Tackled this as the last of the four Wexford North hills, all done on the day of the winter solstice and this was the one that I enjoyed most. Travelling in the footsteps of previous commentators I also started at Gib Hl W (S939 591)
along the route that Wicklore had pioneered. I drove up to the the Coillte gate that was firmly closed. Being careful, my low slung old Volvo made it up without incident, although I wouldn't recommend it. With the dusk drawing in I half considered blocking the aforementioned gate, something I would never do. I could hear shouting in the distance and feared this maybe some farmer seeing me from a lower field and this banished any thoughts of dodgy parking. I later discovered that it was a sheep farmer and his dog rounding up their flock. I parked further down at the road as Geansai had done also.
Once through the Coillte gate/barrier you follow the track right, turning left at the first junction it is a simple case of following the track the whole way to the small gap identified by simon3 at A (S94784 59331)
. This track is now pretty well worn and once you reach the end of it you are met with one of the turbines from the newly constructed wind farm. You can still follow the short track along the wall, it was well trodden and furze free on my visit. If you were bold you could cross the gate and follow the wind farm track up to the top field where the summit trig, mast and cross are now joined by another turbine!
By coincidence, on my way back down I also came across a hare, as well as two lonely looking hen pheasants (maybe having lost their partners since the shooting season opened). As I descended, the gloom lifted briefly and the last minutes of sunshine on the shortest day of the year lit up the Blackstairs in front of me. With the recent rain and the light the whole scene in front of me was a mix of vibrant colours and truly beautiful.
On completion of my walk I did some reconnaissance around the hill to find the access road to the wind farm. It is very easy to find at CulMela (S96072 60362)
on the R746. There is ample parking here. A Coillte board carries a map of all the tracks on the hill and there are parallel tracks heading off up the hill; one Coillte and the other relating to the wind farm. Although slightly longer I would be pretty certain that the summit can be reached from here without ever having to leave a gravel track!
On a personal note, this brought me to 98 new summits for the year. On to Greenoge for 99, to leave just the Great Sugar Loaf to complete the tonne and my local 100 on New Year's Eve! Linkback: mountainviews.ie/summit/938/comment/15287/