Places:Start at S77806 42786, Blackstairs Mountain, Carrigroe, Dho Bran, end at Start Logged as completed by 1
The Blackstairs “ridge” is like a drunken sperm swimming broadly NNE to Mount Leinster. The big tadpole head to the north comprises the main mountain (732m, making it an Arderin, Vandeleur-Lynam and one of the Irish Highest Hundred) while the tail is made up of two intermediate Carns and an Arderin. The eastern portion of the tail is forested: the western portion is naked except for the odd fig leaf of forest. All of this is set in rich agricultural land with the usual splendid tapestry of fields, and, if you are lucky enough to have a clear day, views of the Irish Sea to the east.
Base Camp For those possessed of two cars (or one car and a dedicated driver) the Blackstairs outing will be a linear route. For the rest of us a little thought is required. I came down the M9 in the Ham, accompanied by sons Nos.1 and 3, and made for Ballymurphy, and from there went due south towards Ballybeg Big townland. We turned off left at S 77049 43200 up a forest road and parked at a large clearing where the road forks…room for 20 cars. Take note of the above photo showing the massive clearing at S 77808 42786. Base camp is at about 180 m which gives you about 550m of ascent to the main peak. Blackstairs Mountain We took the track to our left, heading broadly NE through quaint older forest. Once we emerged from the canopy we turned towards Blackstairs and reached the col between it and Carrigalachan. Conditions underfoot were excellent even in late December. The main ascent involved entering serious mist but we were pleased to encounter rocky outcrops that took away from the tedium. Sure enough the formations look like little forts and the area is called Caher Roe's Den.Staying East of the Long Ridge As we came back down to the col the way we came up we spotted a road heading into the thick forest to the east of the ridge line and we abandoned Carrigalachan (a mere Carn) in favour of this alternative. This was an easy walk over forest roads mostly parallel to the ridge line. We eventually went up behind Carrigroe through a firebreak, went back for Carrigroe, and then marched along the broad ridge track to White Mountain, a little rocky summit plonked on the flat ridge with various telecommunications towers in the background.Torment I had a simple plan to end the day. We would descend to what appeared on my OS map to be a little forest track leading to the bigger one that ran the whole way back to the car. What I didn't realise is that there was a simple means of connecting to my road, by the parish waterworks at S 78282 41346. Instead I led the three of us into a swamp (immediately to the right of the waterworks) that was obviously a replanted forest covered in brambles and gorse. Son No.1, who was wearing shorts, had his legs shredded! He was not pleased. We added at least a half an hour to the journey by going through the swamp instead of around it. Don't make the same mistake!
Uploaded on: Sat, 31 Dec 2016 (12:20:37) Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/track/3370/ To download GPS tracks you must be enrolled and logged in. See "Login or enrol", top right - quick and easy.
Note: ALL information such as Ascent, Length and Creator time taken etc should be regarded as approximate. The creator's comments are opinions and may not be accurate or still correct.
Your time to complete will depend on your speed plus break time and your mode of transport. For walkers: Naismith's rule, a rough and often inaccurate estimate, suggests a time of 4h 27m + time stopped for breaks
Note: It is up to you to ensure that your route is appropriate for you and your party to follow bearing in mind all factors such as safety, weather conditions, experience and access permission.