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The Summit

Monthly newsletter of for guestuser

July 2014



EAST, WEST, NORTH, SOUTH, MIDLANDS Route ideas and places to go, many to "new" places.

Summiteering Challenges - Interview with Simon Byrne, Discusses simonburn's attempt to climb the VLs+Arderins in a year project Baurearagh Valley Circuit (Cahas), If you venturing a bit further in the summer try DenisMc's Length:19km route.

Kerry's ridge of views. A professional photographer tries his luck from Knocknabreeda to Mothaillín

Book review: Dublin & Wicklow, A Walking Guide, by Helen Fairburn

VIDEOS: Four videos this month 3 by Kernowclimber/ mcritchly


Members Walk, "Scavvy 11" Saturday Aug 30th - Comeraghs

Moderate C+/B walk with A/Challenge opportunities. To take in high tops and a lake-cliff circuit.
11th of this popular twice-yearly social walk, attended by members, friends and others. Informal apres-walk meal and pub.
(This event is organised by certain members for members, not by MountainViews or its committee.)
BleckCra on Scavenger Walk 11 Book Now!
Scavvy 11 - Comeraghs - August 30th Advise me please at your earliest if you hope to be there. We need to have rough numbers for evening meal and pub. This is a summer Scavvy so things need to be booked well ahead - and if you are coming, you should think about your accommodation too. This is not a commitment from you - just helps us with planning. Soon as please. Message myself ... Click here

For a full list of Challenge Walks, visit here.

News from Upland Forums

Belfast Hills Partnership
5 July 2014 We'll be soaking up the fun pond dipping at Ligoniel Dams on July 5. More Info Here

MOUNTAIN MEITHEAL: the following are upcoming work days for 2014:
13/07/2014 26/07/2014 10/08/2014 23/08/2014 07/09/2014
20/09/2014 05/10/2014 18/10/2014 02/11/2014 15/11/2014
We publicise Mountain Meitheal because they make practical repairs to some of the more popular areas we walk on, using a voluntary community based approach. (More information at their website.)

View from the summit of Errigal in Donegal towards the south. Picture courtesy member Aidy. Click for source comment.

In short: Discovery

Featured comment

far From the Madding Crowd
by kernowclimber 10 Jun 2014 A trip to Dursey Island to climb the westernmost peak in the Slieve Miskish range is memorable. What other island offers a hair-raising arrival via cable car, the only one in Europe to cross open sea? Cnoc Bólais could easily be combined with climbing Lackacroghan, but check the daily cable car times (winter has a different timetable).

The cable car that takes 6 people, lifeline for the handful of islanders who live in 3 small hamlets, departs Ballaghboy and takes about 10 minutes to cross Dursey Sound where treacherous swells send the seaweed into an underwater frenzy and waves foam and snarl onto jagged rocks. Suspended in this tiny box, my eye caught a small vial of holy water and a copy of psalm 91, reassurance for travellers shaken to see the sinister swirling of the sea through gaps in the floorboards. A sign prohibiting the opening of the door mid-journey seems unnecessary! And to think that livestock were transported in this tin box until recent health and safety legislation confined this to history!

On Dursey follow the National Loop Walk signposts incorporating sections of the Beara Way and Dursey Loop, which traverses the hilly spine of the island returning along a sealed road passing through the hamlet of Kilmichael. Signposting is patchy so bring a map. The trail is moderate, eroded in places with some boggy sections and areas of slippery rock. Allow around 4 hours.

In 1841 Dursey supported 340 people. Many of the old homesteads nestled in the island’s valleys are deserted, unroofed and at the mercy of the elements, the patchwork quilt landscape of small stone walled field systems containing cattle and sheep and open hillside is chocolate box pretty. Save for one man who passed by in an ancient Land Rover held together by bits of blue rope, the place seemed unsettlingly deserted, far from the madding crowd indeed. The Napoleonic signal tower atop Cnoc Bólais is the island’s most prominent feature. Commenced in 1804 in the style of the medieval forts of O’Sullivan Beare, it was never completed. The views from here are awesome: the jagged canine-like Skelligs rise from the restless Atlantic, the lighthouse on Bull Rock gleaming in the sun like a cigarette stump; north, the inky grey peaks of the Iveragh peninsula; south, the ragged Mizen and Sheep’s Head peninsulas; east, the sinuous spine of the island bedecked in autumnal russets, beyond which lie the majestic fins of ribbed rock above a thin ribbon of coloured houses at Allihies.

Return to the cable car along the road via the cluster of cottages at Kilmichael, where rose scented lanes sport bright red hips the size of Japanese lanterns and startled chickens flee into the hedgerows. Leave the road to explore the graveyard and ruined St. Mary’s Abbey containing the vault of the O’Sullivan Beara clan, many of whom were massacred by the English in a field named ‘Pairc an Air’ (Massacre Field) during the C17th. From here it’s just a few minutes amble to the cable car.

See the vid at

NORTH: Don't climb this for the views!
Cotracloghy Hill in Armagh offers a wandering route through forestry which dominates the summit and blocks any possible view, reports Harry Goodman.
group on Cotracloghy: Don't climb it for the views !
Park off road beside a forest entrance at J0432715353 adjacent to an Engineering Workshop. Take the track going SW straight ahead. Where it turns sharply to the left, either leave it and continue up the fence line over rough open ground to meet it again at J0407414977 or follow it up and around to the same point. Continue up along the track to where three large boulders have been placed across ... Click here

NORTH: Eerie conditions in the Mournes
Despite the recent fine weather, Aidy found himself struggling to identify the towering boulders at the summit of Slieve Binnian in the Mournes due to a syrupy mist.
Aidy on Slieve Binnian: Eerie conditions on summit
I set off yesterday from Carrick Little intending to walk Binnian, along with the East Top, the North Top and the North Tor, but was foiled by thick cloud on the high ground. I was only able to find the top of Binnian with the aid of the Mourne Wall, and couldn't even see the East Top on the way up. Visibilty was about 20ft, and unbelievably it was even difficult to find the huge rock formations ... Click here

WEST: Superb Vantage Point above Connemara
Bunacunneen’s location makes it the perfect spot to enjoy 360 deg. panoramas of Connemara, recounts Onzy, in a new, updated short summary.
group on Bunnacunneen: Superb Vantage Point above Connemara
Bunnacunneen is a well located peak situated across the R336 to the north and east of the Maamturks range; It has a full 360 degree views from its summit. The views are stunning on a good day, taking in the whole range of the Maamturks, Ben Gorm, Mweelrea, Devil’s Mother, Maumtrasna and the Sheefry Hills, as well as Croagh Patrick and the Nephion Beg range. The peak can be approached in a num ... Click here

WEST: Barrclashcame of the Titans
A stiff but not excessive day's hillwalking is provided by mcrtchly's track of the complete (barring a recently promoted outlier whose inclusion would make things very interesting) traverse of the Sheeffry hills...all seven summits' worth. The route is an ambulatory pot-pourri of grass, tarmac and scrambly rock, backed by some splendid views. Inevitably the track is accompanied by an excellent video...his and kernowclimber's best yet in my humble opinion, the rapidly changing climatic conditions being captured very, very well.
mcrtchly on The Sheeffry Seven Summits
This route takes in all the main seven summits of the Sheeff walk, Length:25.9km, Climb: 1271m, Area: Tawnyard, Sheeffry Hills (Ireland) Tawnyard, Ti Click here

WEST: Long day’s journey into Ireland’s remotest
Slieve Carr and Nephin Beg are about as far as you can get from civilisation on the island, but offer a multitude of approaches.
Fergalh on Slieve Carr: Long Day
Like others before hand we did the two trail strategy, In via the Bangor and out via the western way, Just three small things to add. 1. A route up from the bangor trail is to climb up via the waterfall to the lakes which are on the saddle between Nephin Beg and Slieve Carr. Starting point for this is F91640 11025. 2.On the descent to the forest there is now a wooden steps to the gap between diffe ... Click here

WEST: Don't Fence Me In
A little removed from the more obvious 'fleshpots' of the Twelve Bens and the Maum Turks is the slightly more benign target of Bunnacunneen. Onzy has submitted a circuit based around this and three other tops. It's straightforward going, apparently, and his mentioning of numerous fences on the return journey is most welcome for those of us with a tendency to view such constructions as the ideal way to tear our trousers to shreds. It doesn't link particularly easily to any other tops, but as it's half a day's walking in itself it would be easy enough to pick off something else in the vicinity.
Onzy on Joyces Country: Bunnacunneen Horseshoe
Circular route taking in Ben Beg, Bunnacunneen, its SE Top a walk, Length:11.4km, Climb: 835m, Area: Ben Beg, Partry/Joyce Country (Ireland) Ben Beg, Click here

Featured track

Baurearagh Valley Circuit
DenisMc: put up this track during June amongst many others both long and short. Length:19.1km Start: Fri 30-05-14 12:09, End: 17:51, Durn: 5h41m, Asc: 783m We included it because at this time of year many will venture into the further places such as the Cahas and not everyone wants a mega-walk.

The original track is here:
DenisMc on Baurearagh Valley Circuit
This a circuit of the Baurearagh Valley on the Beara Peninsu walk, Length:19.1km, Climb: 783m, Area: Baurearagh Mountain, Caha Mountains (Ireland) Ba Click here

31 tracks were uploaded in June. Whatever the length or terrain covered, please do submit suggestions for this "Featured Track" spot in future at

SOUTH: A photographer's ridge and blog.
Some ridges are simply superb platforms for taking photos. One of these is the Knocknabreeda to Mothaillín ridge in the eastern Dunkerrons. What makes it successful is that it is comparatively low, has steep sides allowing views into the nearby valleys and most importantly is surrounded by some of the best scenery in Ireland in the Reeks, Dunkerrons, Purple Mountain area.
Some years ago I explored it and sampled some of the photographic delights as part of a ridge walk. I am delighted to say that professional photographer Norman McCloskey, also a member of MV (since 2007), has been looking at the possibilities, starting with this sunrise shot looking east.
Take a look at Norman's website - you won't be disappointed.
His blog contains some great insights. "When should a scene be retired, and a big sign saying ‘ Sorry mate it’s been done to death’ driven into the ground there and then to prevent further online postings of yet another shot of those bloody Dark Hedges !! Or Fanad Lighthouse, or the Cliffs of Moher , Giants Causeway, etc.." - but you won't find done to death in Norman's work and certainly won't in many of the places that MV people take pictures from.
normanmccloskey on Knocknabreeda: Fantastic views of Reeks , Black Valley and more
After a talk by Simon from MV I finally stopped ignoring one of the most rewarding climbs you'll do in this area and slogged up it on a wet and windy day from the head of the pass in the Owenreagh Valley to recce a place for an overnight. After the initial 10 mins of steep slope it opens out on to a long boggy trudge towards the top but don't forget to look behind you for great views of Lough Fad ... Click here

SOUTH: Binnion with big views
Derk Hill in the Shannon area is just a ten minute stroll from the car, but has nice views across a varied Limerick landscape, says member Peter1
group on Derk Hill: Great views
A lovely little hill. I parked at the farm at N52.5303, W8.3537 and asked permission to cross the farm land. Continue up the track, through 2 gates. Take the left track which soon swings around to the right. Simply follow the track uphill then. 10 minutes from the car. The views are really good in all directions. Click here

SOUTH: Towering memorial
The tall round tower on Tower Hill in the Comeraghs is a memorial to the son of an 18th century marquis, but does not mark the highest point, says mcrtchly.
group on Tower Hill: The Tower is not the summit
Tower Hill (which is not the true summit) lies in the northern part of the Marquis of Waterford's Curraghmore Estate. The hill is mostly forested but contains an interesting round tower constructed by the first Marquis, George de la Poer Beresford to commemorate the death of his son in a riding accident in 1785. Access to this forested area is via one of the forest entrances from the W, S, E and ... Click here

SOUTH: Simoburning Down the House
simoburn's Project Mountain Goat has possibly peaked in terms of sheer glorious lunacy during the month of June, and he's uploaded a plethora of tracks that range from 'evening legstretcher' via 'moderately anaerobic' to eventually arrive at 'you really, really must be kidding. You are kidding? Aren't you?' None of the itineraries would be considered beyond the reach of the properly fit hillwalker, but to do several of them in a row is mightily, mightily impressive. I have almost arbitrarily picked out his traverse of the spine of the Dunkerrons running WSW from Mullaghanattin to Coomahorna because it is such an outstandingly wild part of Ireland, but several of his others are just as fantastically scenic/brutal. If anyone fancies adding more tops onto them, I'll buy them a drink.
simoburn on PMG Walk 36 - Dunkerron Mtns
PMG Walk 36 - Dunkerron Mtns. A rather long hike in cooler w walk, Length:43.3km, Climb: 2561m, Area: An Cnoc Riabhach, Dunkerron Mountains (Ireland) Click here

SOUTH: Spectacular circuit – especially in perfect weather
The magnificence of the Cahas was much in evidence when member garretd took on the Cummeengeera circuit on one of the hottest days of the year.
garrettd on Lackabane: Spectacular circuit in perfect weather
Despite the excellent weather and several parked cars, there was nobody around to collect the 'admission charge' of €4 to walk the Cummeengeera circuit. I ascended Tooth mountain first, following the right hand side of the river bank from the field with the stone circle. The direct route over Tooth from where the river valley bends to the west is quite steep and the seemingly more straightforward ... Click here

SOUTH: A Blasket case
Kernowclimber nabbed Been Hill in the Glenbeigh Horseshoe and a wonderful shot of the Blaskets as the sun set, and blame her for the terrible pun in the headline!
kernowclimber on Been Hill: A Blasket Case
The Blasket Islands can be seen clearly from Been Hill on a good day. We spied them on the horizon as the shadows lengthened and the sun slid low in the sky. The island on the left is Inishnabro, with the jagged Cathedral Rocks visible on its right side, and the island rising like a spear tip in the centre is An Tearaght. Click here

EAST: Stairway to heaven
Blackstairs Mountain in the Blackstairs, offer a great viewpoint above a patchwork quilt of colourful fields, recount Onzy and Gobbledygook.
Gobbledygook on Blackstairs Mountain: Nature at its best
An absolutely fantastic area with breathtaking views. A patchwork of beautiful colours from nature. There are a few trails to follow which are easy to access and are well signposted. I will have to return to explore further. Click here

EAST: Long Day's Journey into Night...and the following day
In the years since I first started visiting Ireland one of the very, very few disappointments I'd experienced was the apparent shortage of obvious insanity in the hillwalking fraternity. Well, it seems that something has been slipped into the water supply as suddenly there's loads of folk out there demonstrating a lack of marbles and an excess of derring-do; challenges are being both completed and continued as we speak. trailtrekker and his chums have successfully accomplished a one-day ransack of all the County Tops in the province of Leinster, and has provided a couple of tracks that digitise all the fun they must have had. Some of us are already curious as to the logistical possibilities of Munster, Connaught and Ulster...
[Clearly many MV members thought highly of this achievement and so we have included it here. Personally, I prefer challenges which do not have a large driving component to them. - Editor]
Trailtrekker on All Leinster County Tops in 24 Hours (Part I)
Starting from the summit of Lugnaquilla at 11am, we descende walk, Length:26.8km, Climb: 666m, Area: Lugnaquilla, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) Lugnaquill Click here

Trailtrekker on All Leinster County Tops in 24 Hours (Part II)
Continued from track 2557. Corn Hill does not have many rede walk, Length:10.4km, Climb: 206m, Area: Corn Hill, North Midlands (Ireland) Corn Hill, M Click here

EAST: Moths and rebels!
Two separate comments on Lacken Hill in Wexford enlighten us on the prevalence of carpet moths and historical associations with the 1798 rebellion.
Gobbledygook on Lacken Hill: Forest Walk to Hilltop
Ease of access and parking is a plus. There are two signs at the entrance saying 'Forest of The Dunbrody' and 'Site of Rebel Camp June 1798'. I learned from another walker that part of the wood has trees growing which replace the trees used for building the Dunbrody Famine Ship. There is a forest road going up the hill in good condition - a moderate incline. Half way up the a little stream appear ... Click here

MIDLANDS: Drive-in summit
Coolnahau Hill in the South Midlands may be reached in the comfort of your car, recounts sandman.
sandman on Coolnahau Hill: Drive In .
Any vehicle with a reasonable ground clearance can drive up to the summit which has a turning bay or park at the entrance S6022530270 to a public gravel lane and as i did walk the short distance. Click here

MIDLANDS: Drive, walk or bike
Such are now your options if you have a hankering to ascend the forested Fossy Mountain in County Laois, reports sandman
sandman on Fossy Mountain: Walk or Drive.
On turning in on the road which runs thru the townland of Orchard Upper i was greeted with a very mucky road at the rear of the first farmyard but fortunately this was short and the road afterwards was a tarred surface up to the forest entrance S5632989179. As this gate is normally opened good parking exists but now you can choose to Drive ,Walk, or Bike as a well maintained forest road exists to ... Click here

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


MORF, the Mourne Outdoor Recreation Forum
The most recent meeting of the Mourne Outdoor Recreation Forum took place on Tuesday 17th June in Castlewellan. A more-than-usual number of matters pertaining to hillwalking were under discussion, including:

* Memorials on mountain summits. The assembled were generally sympathetic-but-anti, and a low-level memorial area for such purposes was suggested.
* The results of counters installed at various points within the range to measure walker numbers. As an example, the marker at the 3rd bridge on the Glen River track recorded 1221 pedestrians passing it on the busiest day so far this year.
* Proposals for an event waymarking working group to come up with a suggested code of practice going forward - it has been observed that the signing of some events is proving confusing in the short term and environmentally messy in the medium-to-long term. I have volunteered to be part of any such group.
* Also on the subject of organised/charity events, it was noted that fostering good practice was being hampered by the rapid turnover of staff within those entities responsible, and every year communications were starting from ground zero.
* Another working group was proposed to prioritise mountain pathworks based on the Strategic Path review (which can be found here: ); I have volunteered for this too. I implore anyone with a genuine interest in path construction/maintenance in the Mournes to read that document, and if you wish any points to be considered by the working group then please contact me through MountainViews; MHT will be expecting me to be sceptical seeing as this has been my stance all along, and I will be in a position to ensure that dissenting (or positive) points of view are properly considered.
-- Peter Walker

Book Reviewers Wanted
If anyone is interested in reviewing:
John G O'Dwyer - Tipperary & Waterford or
Jim Ryan - Carrauntoohil & MacGillycuddy's Reeks
please get in touch with

Ordnance Survey Ireland Adventure Map Series - Help Wanted
simon3 on Request from Ordnance Survey for hints.
Currently OSi are working on 1:25,000 mapping for the Dublin Mountains/ Wicklow area. They are proposing 3 double sided maps covering the area. They have taken on board comments made over the years about the accuracy of the 1:50,000 maps in some respects. So for example they are planning to improve forest track coverage. The way they are doing this starts with air-photography. With high qua ... Click here

We have mentioned the new 1:25000 series that OSi are putting out and also the contributions made by MountainViews members to them.
The Ordnance Survey now have a page describing them. which is well worth visiting if you are interested in the progress of maps in the Republic. Should this series be completed and done well, then the Republic's 1:25000 series will start to be as useful as that of the OSNI (now LPS) in Northern Ireland.

Tripping over MountainViewers ..

kernowclimber on The hills are alive with MVers!
After bumping into fellow MVer, Wicklore, the day before on the Glenbeigh Horseshoe, you wouldn't think lightning would strike twice, would you? Wrong! On a sunny Monday afternoon, we had wandered up the quiet and deserted track from a sugar pink farmhouse and were languishing atop Colly when we saw a figure approaching the summit cairn from the direction of the neighbouring valley. We exchanged p ... Click here

We hear that at Ballinascorney near Stone Cross in the Dublin Mountains (Under Slievenabawnoge - not an "MV" summit) there is a new carpark and forest entrance about 140m south of the cross. Very likely this can be a place to start hikes. In fact in the past this was the starting point for the Lug Walk before a newly-planted forest on Slievenabawnoge caused the organizers to relocate to its present inferior and bog-prone location. Hopefully the Lug Walk will return to its original (and proper) starting point which would return the 191m to the ascent and 1.7km to its distance. ["proper" is defined here as what I did in the mid 70's - Ed] (Item courtesy Tom Milligan.)

Drones in national parks - some US experience.
Below is an article about a temporary ban on drones in parks. Personally I think that drones could have some great benefits for example for search and rescue and for photography but were they to become a distraction they would certainly need controls.
Read article here.

Insane Himalayas Bus Ride - not for the faint hea…:
This came in from MV's Secretary
Be terrified here.

ARTICLE: Interview with Simon Byrne - Climbing ALL the VLs and Arderins in a year.

Project Mountain Goat – member Simoburn.

Many hillwalkers like to structure their walking around some kind of achievable target in terms of a specific list of hills they would like to climb, something which this site has always catered for, currently with a range of 19 lists to suit all levels of commitment. MountainViews has lists for all tastes. Perhaps the most prestigious lists - certainly the hardest - are the larger lists: the Arderins list of 405 mountains over 500m with a prominence of 30m and the Valdeleur-Lynam list of 269 mountains over 600m with a prominence of 15m. The combined list is 454 summits in total.

These lists tend to be lifetime targets for many walkers; something they will aim at over many years of walking - So far MV has only 3 complieters of the Vandeleur-Lynam list and 2 of the Arderin list, and only a single complieter of the combined list, Adrian Hendroff.

So enter a young member with a target of completing both lists, not in a lifetime, but in a year! Simon Byrne (Simoburn) began Project Mountain Goat (PMG) on 13th January 2014 with the Great Sugar Loaf and since then, has summited 148 VLs and 177 Arderins, a total of 212 tops and hopes to reach halfway in the quest this weekend.

This schedule has given rise to a number of marathon walks, most recently a 43.3k (ascent 2,561m) traverse of the Dunkerrons, taking in 17 summits, and a 38.7k route taking in both a circuit of the reeks and the entire Purple mountain range (ascent 2,692m, 19 summits).

Onzy interviewed Simon for MV.

[Editorial note: At least one other person (member pnrunner) has done the 600Ms in a year (or a similar list). Should Simon compliete his challenge, he would be the first as far as we are aware of anyone finishing the VLs and the Arderins in a year. We wish him all the best!].

How long have you been hillwalking, and when/why did you start?
At the age of 12 I was first taken up Hungry Hill on the Beara Peninsula by the late Dr. John Lyne. I loved it! In 2002 he took me up Carrauntoohil. One could say he instilled in me the interest in getting out into the hills. However, I guess one could say I became a hill walker at around the age of 16. I had done some small walks already by that stage but it wasn’t until the summer of my junior cert that a friend and I planned our first proper forays into the hills without being accompanied by an adult. This all happened in the hills of Beara where I was living. Hungry Hill was always a focus point for us and we would end up exploring it, the ridges, and the gullies, you name it, we scrambled up and down it. Oh if only my parents knew the steep ground we went up, down and even got stuck on sometime. I learned fast that sometimes the hillside is not as steep as it looks and other times it was even steeper than it looked: / However, at 16, hill walking was rather “uncool” for a 16 year old to be doing, or at least that is how it was perceived when at school I would talk about some 7 hour walk and scramble around the hills with, no doubt, some sort of daring dangerous adventure part of the story being retold. (Like getting stuck on scrambles or lost in the cloud). I never really took to the “conventional sports” and somehow the idea of exploring the mountains and the valleys provoked the sense of adventure in me. Thus the hill walker inside me was born.

Tell us about Project Mountain Goat – Where did the idea come from? What made you want to do this? Project Mountain Goat or PMG is in a nut shell the idea of climbing all the Arderins and VLs in 1 year. 454 summits in 12 months! Where did the idea come from? Well as I wrote in my blog back in January, I was looking for a new challenge and PMG was what I found: “In the early hours of the morning at the start of January 2014 I was sitting at my computer. A mess of excel sheets and emails open before me…ok I won't lie, Facebook was open in a tab too. Either way, while looking through old files I found an excel sheet of all the Irish mountains above 600 metres, with a tick beside those summits I had climbed. I thought to myself, "my god I remember this list". The list was started way back in 2003 in my early hill walking days but somewhere along the way I totally forgot about it. An idea then started to form.

To understand this idea that was forming rather too fast for my liking, you must first understand a few things about mountains, Irish mountains. Not that they're often cloud covered, wet, bog riddled and plentifully, but that there are "class" or "categories" of hills and mountains. The two main categories that we seem to use here are the "Vandeleur-Lynams" and the "Arderins". The Vandeleur-Lynams are hills or mountains that are 600 metres or over with a drop of at least 15 metres on all sides. An Arderin is a hill or mountain of 500 metres or over with a drop of at least 30 metres on all sides. There are 269 Vandeleur-Lynams and 405 Arderins. A summit of course could actually fall under both categories also. Have I lost anyone yet? Are you all keeping up? I'm pretty sure you see where this is going!
So long story short, after counting the summits, they are in total 454 (correct me if I am wrong please) summits in Ireland (North & South) that are a Vandeleur-Lynam, an Arderin or both. 454 summits! Hmmm. "2 years", I thought to myself. "I could climb all 454 summits over 2 years." Then with a little thought I figured that was "too doable!" "1 year", I said! 1 year, as in 12 months, as in 365 days. "Now that's a challenge my good man, a project!" The start date was yet to be determined. The idea simply kept swirling around my head. "1 year – 454 summits"…"oh lord what am I about to do?"
What made me want to do all this? Now that’s a hard question, which in all honestly I didn’t fully know why myself back in January! On one hand I was looking for a new “project” or a challenge. On the other hand it seemed like the more I looked into this and the sheer enormity of climbing all those mountains in a year, the more it appealed to me. I have always been interested in endurance challenges and I suppose this idea alone made me want to do it. Of course after years of rock climbing, mountaineering and trekking the idea of “going back to my roots”, Irish Hill Walking, certainly had a buzz to it. In the end hill walking was what got me into rock climbing in the first place! What took me to climbs and mountains here and abroad!

Not that in previous years I didn't have any projects. For the last couple of years my main goal each year was to climb (rock climb) more new rock routes than the previous year. Being a climber this of course was an enjoyable goal which took me too many different areas near and far, climbing hundreds of routes each year. Sadly in 2013 I failed my goal of climbing more routes than in 2012. Not because I was lazy par-say. Not that the best Irish summer in many years prevented me from climbing…no no no! It was a loss of interest in the goal itself. After chasing this goal each year since 2006 I thought a new goal or project was needed this year! And so I found myself cast into a new year without a project or big goal to drive towards...until now

The final reason of why I was looking for a new project that made/allowed me to come up with Project Mountain Goat was something that the last 6 months of PMG has helped me realise. I wanted to change my focus off rock climbing for a while. Sure I still rock climb nearly every week at the moment, but mostly for work where I guide people up rock climbs etc. I needed a break from rock climbing, working in it and playing in rock climbing had lead me to a point of needing a break from it…the passion felt like it was dying. However the big reason was something else. It took nearly 2 year for me to realise it but on those long mountain walks you spend time thinking…and one certainly has plenty of time walking on PMG! ;)

Back in February 2012, on the North Face of Ben Nevis in Scotland a friend and I were climbing a route called Zero Gully. When had gained some height on the route when a party of 2 (we did not know them) fell and plummeted from above are heads narrowly missing us both. Sadly one died and the other made it to hospital, after that, I never found out if he would make it through his injuries. At the time we just dealt with it, came down off the climb and at that stage people were there helping. For the rest of the year I continued to climb, in Germany, Slovenia, Croatia and Ireland. 2013 started and I was working hard and slowly my interest in climbing seemed to die a little. In 2014 while slogging up mountains on PMG I realised this was still inside me and was a big reason for my “change of focus” and why in 2013 I failed to rock climb more new routes than the previous year. A rather deep answer I know but there you have. I already miss climbing and can feel the love for it burn inside. The feel of reel rock under the finger tips, the sound of the gear clinking as it swings on the gear loops of my harness and the feel of being high on a vertical face. PMG has help me re-find the love for a sport, a way of life that I was starting to loose. For me going back to my roots had/has purpose.

Why did you pick the Arderins / Vandeleur-Lynam lists?
It seemed more like they picked me than the other way around. At the very start I wasn’t even aware there were such lists! Considering I had original started ticking 600m summits off a list I had, it seemed natural to do that list, which of course turned out to be the VL list. Adding the Arderins was simple after I realised that many on the VLs are Arderins, so I thought I might as well do them too, right? It just came together like that to be honest. How many walks do you think it will take to complete the list?

When I was in looking into the summits and the planning of them, (which was a very quick look) I thought it would take 80 days of walking. Not 80 walks but 80 days. Some days I have done 2 or more walks but that is just one day counted. I am currently at 34 days of walking and I am 15 summits short of being at the half way mark. So even it took me 3 more days to do the 15 summits I would be below 40 days of walking for the half-way point. So 80 days for the 454 summits??. I guess I will find out how wrong or right my guess will be.

Is there a particular order in which you will tackle the island?
Well my plan at the start was to start local with the Wicklow Hills. This would let me “find my fitness” and allow for the shorter days. The West coast from South to North I plan to do from May to October as these areas get wetter weather (or at least that was my thinking) and are the most far away summits from me. Here the longer days would be a blessing. After that I would randomly attach the rest of the country depending on the weather, time, energy and money.

How do you plan your walks?
Planning my walks takes time. I want to get the most out of every day walking. So I will look for long routes with many summits. I will confirm the summits are either Arderin or VLs on the Mountain Views website along with reading through the comments of each summit on the planned walk to see it there are any access problems, what may be on the summit (a Carin, a Cross, a Trig Point etc) or any another issues there may be. I look to make “logical” routes, so for example, a loop route or an A to B route. I am not a fan on the up and down the same way type of route. I use OSI maps, and Mountain Views along with the Garmin Basecamp software with the map from installed on it. In the BaseCamp software I will draw out the route I will take and look at in detail and compare it to the OSI map. Normally before I set off I will have a mental image of my route. I also make a list of the summits, the height and what may be on the summits on a piece of paper. This is my tick list for the day and tells me how/where/what order my route will go in.

What technology do you use, Map/Compass, gps, software?
I always have a Map and Compass with me. I use the GPS with Emerald Island Map/Software installed on it to track my route. Map and GPS are used mostly and the compass is there just encase. I have only used it a few time so far on PMG. Of course a GPS is no replacement for a compass or the skills in how to use one. With that said, a GPS is very handy to have with you!

How did you discover Mountain Views? How well do you think MountainViews meets your planning needs?
I came across the Mountain Views website via a google search for Irish 600m mountains. Once I found it and had a look around the site I realise how helpful the site would be to me on this project. It was pure chance/google that brought us together ;) In terms of planning my walks on the site, it meets and excels in every way bar one. For me, this is the need/want to be able draw a route on the map and get a distance and height gain and loss. [Ed: this is something we aspire to do - it won't be easy.] Garmin BaseCamp allows me to do this along with the map I have installed. I must admit though that the distance, height gain and loss never are the same on the map pre planning and post walking, but it does give me an idea of what I am in for on a walk. Considering some of my walks are 40kms with 2500m+ height gain and loss knowing this/having a rough idea of this helps me prepare! Of course one could do it on an OSI map too, but I’m born in the digital age and I’ll use the computer please

Simon Byrne route with Mullaghnattin and the ridge to Coomnahorna: Length:43.3km Start: Fri 20-06-14 05:04, End: 16:34, Durn: 11h29m, Asc: 2561m
Where do you find the time? What do you do for a living?
Finding the time is hard. Luckily I am a self-employed rock climbing instructor. This gives me leeway that others may not have. At the same time, running Adventure Burn (, planning and working sessions and courses, and planning and walking PMG walks is maybe the hardest thing for me. My work life needs “better weather” and during the summer I often work 12 hour days 7 days a week. Come the winter I have a lot more time. Of course hill walking can take places in any sort of weather but again I would rather have “better weather” and thus here often lies my dilemma: If I have good weather I may have work, and when the weather is wet I can have time off, but walking in wet weather is difficult to say the least. I want good weather for walking too, not just for running outdoor rock climbing sessions! Sadly Ireland’s climate likes to butt heads with me on a regular basis!!!

For PMG the walking is not always the most time consuming part of the project either. The getting to and from the mountains, the blog writing, the photo taking and uploading and editing, the GPS route checking and uploading all take just as much time as the walk itself…well, not always but often enough! Being self-employed may sound great at times as it gives me the leeway like taking one week in May to go to Dingle and one week in June to go to Kerry. On the flip side you have to balance all that with a job where I must find my clientele and pay the bills. Nothing is set in stone and the weather and finances plays a big part in it all. If you happen to bump into me in the hills you may see me taking work phone calls and bookings over the phone. In the evenings I’ll be sending confirmation emails and responding to people by email. So juggling PMG and work in this modern day/way has been interesting and challenging and yet necessary, for me at least. If I had a 9 to 5 job, PMG would be next to impossible to do in one year! Taking time for family and friends and girlfriend has been equally difficult. I find myself either working, planning a PMG walk or out walking and so some things are suffering with such a big endeavour. Thankfully everyone has been very supportive of “my insanity” and quite encouraging in fact, especially my girlfriend Tara, who has had the patience of a saint when I come back from days of walking and I start to retell the walks details blow by blow! So far I have not been sick or injury during the project and hopefully this will continue. I can’t afford the time loss! Sadly my car has given me trouble and hopefully will not continue its quest to scuttle me on PMG!

What will you do when you have finished? Any other ambitions?
Even saying “when I finish” is hard. I know I pretty much on target at the half way mark but its only half way. I guess I will be slightly shocked if I do this in one year and needless to say delighted. I would like to finish the blog of the story of PMG and maybe if there was interest do a talk at a few different places around Ireland. That would be kind of cool, but I knew for me I will just be so delighted to have set out on something so big and gruelling and have triumphed. So figures crossed! I will most certainly have a nice cold beer and celebrate! Also I have already seen and been to places I have never seen and been to before!!! Explored wild valleys and exposed ridges and wandered on cloud filled summits. All the while I have loved it so far! Of course there has been hard and trying times but those our great in their own way! And even though I am only 6 months in (on the 9th of July anyways) the adventure so far has been great! 6 more months of it to come too. 2015 is already calling. I have ideas for something new and bigger but not in the hills. That will remain a secret, for now! One project at a time!

-- Simon Byrne interviewed by David Owens.


Book review: "Dublin & Wicklow, A Walking Guide" by Helen Fairburn.
Publisher: The Collins Press
Paperback, 134 Pages

As has been mentioned in previous reviews; Collins Press is building a “burgeoning collection of Irish walking literature” and the latest addition to this is Helen Fairburn’s walking guide to Dublin and Wicklow. It could hardly be said that this is an area that has not been covered in the past. With authors such as Lynam and Fewer having extensively written about the area in the past one would want to have confidence in following in their footsteps. However, Fairburn is a well established walking writer herself and has previously contributed to the Collins collection with her Northern Ireland walking guide. Perhaps more relevant is that she has covered some walks in the area before herself, in her Hiking in Ireland book for lonely planet. Indeed it is good to see that she has the courage of her convictions to include all the walks she previous published in the area with the exception the phoenix park, river Liffey and Dublin city centre.

One of the main questions to be asked in publishing a book on an area that is so well covered already is, does it add to the existing literature? My answer to this is a resounding yes. This is not just a Collins version of what is already out there, but a well compiled and comprehensive guide to the area. Some of the likeable features of the book are as follows:
- An excellent quick reference route table on pages viii and xi
- Each walk is graded in difficulty from 1 to 5
- Plenty of excellent and often helpful photos
- Colourful and modern overview map and statistics for each walk

If you are looking for plenty of gps co-ordinates, this book will not provide them, as the only co-ordinates are those for the start of the walks. There are a total of 28 routes written up, understandably and rightly so, most of these are in Wicklow. If there was one other possible walk that could have been put in there, it might have been one of the better sections of the Dublin Way, which is new enough and not widely written about. Something like, a walk from the Hellfire to Glencullen or a circuit of the scalp and Carrickgollogan. They are good walks and would have added one more to the Metropolitan side of the county borders. But this is about as much as was possibly missed.

Her passion for some of the routes shines through in the writing, such as in a particular favourite of my own, the Seffingan circuit as it is named in this book. Even if she is a bit overly impressed by the tortured remains of the Seefin cairn. All the main routes are covered and covered well, indeed it should be noted that there are routes in here for everyone, with seven routes being in the 1 or 2 difficulty range. A particularly excellent idea is that there are three different routes over the much walked Lugnaquilla. Indeed it was on one of these routes that we used to find out how good this book was at actually guiding! On a clear day we used the book to follow the outlined Lugnaquilla loop from Glenmalure. Indeed, in clear weather the route descriptions were sufficient to get us the whole way around with only once needing to check our course on GPS. This after all is the primary reason for a guide book and in this regard we found it to pass with honours. The book seems to already be well distributed in the Dublin and Wicklow areas and will no doubt be a big seller with the growing numbers of walkers in the area over this summer period.

-- Michael Kinahan (aka Trailtrekker – MV Member)

A place for those interested in Summiteering, Bagging or Highpointing.

Videos this month:
Beenreagh: (kernowclimber and mcritchly)

Cnoc Bólais: (kernowclimber and mcritchly)

Galty Mountains: (kernowclimber and mcritchly)

One Man's Pass: (Malcolm Haire)

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

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

This month.
Kudos to our contributors.

We welcome the following new members who enrolled this month. Achillman, asta, asta_keil, ballykilduff, betaburns, BigBear, bilbos-app, blahblahblahblah, bleh, blueboy, bodoreiss, Bower123, Brendan353, brianshaugh, carpinteyroebo, carpinteyroiue, carpinteyronjr, carpinteyronmo, carpinteyrooui, carpinteyrotrm, carpinteyrowmj, carpinteyrowxx, carpinteyrozrs, cascales, charlie1, ciaranmcnamara, ColinBoyle, davidcoyle, Dconlon, delkevin, Dellgirl, dmullan820, Dwectenedaraw, eamonnoruis, erun, e_rodge87, finndfin, flsaero, foshaug, frankblack, Frasjack, Fr_Joachim, Galwaygirl, gleesono, hgallagher, Inmetal, Itsdoable, jeurhan, JimD, jimquaid, jkd, jmg, joebzz, Julianandanna, kealy, khealy, kopetpdbbz, kopetpdbss, kopetpdcsm, kopetpdgez, kopetpdirx, kopetpdmfv, kopetpdslp, kopetpdvuq, kopetpdwvk, kopetpdxlj, kopetpdxwx, Korky75, Krisd, lea000, lea101, LindaR, luceyjames, martinn, MaryRoche, mcpen, mournerambler, mr, nelle809aolcom, nora102, noreen, nperry1970, ojb2112, oldboots, otter, patleigh, pezzagspfrvl, polobrian99, raff77, RevRed, RichieL, risgkfiuasxz, ronan710, scottrwjr, SeamusMassey, Slogger, smmccann, Telpirrerne, TheKnight, tkey, Tom007, tomfitzpat51, tvmhwhfbcocv, Varnizinfatte, wagenveld (105)

Our contributors to all threads this month: Conor74 (1), Aidy (1), Alex92 (1), BleckCra (12), CaptainVertigo (4), Cobhclimber (1), Colin Murphy (3), Conor74 (12), DenisMc (2), Dessie1 (1), Fergalh (5), Gobbledygook (2), JimD (3), Onzy (6), Peter Walker (2), Rob_Lee (1), Tom Milligan (1), Trailtrekker (8), ahogan (3), aidand (3), andy2639 (1), blueboy (1), danielb (1), donalhunt (1), eamonoc (1), el_guapo (1), garrettd (2), geohappy (2), Communal summary entries (34), hivisibility (2), jackill (1), jimquaid (1), joekdp (1), katekat (1), kernowclimber (10), march-fixer (1), mcrtchly (12), muschi (1), normanmccloskey (1), paddyhillsbagger (2), peter1 (2), roberto (1), sandman (11), simoburn (10), simon3 (8), tmsr (3), whoRya (1)
For a fuller list view Community | Recent Contributors

There were comments on the following summits , Ballyguile Hill, Baltinglass Hill, Been Hill, Beenreagh, Ben Dash, Benleagh, Binn Chorr North Top, Binn Doire Chláir, Blackstairs Mountain, Cahernageeha Mountain, Camaross Hill, Caponellan Hill, Carrigeen Hill, Cloontohil, Cnoc Bólais, Collon Hill, Coolnahau Hill, Corbally Hill, Cregg, Croaghanmoira, Croghan, Cruach na Rad, Cruckboeltane, Crusline, Derrybawn Mountain, Doan, Errigal, Eskatarriff East Top, Fossy Mountain, Glendoo Mountain, Inchanadreen, Kilmichael Hill, Knockadullaun, Knockatassonig, Knockboy, Knockmannon Hill, Knocknabreeda, Knocknalarabana, Knockroe, Lackabane, Lacken Hill, Laghta Eighter Hill, Lugduff SE Top, Moveen Hill, Mullacor, Mullaghbeg, Mullaghcleevaun, Oldtown Hill, Slieve Carr, Slieveacurry
and these tracks An Cnoc Riabhach, Dunkerron Mountains Ireland, Ballinacorbeg, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Baurearagh Mountain, Caha Mountains Ireland, Ben Beg, Partry/Joyce Country Ireland, Bencorrbeg, Twelve Bens Ireland, Bencroy, Breifne Ireland, Bluestack Mountains Ireland, Carnavaddy, Cooley/Gullion Ireland, Cnoc na hUilleann, Maamturks Ireland, Colly, Glenbeigh Horseshoe Ireland, Common Mountain, Donegal SW Ireland, Coolroe, Glenbeigh Horseshoe Ireland, Corn Hill, North Midlands Ireland, Cruach Mhór, MacGillycuddy's Reeks Ireland, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Dunkerron Mountains Ireland, Gortnageragh, Shannon Ireland, Hag's Tooth, MacGillycuddy's Reeks Ireland, Hard Knott South Top, Lake District - Central & Western Fell Britain, Kilduff Mountain, Shannon Ireland, Knocklomena, Dunkerron Mountains Ireland, Lugnaquilla, Dublin/Wicklow Ireland, Mweelin, Shehy/Knockboy Ireland, Skregbeg, MacGillycuddy's Reeks Ireland, Sliabh Tuaidh, Donegal SW Ireland, Slievecarnane, Mourne Mountains Ireland, Tawnyard, Sheeffry Hills Ireland, The Foxes Rock, Cooley/Gullion Ireland, The Playbank, Breifne Ireland, Torc Mountain, Mangerton Ireland tracks and these walks were created (none in period)

Thanks to all 1133 who have ever contributed summits or routes info and forums.

For a full list view Community | Contributors Hall of Fame

Summary. MountainViews now has 6940 comments about 1252 different hills & mountains out of the total in our current full list (1384). We want to get a good gps track showing each of the major ways up every summit 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 in Ireland. There's a few (132) opportunities for you to be the first to comment on a summit.


  • 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.
  • 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 quads in national park area (in which they are banned). For Wicklow please phone the Duty Ranger: 087-9803899 or the office during office hours Telephone: +353-404-45800. Put these numbers in your phone, take regs etc. Let MV know of contact numbers for other areas.
  • If you have climbed some of the less well known places, we would appreciate a summit rating and also GPS readings for summits.
  • If we can, let's make MV have more than one route up a summit 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 GPS tracks.
  • MountainViews are on Twitter as MountainViewsIE. Follow us and we will follow you back. Any queries to

This newsletter

This newsletter Editor: Simon Stewart, Homepage:
Assistant editors: Colin Murphy, David Owens
Track reviews: Peter Walker, Tom Condon
Book reviews: Mel O'Hara, Conor Murphy, Aidan Dillon, Peter Walker, Michael Kinahan
Graphics design advice: madfrankie
Newsletter archive. View previous newsletters
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