On Saturday 7 August 2010, I parked at
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
(still in Leitrim). I had MV’s grid ref for Roscommon’s County Top (
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
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: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/1055/comment/5996/