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The Summit

MountainViews newsletter for guestuser

Dec 2021

HILLWALKING
NEWS - INFORMATION - RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS - FEATURES - FORUMS



NORTH, SOUTH, WEST, SOUTH-WEST, EAST, Route ideas and places to go.



Featured Summit: evocative, five starred and inspiring John Finn writes about a trip up Knockmealdown



Camino Primitivo Marian Wallis describes a favourite route in Spain

Céim na Conaire – December The Arbutus - an unusual tree growing in Ireland that flowers as it fruits.

Ireland's Eye Tom Barragry discusses this very walkable island.



Buffon's Needle in the Irish Times. More summit and col surveys.

Two videos featured this month from gerrym and ToughSoles.

UPCOMING EVENTS for HILLWALKERS

MOUNTAINVIEWS: Hillwalkers' Events

  • Jan 15th 2022.
    Kerry Walking The plan is to organise a simple event on Sat Jan 15th on the two Torc Mountains near Killarney. Your editor intends to visit his last Arderin.
    There may be events for experienced walkers, organised on some preceding days. Events dependent on weather and lockdown rules. Register interest with admin -at- mountainviews.ie


  • Friday 25th Feb 2022.
    Annual Gathering This is advance notice for the date of the MountainViews Annual Gathering The meeting is a public meeting open to all, with talks, awards to those that have completed lists and an opportunity to meet others. Venue: To be arranged. Further details to follow. The event is contingent on the rules and sentiment in place at the time.



 Picture of the month

Speckled sky, Misty slopes
A cool north breeze brought this sky and temperature inversion to Blackstairs Mountain.
For original comment, click here.



Photo: Simon Stewart


 International Pic of the Month

Moel Cae'r-defaid West Top
Area: Wales, Barmouth to Betws-y-Coed and Bala Area, The Arenigs. Some great views on this ascent despite the rain on the day
For original summit, click here.



Photo: Fergal Hingerty

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

Featured Track of the Month
The Night Flyers
This month's selection is a visit to the lonely Hampden Memorial on Black Hill above Poulaphouca, Co Wicklow, courtesy of ceadeile. This is the site of a tragic aircrash during the Second World War.
ceadeile on Lacken to Black Hill via Hampden Memorial
Main walk Start: 08:50, End: 10:04, Duration: 1h14m, Length: 4.8km, Ascent: 420m, Descent: 37m
Places: Start at O01107 10875, Black Hill, end at O04139 09037 3.5km SE 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)

At O 03323 08968, on the side of Black Hill, a memorial - an upright Granite column (a recycled gatepost?) and a plaque, commemorate the 4 airmen who died nearby in the early hours of April 18th 1941 when their aircraft crashed onto the mountainside.
The upright column was placed there in April 1991, the 50th anniversary of the fatal crash and is inscribed with the names of the 4 young men. The plaque placed beneath it was added more recently and gives some additional information regarding the incident.
Colin Hill, the brother of the pilot, F.K. Hill, has extensively researched the incident and the results of his research can be accessed at http://www.ww2irishaviation.com/gravescj/foreword.html
The County Kildare Online Electronic History Journal gives an account of the incident at
https://www.kildare.ie/ehistory/index.php/blessington-war-time-air-crash/
The 4 young men who died were
Pilot Officer John Kenneth Hill (Ken) aged 23,
Sgt J.T. Lamb (Jack) Navigator, aged 20,
Sgt F. H. Erdwin (Fred), aged 21,
Sgt S. Wright (Stanley), aged 20.
The 4 airmen were buried together, with full military honours, in the northern corner of St. Mary’s Church Of Ireland cemetery in Blessington.

Photo above shows view of the memorial column towards Poulaphouca Reservoir

Photo above shows view of the memorial column towards Black Hill

Photo above of the plaque placed at the bottom of the granite column

The graves of the 4 who died in the churchard of St. Marys, Main Street, Blessington.



NORTH: Hags, bogs & fences to navigate.
Mullaghdoo in the Sperrins is one purely for the baggers, throwing swathes of peat hags, multiple fences and sodden terrain in your path, writes Colin Murphy.
group on Mullaghdoo:
Parking for a few cars at H 58955 96913. Cross the road and head up the initially steep, grassy slope of Learmount South Top. The slope becomes gentler but also boggier as you ascend the 800m or so to this point. From Learmount South turn SW for about 700m, passing though peat hags and heather, crossing multiple fences. This area is very boggy underfoot. From H579 966, turn directly west up a grad ... ... Click here ...


NORTH: Another Brick In The etc etc
A fun morning's exercise for your track reviewer and his Sunday gang, taking in Norn Iron's two highest summits in that intoxicating combination of 'laser visibility' and 'really bloody strong winds'. This wouldn't be a terrible way to do Donard if you fancied you might have the energy to do something else afterwards, all very clear underfoot apart from the pathless pull up Commedagh which will probably develop a path eventually based on how many times we go up and down it in the name of 'training'.
Peter Walker on Donard and Commedagh from Newcastle
Some Sundays you don't have the mental energy to be wildly creative with your route choices, and such days in the Mo| walk, Len: 13.7km, Climb: 1070m, Area: Slieve Donard, Mourne Mountains (Irelan ... Click here ...


NORTH: Squelch city
An approach from the north to Mullaghsallagh means an unpleasant slog through mud, bog and generally sodden terrain, reports Colin Murphy. Linkback: /summit/499/comment/23316/
Colin Murphy on Mullaghsallagh, (Mullach Saileach):
We approached this hill from Craigagh and Spelhoag (ignoring the previously bagged Oughtmore.) The initial descent from Spelhoag was across grassy, mostly firm terrain with some decent views, but once we reached the peat hags around H699 964, the trek turned into an unpleasant trudge up through mud, bog and generally sodden ground, and a lot of meandering around peat hags is unavoidable. Another S ... ... Click here ...


WEST: Spectacular Sligo
Approaching from near Glencar Waterfall, pdtempan enjoyed stunning views of the cliff faces stretching towards Benwiskin.
pdtempan on Annacoona Top:
Climbed Annacoona Top on 15/10/21, taking the steep road out of Glencar that starts near the waterfall. This brought me to the plateau, but crossed the plateau going NW without much of a track. Eventually you reach a road coming out of Gleniff which makes the last kilometre and a half considerably easier. At the summit the views of the cliffs between here and Benwiskin are spectacular. Somewhere i ... ... Click here ...


WEST: Not often walkers see dolphins…
Although the tiny tidal island of Braadillaun in Galway is a mere 12m high, it brought its own rewards in the form of a pod of dolphins, writes markwallace.
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Featured summit comment

 

The Night Time is the Right Time
John Finn

The Night Time is the Right Time, so says JohnFinn in an evocative and well-detailed post called 'Night Climb of Knockmealdown'. John's description of his trip up from The Vee might well entice you to invest in a head torch and traipse up a hill some evening. If you're lucky the sky might be clear giving you a stunning glare-free view of the stars.
As of the time of publication, the three people who had rated this comment had all made it 5 star.


Knockmealdown was the first mountain I climbed. I was 19 years old and in the possession of a brand-new Yamaha 200 motorbike. Now that I had an independent means of travel,I rode up to The Vee from my home in Youghal on a glorious summer's day determined to scale the mountain that was such a significant feature of the northern horizon from that seaside town.

And it was a joyous experience. Standing on the summit, viewing the panoramic vista, instilled a love of mountains that has never left me. I returned to the bike, parched with the thirst, and drove to the nearby Cat's Bar where I had the most refreshing pint of lager I have ever drank. It was my Ice Cold In Alex moment.

I've been back numerous times over the years and each visit feels like renewing acquaintance with an old friend, one that never lets you down, and that leaves you energised after each encounter.

Fifty years on from that first visit I returned once again on 13th November to do a solo night climb. I set off from The Vee carpark at 4:22 a.m. and ascended the Sugarloaf keeping close to the wall on the way up. The sky was mostly clear and bejeweled with stars. I stopped regularly and turned off my headtorch to take in the spectacle.

The headtorch, incidentally, is a powerful 900 lumens Petzl Swift RL. This was a recent purchase and was the prompt for me to do the night climb - I was curious to see how it would perform. It is astonishingly bright at full power - I was reluctant to aim it at the sky in case I might blind the people on the International Space Station should it happen to be passing overhead. I never needed that much illumination: a lower setting did the job just fine. Highly recommended.

After reaching the summit of Sugarloaf I followed the wall along the ridge until I came to the trig point on Knockmealdown. The south-eastern sky was brightening but sunrise was still an hour and a half away. I spent the interim exulting in the views, taking some photos and video with my phone, GoPro and drone. It was still too dark to expect technically good results from that equipment but I had deliberately left my more capable DSLR gear at home in order to save weight.

As sunrise approached, cloud began rolling in and soon the summit was enveloped in fog. I began to retrace my steps, knowing that keeping near to the ridge wall would get me back to my starting point. This meant going via the summit of Sugarloaf whereas normally, in good visibility, I would veer across its flank to avoid ascending it. That additional ascent is relatively minor however and it was safer to do it now that thick fog enveloped the mountain.

At the Sugarloaf summit the wall veers west and down and after 30 minutes or so I was back at my car. Once again, Knockmealdown had afforded me an enormously satisfying experience.

Photo: John Finn on the Knockmealdowns.

SOUTH: Friendly Farmer Bart
An ascent of Barryroe Hill in the West Cork Mountains was greatly assisted by a local farmer who directed sandman to the simplest route up this diminutive little top.
sandman on Barryroe Hill:
Arriving in the area on a nice October morning parking the best I could on an narrow road studying the map and Google Earth for the best route to the summit Farmer Bart arrived and after the introductions offered to show me the best way up. Not to disagree with a local farmer I really had no option but to follow his advice. Parking at W1351928553 adjacent to a farmyard owned by his friend and by k ... ... Click here ...


SOUTH: Here Comeraghs Your Man One for the VERY speedy and fit in the current limited daylight, or just one to look forward to for next year, finbarr65 has made an autumnal traverse of the classic Comeragh Crossing, not far short of 50km over the entire length of that tremendously charismatic mountain range. A lot of little ups and downs (which stack up) and a fair quota of insidious bog awaits you, but this is one of the island's best challenge outings.
finbarr65 on Comeragh Crossing: www.irishmountainchallenges.com
This was the great day on the Comeragh Crossing as specified by https://www.irishmountainchallenges.com/comeragh-crossin| walk, Len: 47.9km, Climb: 1820m, Area: Long Hill, Comeragh Mountains (Ireland) ... Click here ...


SOUTH: A night to remember
JohnFinn revisits an old friend, Knockmealdown, that he has climbed on many occasions, but this time he does it at night and is rewarded with a spectacular sunrise.
JohnFinn on Knockmealdown, (Cnoc Mhaoldomhnaigh):
Knockmealdown was the first mountain I climbed. I was 19 years old and in the possession of a brand-new Yamaha 200 motorbike. Now that I had an independent means of travel,I rode up to The Vee from my home in Youghal on a glorious summer's day determined to scale the mountain that was such a significant feature of the northern horizon from that seaside town. And it was a joyous experience. St ... ... Click here ...


SOUTH-WEST: Donkey King A short Binnion exercise for eamonc (see also his comment) up one of several such summits hiding out in the badlands of West Cork (the tidying up of which could fill a fair slice of a day). Barryroe Hill can be accessed via the 'Farmer Bart' route from the south, but this track comes in from the north-west, and seems to have more donkeys. Both approaches deposit the Summiteer on a tussocky top with views of the complex, rambling coastline.
eamonoc on Short hop to Ballyroe, no farmers about
| walk, Len: 1.6km, Climb: 67m, Area: Barryroe Hill, West Cork Mountains (Ireland) Barryroe Hill ... Click here ...


EAST: Stoney Temple Pilot
Possibly over-reacting to her own husband's statement that 'it will usually be included in longer walks, not normally being a target in itself', osullivanm has done just that with an outing from the Glenmacness car park that heads past Lough Ouler, studiously avoids Tonelagee and then studiously avoids Mullaghcleevaun too. (You could include those, just saying). Guilt-stricken (I'm speculating) she then included the latter's East Top on the way down. So remember folks...even in familiar hills you can extemporise a bit.
osullivanm on Near Stoney Top, Wicklow (Ireland)
| walk, Len: 14.4km, Climb: 509m, Area: Stoney Top, Wicklow (Ireland) Stoney Top, Mullaghcleevaun East Top ... Click here ...


EAST: An easy bag with some nice views
Carrigoona Commons East is simplicity itself but does offer fine views of eastern Wicklow, writes csd.
csd on Carrigoona Commons East, (Carraig Úna Thoir):
As other contributors have said, a very easy walk from the suggested parking spot up to the summit for an easy bag. Some nice views in all directions - here's one looking west towards Djouce and the Powerscourt Waterfall. ... Click here ...


EAST: Boys from the Blackstairs
Atmospheric clarity and surveying for simon3 in the Blackstairs, as his itinerary took in the eastern and southern spurs of Mount Leinster on a crisp day as the embers of winter began to ignite. It's certainly a much more interesting route up the mountain than the access road from the north. See also the Picture of the Month.
simon3 on Clear views, mottled skies: Mount Leinster on a good day.
We started from Kiltealy forest entrance in Ballycrystal. We went up through the reasonably open forest and then over th| walk, Len: 14.8km, Climb: 701m, Area: Black Rock Mountain, Blackstairs Mountai ... Click here ...


EAST: Hillwalking off into the sunset
An evening walk up Knockanaffrin in the Comeraghs rewarded Barry28213 with a magnificent display of colour.
Barry28213 on Knockanaffrin, (Cnoc an Aifrinn):
Hiked to the summit recently for sunset, taking in Knocksheegowna on route after parking at the entrance to Moanyarha bog. It was a fantastic hike in calm, mild conditions, with beautiful evening light and stunning views in all directions. Couldn't really ask for more!! ... Click here ...


EAST: Good start, poor finish
The earlier stages of his walk up Ballyscanlan Hill in Waterford presented Barry28213 with fine views of Carrigavantry Reservoir, which disappeared behind forestry all too quickly.
Barry28213 on Ballyscanlan Hill:
Parked at Carrigavantry reservoir S55100251 where there's space for 3/4 cars near the small marina. We then followed the road back around and took the relatively well worn track on the north western corner of the lake (shown on the OS map) which passes a lovely copse of pine trees by the waters edge. From here the track starts to ascend to a large flat grassy area with a nice view point back over ... ... Click here ...


MIDLANDS: No laughing matter
Gortagarry in Tipperary comes from the Irish for ‘field of laughter’, writes Colin Murphy, but the hellish final 100m ascent through dense trees is anything but funny.
Colin Murphy on Gortagarry:
A local informed me that Gortagarry means 'Field of laughter' from gort (field) and gáire (laughter), but given the torture of hacking my way through the forested area of the summit, the experience was anything but humorous. Followed jackal's excellent route for an easy ascent up forest tracks, except for the last aforementioned 100m or so. Unless you're a bagger, stay away, because the hill will ... ... Click here ...


MIDLANDS: Dull hill covered in masts.
Ascending Kilduff in the Midlands SW is largely via Coillte tracks and the summit is a broad, ugly area covered in masts and associated structures, says Colin Murphy.
group on Kilduff Mountain, (Cnoc Na Coille Duibhe):
Simplest approach is via a farm track at S 067 753 E - permission may be required. Follow the track west for 1km until you reach the woods where the track swings north for about 300m, joining a main forest track. Turn right here and follow the main track for 1km to the summit area, which is covered in masts and associated structures. An alternative, longer approach with no possible access restri ... ... Click here ...


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

MOTLEY GATHERING



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 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 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 people's contributions.

Contact us at admin -at- mountainviews.ie

A Camino for Hill Walkers: The Primitive Way

The Camino Primitivo

There are many possibilities for pilgrims on the Iberian penisula. Marian Wallis describes a particularly mountainous trek in Northern Spain.



Embalse de Salime

Background

The first major pilgrimage to Santiago originated in Oviedo, in the Asturias north west of Spain and continues through the province of Galicia to its destination. Even today, it feels largely untouched. The walker can easily access Oviedo by flying into Bilbao and getting buses to Oviedo. We organised this trip ourselves using the guide book, The Camino Primitivo, and a website called Camino Forum to book places to stay and follow the route. While the route is waymarked, unlike the more popular French Camino it can be vague in places so we found the very detailed map in the Wise Pilgrim excellent to keep us going in the right direction. Later after finishing the walk I found we could download the route from Wise Pilgrim for free once we had the book. It is also possible to just download the route for a price. We used the Spanish postal luggage transport service to transfer our bigger rucksack from place to place. This cost between 5-8euro a day. There are several companies which offer this service. This route does require forward planning as places to eat and sleep can be quite a distance apart.

Escape

Every June we like to escape and rediscover the rhythm of life. So in June 2019 we sought serenity and silence in following the Camino Primitivo from Oviedo to Lugo. We were not disappointed as this way brings the pilgrim high, across rugged countryside and through small rural villages and towns. Tourists, except for a few pilgrims are few.


An ancient tree.

The Early Days

Leaving Oviedo at sunrise we soon climbed into the countryside, first on some quiet, country lanes which soon turned into gravel and dry mud paths through beech and oak forests. Birds sang, water glinted in the valley streams – a feast for the senses. Centuries old bridges reveals a rich history. The rectangular timber built granaries known as “horreros” are raised high on pillars to keep rodents out as the Asturias have done through the ages. Valsera was a welcome breakfast stop. Two hours later the Rio Nalon gave an opportunity to bathe tired and hot feet. A riverside track ascended to a pine scented forest before the final stretch to The busy market town of Grado. Here we saw the first of the manor houses built In the late 19th century by those who had made their fortune in Central and South America.

Day two brought us, on well-marked trails across the valleys through Vaquieros, named after the “vaquieros” or cattle drivers who came here in medieval times. Their legacy is the highland pasture “Branas”still visible in this rolling farmland. This landscape is the custodian of past, present and future.Tedious road sections were relieved by stunning views, joyful birdsong and the grazing cattle. Evidence of vegetable and fruit growing marked this as an agricultural area. Cornellana. Our breakfast stop, was home to the meeting of rivers Narcea and Nonaya. The town annually celebrated the capture of “El Campanula”, the first salmon of the season. A huge and once powerful monastery, with a Cathedral like church, is now semi-ruined. Another long, hot climb soon saw us on a mountain track through a forest where rustling testified to active wildlife. Passing over the summit was rewarded with a wide panoramic view, totally devoid of man-made constructions. Refreshing cool water from a fountain after Llamas gave us new vigour to complete the trail to Salas, an enchanting medieval town with its own palace now a hotel. The people here were friendly and welcoming. Our evening was enlivened by a child’s birthday party which seemed to give everyone an excuse to party.

Cows and Corn


A local hostelry.

Our early morning climb out of Salas led upwards on a riverside track through an old, oak forest before stopping at Espina for coffee. Today we had 1200m ascent along farm lanes, forest trails and quiet country roads to reach Pedregal for the final ascent to Tineo.

Our descent into the town was in the company of a prize cow adorned with ribbons. It was agricultural show day! After dining it was yet another ascent but the amazing views of green valleys, tree covered slopes and numerous mountain ridges made it all worthwhile. There were fields of corn waving in the light, cooling breeze. The scent of apples lingered in the air as we passed the many orchards which supplies the local cider businesses. The native, small horses, “Astrucon”grazed happily beside the path.On the last stretch to Campiello a dense fog suddenly whirled like a dervish. Our head torch saved us but the last three km was a nightmare. But our accommodation at Casa Hermenia was a revelation. The female Spanish version of the Healy-Rea. Whatever we needed she had it!

Ghosts of the Past

The fog persisted into the morning and for much of our climb over the higher route which passed the ruins of three pilgrim hospitals where sick pilgrims had rested unless claimed by death.The dampness was cold and waterproofs were a life saviour against the chill wind in the higher altitude. Occasionally, voices followed by ghostly figures appeared momentarily out of the mist only to dissolve into the gloom. It was eerie and surreal to imagine how pilgrims struggled up this mountain in pursuit of the spiritual. This desire to seek the sacred united the pilgrims of all generations. Navigation was made even more difficult as the markers were not as frequent but luckily La Paridiella hospital ruins appeared out of the mist. Continuing, we reached Fonfaron,a delapidated structure surrounded by a few wind-blown gnarled trees. The fog lightened to allow intermittent views of an isolated plateau in the midst of lofty mountains. Valparaiso hospital gave momentary sweeping views of the Cantabrian mountains. As we traversed along narrow ridge numerous valleys and extensive mountain ranges stretched into the distance. The remote summit at Alto de Palo overshadowed an almost vertically situated valley where unusual colourful bushes hugged the slope creating the most exquisite rockeries. There was little sign of life except for a very Spanish “Toro” whose field we had to cross. Now hungry with little prospect of food we trudged through Lago, uphill to stroll beneath a beech canopy before arriving in Berduceo just as the fog swarmed in from all sides.

Forest Destruction

Day five began with stunning views from the windmill- lined ridge above La Mesa to the quaint little chapel after Buspol. We had a steep 650m ascent at first shrouded in fog before the sun broke through to reveal a dramatic mountain valley. Many of the forests here had been burnt in 2017. It was hard to imagine these lifeless, skeletal remains were once straight and green. The scorched ground offered little hope of renewal. The reservoir, Embalse de Salime, a very natural looking lake drew us downwards like a magnet. The inevitable climb zigzagged beside tall trees with exotic leaves protecting us from a scorching sun.A detour away from the road to a quiet country track gave us an early arrival in Grandas de Salime where we relaxed with wine, food and a good book.

Final Days


The hospital ruins

The next three days brought us past a medieval centre for lepers, strange figures sculpted out of old pieces of machinery, the little chapel of St. Barbara who promises to “save stores of bread and wine and watches over all pilgrims”. We climbed high to cross into Galicia, passed the well-preserved ruins of Hospital de Montouto and stones from the Neolithic period. We traversed valleys with traditional round cattle sheds, very nearly stood on a snake, cooled down with ice-creams and still have cherished memories of spectacular scenery on the way to Fonsgrada, O Cadavo and Lugo. The sun rose and danced as we began our final day. As the landscape turned to amber and gold our path twisted through a deciduous forest of oak and beech. Clumps of wild rose and blackthorn wafted a sweet scent as birds chirped and warbled to welcome the day. A complementary route took us past the ruins of the village of Soutomerille, a magical detour through an ancient forest. This is a breathing museum of centuries old trees, whose twisted, bent trunks and branches testifies to old age. One gnarled chestnut, more than 350 years old belongs to the pages of a Tolkien novel.

Our gradient along forest paths and farm tracks was much gentler as there were signs of more affluence. The hum of incessant traffic told of our proximity to Lugo. Thankfully, dirt lanes led us over the autopiste to merge with a wall lined, secluded path into the outskirts of Lugo. At last there it was! The massive Roman walls gazed down from the hilltop. Elated but tired we entered the city of the Celtic god Lugh.

Buen Camino.


The route



-- Marian Wallis

Ireland’s Eye

A Day Trip to Ireland’s Eye

The rocky islet of Ireland's Eye lurks watchfully off the coast near Howth. Tom Barragry pays it a visit.



Looking across to Howth

A visit to Ireland’s Eye on a clear sunny day during the nesting season is an idyllic experience. The craggy 54 acres just a mile off Howth Harbour are a paradise for the ornithologist but also repay more general exploration. The island was the original site of Howth village church, forming an early part of the Howth estate when the Gaisford St Lawrence family took over the area and its extensive surrounding townlands centuries ago.

The small ferry from Howth’s West Pier (operating from May to October), drops you on a rocky inlet on the north west side of the island, and walkers, birdwatchers, and rock climbers are regular visitors over the summer season. The island contains a beach, a Martello tower, the ruins of an early monastic church, a large free-standing rock called “the stack” at the north east corner of the island (home to a very large colony of gannets, razorbills, kittiwakes and guillemots). Other avian inhabitants include puffins, shags, cormorants, fulmars, black backed gulls, herring gulls, terns, oystercatchers and shelduck. Numerous grey seals can be seen swimming in the waters close to the beach. And an inlet near the stack is called “The Long Hole” and is believed to be the location of a notorious murder in 1852.

History

The island was originally called “Eria’s Island”, and then “Erin’s Island”. Following the arrival of the Vikings, the word “island“ was replaced with the word “ey” (the Norse equivalent), and so it became known as “Erins Eye” and ultimately “Ireland ‘s Eye”. The only signs of previous human activity on the island are two structures: a Martello tower and the ruins of an old church. The church was built in the 7th century and was called Cill Mac Neasan, or “the church of the three sons of Nessan”. Nessan was a prince of the Royal House of Leinster, and his three sons were monks who founded a community there. The monks created a holy manuscript copy of the four Gospels (called the “Garland of Howth”) which is now preserved in Trinity College Dublin.

Vikings attacked the island in the late 9th Century and again in the 10th Century, destroying Cill Mac Neasáin. Only a small part of the structure now remains, surrounded by ferns and hogweed. It ceased to function as a church in the 13th century and all monastic activities were relocated to St. Mary’s Abbey in Howth. The monastery and chapel were finally abandoned in 1235, and the chapel was replaced by the one on Howth Head. The Martello tower on the north-west corner of the island was built in 1803 and was one of three constructed in Howth on the instructions of the Duke of York, in order to repel any possible invasion by Napoleon’s France.


The Long Hole

The Murder

William Burke Kirwan (1814-1880) and his wife Maria lived at number 11 Upper Merrion Street in Dublin’s city centre. He was a prosperous businessman and a successful artist. In September 1852, the couple were renting a room in Howth from where they would often take the short journey over to Ireland’s Eye. One day that autumn they were rowed out to the island by a local boatman, Patrick Nagle. William planned to do some painting, while Maria was going to swim, walk and explore the island. As the sun set the boatman arrived back to collect them and saw William Kirwan standing alone on the shore. William told Patrick he had not seen Maria for some hours and that he had been searching for her. The pair continued to search until it was almost dark.

It was Patrick who discovered Maria’s body lying on the rocks in a cove known as the Long Hole. It appeared to be a tragic drowning accident – or so everyone initially believed. However, suspicions grew as time went by, and eventually William was accused of her murder and was sent for trial.

William Kirwan pleaded his innocence and was very ably defended by his barrister and future politician, Isaac Butt. The prosecution made a great play on the fact that William had a mistress and a second family in Dublin, claiming that his wife had recently found out about this other woman, and that was why William had murdered his wife. However, during the trial witnesses for the defence claimed that Maria had known all along about her husband’s mistress, Miss Theresa Kenny. The overall evidence surrounding the event was largely inconclusive and circumstantial. Nonetheless, William Kirwan was eventually charged and convicted of Maria’s murder and was sentenced to death. His sentence was subsequently commuted to a life term and he served 27 years of hard labour on Spike Island, before being sent to America where he died in 1880. (See also the book “Murder at Ireland's Eye” by Michael Sheridan. Poolbeg Press 2012).


Gannets and Cormorants

Habitat & Wildlife

Ireland’s Eye is composed of Cambrian quartzite which forms the spectacular cliffs on the north-east side, with scattered exposures elsewhere on the island, especially in the higher northern half. A tall rocky stack, completely cut off from the main island at mid to high tide, occurs at the eastern side of the cliffs. A low-lying, sparsely vegetated islet (known as the Thulla Rocks) occurs a little to the south of the island. The widespread drift soils and quartzite on the island are essential to support the plant life, such as Bracken, Red Fescue Grass, Bluebells and Pennywort. Rare plants have also been recorded growing in the thinner soils of the island, such as Spring Squill and Knotted Clover. Along the spectacular cliffs of the island, Rock Samphire, Sea lavender, Rock Spurry and Tree Mallow also flourish. However, the main habitat is an overall mix of dry grassland with bracken.

One of the most important roles of Ireland’s Eye is as a sanctuary for sea birds. Ireland's fifth gannet colony became established on the free-standing stack in the 1980s, and there are now a few hundred pairs breeding there each year. There is also a large cormorant colony on the main island, and a few breeding pairs of puffins. Fulmars, cormorants, shags, gulls, guillemots and many more species occur regularly, as they breed on the spectacular stack. Peregrine Falcons have also a long history of breeding on Ireland’s Eye, but the number of puffins present has decreased in recent years. It is very easy to spot and (quietly!) observe all of these beautiful birds at fairly close quarters, especially the nesting cormorants. Puffins can sometimes be seen paddling in the blue waters, while the gannets, cormorants and guillemots wheel overhead.


A nesting Herring Gull

Walking the island

After the fifteen-minute journey from Howth’s West pier, the small ferry boat will drop you close to the Martello tower. There is no real harbour here, just a jumping off spot at a flat rocky inlet. From here you walk south east through the grass and bracken, before reaching a sandy shingle beach backed by low sand hills, facing directly towards Howth harbour. Grey seals can be seen bobbing in the waters beside the beach, as well as quite few shelducks and oystercatchers. Turning left at the end of the beach and up an incline, “the stack” comes into view. This is home to breeding pairs of gannets, auks, guillemots, razorbills and cormorants. The high rocky stack is well streaked by copious white dashes of guano from the huge colony of birds nesting there. Just before the stack is the inlet of the “Long Hole”.

As one climbs upwards along grassy tracks and through bracken, seagulls’ eggs are readily visible in very obvious grassy recesses underfoot. Usually these speckled eggs, two or three together, are from the large and somewhat aggressive black backed gulls who do not take kindly to visitors coming too close. As one gets near the stack (walking up carefully along a rocky incline) the noise from the wide variety of sea birds nesting there can be almost deafening. A high grassy plateau near the stack, facing east out to the sea, is a good place for a picnic. Just below this viewpoint, perched on the nearby rocky ledges, the nesting cormorants are in full view. Each nesting female is guarded by the male cormorant, who brings her fish to feed herself and her chicks. These birds are mostly monogamous and have the same mate for their entire life.

From the grassy picnic spot, gannets, fulmars and terns are easily spotted flying low along the coast and swooping into the water, while hordes of noisy sea birds wheel along the cliffs at the stack. The gannet is an interesting one to watch…and there are plenty of them. The gannets (brilliant white with black wing tips) have wing spans of up to two metres, and they catch fish by diving from spectacular heights into the sea at up to 100km per hour. They allegedly have incredible eyesight and can spot fish way below the surface of the water. As they dive into the water, they compress themselves with folded wings to enter torpedo–style, to grab their prey lying quite some distance below the surface. The enormous blow as they enter the water at high speed is absorbed by a strengthened skull and by a protective air cushion under the skin, akin to an airbag. The gannets nest in dense colonies on the cliff ledges of the stack. They brood just one single bluish, chalky egg for six or seven weeks in a nest of seaweed or mud. The young birds are fed by regurgitation and reach maturity in the third or fourth year.

Heading west along the island the highest point can be reached in twenty minutes or so. From there one is rewarded with a beautiful 360-degree panorama looking out over Lambay Island, Howth, the North Dublin coastline and the Irish Sea. From this vantage point on the small summit, one sees the Martello tower and the ruins of the old church below, and hundreds of penguin-like guillemots and razorbills along the rocky ledges on the eastern seaboard side. Although the island is home to many puffins, these tend to be more difficult to spot and they have their nests in deep grassy burrows. Coming down from the summit, one walks north past the old Martello tower and back to the waiting ferry at the rocky inlet to take you back to Howth.


The Garland of Howth

In conclusion

Ireland’s Eye, like other islands off the Dublin coast, is designated as a Special Protected Area under the European Commission’s Birds Directive. It makes for a delightful and enjoyable walk on a clear day, and the bird life is well worth the trip even for those who are not ornithologists. The best time for a visit is from April to July when the nesting birds are densely packed all around the rocky ledges and cliffs, sitting on their nests, guarding their young, while the gulls green speckled eggs are to be seen almost everywhere underfoot in grassy recesses.

It’s a short enough walk through the island, but it’s full of variety, beautiful views, memorable bird life, and is a very rewarding stroll on a sunny summer’s day.



-- Tom Barragry

CHALLENGE
A place for those interested in Challenge Walks


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

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

For fuller details: The Challenge Walk Calendar

Also take a look at this resource:
www.facebook.com/ChallengeWalksIreland

Céim na Conaire – A Step along the Way: Arbutus

November

The slow but amazing arbutus


Paul Tempan

 

“…the lake [Como] exceeds anything I ever held in beauty with the exception of the Arbutus islands of Killarney.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley, letter to Thomas Love Peacock from Milan, 1818

 

 


Photo: Arbutus flowering and fruiting simultaneously at Muckross, Co. Kerry (© Paul Tempan)

 

I started this blog in March with one of our earliest plants to blossom: blackthorn.  It is also among the last to bear fruit.  Just a couple of weeks ago I picked the fruit of the blackthorn to make some sloe vodka.  This month I’m looking at the arbutus, a plant which flowers much later than most and whose fruit mature even more slowly than sloes.  A case of sloe, slower, slowest?

Ireland was once a heavily forested country, and this was one of the key factors which made travel around the country a slow business (boggy terrain being another).  As late as the 1740s it took 2 days to reach Belfast by carriage from Dublin in summer, 3 days in winter.  The building of turnpike roads increased daily travelling distances from around 40 miles to 60 miles, but Dublin to Cork was still a two-day journey in 1792.  Travel further west than Cork and Limerick was far slower as these regions were as yet unconnected to the network of coach roads.  When Daniel O’Connell began his legal career in the 1790s, it took 6 days for him to travel from Derrynane to Dublin, a journey that can now be completed in under 6 hours by car.  Events of the past two years have turned back the clock a wee bit and helped us to appreciate the value of slow travel and staying local.

That there was once so much tree-cover is hard to imagine from a modern perspective, given that only 11% of the country is woodland nowadays (in Europe only the Netherlands has less), and most of this figure is made up of conifers planted in the 20th century.  The vast majority of Ireland's surface area is either farmland or urban development.  The relative absence of tree-cover is one of the most striking features of the Irish landscape to foreign visitors, especially walkers who explore mountain areas like Connemara or MacGillycuddy's Reeks.  Native woodlands, such as those found at Derrynane, Co. Kerry, and at Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, make up only 1% of Ireland's land area.  The trees in native Irish woodlands are almost all deciduous (i.e. they shed their leaves in winter), with a few notable exceptions, such as holly and yew.  The yew wood on the Muckross peninsula in Killarney National Park is the only substantial area of native coniferous woodland in Ireland.

Another exception is arbutus, which is a remarkable plant for several reasons.  Arbutus is not only a broad-leaved evergreen (most European broad-leaved trees are deciduous, shedding their leaves in winter) but is also a member of a very select club: that group of 15 or so plants known as the ‘Lusitanian flora’ which are indigenous to the Iberian Peninsula (Lusitania was a province of the Roman Empire roughly corresponding to Portugal) and to Ireland, but are not found in Britain (not in the wild at least, but it can certainly be cultivated: on a recent visit to my sister in Surrey, I was surprised and amused to find it growing in the neighbour’s garden, overhanging the drive).  Other Lusitanian plants familiar to Irish walkers include the insectivorous greater butterwort, St. Patrick's cabbage, a type of saxifrage widespread in the mountains of Cork and Kerry, and St. Dabeoc's heath, a variety of heather found in Connemara and West Mayo, which featured in September’s article.  Arbutus is ericaceous, meaning that it is related to heather, being one of the taller members of this family.


Photo: A fairly tall specimen of arbutus beside Muckross
Lake, Co. Kerry (© Rory Hodd)

 

World-wide there are numerous varieties of this genus of trees.  Arbutus menziesii, distinctive with its peeling red bark, is native to the Pacific coast of North America, but Arbutus unedo is the only species indigenous to large areas of Western Europe and is the variety that you are likely to come across on walks in the West of Ireland.  The trunk is reddish brown.  Arbutus brings forth creamy white bell-shaped flowers and produces berries which, when ripe, resemble strawberries in colour, size and texture.  This has led to the alternative name ‘strawberry tree’.  But there the resemblance ends: the fruit are perfectly round, unlike strawberries, and have a bland, slightly sour taste.  It is said that the unappealing taste is behind the Latin botanical name of the variety indigenous to Ireland: Arbutus unedo.  Pliny the Elder, the Ancient Roman naturalist who died during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, reputedly said “unum tantum edo”, “I only eat one”, because having tasted one he had no desire to try any more.  The raw berry, whilst not particularly tempting, is perfectly edible and it is used to make jam and other preserves.  In Spain it is used to make a fruity liqueur called madroño (which is also the common Spanish name of the tree) and in Portugal to make a brandy called medronho.  The citizens of Madrid have a particularly strong attachment to the tree, since the city's coat of arms features a bear standing on its hind legs to eat the fruit of an arbutus.  This commemorates the fact that King Alfonso VIII of Castile gave possession of the surrounding forest and its resources to the city council rather than to the clergy in the 13th century. The sculpture of the bear and arbutus at Puerta del Sol in the city centre is a well-known Madrid landmark.

 

The plant’s life-cycle is curious and very rare.  It does not follow a simple annual pattern.  It flowers in October, when little else is blooming, so that bees will take an interest in it if the weather is still warm enough for them.  Bitter arbutus honey is a speciality of Portugal and Sardinia.  The fruits then start developing through the winter, but only ripening a whole year later.  This makes it something of a wonder of the natural world, since in autumn it is possible to see the new season's flowers on the tree at the same time as the ripening fruit which started growing the previous year (see photos, top and bottom). 

 


Photo: El oso y el madroño, sculpture of the bear and the arbutus, Madrid, by Antonio Navarro Santafé (photo by Carlos Delgado; CC-BY-SA, unmodified, and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence. 

In Ireland arbutus is found predominantly in the south-west, especially around Killarney and Bantry Bay (hence the proliferation in this region of guest houses and restaurants with ‘arbutus’ or ‘strawberry tree’ in their name).  Good places to see the tree in its natural environment are Muckross on the shores of Lough Leane, the more open parts of Glengarriff Wood and the shores of Lough Currane near Waterville.  Arbutus also grows around Lough Gill in Co. Sligo, its most northerly habitat.  You’ll have noticed that several large lakes have been mentioned, so lake-side locations seem to be a favoured type of habitat.  Another one is Lough Guitane, NE of Mangerton, where the late Toby Hodd told me that he had found a single arbutus, the easternmost location in Munster.  You can see a distribution map here (note that most of the occurrences in Britain are cultivated specimens, not wild ones). We can be sure that arbutus has been present and used by man in Ireland for many centuries due to its inclusion of caithne as one of 28 native trees and shrubs mentioned in an 8th century Irish law tract.  According to this text it was used for making charcoal and small pieces of decorative inlay.  It seems to have been the intensive use of arbutus for charcoal production in the late Middle Ages and early modern period which was the principal cause of its range shrinking quite dramatically.  Charcoal was particularly in demand for metalwork.

What, then, is the explanation for the disconnected distribution of Arbutus unedo in south-west Ireland, on the Iberian peninsula and around the Mediterranean, but not in Britain?  This question is one which has been asked by scientists ever since the Lusitanian group of plants was first identified in the mid-19th century.  A definitive answer has not been found, and different plants in the group may each require their own particular explanation.  It is likely, however, that arbutus was once widespread along the Atlantic coast of Europe in prehistoric times when sea levels were considerably lower and Ireland was connected to Britain and the continent by a land-bridge. It may always have been present in Ireland, or it may have been introduced, or re-introduced in prehistoric times.  Whilst arbutus is more prolific in Western France and on the Iberian Peninsula, the long, dry summers typical of Southern Europe limit its size in these regions to that of a large bush, between 3 and 5 metres high.  It seems to thrive in the damper, more temperate conditions in Ireland where it develops into a splendid tree, reaching heights of 10 to 12 metres.  The arbutus is truly one of the gems of Irish wildlife. 

 

Logainmneacha / Place-Names

Place-names indicate that arbutus was probably far more widespread in the past.  In Irish it is usually called caithne, and an anglicised form of this is most likely the origin of the alternative name ‘cain apples’ for the fruit, rather than any connection with the biblical Cain. 


Photo: A cultivated Arbutus (in England), showing the fruit
in closeup, November

Eisc na gCaithne, ‘ravine of the arbutus trees’ (Isknagahiny), is a fissure on the SW side of An Bheann Mhór, a 674m peak situated east and inland from Waterville.  It runs down to Lough Currane and Isknagahiny Lough is also in this vicinity.  One of the islands on Lough Currane is Oileán na Caithne / Arbutus Island.  Daniel O’Connell would have been familiar with the arbutus, no doubt encountering it as he rode around the Derrynane estate.

Cahnicaun Wood is at the southern foot of Eagles Nest / Nead an Iolair  and adjacent to the stretch of water known as the Long Range.  P.W. Joyce suggests that this is a diminutive of caithne denoting an arbutus wood.  Not far from here, on the Upper Lake of Killarney is another island named Arbutus Island, perhaps one of those eulogised by the poet Shelley.

Derrycunihy is a townland which extends from Galway’s Bridge down to the Upper Lake.  You can walk from here on the Kerry Way to Lord Brandon’s Cottage in the Black Valley or connect with the Old Kenmare Road.  The Irish form of the name is Doire Coinche.  The second element of the name is uncertain, but it seems quite possible to me that we have a variant word for arbutus here, rather like Cuinche, the Irish form of Quin, Co. Clare, a name which is accepted as referring to the tree.  Arbutus does indeed grow under the canopy of taller oaks in Derrycunihy, so a name meaning ‘(oak-)grove of arbutus’ would be apt.

 

Over the county bounds in Cork we find the Owenacahina Stream, which flows from Barley Lake down to Glengarriff.  Joyce interprets this as Abhainn na Caithne, ‘river of the arbutus’.  Arbutus still grows today in this locality, along with all the above-mentioned spots.  By contrast, the following places are outside the current range, so these place-names provide evidence that arbutus once grew there.

Smerwick near the tip of Dingle Peninsula is called Ard na Caithne in Irish, 'height of the arbutus', though there is little woodland of any kind there nowadays and arbutus is no longer found on the Dingle Peninsula.  It seems likely the height in question is the slope which leads up to the cliffs known as An Triúr Deirfear / The Three Sisters.

Ardcanny between Limerick and Foynes on the Shannon estuary is from Ard Caithne, a similar name with the same meaning.  

Quin, near Ennis, Co. Clare, already mentioned above, is from Ir. Cuinche, a variant form of caithne.

Many thanks to Anne-Marie Moran at Derrynane House and to Rory Hodd and Dylan Hodd for their assistance with the November blog on arbutus.

 

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.

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

(Obtain PRINTED VERSION - Euro 16.50 + p&p)

emVee-Tube

Videos this month:

MV user gerrym goes undercover (well, canvas anyway) in the heart of the Mournes
Ellie and Carl of Tough Soles begin a visit the lowest (but definitely not the least) County Highpoint

Videography by Peter Walker.

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


Adventure of the mathematical sort.


simon3 on Comte de Buffon in Irish Times
Last month we published an article on a curious way of estimating the length of a walk on maps with a 1km square. The prolific "maths populiser" and MV member Paco published something based on this in his blog https://thatsmaths.com/ and in the Irish Times. Thanks Paco for kind words about our newsletter. And all thanks to the original blog we saw this on from Ben Craven: https://bencraven.o ... ... Click here ...



MountainViews Surveying and Changes to Lists.

Here are measurements made in October and November 2021.

MV Place Index Area - Subarea Place name Easting Northing Height Lon Lat
1197 Wexford Area, N: Bunclody Subarea Kilmichael Hill 309812.387 163200.606 269.291 -6.3750515180000003 52.708845304
Blackstairs Mountains Area   N: Blackstairs North Subarea Mt Leinster col Knockroe: Key col for Knockroe 282346.365 150349.665 441.535 -6.7845700989999997 52.598250755000002
376 Blackstairs Mountains Area   N: Blackstairs North Subarea Knockroe Top 281945.497 149645.183 538.77 -6.7906597800000004 52.591981378
20 Wicklow Area   NW: Mullaghcleevaun Subarea Black Col Mullaghcleevaun: Key col for Black Hill 304478.472 208500.585 541.006 -6.4393849330000004 53.116851007000001
Wicklow Area   NW: Mullaghcleevaun Subarea Mullaghcleevaun Top 306762.593 207044.357 846.681 -6.4057648560000002 53.103317713000003
Wicklow Area   NW: Mullaghcleevaun Subarea Mullaghcleevaun Col East Top: Key col for Mullaghcleevaun East 307784.625 206869.299 754.51 -6.3905686030000002 53.101539854000002
52 Wicklow Area   NW: Mullaghcleevaun Subarea Mullaghcleevun East 308243.419 206707.7 795.907 -6.3837753240000001 53.099995423999999
Wicklow Area   NW: Mullaghcleevaun Subarea Mullaghcleevaun East Col Duff: Key Col for Duff Hill 308899.085 207857.753 656.177 -6.3735998680000003 53.110192877999999
96 Wicklow Area   NW: Mullaghcleevaun Subarea Duff Hill 309377.999 208260.677 720.78 -6.3663132850000004 53.113714366000004
1228 Wicklow Area   NE: Bray & Kilmacanogue Subarea Bray Head Hill 328232.488 215815.097 238.928 -6.0818375739999997 53.177367339
303 Dublin Area   S: Dublin South East Subarea Glendoo top 314493.649 220684.325 582.797 -6.2854980920000001 53.224235301999997
Dublin Area   S: Dublin South East Subarea Glendoo top Col Two Rock: Key col for Two Rock Mtn 314601.081 222121.886 367.437 -6.283373578 53.237124692000002



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

Purchase from here.

simon3 on A Guide to Irelands Mountain Summits
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 ...

SITE NEWS

Reports of MountainViews.ie not working: certificate out of date -- Repeat Item

A user has reported that they were not able to access MountainViews.ie It turned out that there is a general cause, explained here:

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Our volunteer Misha who looks after various technical matters for MV says:

I hope it won't be an issue with other users, or at least with a very limited number of other users. The only advice we can give is to keep OSes and browsers up-to-date: for example, in the notified case the OS he's using has not been updated since 2017.

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This month.
Kudos to our contributors.

We welcome the following new members who enrolled recently 500plusclub, Al101, alantwarm, amcneill, AndyJ123, anna.crosse, artfotografo, Aturner, bagoff, bcassidy, blathnim, bnewman93, BrianKennan, brolisarnas, CarolynB, chrwal, Colmac, ConorH33, Danbhoy19, Danderphil, DecFr, decgaynor, Dekko, DenniB, Derbut22, Djh1, DjpH, donnchabegley, Dub, emanners, FionaM, Flynners, Frankierooney, fuckoff, geomizosi, gmcalinden, Handkerchief, Ianmbetts, IssyO, Jayus, Joe90, JohnHoare, johnlyster, johnnvb, Johnny_kk, JulesGribben, katiek, kdbennett, Laragh, lgnehz, louph, Marius00, Matthews, Maycon, mcdonaghjo, mgyolo, newhiker, nigelcmason, Noel.Curtis78, nrachox, Padraig212, Padraig_o_d, Pairaknees, PaulToomey, rickko, RonanKel, rusty, seamusdeeny, Sissy, Sleibhte21, Smeb54, stefairc, stewartmann, TippHiker, turcon, whiskytrippers, willkell (77)

(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: Barry28213 (3), Bunsen7 (3), Colin Murphy (12), DecFr (1), Fergalh (22), Geansai (1), Geo (5), Harry Goodman (2), HighVibes (1), JohnFinn (1), Onzy (2), Pepe (1), Peter Walker (3), TommyMc (1), TommyV (1), ToughSoles (1), ceadeile (2), csd (1), dino (7), eamonoc (3), finbarr65 (1), Communal summary entries (8), hivisibility (2), jgfitz (2), markmjcampion (1), markwallace (1), mh400nt (1), osullivanm (2), pdtempan (2), sandman (1), simon3 (6)
For a fuller list view Community | Recent Contributors

There were comments on the following places , Abbey Hill, Annacoona Top, Annatoran, Ballyscanlan Hill, Barryroe Hill, Benard, Benbulbin South-East Top, Black Hill, Black Rock Mountain, Blackstairs Mountain, Bolaght Mountain, Braadillaun, Brougher Mountain, Cark Mountain, Carrigoona Commons East, Coumfea, Craigagh Hill, Croaghan Hill, Croaghmoyle, Crockalougha, Cromaglan Mountain, Culliagh SE Top, Cushbawn, Farbreague, Fearns Hill, Garraunbaun, Gortagarry, Inchimore, Kilduff Mountain, Kilfarrasy Hill, Knockalongy, Knockalongy North-East Top, Knockalongy South-West Top, Knockanaffrin, Knockavoe, Knockmealdown, Knocksheegowna, Lick Hill, Mullaghsallagh, Owenreagh Hill, Seefin, Seefin North Top, Seltannasaggart SE Slope, Sheep Island, Sliabh na Seasca (mullach theas), Slieveanard, Slieveanard NE Top, Spire of Lloyd
and these shared tracks Altnapaste, Bluestack Mountains Ireland, Barryroe Hill, West Cork Mountains Ireland, Black Hill, Wicklow Ireland, Black Rock Mountain, Blackstairs Mountains Ireland, Cnoc na Péiste, MacGillycuddy's Reeks Ireland, Knockree, Wicklow Ireland, Knockroe, Blackstairs Mountains Ireland, Long Hill, Comeragh Mountains Ireland, Más an Tiompáin, Brandon Group Ireland, Monabrack, Galty Mountains Ireland, Slieve Donard, Mourne Mountains Ireland, Slieve Meelbeg, Mourne Mountains Ireland, South East Midlands Ireland, Stoney Top, Wicklow Ireland, Waterford Coastal Hill Ireland tracks were created.

Thanks to all 1441 who have ever contributed place or routes info and forums.

For a full list view Community | Contributors Hall of Fame

Summary. MountainViews now has 9736 comments about 1670 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.

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.
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  • 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 & cartoons: madfrankie
Development & support volunteers: Vanush "Misha" Paturyan, Mike Griffin
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