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MountainViews Graphic The Newsletter for guestuser

For the next month you can visit Irish MountainViews with this temporary link:

MountainViews: Reeks in Mist From the MountainViews/ Dublin Camera Club/ Ramblers Photo Competition 2006
Picture in the Reeks
by John Finn, awarded 5th Place.

SCRABBLER Is it because most hilltops are as barren and empty as a Scottish scoreboard, that earthly objects seem all the more alien? Sure a fag-end, some orange peel, a tea bag and an occasional beer can are no strangers. But what about the rest? Atop an Irish peak some 3 years ago, on an inaccessible rockface, could be seen pinned a collage of iridescent plastic, entitled "My Ex-wife's CD Collection". Beneath another and boggy summit in a blazing summer, the gasping walker could bump into a presentation bottle of Budweiser, a written exhortation to "Enjoy!" and a bottle opener.
Summit Adornments?!
Amongst the Belfast Hills, a huge wooden cross, erected one week toppled the next, erected again and toppled the next, and so on, by pseudo-politicals generally unfamiliar with terrain (or ideals) higher than their boots. On a more grisly note, the cadaver of a soldier struck by lightning (friendly fire?). And on Ben Lomond in Scotland, a pram. I have witnessed a piano at 2500' being played for charity, a Muslim flag emerging from a Christian cairn and a trig point sporting a gent's dinner jacket. Perhaps when we ponder how and why someone dragged this stuff up here, we need to think more laterally: were they deposited from below - or from above? If you have your own observings or imaginings - ie "What I would like to see at 3000'" send it up the track to The Scrabbler.

Hillwalkers, access and canvassers.
Anyone reading MountainViews or doing hillwalking in Ireland, particularly the Republic, will have encountered or heard of access difficulties. Sometimes these are specific problem areas, sometimes the general uncertainty surrounding access.

There are tens of thousands of people who want reasonable access to uplands and other relatively unused areas for recreational activities such as walking. Currently the situation is very difficult with uncertain access and possible confrontation an all too likely occurrence. Land useful for recreation but having little other economic value is all too often cut-off from public access. After the Glencree case there are in effect not even the nebulous rights of way over private land that some may have imagined existed.

Legislators have hugely improved and regularised such access in other neighbouring countries such as Scotland, England and Wales, indeed in most other European countries. It is reasonable to ask politicians for serious improvement here. Changes will improve the quality of life in Ireland, will help tourism and the rural economy, the health of the nation and promote fairer country-city relations.

Think of what your experience has been of access difficulties whether involving farmers, residential owners or even State bodies?

Bring it up with party canvassers.

Are they aware of the situation and the frustration it is causing?

Are they aware that at least one political party has committed itself to creating a fairer system of access, with safeguards.

What is their party doing about it? Ask that they reply in writing.

Notes: National parks (NPs) cover 1% of the Republic, a very low proportion.
Of the 8,300 or so km of permissive paths (not rights of way) we have, 55% are on public roads and lanes and 24% is Coillte land. Only 14% is over private land.
England and Wales have 225,000 km of rights of way, 10% in NPs and huge
areas allowing freedom to roam, Scotland has freedom to roam everywhere.
France has 120,000km of rights of way and 12% of the land area in NPs.
It's much the same everywhere else in western Europe.

These notes suggest some questions to ask. What do we want? Well, hillwalkers have varied opinions. KIO think the right approach is to bring in legislation to facilitate freedom to roam over the 7% of the country that is in rough grazing and for rights of way elsewhere. Certainly, whether you agree with this or not, it is clear that there is now some mainstream political support for legislative change.

Feedback any responses to MountainViews. does not necessarily endorse the position from any particular party or group.

Recent Contributions and News
Friends of Hillwalking

Notice of Meeting to launch national Hillwalkers’ Interest Group
Meeting planned for 2.30 Sat 28th April 2007, at Red Cow Inn (adjacent to M50). This exploratory meeting should last around 2 hours.

A short background presentation
A presentation from the Ulster Federation of Rambling Clubs
An introduction to the current proposal
Discussion of special interests in groups
Reporting about special interests to the main group

There will be light refreshments.
If there are particular matters that you would like to raise contact here:? Mail
Post: Hill Walkers Interest Group, 17 Balally Drive, Dundrum, Dublin 16.

General aims of the grouping: here

Walk in Wicklow on Sun 29th April courtesy the Irish Ramblers Club
Participants in the meeting are warmly invited to come to walks organised by the Ramblers in Wicklow on the following Sunday. Meeting times and venues will be provided at the meeting.

What's this all about? (Repeat info) The Irish Ramblers Club invites friends of hillwalking in the Republic of Ireland to join with us in forming a hillwalkers’ interest group, which will be a one stop shop for everything to do with hill walking. The purposes of the group would be to give a sense of identity and purpose to hillwalking/walking/rambling in its own right as a national sport in Ireland, to provide services to hill walkers nationally and to provide a forum for hillwalkers’ views on issues. While this new group does not set out to be a representative body, it would be similar in some ways to the Ulster Federation of Rambling Clubs (see its website

Some key suggested features Services would include:

Website, for coordination, news and culture
Trail repair
Challenge Activities and inter-club events
Technical, GPS, Mapping
National Park liaison, Access
Holiday coordination

Membership Open to individuals, clubs and interest groups.

This message appears at the request of the Irish Ramblers Club.
jackill added comments on Bascadh and Castle Hill recently. One of the purposes of MountainViews is to be a comprehensive source of data for the mountains of Ireland. After these two, there is now just one further summit still lacking any comment. Of course not every summit has good quality and varied information, which is why we have our data completion measure. To reach 100% data completion a summit must have a number of comments including some with a good comment rating, and also some summit ratings and GPS data. Just these few summits Carrauntoohil, Djouce, Knockmealdown, Slieve Donard, Slieve Croob (oddly) have reached 100%. The average stands at 53%. There are plenty of summits, not all in remote places, that could use good quality comments, photos, ratings and GPS info.
jackill on Bascadh
Bascadh, a cloudy and damp winters morning in early January. I parked at a little layby at V 80532 77882 . I pulled on my winter woolies and walked up the road a short distance to V 80608 78026 where I hopped the sheep wire and struck up the mountain on a rough track to another fence I crossed tnis fence and then followed it all the way to Knocklomenas summit. To the west over Lough Brin ,Mull ... Click here
weedavie on the delights of traditional navigation
"After gibbering at the readership of Mountain Views about step counting, it occurred that some of our younger chaps might not have a clue what this is all about. It's related to map and compass navigation, of course. Our ancestors probably navigated the area by a mixture of experience, instinct, memory and just asking people ..."
I have done everything weedavie suggests including all the mistakes (apart from picking up a bee) and learnt, like him, from all of them. If you are new do it. And more .. learn to navigate solo in mist for self-reliance and learn the skill of recovering from an error using map and compass only preferably with a chorus of sceptics trying to undermine you. Find out what a handrail is and what a collecting point is. (Orienteering -speak)
For the record I always bring a map and compass but increasingly navigate using GPS and map and often just on the GPS. Gives me more time to enjoy walking. weedavie is below.
Newcomer: deelambola Ventures out on lamagan in a winter setting.

deelambola on Slievelamagan
After many summer climbs of lamagan, it was decided to tackle a winter ascent. After slipping up the road even on the way to the car park we dawned our wet gear as the mist rolled in and the sky turned dark. Walking up the path along annolong wood it was clear to see winter had taken its toll, what once was a track during the summer was now a full scale flowing river. Wading on we hit the bottom ... Click here
alex92 tells us about often camping on the summit

Alex92 on Doan
Doan is a fantastic mountain when it comes to camping. I frequently camp on the summit with my aul fella and uncle. It has spectacular views of Silent Valley and Loughshannagh in particular, as well as the surrounding mountains. It is relatively easy to reach with a pack on your back, and there is a large, flat clearing on the summit which in my own personal experiences, has been able to accomodat ... Click here
Dingle delight explored Useful comment and options if you thinking of going there.

evanewan on Knockmulanane
Parked the car at a small parking area beside Lough Annascaul Q582052. Acended directly up a steep gulley immediately from parking point on a bearing directly for Cnoc Mhaoilionáin Q568049. Gulley is steep, (ascending over 400 metres in less than 1 Km), but underfoot is mostly solid, though it gets a bit trickier in very wet conditions. From the top of the gulley continue on the same bearing wi ... Click here
For slow reading and quiet enjoyment
Stone scattered, rubbled with rock blown open by gentian and avens, Atlantic arias rebound off rock face and flood the aural chambers. Flaccid bronchials whip lashed in their dark cage like a fern in a gale, leak the murky smog of city in their bruising, out through eye and nostril, clear air pinking the tissues and flushing out the flues.

dhmiriam on Clifden to Toormakeady
Clifden to Toormakeady is what Heaney calls in poetry that place for the ‘redress of the soul’. Walking here, strips down, shapes up and reaffirms. One may even suffer an understandable bout of entrapment and lose a day or two. Now, cue bodhrans, fiddle and a couple of uileann pipes! This ‘wilderness’ on the very edge of Europe that our folk has so often had to flee from, we call ‘sa bhaile’. Flyi ... Click here
Part of a day of visual delights in Wicklow

Sunday 4th Feb 2007 gave a series of superb views such as this one of many Welsh summits. Earlier there had been breathtaking views of Lough Ouler and later, sunsets over clouds below.
simon3 on Tonelagee
On a clear day look east from Tonelagee and you may be rewarded with rather more summits than you might expect.
The nearer summit is Scarr, the hazy summits on the skyline are in Wales.
After some very helpful contributions on newsgroup uk.rec.walking (thanks Paul Saunders et al) the best estimate is that the summit at D is Crib y Ddysgl (aka Garnedd Ugain 1065m), which would make Summi ... Click here
MountainViews Gathering
We are planning a visit to the Achill area the weekend of 11th to 13th May 2007. The details are not finalised but will include walks and a talk/slideshow/discussion. This is intended for hillwalkers with independent navigation ability and reasonable fitness. Contact below to register interest.
Sorry if I didn't mention what you posted .. there's a list of all contributors for the month later.


eflanaga has put in his first walk
This is also the first walk in the north. eflanaga on Silver Hill-Carnaween
Overview A pleasant, albeit relatively tough walk over two of the Bluestack Range's outliers and two minor hills, with a few wet peat-hag strewn areas to negotiate. Extensive views north towards the Derryveagh Mountains, South/Southwest to Donegal Bay & West/Northwest towards the Glenties & East into the heart of the Bluestacks. Approaches At Roundabout on Mountcharles side of Donegal T ... Click here

MountainViews Newsletter Feature.

weedavie on navigation

After gibbering at the readership of Mountain Views about step counting, it occurred that some of our younger chaps might not have a clue what this is all about. It's related to map and compass navigation, of course. Our ancestors probably navigated the area by a mixture of experience, instinct, memory and just asking people. After all the areas of Scotland and Ireland we think of now as deserted were quite heavily populated two centuries ago. But we've other methods, different if not better.

We're used to following signs on the big roads. This is highly effective but erodes the multiple input side of direction finding. You look at the speedometer, you look at the road signs and maybe you even look at the map. However you probably don't notice inclines on the road and you've no idea what goes on half a mile each side of the road - even on a road you travel every day.

Do the same distance by bike and you'll come to another level of consciousness. You'll be aware of each hill and you may well use a map because you know there may be unsigned ways that'll save you a mile or two. And it's always worth fiddling about looking for marginal improvements. However you're still limited by the road - everything off it is not navigable so it might as well be blank.

Head for the hills and you've choice of tools. You could go by instinct, sun, and general feel, and there's a strong case for this, but you need a lot of time on your hands to pick up the necessary skills. On the other hand the entire hillside's your kingdom and even if you don't get anywhere very fast you'll have a lot of fun going in circles. It's not a good habit to launch into in the short winter days.

Travelling by map and compass comes next. These are two simple tools but with centuries of development behind them. The fun starts with laying a sheet out and picking out a route. Depending on the length and target this can vary in complexity. You look at separation of contour lines. If they're too far apart beware of peat hags on a gentle slope. If three or four of them have run together, be ready for scrambling opportunities. Look for bits you want to see, hidden corries and waterfalls. If you've got the route from a book, look for variations. Remember if your book puts two hills on separate pages, there's no need for you to walk them separately.

First key move in navigation: pick the right car park. I've climbed the wrong hill before (worked it out 100 metres below the summit) through ignoring this simple rule. A second essential is to decide which way you're going on a circular route. If you've planned to do the high bit east to west and it's blowing like stink from the west, reverse your plan. If it's east to west in a popular book you'll enjoy meeting knackered people on the ridge doing their mime-artist routines.

So off you go. Sometimes you'll not look at a map again. Good visibility and a ridge walk, especially if you know the area, make it just a formality. The Glencoaghan circuit in the Pins hardly demands a decision all day. Just be aware that if mist comes in like an express train, it's essential to know whether you're on Binn Corr or Binn Dubh. But even in sunshine a flat and hag-scarred plateau like the Comeraghs can be surprisingly tricky, especially if you're injured. It happened to me as I hauled myself out of one of the sheughs. I grabbed a handful of vegetation along with a bee which, quite reasonably, stung me. So I had to look at my injury. I put down my compass and put on my glasses. The wound was invisible. I took off my glasses and walked off without my compass. I navigated the rest of the day by the sun and saw more of the Comeraghs than I'd really intended.

In bad visibility you're definitely following bearings and calculating distance. Getting a compass line is easy as long as you know where you are. Put the edge of the compass base against your current position and your next destination. Swivel the compass on its base until it aligns with the grid on the map Shift it another three degrees left to allow for magnetic north . Common cock-ups include having the base pointing in the opposite direction to the way you're travelling or not allowing for the fact you're holding the map upside down because you're travelling south. I've also managed to hold it at right angles (long-sighted people should never think they can get by without their glasses). These errors can be checked by estimating the angle beforehand. If what you get on the compass isn't within 20 degrees, check your results. Another nasty one is to line up two points ignoring the way the wall of the corrie bends between them. If you've visibility you'll just walk round the curve. In winter you can find yourself plummeting through a cornice before you realise you're trying to walk on air.

That's direction. Just as important is distance. You've to travel 1400 metres at a bearing of 90 degrees then cross a burn and change to 130. How do you measure 1400 metres? Just count steps. A few experiments will let you know how many you take to do 100 metres. I take 64 double steps and most people aren't too far from this as height doesn't seem to make too much difference. So 1400 metres is 14 groups of 64.

You can count them in your head or on your fingers, I knew someone who used worry beads. It's quite a Zen thing to do. People who've not been in the hills have said to me walking must be quite a spiritual experience. Well no. On my own I'm generally composing strange lists. In company it's fatuous conversation: football; tales of sexual successes or, better, failures - all now distant memories anyway; bewailing the state of Scottish rock music -Belle & Sebastian were voted best band of all time and tragically this may be true. Of course Ireland with a far better pedigree would probably vote for U2. At least Simple Minds didn't want to give advice to God. Where was I? Oh yes, if you're counting steps you can't do any of this, it's just moor mist and a mantra of numbers.

You have to apply corrections. Uphill your paces shorten and an area of peat-hags will certainly up the steps needed to achieve a distance. Faced with a long featureless stretch, see if you can find some intermediate target. A deviation of 300 metres might get you to a lochan. Great, a point where you know exactly where you are and you can restart the count. On the other hand if you find a feature that's not on the map, think again. Those trees haven't grown or that reservoir been built since the map was printed - it's another cock-up. Don't panic, you know how far you've come since your last point of certainty - use that and this unidentified feature to work out what you've done.

What's the point of it all? Hasn't GPS replaced all this? Calculators have replaced mental arithmetic; decimalisation has dated my skills with £.s.d. and focaccia has replaced soda bread. Well if you don't throw it away, a compass doesn't run out of batteries or get switched off or made less accurate at the whim of the US military. Following a compass line you're acutely aware of terrain, actively managing your movements rather than waiting for a machine to tell you you've arrived. Crossing a burn you know whether it's on the map or just temporary run off. A hill eases momentarily and you recognise the faintest bend in the contour line that gives you your position. There's nothing like the smug feeling you get emerging from a blizzard, after a particularly tricky set of moves, with 10 metre accuracy. And if you get it wrong maybe you'll end up some place you'll like even better.

(1) To be honest, the episode of the bee and the compass actually took place in the Lammermuirs which is in the wrong country. But the terrain is possibly even worse in the Comeraghs, where I did have to climb out of horrible great trenches. These were being deepened by a troop of Boy Scouts throwing sods at each other.
(2) After finishing this, I read Compass by Alan Gurney, as suggested on MV, and rushed to grab my Harvey's Connemara. My suggested three degrees shows an Argyll centred point of view. Magnetic deviation varies through time and from place to place. It is currently 5 degrees in the West of Ireland. Your map'll tell you what's locally appropriate.
(3) Be careful about musically-minded companions. Dylan and Hothouse Flowers will mix harmlessly but I've seen fists flying among former New Romantics over Heaven 17.

Site notes If you can set-up your email to get web-format ("html format"), you should be able to get more out of this newsletter.
Getting a map on your GPS. Would you like a map on your GPS so that you can visualise summits, contours etc? Well, depending on whether you have the right sort of GPS and your willingness to do a bit of uploading, we may have the answer.
simon3 on GPS for Ireland, article, download.
Currently MV provides GPS information in the form of waypoints that indicate the summit positions of all of the mountains in our list. While better than nothing this still does not use the full potential of GPS units . Essentially these can show maps and points of interest. There is no commercial product for GPS units at present, however we are pleased to announce the results of various communi ... Click here

This month.
We welcome the following new members who enrolled this month. 12345678, 2cracks, abbeyside, acronin, agentmancuso, Aidan J. ffrench, Alan Lee, alanclarke, alanwillis, albertquay, Alex92, alutka, Andreas, andthedonkey, Angela Sloane, ANITA, anonymouse, anthony1, aprilla2crash, area74, aude, Bags, bcronin, Ben Quinn, bergen, bgilsenan, bikewise, blackthorn, bobby, Bogman, bonjoyle, boyeraurelie, bryan.strahan, calcifer, carol, Caroline Byrne, carollanigan, cashmp, cathy, chancer, christov, christy kelleher, churchview, ciara22, ciaranof, cillen, Claire O Callagh, clark31, codonova, collymc, colmbocarroll, colmtuohy, conbyrne, cooleparaic, corcaigh, cormacs, creidhe, cromerton, cuainn, cyoung2, Dacunnin, Dadine, dagda, Damien, damobreh, darrenmckinstry, datibs, DaveFoster, davestanley, David Wroe, david.lievens, davidhexham, davmac, ddarcy, dencom, dezdownunder, dgill, dhkennedy, djw, dobdob, donalskelly, donkeykong, dowling, dugganb, dungarvanhw, Edgar, Emmet Fitz, eoin marshall, eoinomahony, estebumbles, euleroid, fcmarcus, feline, fidgett44, finarphin, finbarromalley, fionaf, flakes, fmccaughey, foylewc, Fran Mc Keon, Frank Byrne, Frogsback, galwaywalkingclub, Garrett Grennan, Gerard O', gerryaylward, Gersrunning, ghost1971, gilmdav, giriczz, Glendesha, glenwalk, glyn, Gogglez, Graeme Coates, Grayarea, Gulvain23, gwa11132, HannesL, havinko, hennessy, hfdublin, highlander, hughorourke, imccrory, ireland07, JamesHutchinson, jastal, jd4182, jemima maxwell, jfox, jimallen, jimsullivan742, jitkay, JKELLYHOME, jmr, joemcneill, jogigs90, johnmulligan, jordiclimb, julieng, kander01, karenflynn, kasia, katrin, keithb, keithoreilly, kenzer, kevin dockery, kian how, koborhobort, kristina, langball, laweesh, leixlip_pa, lorcan, lottepeeters, luapnadia, lukasz_s, Lynn Redmond, magnus, mahonyd, maksymilian, margaret.farren, maria theresa, Marian, markeason, markfinn, markopolo, MartynInIreland, mauricec, mfmfitzpatrick, michael kelly, michael.fewer, mick/g, Mick_M, mimi, mkecof, mky, momedic, Morgan O Regan, motorhommmer, mrmcd, mscl, mterry, murphype, Nick Ring, Nigel McKinney, nilandd, Norman, oisin, Ola, oliver fenton, OrlaOC, painter, partner, pastortom, pat moloney, paulbrown, pauly2, pcpoet, pearse, pete101, pforre01, pgibb, piechoc, pink_peace, pir2, pjmccloskey, poacher, posfia, pudels, rachelp, RedBoots, RedPredator, rega, Reinhold, rhalli, richardcains, robbury, robert.r.miller, robertmcgrath, rorourke, rorytimlin, rwallace1976, sandramurphy, sarah777, sdixon, seamus2007, secretary, septimus, shakyarms, shamyshea, shaygo, shoebag, siaki, skippy24, skypilot, slammered, sportie12, sreilly, ssynnott, stancan, Stani, stevee grant, Stock, suds, szymptt, tashkurgan, tedmcgrath, Terree, thebmc, thekev, theoldcoop, thom, tibo, timtim, tobykenobi, tomk, TomS, tomseuph, trevorjmahoney, Trip, urbanstroller, Vagabond, vagabondo, Val:), vcurran, vinsteel, vladkosajanek, volsung, vvoron, Websy, whereami, whitey, wilbur, wolftune, wowa, Xavier, XVS (281)
Our contributors to all threads this month: Alex92 (5), Bleck Cra (2), CaptainVertigo (2), Edgar (3), Fergal Meath (1), JamesHutchinson (1), Michael McA (1), Wiked (1), aprilla2crash (3), beckett (1), brenno (1), csd (1), davema (1), david bourke (4), deelambola (1), denisdeasy (1), dhmiriam (3), djouce (1), dobdob (1), eflanaga (10), evanewan (1), finarphin (2), gerrym (1), jackill (2), jim holmes (1), julieng (1), lakedistricthw (1), loz (2), mcna (7), mscl (2), nagirock (1), oliver fenton (1), padodes (7), petermac (1), pudels (1), simon3 (27), slammered (2), tgormley (1), weedavie (6), woody (1), yecul (1) and Contributors to GPS information this month were: csd (3), eflanaga (8), Grayarea (1), jackill (7), simon3 (4)
There were comments on the following mountains Bascadh, Caher, Camaderry, Carnanelly, Carnaween, Castle Hill, Cloghernagh, Corrig Mtn, Croagh Patrick East Top, Croaghanmoira, Crohan West, Djouce Mtn, Doan, Errigal, Hag's Tooth, Knockmulanane, Lugnaquillia, Maulin, Meenard Mtn, Moanbane, Mount Leinster, Mullaghaneany, Mullaghcarbatagh, Mullaghclogher, Mullaghmore, Scarr, Seahan, Seefin, Seefingan, Silver Hill, Slieve Foye, Slieve Meelbeg, Slievelamagan, Teeromoyle Mountain, Tomaneena, Tonduff, Tonelagee, Tonelagee NE Top, Two Rock Mountain, White Mountain and these walks were created Church Mountain - Corriebracks, Glenmacnass Tonelagee Laragh Scarr Circuit, Mourne seven sevens, Mullaghcleevaun Traverse, Silver Hill-Carnaween
Thanks to all 418 who have ever contributed
The five who have contributed most to the site are simon3 (367), csd (180), jackill (126), gerrym (106), Bleck Cra (100).
Summary. MountainViews now has 2262 comments about 459 different mountains out of the total in our current list (460). We need more comments, better comments and more balance for every summit as our rate for "data completion" is currently under 55% Less than 1% of mountains remain without any comment, so that leaves just 1 opportunities for you to be the first. Listing summits in "My View" allows you to see what information we need to get more even coverage.

If you are contributing, please be careful to respect the interests of landowners. 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.
If you hear of a problem area or route, write it up in MountainViews which does everyone a service. Report rubbish tipping in the Dublin/ Wicklow area - ring PURE 1850 365 121
If you have climbed some of the less well known places, we would appreciate a mountain rating. and also GPS readings for summits.
If we can, let's make MV have more than one route up a mountain so as to reduce the tendency for paths to appear. Your grid refs in comments for different starting points show up on MountainViews maps.

This newsletter This newsletter is from Simon Stewart for MountainViews
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