The Sugarloaf-Lobawn circuit is usually one of my walks reserved for a short winter day. However, the post-Covid return saw an unusallly sensible group of Grumblers decide on gentle walks as we return to hill fitness. This Sugarloaf seemed like a good idea. The usually quiet forestry entrance (A (S95662 95723)
) was already full of haphazardly parked cars as we pulled on boots etc. A couple in a Range Rover pulled up looking puzzled “Is this the Sugarloaf?”-“Yes,” “So where is the visitor centre?” It seems that Google Maps had brought them here instead of the Great Sugarloaf near Bray. Different Grumblers expressed a mixture of pity, schadenfreude and amusement as the couple sped off (hopefully not to the Sugarloaf hill in the Knockmealdowns). We have all been lost before (including a notorious incident climbing the wrong mountain in Skye’s Black Cuillin) but at least we’d been close. However, as we set off on a repeat of route 3860 up the Forestry, turning right at the “big stone”, we met another group descending, after realising they too were on the wrong mountain. In all we were to meet four different parties navigating on phones with Google maps and who thought they were near Bray and wondering why the sea was so far away. We tried not to be outraged or preachy, after all we were young idiots ourselves, and the day was long and clear. At the end of the good track, we made our turn E then NE and began the unrelenting ascent. Voortrekker, who is a youth, skipped up the contours with customary agility- stopping occasionally out of politeness, the rest of us huffed and puffed on the hottest day of the year, regretting the toll taken by a year of lockdown.
From the summit, we walked E to Point C- the 635m top, and then decided that our initial route was too short for a summer’s day. We dropped NE over heathery ground to reach the higher forestry track, and after strolling pleasantly along this, headed N for lunch in Cavanagh’s gap. Our return was uneventful- the steady climb to Lobawn, then following the broad shoulder NW, before descending SW over heather then grass down to the Black Pits for a delightful tea break in glorious sunshine by the river. A short climb saw us take the forestry track that skirts the lower N slopes of Sugarloaf, with views of the trophy houses across the glen, until by a commodious vicus of recirculation, we were back at the “Big Stone” and a short hop to the cars. As Voortrekker said, “there’s probably some poor fool driving to South Africa now to climb the wrong Table Mt.” Linkback: mountainviews.ie/summit/1441/comment/23162/