On Saturday 7 August 2010, I parked at Kn Colry (G919 191)
where the Miner’s Way meets the road before setting off along the Miner’s Way uphill towards the wind farm. I passed close to the bases of several wind turbines before reaching a 90° bend to the right at E (G903 197)
(still in Leitrim). I had MV’s grid ref for Roscommon’s County Top (F (G90251 19607)
at that time) programmed into my Garmin, which took me into a gravel pit. I studied OS Sheet 26 at this point and compared it closely to the MV grid reference. Things didn’t look right. At this point, I used a ruler to mark my location on the map to discover that I was still in Leitrim. Not sure how precisely the county boundary has been drawn on the map, but I could see that I was about 100m from Roscommon. Even by allowing a 50m margin of error, I was clearly still in Leitrim. I returned to the junction, to study the map again.
My eyes were drawn from the map to see an unsupervised Rottweiler trotting towards me. I quickly scanned the 360° surroundings hoping to see its master, but there was no-one else around. He strolled up to me quite calmly, and I patted him on the head. I said, “Good doggy, good doggy...” certain that I only had seconds left to live. I walked calmly back towards where I’d parked. The dog walked alongside me like a bouncer escorting a troublemaker from a bar. We walked for a couple of hundred metres, then he stopped. I kept walking, and he stood watching me for a while. Then he galloped back towards the gravel pit. Despite the fact that I was still alive, I felt a strong sense of failure at that point. I decided not to give up on this County Top so easily. Into the GPS, I entered the grid ref of a point on the map which was clearly located above the 410m contour but also in Roscommon.
I scanned the area for the Rottweiller. He was nowhere to be seen. I followed my GPS across bog to the new grid ref, stopping within thirty metres of a tiny pile of stones. I went over for a quick inspection to discover that it was a cairn-like structure – recently built, judging by the pink-flowered heather visible underneath through the gaps in the stones. I marked its position on the GPS and on the map. I was definitely standing in Roscommon, and close to the county boundary. I studied the topography, visualising the county boundary passing through. There were other points of similar height nearby, so I used the plumb needle on my compass to turn it into a rudimentary level. A quick – and very basic – levelling exercise revealed that the cairn “probably” marks the County Top of Roscommon, although this requires a more accurate method of verification. Using the GPS to an accuracy of 6m, the grid ref for this cairn is G (G90408 19523)
and its elevation is 416m. The area around the cairn resembles virgin ground, although it is sited within 20m of a wind turbine access track. I added a nearby stone to the cairn, took a few photos, and left feeling satisfied that I’d completed the County Top of Roscommon. Linkback: mountainviews.ie/summit/1055/comment/5996/