Some mountains, like Errigal, are great because of their aesthetic beauty, others are great because of their technical difficulty. Knockbrack is neither. Nevertheless, this was a great day, and this small bump will be remembered by the other Grumblers when we have forgotten bigger hills.
Grumbler #2 (aka "Trip" ...a great nickname for a climber!) and myself had a little race going on. Who would be first to finish all the 2000ft peaks in Ireland? Trip had one left.....Knockbrack, he'd missed it when on Mangerton, as the OSI don't give a spot height). So we had to make a weekend of it, Big Jock came over from Glasgow but his brother "Mad Jock" had just secured a job and sent an apology in the form of a bottle. Being a special weekend, various honorary Grumblers also came along and a plan was formed. Day 1 Galtees, Day 2 The pocket, Day 3 Whatever, Day 4 Knockbrack. Day 1 was torrential and cold as winter (it was only May after all), Day 2 started gloriously but we were denied access to Mullaghnattin from the South by an irate farmer (tip: don't ask permission) I'll post the Ballachabeema route epic soon. Day 3 being Sunday meant Knocknadobar via the stations, followed by too many pints in the Roughty bar in Kenmare (and not enough elsewhere).
So the big day dawned, totally hungover and dehydrated. The biggest navigation problem was finding Mangerton Bridge (C (V995 762)
) and the road below Carrigagreenaun. Parked at the end of the road taking care not to block the new sheep pens. Keeping to the right (and then turning right) on the forestry track, plodded gradually uphill with a head thumping like drum. Track swung left (W) again and zig-zagged up to the end of the forestry as the clouds and our heads cleared. The track dropped us by a fence and a stiff 150m or so pull NW saw most of us on the top. Trip was with the "auld wans" so big Jock ran around the 4 bumps with his GPS to let us know that the "wee cairn" we stood by was the summit. True baggers will need to satisfy themselves and do all 4 peat hags, Good views though. Finally grumbler #2 reached the top. (Sensitive souls and puritanical sorts stop reading now) Whiskey was produced, of the Scottish Malt variety. Lots, and by god it was marvellous! Photos were taken, hands shaken, I admitted defeat. The conversation began "Perhaps the 600m tops? or highest point in each county?" "Whats the highest point in Kildare...the bar stool in The Kitchen...." We continued on elated to Dromderalough for more traditional food and drink and shelter from a passing shower and discussions, lists, and thoughts of new routes on proper mountains. Looked at Glencappul SE Top, the Grumblers Executive (me) decided that it was dubious to accord it separate status to Mangerton, while Big Jock laughed (no doubt the SMC has a special committee and teams of surveyors for such things). Dropped S, down the least boggy gully to reach the Owbaun river and a track by a fence. At the end we kept left (E) to avoid walking by the farmhouse, to regain the road. A quick trot up the road, a wash in the stream and back home.
Thoughts from the barstool in "The Kitchen": If you want an easy day at the end of a weekend's walking, to stretch your legs, or can not face the drive back to the Pale, you could do worse than this. Linkback: mountainviews.ie/summit/255/comment/595/