversary
    has been operating for 20 years. Simon Stewart will describe the progress of the website and mention the recent work of volunteers.

    Awards Ceremony
    There will be an awards ceremony for the people who have completed various lists or have contributed to MountainViews or walking in general. This year for the first time we will have an award for best hillwalking related video.

    Plenty of times to meet other attendees at the hotel bar: before the event, at the break or after.

    This meeting is organised by the MountainViews committee.
    Date: Fri 6th May, 2022
    Venue: Lansdowne Hotel, 27 Pembroke Road, Dublin4, D04 X5W9 Directions:
    Parking: Plenty available in nearby Wellington Road, free in the evenings.
    Time: 7:30pm for 8pm start.
    Charge: €15
    Annuals: will be available for sale

    A previous Gathering. We had around 100 people attending the last in 2020.

It's the time of the year to donate.

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 Picture of the month

Evening light bathing the Gap of Dunloe.
For original summit comment, click here.

Photo: Colin Murphy

 International Pic of the Month

The rough coast where the lava of the malpais (badland) meets the sea at El Jablito, Fuerteventura. There is an abandoned hotel development to the right and abandoned but useable road to the coast.
For original track, click here.

Photo: Simon Stewart

In short: Discovery

Featured Track of the Month

Gaiter Aid
This month's selection is a boggy ole shlep in the Wicklow mountains courtesy of simoburn, climbing Mullaghcleevaun through the felled forestry and over Carrignagunnean to the south before returning by way of Moanbane and Silsean; a definite airing for the ole gaiters and no mistake.

simoburn on A loop walk from Carrignagunneen to Silsean.
Main walk Start: 11:15, End: 18:15, Duration: 6h59m, Length: 20.7km, Ascent: 762m, Descent: 767m
Places: Start at O03126 02691, Carrignagunneen, Mullaghcleevaun, Moanbane, Silsean, 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 loop walk from Carrignagunneen to Silsean
This route is another route from the archives and was completed in late 2020. At the time when we completed this loop walk there was ongoing tree felling just off from the R756 road resulting in limited parking in some of the laybys and forest entrances. We decided to park at O03121 02691. There were also limited parking spaces here but enough for a couple of cars. This also helped us in our descent and return to the car later on that day.

On Carrignagunneen with Silsean in the background.

With a brief walk on a section of road (R756) we entered the forest track which is signposted for St.Kevins way. We followed this for a short section before striking off up the forest track and later the side of Carrignagunneen. This is all straight forward until you leave the track and head up to an open hillside which was previously felled. The underfoot conditions with its associated trip hazards are what one would expect from a clear felled section of hillside. Alas, open bog is reached with relative ease here. This access may prove more difficult in years to come if (I do not recall) trees were/are replanted on this felled patch of hillside.

Areas where the peat and bog is damaged.

Once on Carrignagunneen we headed to Mullaghcleevaun. This is a long bog slog which in poor visibility would make for some interesting navigation. We, for the best part, had great visibility with only passing clouds and showers. Nearing the summit of Mullaghcleevaun the damage to the peat and bog is quite extensive. I can only imagine that overgrazing coupled with climate and erosion is to blame, but it fascinates me all the same. The summit of Mullaghcleevaun is well defined and sports a Trig Pillar. The views too, if you're lucky, are rather pleasant from the summit.

Somedays lunch in the Bivi shelter is required.

From Mullaghcleevaun we headed down the spur in a Westernly-ish direction to the col known as Billy Byrne's Gap. Although this is enjoyable walking it was extremely wet underfoot and our gaiters and boots were much appreciated. Once on the summit of Moanbane it's an easy and short traverse over to the summit of Silsean. The summit of Silsean was waterlogged on the day, like probably many of the days one visits it's summit. I shall keep my rants about the biker damage to a low, but it was rather depressing to see how much damage from dirt bikes was around the summit area of Silsean.

Beautiful small lake at the summit of Moanbane.

Our descent in a SSE direction was fairly straight forward and it provided us with a lovely view of our first summit of the day, Carrignagunneen. I find it is always an interesting perspective seeing one's route from a distance and at the end of your day, a sense of satisfaction, for me at least, is often felt in those moments. It is also worth noting that we had to cross one fence near the end of this spur before accessing the road via a gate. Access didn't appear to be a problem but it is worth keeping this in mind if you access Silsean from here. There may be better options for access too. From this road it was a short walk back to the car and at the end of the day that is always a welcomed prospect. Overall, a nice loop walk with great views but if it has been recently wet, make sure you're wearing boots, it's a boggy one up there at times!

Carrignagunneen from Silsean with Tonelagee in the background and cloud.

NORTH: Spring bulbin’
The fine Carn called Bulbin in Inishowen offers wonderful Donegal panoramas, reports eamonoc.
eamonoc on Bulbin, (An Bholbain):
was in Donegal for a few days, headed up north from Buncrana on the R238 turned left at C 37912 41181, was able to drive on a well made minor road to C36368 40298 room to park one or maybe two at a squeeze, on a clear day Bulbin is in view to the North approx 2.5km away the cross visible from here, walked along a well made track for about 300mts and then up past some old bog cuttings onto open hi ... ... Click here ...

NORTH: Surrounded by loughs
Naweeloge Top in the Dartrys has a peat hag laden summit plateau, but the views over the surrounding loughs make the trudge worthwhile, reports Hyperstorm.
Hyperstorm on Naweeloge Top:
Started this one with already having walked 5kms of the North West cycle trail behind Glenfarne. Choose to go up a different route starting at G9770 3600, following the trail South I missed the track marked on the osi sheet 26 so ended up following my way up the hill using a fence as handrail until upon the flat plateau. Extremely windy and exposed day, map got ripped but didn’t lose it. Headed ... ... Click here ...

WEST: Small hill with big views
The diminutive Knocknafaughy in the Partry & Joyce area offers fine views over Lough Nafooey, writes sandman.
sandman on Knocknafaughy:
Watching over Lough Nafooey from its western side this hill when viewed from the Lough is of an impressive nature but not so from way of ascent, well my way of ascent. By parking in a small lay-by located at L9328659124 and walking directly across to the hill will allow you to ford the stream easily. A short and easy walk up to the summit . You can continue the walk from here and visit the near b ... ... Click here ...

WEST: The Eagle Has Landed (a long time ago) Utilising his customary exploratory bent and dramatic photos, markwallace has visited the huge tower of Eagle's Rock in the Dartrys. An actual ascent of the tower is a very serious rock climb accomplished by very few people, but the environs are reachable for the cautious and they'll be rewarded with a starkly monolithic scene unique on this island. As noted in the text, there are access issues in this area so proceed courteously.
markwallace on Up to Eagle’s Rock, but no summits
I'm surprised no walk to this notable landmark has appeared on this site yet, so here's one. It doesn't visi| walk, Len: 6.5km, Climb: 332m, Area: Dartry Mountains (Ireland) ... Click here ...

WEST: A fine introduction
Lackavrea is the first real hill of prominence that people will see when driving into Connemara, and its relatively small scale makes it a great introduction to walking the region, says TommyV.
TommyV on Lackavrea, (Leic Aimhréidh):
Lackavrea is the first real hill of prominence that people will see when driving along the N59 to Connemara. It's been on my to do list for awhile now and it was great to finally experience such a gem of a hill. The obvious route mentioned by others is the one I followed as it allows for a more gentle ascent of the hill. I have to say this one makes for a great introduction to hiking in Connemara ... ... Click here ...

Featured summit comment
Mamma told me there'd be days like this

We all have bad days on the hills. In a post uploaded on Mar 21st, 196xim outlines an aborted climb up Corcogemore in the Maamturks. The title 'No Luck in Reaching the Top :(' says it all, but the post itself goes into detail on how the best laid plans, etc, can go awry.

No Luck in reaching the Top:( Gave this a blast today. Tough tough going. Ended up doing the rough route as attached in grey (I think). The black is what I thought could be an option but does not look like an option in the flesh.

Did an hour and a half up and decided to call it a day and come down. According to Google we were at about 350 metres but it felt like a lot more. I honestly thought we were not too far from the top (611 metres) but it was hard to know.

No clear path up, a lot of false tops and hard to know how much more it would have taken us. The going was very tough in parts, scrambling on all fours in bits. Very steep for me anyways, I am not a seasoned climber or anything. I would love to have made the top but decided against it as was not sure of the route.

When you look up it’s daunting with no clear route. We tried to get to a shoulder and go up that but it didn’t work out. Then moved in from the shoulder as it looked like there were some possibilities, but no luck and decided to throw the towel in after a good effort. Twas a good hour and a half climb but no cigar. We may give it a try another day if we could try and figure out the safest route

Map: 196xim and OpenTopoMap

SOUTH: Underrated Cork mountain
Caherbarnagh in the Derrynasaggart area offers great views of the Paps, the Reeks and Mangerton – and even as far as Galtymore, reports Musheraman.
Musheraman on Caherbarnagh, (An Chathair Bhearnach):
Did this on March 1st on a lovely clear frosty morning, Parked at W17784 89018, a school bus normally parks here outside of school hours and there's space for one car behind. From here follow a track to a water tower and continue in a south direction towards a weather station/coms mast, you will now see markers for the Duhallow Way, follow this eastwards until Lough Murtagh comes into view ... ... Click here ...

SOUTH: Pilgrims (not) Further jgfitz has uploaded a short walk from the Nagles to the north of Cork, a route that makes up in antiquity for what it lacks in length. Starting at an ancient cemetery it runs along the River Bride along the Glenville pilgrims' path, culminating at a hidden Mass Rock. Looks very nice for those (such as your track reviewer's wife) who are into that sort of thing.
jgfitz on Glenville Pilgrim Path
This very short, wooded pilgrim path is along the river Bride from the historic Doonpeter Cemetery to the secluded mass | walk, Len: 2.4km, Climb: 33m, Area: Nagles Mountains (Ireland) ... Click here ...

SOUTH: Poor track record
Arguably, unlike many other European countries, Ireland lacks an extensive network of hillwalking tracks, but luckily Strickeen is an exception, which also offers wonderful views over the Gap of Dunloe.
Colin Murphy on Strickeen, (Struicín):
To save yourself the initial road walk from the car park at Kate Kearney's, I'm pleased to report that there is now room to park almost at the starting point of the track at V8775 883. Had a very enjoyable climb up this mountain, with a good track almost the entire way, and was blessed to be granted a view of the Gap of Dunloe on our descent bathed in warm evening light, while silky cloud topped t ... ... Click here ...

EAST: For Whom The Parking Charge Doesn't Toll
Exploring the hills above the south side of Glendalough without actually visiting Glendalough, march-fixer's track follows good tracks over Derrybawn to Mullacor with plenty of opportunity to include Cullentragh and Lugduff if you're that way inclined.
march-fixer on The best of both worlds!
What better way to enjoy a beautiful spring day. This track gives you views down over Glendalough as well as the gloriou| walk, Len: 17.6km, Climb: 657m, Area: Derrybawn Mountain, Wicklow (Ireland) D ... Click here ...

EAST: For looking from rather than at.
Mullacor in Wicklow isn’t anything to write home about in terms of its aesthetic, however it does offer wonderful views of Glenmalure and Fraughen Rock Glen, says march-fixer.
march-fixer on Mullacor, (Mullach Mór):
This rather dull summit is not one that would have you clambering out of bed early in order to rush to the summit. That is not to say that it isn't a useful place to go. The journey there, from wherever you start, has definite benefits in terms of glorious views. Traveling from Glendalough should really be done via Derrybawn Mountain for the range of views that this route affords, while coming up ... ... Click here ...

EAST: The Derry air.
On a fine day, the view from Derrybawn Mountain in Wicklow of Glendalough is hard to top, suggests march-fixer.
march-fixer on Derrybawn Mountain:
If you can manage to pick a crystal clear day, then this summit is one of the best locations to place yourself. The views in all directions are superb. Also, there are any number of access points and a bewildering variety of routes there. The other comments highlight a good selection of ways to get up there. It would make very good sense to bring some food and fluid with you so that you can spend ... ... Click here ...

ENGLAND: Where The Hart(sop) Is
Onzy continues his quest to complete the 214 summits listed in Wainwright's legendary guides to England's Lake District. This route was to be a fuller circuit of the hills around the north side of the Kirkstone Pass, but after completing the eastern half (an unusually quiet area of the Lakes in your track reviewer's experience) he had to abort and retreat down the road. He was also thwarted in his attempts at having a pint by the Kirkstone Pass Inn being closed when he passed it: given how haunted that hostelry allegedly is he probably had a lucky escape.
Onzy on Lake District: Half Hartsop Round
Aborted round from Hartsop. The intention had been to cover Hartsop Dodd and Caudale Moor, before descending to the Kir| walk, Len: 13.5km, Climb: 718m, Area: Hartsop Dodd, Lake District - Eastern Fe ... Click here ...

SPAIN: Isla de Encanta
One of several tracks from his Canary holibobs, simon3 has uploaded a dramatic route to the highest mountain in the north of the island of Fuerteventura. The walk crosses a landscape of almost Martian starkness with a climactic path around a splendid verdant caldera (two words that don't generally live together) to look forward to.
simon3 on Montaña Escanfraga, northern Fuerteventura's lookout tower.
Montaña Escanfraga is the highest mountain of northern Fuerteventura. It dominates the eastern view from the roadside v| walk, Len: 15.3km, Climb: 607m, Area: Spain () ... Click here ...

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


The Annual

The MountainViews Annual 2021 - published in Feb 2022

admin -at-
After our appeal for articles in the Jan newsletter, we received some 31 contributions. (This is almost back to the pre-Covid level - in 2020 the figure was 36).
This meant that we were able to construct a magazine with more balance and a wider range of topics.

It also meant that we had to choose 18 articles out of what we received. So if your submission didn't make it, please know that we are likely to include it in future newsletters, starting with this one.

Thanks to everyone that contributed
The MountainViews committee and all of the newsletter team really appreciate the strong support we have got from our members.
Unfortunately as editor I am not able to personally get round to contact everyone. So whether your contribution was or wasn't included, please do accept my thanks!

Volunteering for 2022: 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 1400 people's contributions over 19 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.

Contact us at admin -at-

The origin of contours.

An unlikely story


Nobody would guess the unlikely origin of contour lines and the curious story behind them.


A map with contours.

You’d be forgiven for imagining that contour lines were invented by map makers to illustrate topography. Not so. Their origin dates back nearly 300 years to a time when scientists were trying to prove Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity.


When Newton presented his revolutionary theory of gravity to the world in 1687, it explained how planets orbit the sun, and the moons orbit the planets. But until this new theory could be scientifically proven, it would remain merely a hypothesis. At the time, the mass of the earth was unknown and seemingly unmeasurable, so the theory couldn't be definitively proven.


The Plumb Bob - the measuring tool.

It wasn't until 1772, 45 years after Newton's death, that an experiment was proposed that would not only validate Newton's law of gravity but also provide a good estimate for the weight of the earth. The experiment was proposed by the British Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne, whose job as director at the Royal Observatory Greenwich was equivalent to a modern day astrophysicist.


Newton's law of gravity stated that the more mass an object has, the stronger its gravitational pull. Maskelyn's idea was to hold a plumb line beside a large mountain and measure the amount by which a plumb line is deflected. “But how could you know if the plumb line is deflected? '', I hear you ask. For this they would need to rely on astronomical observations of about 70 stars.


The major elements of the experiment were to select a suitable mountain, figure out the mass of the mountain, measure the deflection of the plumb line, and finally complete the complicated calculations to weigh the earth. To execute and oversee the experiment the Royal Society established the Committee of Attractions. There were many scientific notables on this committee including Benjamin Franklin.



Schiehallion mountain (1,083m), in the very centre of Scotland, was selected because it was physically isolated from any nearby mountains that might interfere with the measurements. It was also quite conical in shape and so it should be possible to measure its mass relatively accurately, and it was steep, which meant that the measurements could be made closer to the mountain’s centre of gravity. 


In order to get his sensitive equipment to Schiehallion, Maskelyne sailed from London to Perth and then travelled 65km across country.  A team of locals was recruited to build two observatories so that measurements could be made on both the North and South of the mountain.  First they focussed on their astronomical observations in order to establish their reference points. Then they measured their plumb line against those reference stars on each side of the mountain and worked out the deflection caused by the mountain’s gravity. Maskelyne’s team spent four months on the mountain in very harsh conditions, at the end of which, they had a hearty celebration where a large quantity of local Scotch was consumed. In fact the celebration got a little bit out of hand and their lodgings burned to the ground.


To figure out the weight of the mountain, the experimenters first needed to know its precise shape. The surveyor Reuben Burrow was tasked with completing a detailed survey. Burrow battled the unpredictable weather of the Scottish Highlands, where mist, rain and heavy winds often hampered his progress. Burrow hauled his scientific equipment up the mountain, often far from any track, to record the elevation at every point on the mountain. This endeavour took him nearly 3 years.


Commemorative plaque.

The mathematician Charles Hutton was tasked with determining the weight and gravitational effect of the mountain. Using the survey data collected by Burrow, Hutton subdivided the mountain into a stack of lateral virtual slices, so that the mass and the gravitational pull of each virtual slice could be calculated. This process of conceptually slicing the mountain was the first use of contour lines and was very successful for the purposes of the experiment. Hutton’s contour lines were later adopted by European mapmakers in the 19th century to depict elevation, supporting the development of railroads, mining and other infrastructure.


The Schiehallion experiment was very successful and yielded several results. It validated Newton's gravitational laws, and gave us the weight of the earth to within 20% of today’s estimates. The experiment also gave us a weight for the other planets, moons and the sun, as those weights had previously been known only in proportion to the earth. It also demonstrated that the density of the earth is nearly twice that of the mountain, from which it was correctly deduced that the earth has a metal core.


Today, Schiehallion is a popular hiking spot, see /summit/B103/ and various trails on it are well maintained by the John Muir trust. It is considered to be one of the easiest Munros to climb, although it is very steep and rocky in places. The remains of the two observatories can still be found.


-- Brian Kennan

A mathematical question and The Inverse Square Law, as applied to Pints.

First the question as posed by Brian:

In order to maximise the deflection of the plumb line, what is the optimum altitude for the observatory and why? If you get the answer right, I’ll buy you a pint.

Do have a go -- no cheating. Reply to our forum. Don't anticipate a pint.

Accepting the challenge and forsaking Google or Wikipedia or any looking up anywhere, your editor tried an answer, which was rejected. I tried again and requested a half pint should the second answer be correct.
Once again my answer was rejected and I was told "Be aware that the pint diminishes as per Newton i.e. by the square of the number of attempts."

A place for those interested in Challenge Walks


6th August 2022

A very popular Walk as proudly hosted by Lagan Valley Orienteers.

The Mourne Seven Sevens Walk takes in, amongst others, the seven highest mountains of the Mourne Mountains. A route that consists of summiting Slieve Donard 850m first and then a route that heads towards The Silent Valley before its return to Newcastle. An “unsupported” walk but definitely a nice clean walk which for the most part follows well-worn trails and stone tracks that in places trace the incredible Mourne Wall.

Alas, this Challenge Walk is sold out too!

Distance: 29 km. Total Ascent: 2,495m

Mournes 7X7



Then with its August anchor... our good friends down Leinster way await our arrival!


12th, 13th, 14th August 2022

A mighty Challenge over three days to cross the Galty, Comeragh and Knockmealdown Mountains. Organised in association with Galtee, Nire Valley Bogtrotters and Peaks Hillwalking Clubs - There are three variations of walks over three great mountain ranges! .

Distance (over the three days) : 95 km. Total Ascent: 4,200m.

Registration for 2022 is now closed!

It's no sin but... many a Challenge Walk sells out super-fast! Best way to think of it is that the Irish Challenge Walks fraternity has certainly become a victim of its own success!



So Onwards and Upwards Boys and Girls.

Keep Safe and Enjoy your Day!

Jim Holmes


MountainViews Challenge Walks Calendar

Reports of many of the Challenge Walks and indeed news, blogs and more - can be found on . . . CHALLENGE WALKS NEWS, REPORTS, BLOGS & MORE . . . You should be able to find this link easily off the main Challenge Walks Page.

Another feature that's closely related to Challenge Walking and other services provided by MountainViews is our page listing Irish Compleatists of the Scottish Munros. We could use some recent compleaters reports for this!
See some more info below on this new feature.

For fuller details: The Challenge Walk Calendar

Also take a look at this resource:

Morocco - An ascent of Mount Toubkal

Marian Wallis visits the Atlas mountains to climb North Africa's highest mountain.

The trip
A group of walkers from the Ballyhoura Bears headed to Morocco in May 2019 to walk in the Atlas mountains and summit Mount Toubkal. We flew from Dublin to Marrakesh where we were picked up by the Moroccan trekking company who were co-ordinating our trip. All the guides, cooks and donkey owners were drawn from the local villages and our basic accommodation while in the mountains brought much needed income to the local economy. Trekking in Morocco is an environmentally aware business with its main focus on sustainability. This trip gave us a closeup view of the hardship of those living in the area who cherish their Berber culture and their Islamic beliefs. They much prefer to be known as the Amazigh, meaning “free people” We were enriched not only by the challenge and beauty of the landscape but also by a new understanding of North African people.

Not the only fruit...

First Days

Our first night was spent in the ancient city of Marrakesh in the very comfortable Africa Riad hotel. This city of red ochre-coloured walls was alive with noise, smells and music. The call of the Muzzein echoed through the streets as the sun set and Djema del Fina in the middle of the city came alive with acrobats, snake charmers and dancers. My earlier experience in Africa and a rudimentary knowledge of Arabic did help to negotiate the souks with little hassle. We departed the city early and had soon left the enclosed tourist complexes behind. Goatherds watched their flocks at the roadside and we crossed dry parched riverbeds as we climbed towards the great Atlas mountains with the great Toubkal massif soaring majestically to the heavens. Villages were embedded into the mountains where farmers still planted along the terraces. Apple and walnut trees were plentiful and each garden was carefully cultivated with vegetables. Our walking began from the small town of Imi Oughtered. There we met our official guides, Ibrahim , Mohammad and Abdul while we were served mint tea. Our four cooks and seven donkeys had set off before us as they were preparing our lunch on the mountain. The walking was spectacular. We first ascended on a loose stoned dry riverbed turning onto a path cutting across the alleys of the old town. Children sought “bonbons” ‘pencils” as we passed. We continued up, twisting and zigzagging in a very leisurely way to the pass known as Tizi i Tachert. From here the views were magnificent. To the north the country stretched towards the Mediterranean and southwards to the great Atlas. A short distance beyond the pass we stopped for lunch. Seated on colourful carpets and blankets we feasted on vegetarian dhal, a spicy meat dish with olives, huge dishes of pasta and mince accompanied by a mouth-watering salad. Copious baskets of bread were passed around. This set the standard for the week as the food continued to be wholesome and delicious. With a final glance down the Oussem valley we had a very meditative descent on a narrow path which clung to the mountainside until finally crossing a dirt track to a promontory which gave us a great view over the valley to the village nestling on the mountain side where we were to spend the night in the Gite Ithltwine.This traditional village had flat roofed houses made of mud and stone built into the mountainside. The weather had now changed as thunder rolled across the mountains drowning all conversation as it swooped through the Anzar valley. As the god of thunder raged it was soon followed by the god of rain with a little less fury. This gite was community owned so the village was gaining from our trip. Dinner was superb, harira soup followed by meat tagine and vegetables cooked with ginger followed with pears, orange slices and camomile tea. Sleep came early as we retired to our mattresses on the ground.

An Atlas sunrise

Deeper into the mountains

The 5.30 call to prayer heralded a glorious sunrise as we watched the dawn reveal the snowcapped peaks of a world untouched and unchanged for thousands of years. After a breakfast of boiled eggs, cheese jams, honey and bread, we felt watched from behind the shutters as day two began. Cows and goats were enclosed in yards adjoining the houses, away from preying nocturnal animals. Later we passed young girls and boys herding cattle and sheep on the mountain while there was daylight. The morning was beautiful but cool as we climbed the alleyways out of the village. This was a farming area with gardens of walnut trees, apples and cherries. Irrigation was very well organised along the terraced ridges. This Aneidiz valley is very fertile but is dependent on the rains coming at the right time. Global warming has made life much more difficult for the people and it became so clear how Africa is paying the highest price for all our actions. The guides loved to talk about their customs and traditions and appreciated our interest. Health care is very poor with one doctor for 100,000 people and diseases like cancer and diabetes are increasing.
We traversed across narrow paths steadily ascending to the pass into the Tamsoult valley. There we sat with the sun kissing our faces while we nibbled on dates and stuffed nuts. Up and down we progressed , listening to cows in briars and stepping aside for a huge herd of goats moving to more mountainous pastures. We crossed the Tamsoult river a number of times before reaching Refuge Tamsoult at 2250m. This was a more modern building with tiled floors with male and female dormitories. After another delicious lunch we climbed another 250m to the Tamsoult waterfall. We now crossed into Toubkal National park. Mist enveloped us as we reached the 85m high waterfall. To our surprise some enterprising young lads were squeezing oranges to make fresh orange juice which was divine. The weather suddenly changed as fat drops of rain forced us to make a quick return to the refuge. Within seconds thunder boomed and lightning flashed as the drops turned into massive missile-like hailstones.

Tizi Mize

The rising sun glided over the jagged spear-shaped tops of the Toubkal ridge. For aeons this formidable mountain has been a sentry challenging all those who would dare to venture further. It was humbling to be an observer to a way of life which has changed little over thousands of years as mules have always been used to ferry goods and modern technology has no answer to their agility and dexterity. Self-sufficiency is definitely the maxim of the Amgisht (Berber) people as even at this Refuge Azib Tamsoult there was a vegetable garden and organic hens which supplied us all with breakfast. Leaving Tamsoult we descended into a long winding valley before beginning a long contouring ascent to Tizi Mize at 2015m. One elderly muleteer sang a Gnaoia (a religious hymn). Other muleteers repeated each phrase sung in a gentle meditative chant which reverberated across the valleys. This came from the soul not only of this weather beaten Amgisht warrior but from the depths of the Atlas mountains. Nature and human become one as songs of love unites them in the recognition that all must co-exist. The path was easy walking, hugging the mountain twisting up and down across several aretes to emerge at the pass with magnificent views of the Azine and Imlil valleys. We could see how far we had come since leaving the Asni valley. It had been a journey into a culture, a way of life with centuries-old customs and traditions.

On the way to Rouge Moulon
From here we climbed to the peak of Tasnimut at 2600m. The ground was steep and shaly so quite slippery in places. On the top there was a cairn where Abdul invited us to add a stone. After a slow descent on a well-worn zigzag path from Tizi Mizi we reached the Imlil valley where we lunched under a copse of walnut trees at 1300m. Storm clouds had gathered as we dined and became more threatening as we headed to the outskirts of Imlil, stopping at a waterfall just as the clouds burst. Luckily, we could shelter on the verandah of another enterprising juice making establishment. The thunder still rolled across the mountains as we climbed to the village of Around where we stayed in a very comfortable Gite with smaller rooms and hot showers. The river snakes its way through this beautiful valley protected by towering ranges at all sides. Early that morning I had shared a very special moment with the Gite owner on the rooftop where I did some yoga exercises while prayed to Allah. Our guide Ibrahim lived here and so he spoke proudly about the history and customs, especially the burial customs.

Near Refuge Moulon

From Aroumd to Refuge Mouflon

Every step today was into the remote. This was a return journey for me as in 1988 myself and a friend had climbed the same path to ascend Toubkal. The route climbed gently for the first hour, busy with walkers but also Muslim pilgrims to Sidi Chamouch, a local saint of pre-Islamic origins whose tomb is still a place of prayer and intercession. Past the shrine, the trail steepened considerably and frequently we moved sideways to allow mules pass. As our lunch stop was on a riverbank a few of us dipped our feet in the water which was icy cold but very refreshing. Another idyllic scene, drying our feet in the sun while the mules grazed happily on a patch of grass on the other side of the river. After lunch every step seemed to herald cooler air as we neared the snowline. Then as the mountains converged into a semicircle we were at the top of the valley and could see our refuge in the distance. Everything had changed so much since my visit 30 years before. The hut we had then slept in was now a storeroom with two larger, modern and cleaner refuges. Both were powered in a sustainable way with solar energy. We stayed in Refuge de Mouflons where there was a very lively atmosphere. We all shared one big dormitory with access to lighting and hot showers which automatically shut down at 9.30pm. There was a palpable air of excitement, anticipation and nervousness.

Beginning the ascent to Toubkal

We woke at 3am to the sound of drums as Ramadan was due to begin at sunrise. But we were up soon after this as most trekkers aim to reach the peak by sunrise too. With nearly 1000m of vertical gain over just 3.5 km it is essential to leave before dawn. By 4.30am with our torches alight we joined the cavalcade of climbers beginning the long ascent. My memory was of shale but maybe because of being snow covered it seemed much easier. Climbing at this stage was very much a mental challenge as without visibility or sense of the surrounding peaks at times it felt like an ascent to a non-existent endpoint. But it was a wonderful morning to be alive as the rising sun clothed the mountains in a warm golden glow silhouetting the peak of Toubkal. We continued in a relentless zig zag fashion, up and up at the same steady pace with calculated stops. It became steeper but by now the col was in sight. It was still slow , with some gasping for air after every four or five steps but the view had now opened up to reveal successive rows of peaks on the eastern and western horizons. Suddenly it was less steep, and the apex was within view. There was nothing to stop us now and we soon stood proudly on the summit raising the Limerick and Munster flags. We were on the roof of the world at 4,167m. The entire High Atlas, from the Tichka Plateau in the west to the Middle Atlas in the east, spread out below us. To the south we saw the Sahara stretching across north Africa, to the north the Mediterranean, the Atlantic to the west and across the Suez canal to the Middle East. Windblown but exhilarated we turned for the descent as our guides were keen to cover as much ground as possible before the snow became too soft. Due to much heavier snow than usual in May the descent was slow but with each step our sense of achievement grew and the corresponding adrenaline energised us to reach the refuge at 12.30pm . Here we lunched, said goodbye to our cooks and headed back down the valley to Imlil which is the gateway for trekkers. The following day we spent in Marrakesh before flying home.

Walking in the Atlas mountains in a tranquil , meditative experience and gave us a snapshot of a cultured, proud people who love their valleys and their mountains. ...

-- Marian Wallis

The MountainViews ANNUAL 2021, brought out in 2022.

For 2022 the Annual has 64 pages in 18 Articles about walking on hills, mountains, coast and islands here and abroad.

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

(Obtain PRINTED VERSION) Mail the MV Secretary for printed copies.
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Videos this month:

Ellie from Tough Soles takes part in and ruminates upon the overnight Art O'Neill ultra challenge
MV user gerrym enjoys a walk and a camp in the Derryveagh Mountains of Donegal
As we welcome the IMRA secretary to the MV Gathering, a lovely film about one of Ireland's main mountain running challenges

Videography by Peter Walker.

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
The first reprint with numerous minor amendments is available.

Purchase from here.

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, 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 ...

This month.
Kudos to our contributors.

We welcome the following new members who enrolled recently acoleman8, Albanach, antoa1, Ballyhea, Clairo36, Conodate1, davezeking, declanon, Deggy1966, eimirmaguire, Eiremattc, EricR, FannyB, gk213, Goo, HanktheTank, joejimmy1, Joem, Judithlea, Karl, klokeefe109, mdehantschutter, mjbradshaw1, mmcmullan, Musheraman, Nachtvogel, nickywood1, Nina, Northman, scallen, Seamy13, ShanelleW, Skip, Smort, UpperCurrahy, Walker35 (36)

(Information above and below are since we last presented such figures, which is generally a month but can be longer when we don't have an html newsletter.)

Our contributors to all threads this month: 196xim (1), Bobbio1969 (5), BrianKennan (3), Bunsen7 (1), Colin Murphy (9), Fergalh (29), Musheraman (1), Onzy (8), Pepe (1), Peter Walker (1), StaCla (1), TommyV (2), billbaggins (1), eamonoc (4), gaoithe (3), garrettd (1), Communal summary entries (7), march-fixer (3), markwallace (2), sandman (1), simoburn (4), simon3 (8)
For a fuller list view Community | Recent Contributors

There were comments on the following places , An Cnoc Buí, Bray Head Hill, Bulbin, Caherbarnagh, Cnoc na nUlán (mullach thoir), Corcóg, Croaghanmoira, Derrybawn Mountain, Glenbeg East, Knockaterriff, Knocknabro East Top, Knocknabro NE Top, Knocknabro West Top, Knocknafaughy, Lackavrea, Mullacor, Slieve Beagh SE Top, Slieve Maan
and these shared tracks Black Fell, Southern Cumbria Britain, Bulbin, Inishowen Ireland, Camaderry Mountain, Wicklow Ireland, Carrickbyrne Hill, Wexford Ireland, Carrignagunneen, Wicklow Ireland, Crockmain, Inishowen Ireland, Dartry Mountains Ireland, Derrybawn Mountain, Wicklow Ireland, Derrybawn Mountain, Wicklow Ireland, Gowbarrow Fell (Wainwright summit), Lake District - Eastern Britain, Great Mell Fell, Lake District - Eastern Fells Britain, Harrison Stickle, Lake District - Central & Western Fells Britain, Hartsop Dodd, Lake District - Eastern Fells Britain, Holme Fell, Southern Cumbria Britain, Knockannavea, Dublin Ireland, Knockeenatoung, Galty Mountains Ireland, Little Mell Fell, Lake District - Eastern Fells Britain, Mountpelier Hill, Dublin Ireland, Mullaghcleevaun East Top, Wicklow Ireland, Nagles Mountains Ireland, Scarr North-West Top, Wicklow Ireland, Slieve Maan, Wicklow Ireland, Slievebawn, Blackstairs Mountains Ireland, Slievekeeragh, Inishowen Ireland, Spain , Spain , Spain , Spain , Spain , Spain , Spain tracks were created.

Thanks to all 1452 who have ever contributed place or routes info and forums.

For a full list view Community | Contributors Hall of Fame

Summary. MountainViews now has 9832 comments about 1671 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 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:
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 & cartoons: madfrankie
Development & support volunteers: Vanush "Misha" Paturyan, Mike Griffin
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