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Maritime Alps, Mountaineering Ireland News, Walking Clubs index, 2011 Events...








Snowtime in

the Beaufortain






Gone - but not forgotten



Sunrise, Sunsets

★ Don’t Sweat in the Wet! Waterproof Jackets tested

and Paintbrush Skies Ireland’s mountains in words and images

Joss Lynam Remembered Jumbo Crossword - €1,000 in prizes must be won!

LA1826 - Asolo Ad DPS - WWI:LA1826 - Asolo Ad DPS - WWI



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Ballydavid Head, DIngle Peninsula, Co Kerry

Photo: Tom Hutton

Sweet Inspiration This is the 100th issue of Walking World Ireland - and it’s late. I want to acknowledge that regrettable fact, because unless and until I do, I can’t apologise. And I am sorry. Between the economy, the weather, the flu and a measure of Sod’s Law, you have been kept waiting. By way of compensation, let me say that there’s some cracking content in WWI 100, which is actually the biggest we have ever published. To name but two features, on page 45, Adrian Hendroff ’s account of very personal, yet touchingly universal encounters with Irish mountains can but inspire, while our 10 Best Views (page 13) should stimulate both wanderlust and, hopefully, dispute. You may have completed some of these walks, but all of them? What are you waiting for? Just like our previous brush with ‘extreme’ winter weather last winter, which while making the mountains awfully pretty, also made them inaccessible in many cases, the New Year brought a sense of stir-craziness. Sometimes you have to be forced off the hills to realise how much you love them, so perhaps a few weeks of confinement is no bad thing. There is a noticeable resurgence of interest in walking in Ireland these days; some say it’s a return to ‘core values’, some that it reflects an interest in health and well-being. It doesn’t matter which, because walking in general, and hillwalking in particular, confer so many benefits in such outrageous abundance that no matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find it on top of a mountain somewhere in Ireland. Whatever your quest, enjoy it this year.

Editor: Conor O’Hagan Consultant Editor: Martin Joyce Assistant Editor: Patrick O’Brien Design: Grand Designs Technical Consultant: Andy Callan Environmental Consultant: Dick Warner Maps: EastWest Mapping Contributors: Judy Armstrong, Gavin Bate, Andy Callan, Zoe Devlin, Damien Enright, Helen Fairbairn, Michael Fewer, Denis Gill, Adrian Hendroff, Tom Hutton, Gareth McCormack, Dick Warner Photographers: Judy Armstrong, Eoin Clarke, Adrian Hendroff, Tom Hutton, Gareth McCormack, Richard Mills Published by: Athletic Promotions Limited, ‘Edelweiss’, Cushina, Portarlington, Co Laois. Tel: 05786 45343 Email: ISSN No. 0791-8801 Printed by: W&G Baird Ltd Distributed by: EM News Distribution and Mailbag Cover photo: At the summit of Slieve Bearnagh, Mourne Mountains, Co Down Photo by Gareth McCormack


Issue 100, 2011 Annual


On The Cover 13 Ireland’s 10 Best

Views - and How to Get to Them

We celebrate the beauty of Ireland with a contentious, debatable and highly incomplete selection of (arguably) the most inspiring, breathtaking, spectacular and rewarding vistas to be experienced by hillwalkers.


Snow Story



Judy Armstrong found perfect ski touring in southeastern France

Man’s Best Friend was once an implacable enemy. Keep your eye on him. By Dick Warner



Sunrise, Sunsets and Paintbrush Skies

Photographer and writer Adrian Hendroff


Take it Easy!


The Walking Body


Joss Lynam


MI View


Visitor or Trespasser?


2010 Index


2011 Events


Walking Clubs

Judy Armstrong follows an enlightened path from the Maritime Alps to the Mediterranean

20 very good reasons to hillwalk

The great mountaineer and hillwalker passed away recently. We celebrate his life, achievements and passions

The new Mountain Access Scheme, off-road vehicles and crampon tips from the Training Officer

Access rights Northern Ireland are a law unto themselves, says Ronnie Carser

What went into WWI last year

Festivals, Challenges, Treks and more

Every club we could find in Ireland!




A Columbia Omni-Heat voucher worth €200 See Page 96 The Best of Ireland and the World On Foot

Gear 64

Don’t Sweat It

Keeping rain out doesn’t mean having to keep sweat in. Andy Callan explains the science and appliance of waterproofing technology, and puts no fewer than 17 jackets to the test.

Regulars 8





Subscription Offer


Jumbo Crossword by Zodrick

A sprinkling of events, announcements, people and places from around the walking world.

Ireland’s love of ruminants is a costly affair, says Dick Warner

Subscribe to Ireland’s No.1 Outdoor Magazine at 22% off the normal price!

Win Columbia vouchers worth €1000!

Walking World Ireland is always pleased to receive articles, but publication cannot be guaranteed. The magazine is not responsible for unsolicited articles or photos/slides submitted. Unsolicited articles will be returned only if accompanied by return postage. Guidelines regarding articles and photos are available for potential contributors on receipt of return postage. All photos/slides must bear the name of the sender on each photo/slide. Captions should accompany them. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without the express permission of the editor or publishers, and even if such permission is given, the source must be acknowledged when used. This also applies to advertising originated by the publishers. Whilst every care has been taken to describe the routes and terrain accurately, the publishers and contributors accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained as a result of using this magazine. Mapping based on Ordnance Survey Ireland by permission of the Government. © Government of Ireland Permit No 7208.

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PLEASE Take Care in the mountains! Joss Lynam, (1924 - 2011)

Dublin and Wicklow Mountain Rescue teams have requested all users of the Wicklow Mountains to exercise special caution during the winter months, especially in the light of consecutive winters of unusually dangerous conditions: “Last year 2009 was the busiest year for Mountain Rescue Teams in Co. Wicklow.  This was partially due to the severity of the previous two winters.  January, February and December ‘09 at either ends of the year were full of incidents where many people travelling into the hills were unprepared and needed assistance.  As a forewarning, the Rescue Teams would like to encourage anyone entering the mountains, either on foot or by vehicle, to assess the dangers.  Many road users, for example, began their journeys with no inking of what lay ahead, despite warnings on the radio, etc.  We are not asking for people to remain away from the mountains.  Many people participate in Winter Mountaineering, Ice Climbing and other sports, like Skiing, if the conditions are right.  What we do ask is that whether you’re enjoying recreational activities or merely trying to commute across the hills, please make a sensible assessment of the venture.    What can you do? Road users – Postpone the journey or select another route (retreat from poor roads rather than hoping they’ll improve around the corner) Heed advice on the media (AA Roadwatch, etc.) Carry blankets/sleeping bag, flask of tea, food Carry a small spade Be aware that Mt Rescue will only rescue you, NOT your vehicle!

Hill-walkers Get as detailed a weather forecast as possible Ensure that you and your equipment are up to the task (know the limitations of both – winter conditions require specialised gear) Carry enough emergency equipment to keep you warm should you or a friend become injured & need to stop moving (e.g. a survival shelter) Leave word with someone responsible Carry a fully charged mobile phone In case of Emergency in or on the Mountains: Call 999/112 and ask for ‘Mountain Rescue’

Hours before going to press with this issue of Walking World Ireland, we learned with great sadness of the death of Joss Lynam, after a short illness at the age of 86. Joss was one of Irish mountaineering’s most influential and highly regarded figures, with an international reputation and an almost boundless enthusiasm for all forms of mountain sport An engineer by training, Joss was a founding member of the Irish Mountaineering Club. His climbing career - based largely on self-taught techniques - included expeditions to India in the 1940s and 50s, and many alpine expeditions. He continued climbing despite open-heart surgery in the 1980s. Joss was active and influential as a climber, administrator and writer, producing several books on hillwalking. He was involved in the inception of the Waymarked Ways network, which made over 2,000 miles of walking routes accessible on over 30 routes and was also actively involved in access issues, helping to mediate between walkers and landowners in many disputes. Editor of Irish Mountain Log for over 20 years, Joss was a good friend to Walking World Ireland in its early days. He will be sorely missed. On page 72 of this issue we reproduce Declan O’Keeffe’s profile of Joss, first published in our 2002 Annual.

              

               









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For over 10 years the Countryside Why was the Volunteer Ranger ProAccess and Activities Network (CAAN) gramme introduced in Northern Ireland? has been actively working to improve rec“In order for public liability insurance to reational facilities across Northern Ireland’s be provided for all the quality waymarked outdoors. Back in the early days of CAAN, ways here in Northern Ireland, a bi-annual, one of the main objectives was to better the independent audit needed to be carried out walking trails in the North by introducing of these routes and the decision was made a ‘Quality Walk’ scheme which graded the that a volunteer ranger programme was the ideal way in which to achieve this. Volunvarious walking routes and waymarked teers were then also asked to audit the 200 ways throughout the countryside assessing ‘Quality Walks’ in Northern Ireland, so that them for facilities, signage and percentage of routes off road etc. As well as the 9 way- CAAN can be confident that the routes are marked ways, 200 routes were also given adequately signed and of a high standard CAAN’s ‘Quality Walk’ stamp of approval. for members of the public to use.” With the launch of this scheme CAAN “CAAN currently have 149 Volunteers developed a Volunteer Ranger Programme Rangers on the scheme, with over 70% of designed to train passionate and enthusiasthe volunteers allocated a section of walktic walkers who would then, in turn, head ing trail to oversee. Their role involves an out and audit these walks twice a year. autumn audit, checking all features such The ranger programme itself was esas signage and countryside furniture along tablished in 2007 and has been hugely the allocated route is present and fit for purpose. Any issues which require mainsuccessful, involving local walkers in the tenance is then fed back to CAAN, who process of maintaining and developing inform the relevant land managers such sustainable trails across the province. Diane Patterson, Development Executive as local District Councils or the National for CAAN, explains how this volunteer Trust etc. A follow up audit is then carried scheme works and the main factors she out in the spring to check that any previous behind its success. been adequately addressed.” BInt-WalkIre believes 210x135 lie Sept2010_Layout 1 06/04/2010 9:56 amissues Pagehave 1

“We are currently analysing the accessibility information provided for each of our Quality Walks and our volunteers have again provided invaluable details on each walk after carrying out accessibility audits throughout the summer of 2010.

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Irish birdwatchers saw out 2010 with one of the most exciting ‘finds’ in decades, when three bitterns were sighted at a Co Wexford lake after Christmas. The great bittern has been extinct in Ireland for up to 150 years, and only tiny numbers have been seen in England since the early 20th century. Ornithologists believe the birds, which are related to herons, may have taken refuge in Ireland from severe conditions in continental Europe. “This is tremendously exciting news as bitterns became extinct here in the mid-19th century,” said Birdwatch Ireland’s Niall Hatch. “At least three have been spotted in reed beds at Lake Tacumshane, but there could be many more because it’s very difficult to spot them as they are so secretive.” “When they are frightened or startled they point their beak up to the sky, which camouflages them perfectly because their beak resembles a reed bed.” However, the extreme winter conditions have caused significant damage to other wildlife populations. Many kingfishers are believed to starve, as iced-over waterways have prevented them from feeding, while insectivores and ground-feeding species have been hard hit by snow cover.

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.. - Easy to get to  - Walking for all levels  - Enjoy the picturesque tranquility - The vibrant entertainment scene Traditional welcome of a county you may not know, but you will never forget!!! For real value breaks visit: "O3PJOO(OwUIBr1PCBJM $PNIJPOBOOBJTBHVT(BFMUBDIUB %FQBSUNFOUPG$PNNVOJUZ &RVBMJUZ BOE(BFMUBDIU"GGBJST


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MS Ireland MS Ireland celebrates 23 years of charity treks by revealing this years overseas walks.

Will you take up the challenge? Since 1988 MS Ireland has organised almost 50 charity walks, bringing over 2,500 people to many beautiful destinations around the globe. From the pilgrim walk in the Camino, the scaling heights of Machu Picchu, the cavernous gullies of the Grand Canyon and the sights and sounds of Thailand, MS Ireland has the best walks to offer. And 2011 will be no different. Each of our 3 different treks will offer a variety of experiences for the novice or seasoned trekker. Although the treks are different, the results are the same; invaluable financial support for our services to the 7,000 families living with MS, a lifelong neurological disease.

and traditional villages which have retained their unique character established way back in Roman times. We will be following ancient trails, many still in use by locals, to reach the Alpine pastures where sensational views of Lake Como and surrounding regions reward those who accept this fine walking challenge.

New Destination: Jordan…A Biblical Adventure! Camino de Santiago 2010

Let us take you on the adventure of a lifetime. Join us on our 22nd annual 10 day walk along the Camino de Santiago in 2011.  Our walk takes us along a trail steeped in history. It has been travelled by millions of pilgrims over many centuries.  Walking with the MS Society affords you the opportunity of enjoying the full range of the beautiful landscapes of the Camino from the French Pyrenees all the way across Northern Spain to Galicia and it is totally different from anything any other charity or indeed travel company can offer you because with us you get to sample all of what the Camino is about from start to finish in a much shorter length of time. When it is over you will have a deep satisfaction and a wonderful sense of achievement of having walked along the most famous pilgrim route in the world while raising much needed funds for MS Ireland. 

Italian Lakes Walk

Explore the mountain trails of Italy’s magnificent Lake Como area on foot Due to the popularity of and brilliant feed back from our first trek to the Italian Lake district we have decided to return. Join us on this superb European walking challenge taking in the many highlights of Lake Como and the great lakes of northern Italy. Returning each night to comfortable accommodation, the challenge features a selection of day walks along the Monti Lariani (Lario being the ancient name of Lake Como) exploring the forested valleys, mountain tops

In 2011, MS Ireland will embark on an exciting Biblical journey into the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a land of unexpected beauty… From the magical hidden city of Petra to Wadi Rum . From the Dead Sea to Crusader Castles dotted throughout the countryside, this adventurous trek will encompass all of these highlights and even more... We will visit Mt Nebo,and travel the Kings Highway to the crusader castle of Kerak and visit Jerash, ‘the Pompeii of the East’. Trek through hidden oases to a tradition village in the Dana Reserve, to finally conclude with a relaxing swim in the Dead Sea… “Prepare to be surprised!” MS Ireland treks and adventures are suitable for a range of fitness levels. Full support is given before, during and after all events including assistance with fundraising and fitness training. Trained, experienced guides lead all our walks and staff from MS Ireland go on all events to ensure maximum safety and enjoyment. If you would like to book a place or would like to learn more about any of our treks or adventures call Cathryn or Vivienne on 01 6781600 or check out our website at

Presenting -

The Ten Best Views in Ireland - and How to Get to Them

Our personal, entirely arbitrary and eminently disputable selection 14 Erris Head 16 Slieve Binnian 18 Hungry Hill 20 Mweelrea 22 The Bone 24 Glendalough 26 Sliabh League 28 Torc Mountain 30 The 12 Bens 32 Lough Tay

Erris Head T

his linear walk starts at the road end southwest of Erris Head and finishes at a small slipway some 9km away. You will need some means of getting back to the start as the return walk along roads will be far too much for most walkers, for although the distance doesn’t seem great, the terrain is rough in places. Walking in a west to east direction allows you to fully appreciate the excellent views of this rugged coast with the mountainous Mayo interior as a backdrop.

Getting to the Start At the small roundabout in the centre of Belmullet, turn right along the R313. Just over a kilometre from the edge of town turn right onto a minor road signed for Corclogh. After three kilometres turn right again. Follow a narrow road for a further three kilometres to a fork. Keep to the right and follow this road onto a stony track that descends toward the coast. Continue to a wide turning area at the bottom of the hill where you can park a couple of vehicles (GR: F 682,390). To leave a vehicle at the finish of the walk take a minor road from Belmullet signed for Ballyglass. After approximately six kilometres turn left onto a narrow surfaced road and follow it for a kilometre and a half. Now turn left onto an even smaller road leading up through areas of turbary where it becomes unsurfaced. As it descends towards the sea and a small slip there are laybys on the right where you can park two or three cars (GR F 725,375).

The Walk The first point of interest comes at the very start of the route. The small headland adjacent to the parking area was the site of a promontory fort called Spinkadoon, and its tip is littered with conspicuous slabs of rock, remnants of the fort’s defensive structures. The broad stony track leads north up a steep hill to another large turning area and gate. Go through the gate and strike out across firm heath towards the clifftops. You soon reach an area where the cliff-top vegetation and peat has been stripped away by the repeated assaults of salt-spray and high winds. Cross an old boundary wall and swing around to the east, following the cliff edge to a short steep climb with great views on your left across a bay towards Erris Head. The cliffs on the far side of this bay are spectacularly eroded with several deeply-cut caves visible. Skirt the edge of a sheer drop where in spring and summer,

14 WWI 100

Distance: 9km Ascent: 210m Time: 4 hours Maps: OSi 1:50,000 sheet 22

fulmars ride the air currents, before dropping down to view a striking chasm which looks for all the world to have been formed by the headland literally splitting in two. From this point you have a steady climb of almost 80m to the triangulation pillar on Erris Head. Towards the top of the climb you round the back of a long narrow inlet where in calm sea conditions, grey seals can often be seen in the clear water below. To the southwest there is a fine, distant view of Eagle Island Lighthouse. For most walkers, arriving at the trig pillar will not seem enough to say they’ve been to Erris Head, for at this point there’s still a kilometre of land to the north. At the very least you’ll probably want to see the view from the old coastguard hut sited on the next rise to the north. From here the final vestiges of Mayo drop away into the Atlantic with only Illandavuck raising a final protest. Having reached Erris Head, the route now turns southeast and although you may have reached your putative goal, there are in fact greater scenic highlights ahead. It’s not easy to keep to the cliffs at first as they slope away gradually, and the terrain is rough in places. But as you reach Danish Cellar, the cliff edge sharpens and some majestic views open up across the foreboding black cliffs to the southeast and the filigreed coastline beyond.

Descend towards a group of cottages and some enclosed farmland. There are stiles in place to enable you to cross a field and reach a minor road where it ends at a makeshift parking area. There is a mapboard here for the start and finish of the looped walk. To continue on the linear route however, walk a short distance onto a low grassy headland, cross a fence and follow it back inland into a small narrow valley. Cross the stream and scramble up the steep slopes on the far side to reach easier ground. Gentle slopes of heather and grass now lead to the high point on the walk at just over 100m. A superb panorama is revealed with Ooghram Point serving as a backdrop for the domes and ridges of the Nephin Beg Mountains. As your eye sweeps around to the north across the coast of Broad Haven Bay you can pick out the whitewash of Ballyglass Lighthouse, and finally the mighty cliffs of Benwee Head and the Stags of Broad Haven. Make your way along cliffs and then detour inland a short distance to negotiate a deep gully. A steep climb out the other side of this gully is the last real effort of the walk. After you cross a short-lived section of flat, boggy ground the final slopes to the end of the walk are revealed, with a new perspective on the stacks and

Words and Photo: Gareth McCormack

WWI 100 15

Words and Photo: Gareth McCormack

­­Slieve Binnian from the S T

his walk takes in the Silent Valley, Slievenaglogh and the Ben Crom dam before climbing Binnian by its north ridge. It then traverses the summit north to south before descending along the Mourne Wall across Wee Binnian and back into the Silent Valley. This is not an inconsiderable undertaking and options to reduce the difficulty include an easy detour around the west side of Slievenaglogh, or simply walking along the road between the Silent Valley and Ben Crom. In the summer you can even take the shuttle bus to Ben Crom leaving you with just the return walk over Binnian.

Getting to the Start The Silent Valley is well signed from several different junctions on the A2 NewryNewcastle coast road. The main parking area is on the left a short distance past the gates (GR: J 306 208). The Silent Valley grounds are open daily from 10:00 until 18:30 during the summer and 10:00 until 16:00 from October to April. A shuttle bus service to Ben Crom runs at weekends dur-

16 WWI 100

ing May, June and September and daily in July and August.

The Walk From the parking area in the Silent Valley, follow the main drive north to the Silent Valley dam. Cross to the western side of the dam on a wide pavement and then turn right, following a gravel path up rough slopes of gorse and heather. At a sharp lefthand bend look for a red and white waymark. Beside the waymark you should be able to see an informal path turning off to the right. Follow this, picking your way carefully through the gorse and then across a stile to reach firm, well-grazed ground on the other side. Turn left and follow a wall northwest onto a broad, generally flat area just south of Slievenaglogh. Don’t be tempted to head straight for Slievenaglogh as the vegetated lower slopes are very hard going. Its easier to stay beside the wall, soon crossing to the left side and following it up the mountain’s southwestern shoulder. A stile at the top allows you to cross back to the right hand side to visit the small summit cairn

and admire the fine views across the Silent Valley Reservoir to Binnian and the rest of the Mournes. Stay on this side of the wall and make a steep and picky descent to the stony track known as Banns Road. Unfortunately you don’t get to make use of it, but instead you follow the rough track leading northeast and gradually downhill towards Ben Crom and the Silent Valley. Follow this old track to where it fades away and then strike out across the rough, open ground, making for the northern end of the Silent Valley Reservoir. The going is extremely difficult in places with long grass and hidden boulders demanding constant attention to foot placement. Cross the Shannagh River and Ben Crom River, which are normally small streams, but very pretty as they cascade down towards the reservoir. Finally hop across the boulders of the Mill River to reach a gravel track beside what I take to be a small hydro-electric station. If the river has too much flow to cross safely then make your way upstream to a footbridge just below the dam.

he Silent Valley Climb away from the eastern side of Ben Crom dam and cross a stile for a steep diagonal ascent to the col between Slieve Lamagan and Slieve Binnian. Once at the col, turn southwest and follow an eroded path up onto the north ridge of Slieve Binnian. Scramble up across some steep rocky outcrops to easier ground above. From this point the ridge broadens into a wide shoulder and an informal path can be followed all the way to the North Tor (678m). From the North Tor, follow a worn path south into a col and then up along a broad ridge. Here you pass the Back Castles, a string of fascinating tors. It’s now only a short climb to the Summit Tor (747m), which can be turned on either the right or left. Pick up the Mourne Wall as a guide for the descent of the southwest shoulder. A worn path on the southern side of the wall helps you down the steep gradient, which eases gradually as you near the flat col between

Distance: 14km / 9 miles Ascent: 1020m / 3345ft Time: 6-7 hours Maps: OSNI 1:50,000 sheet 29; OSNI 1:25,000 Mourne Country

Binnian and Wee Binnian (459m). The easiest way past is by following the wall a short distance out of the col before heading left into a notch and onto a steep, eroded path that leads around onto the southern slopes of the mountain. Follow the path back to the Mourne Wall, then pass through a metal gate and continue along the wall’s northern side. Cross over a secondary wall, and continue southeast across Moolieve (332m) and down the final steep descent into the Silent Valley. Close to the bottom, use a stile to cross to the south side, then use another stile to re-cross the wall at the very base of the slope. Now turn right and follow a track for a hundred metres or so to reach the main Silent Valley drive. Turn left and follow this road back to the car park.

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Words and Photo: Tom Hutton

Hungry Hill H

ungry Hill is the tallest peak on the Beara Peninsula, and a monster of a mountain; especially when viewed from the south coast or Bear Island. As you approach from the west, one line stands out above the rest: the south-west ridge. The opening section is steep, and the cliffs that define the very foot of the ridge will need to be flanked to one side or the other. But once over these, there follows a delightful middle-eight which lies almost level and offers sumptuous skyline walking as well as mouthwatering views over Bantry Bay and Bear Island. More rocky towers put an end to this glorious section and they now start to come thick and fast as the ridge jacks up steeply one more time on the final, lengthy push to the summit. The ridge finally fades on the approach to the south summit; surely one of the finest viewpoints in the whole of Ireland; it’s then just an easy stroll over gentle peaty ground to the slightly taller northern top. It’s worth noting that the descent route can

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Time: 5/6 hours Distance: 11km/7 miles Ascent: 680m/2,231ft Maps: OS; 1:50,000 sheet 84

be very awkward to locate, and there’s a fair amount of steep and dangerous ground around. For this reason, and to make the most of the views, save this one for a good day.

Getting to the start The walk starts from a small car park at the head of a narrow lane, a few paces south-east of Park Loughs (GR: V 789,481). This is easiest reached by turning north from the R572 just a few metres east of Rossmackowen, approximately 8km west of Adrigole.

The Walk From the car park, continue up the road; at its end go through a gate and onto a gravel track. Continue along here, passing Park Lough to your left, and shortly after this, beyond an obvious rocky knoll, bear right to locate the foot of a clear, grassy gully that splits the slabby rock and leads directly onto the flat section of the ridge. Once up, bear

right to stroll easily along the crest, enjoying the opportunity to catch your breath after the steep ascent and also gawping at the views, which really are quite magnificent. This sumptuous section comes to an end at the head of another steep grassy gully and the ridge now jacks up again, offering short, flat grassy sections, broken by frequent craggy outcrops that are too tall and steep to tackle head-on. If you’re looking for scrambling opportunities, it’s best to ‘work’ the ridge, in the same way a surfer works a wave; dropping right to the foot of the crag, and then scrambling back up, using the obvious lines that lead back onto the crest. There are one or two fine gullies and some quite exposed faces that are fortunately blessed with plenty of holds. If you’d prefer to avoid the scrambling, easier passage is provided to the left of centre, where the crags tend to dissolve back into the grassy crest. Eventually the ridge is swallowed up by the summit plateau and from here it’s just a five minute walk to the impressive cairn that

marks the south top – probably one of the most scenic summits you’ll ever sit on and an excellent place to take a break before continuing away from the coast. Fully sated, turn to the north and track your way through a few small peat hags to follow a faint path over a shallow saddle, past a cairn crafted from glistening white quartz, to the main top, which is crowned by a small shelter and the usual ugly grey concrete trig point. A shapely cairn marks the skyline just a few metres further north. To descend, head north for a few paces, following the blunt crest of the north ridge and keep your gaze westward to locate two small loughs nestled in rocks on the far side of the rocky western ridge, some two kilometres away. Your route tracks along the ridge above and to the south of these, crossing the 442m spot height that defines its end. To get there you need to swing northwest after a few hundred metres and then wind your way down through a succession of narrow rock bands to locate a grassy col that marks the start of the ridge proper. Climb slightly, following a trail of small cairns and pass close to a small tarn that’s not marked on the map. The path becomes clearer and easier to follow at this stage. Now,

follow this past the Glas Loughs that you spotted earlier from the summit, and up and over the 442m spot height that defines the end of the ridge. From here, keep ahead and slightly to the right to gain a grassy hump of a ridge that carries a good track. Turn left onto this and follow it down to a vee, where you turn left again to follow the well-

waymarked O’Sullivan Bere Way back down into the lovely Coomnagapple Glen. Cross the bridge and enjoy a few paces wandering up the stream beneath the huge mountain, before veering sharp right and following the now-clear track back beneath the south west ridge and on past Park Lough to the car park.

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Mweelrea A

t 814m Mweelrea is Connacht’s highest summit; an engaging and complex mountain with so many ridges and subsidiary peaks that there are almost endless possibilities for exploration, but this route has a ‘purity’ and the advantage of being a loop. Whichever option you choose remember that there are no ‘easy’ routes on Mweelrea; it is a big mountain with a great deal of difficult and dangerous ground to consider if you find the weather closing in or the light fading.

Getting to the Start

Approach on the R335 either from Louisburgh to the north or Leenaun to the south. The route starts and finishes at the Delphi Mountain Resort, five kilometres south of Doo Lough on the R335 (GR: L 840,652). This is not a public car park and large groups should not expect to be able to park several cars here, particularly at the weekends when Delphi is normally very busy. If you have several vehicles it is best to use the laybys around Doo Lough and shuttle walkers to Delphi from there.

The Walk From Delphi car park, look for a gravel track that runs around the right (north) side of the building. Follow this onto a forestry track and along the south side of the Owennaglogh River. Keep right at several track junctions and stay beside the river as you cross a large clearing. Just before you enter the next band of forestry, turn left at a track junction and then keep left again at a subsequent junction. The track leads out to the southern boundary of the forest, then after approximately thirty minutes it swings to the right and begins to descend along the western edge of the trees. At this point the track peters out into the bog and you have a route choice to make. In wet conditions it is better to traverse across the rough hillside directly towards the unnamed summit at 495m. In dry conditions the easier route is to follow the track to its finish, then trace the banks of the Owennaglogh River and its tributary, the Sruhaunbunatrench, up into the col between point 495 and the southeastern shoulder of Mweelrea. Whichever route you choose, it is worth climbing to the top of point 495 to appreciate the fine views across Mweelrea’s

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Distance: 15km (9.5 miles) Ascent: 1070m (3510ft) Time: 7-8 hours Maps: OSI 1:50,000 sheet 37

magnificent east face. At this point you realise that the views of the mountain from Delphi do a disservice to the true scale of the mountain. Descend northwest from the peak to the col beneath Mweelrea. The terrain now becomes much easier underfoot, through the gradient is fairly steep at times. As you climb towards the 700m contour the ground flattens out at a point where a great cleft cuts into the shoulder. Above this landmark you swing north and the slopes taper into a more defined ridge that narrows to an airy arete. Sensational views open up across the beaches of southern Mayo to the island of Inishbofin. The slopes converge in a lofty apex that feels almost alpine in nature, and leads you up the final, steep ascent to the top. The summit itself is curiously flat, adorned with a modest cairn perched on the very edge of the eastern face. Along with even more expansive Atlantic views, the vista to the south and southeast sweeps impressively across the Twelve Bens and the Maumturks. Descend into the col between Mweelrea and Ben Bury, then climb to a cairn in the gap between Ben Bury and the Ben Lugmore ridge. The cairn marks the top of ‘The Ramp’, the only non-climbing route up and down Coum Dubh. This route continues southeast however, along the most entertaining and exhilarating walking on the

mountain. Follow a faint path along the airy crest of the ridge, which although rocky at times, proves straightforward. To the east huge cliffs drop away into Coum Dubh, while to the west the slopes become increasingly steep. Ben Lugmore (803m) is the penultimate summit on the ridge. From here you drop down into a grassy gap and then climb a short distance to a broad unnamed summit, where there is a fine view back to Mweelrea. Now turn northeast and enjoy some excellent, easy walking along a broad ridge with the rim of Coum Dubh on your left. Ahead, the Sheefry Hills and Ben Creggan dominate the view. At the end of the ridge turn slightly south of east and follow an easy ridge that runs down towards the Delphi Mountain Resort. A straightforward descent deposits you on some boggy and rough ground in the Owennaglogh Valley. Follow an old boundary wall towards Delphi. Just before the buildings you must ford the Owennaglogh River, a straightforward undertaking in normal water levels, but probably impossible in flood. If you are stuck there are two iron girders carrying a water pipe that with care will suffice as a makeshift bridge. All that remains is to cross a fence and follow a forestry track for a few hundred metres back to Delphi.

Words and Photo: Gareth McCormack

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Words and Photo: Tom Hutton

The Bone T

his walk traces two of the Reeks massif ’s less-used access routes. First climbing up onto the ridge via the knobbly and undulating northwest ridge of Maolán Buí, known as ‘The Bone,’ then descending a seemingly unlikely path that cuts a narrow terrace into the precipitous east face of Carrauntoohil and goes by the evocative name of Heaven’s Gates. The early views across the head of the Hag’s Glen to Carrauntoohil and Beenkeragh are among the best you’ll ever get of the two highest mountains in the land. The ambience at the foot of Ireland’s tallest peak is quite overpowering; especially where the path squeezes through a narrow gap between the main face and an outlying rocky knoll – the Heaven’s Gates themselves. There are a few steep and awkward sections still to negotiate, but beyond the Eagle’s Nest the path joins the well-worn track down from O’Shea’s Gully and all that’s left is a couple of easy scrambles down to the shores of Lough Gouragh. And a gentle walk out along the floor of the Glen.

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Time: 7-8 hours Distance: 14km/8.5 miles Ascent: 900m/2,953ft Maps: OSi; 1:50,000 sheet 78

Getting to the Start As an alternative to Lisleibane, the walk starts at Cronin’s Yard, the traditional starting place for the Devil’s Ladder climb onto Carrauntoohil. From Killarney, take the N72 towards Killorglin and turn left for the Gap of Dunloe. Pass the road to the Gap at a crossroads and continue straight ahead for another 6km until you come to a sign on the right, pointing left for Carrauntoohil. The yard is at the end of the road. GR: V 837,873

The Walk From the farmyard, follow the signs and the well-worn path south, crossing a bridge and then continuing easily up into the Hag’s Glen, with the Gaddagh River down to your right. Cross the Black Stream (drops from Lough Cummeenapeasta) and, once over this, bear left to follow the broad grassy ridge that forms its west bank. This actually points directly to the foot of the Bone. Continue climbing with the stream to your left, until you reach slightly more level ground, with the line of the stream now

1:25, 000 Macgillycuddy’s Reeks. Harvey 1:30,000 Macgillycuddy’s Reeks.

heading up into the coom that forms the left wall of the obvious spur of the Bone. Now leave the stream and continue to contour around towards the obvious foot of the spur. Continue around this foot to its western flanks, where a grassy ramp carries a faint path up onto the ridge. Follow the path up onto the crest, and then stay with it as it ducks and dives around various outcrops and crags, sometimes to the west of the spine, sometimes to the east. Keep Lough Cummeenmore in sight as you approach the top, and you’ll find a clear path that weaves up the steep final slope to the summit. Turn right to descend easily southwest into a grassy col, and then follow the path as it tracks along the escarpment edge, with fine views back over the steep northwestern face of Maolán Buí. The path hurdles a spot height, sometimes known as Ballaghnageeha, at 926m, and then continues easily for another 500m before it starts to climb again, this time onto the summit of Cnoc an Chuillin. This summit offers fine uninterrupted views across to Carrauntoohil.

It’s a big drop now into the next col – almost 200m in total – but thankfully the path ignores the eastern top of Cnoc Tóinne and instead cuts across the steep grassy slope, with excellent views south and west over the Black Valley. It rejoins the escarpment edge on the 845m summit, where it then plummets again, this time all the way down to 734m and the boggy col that marks the top of the Devil’s Ladder. To locate the Heaven’s Gates path, first cross the col, then continue up the main cairned path as if going to Carrauntoohil. As it levels, and before it steepens again, bear right to traverse towards a large outcrop of rocks. The path is faint but discernible to start with (look for a small cairn in the scree), but it becomes a lot clearer as it continues, eventually cutting a precarious line across the steep slope with scree and cliffs above and precipitous drops below. You’ll eventually cross a couple of small streams, by spectacular waterfalls, and pass through the atmospheric gap in the rocks that gives the route its name. Now drop steeply down a loose gully and after a short distance you’ll see a small a mountain rescue hut – on a lovely flat grassy knoll. To your left now is the wonderfully wild, steep corrie that splits Carrauntoohil from Beenkeragh; and as you drop from this point, you’ll meet the clear path that follows

this valley. Cross the small stream beneath the rescue hut, and follow the path around the hillside above Lough Gouragh, scrambling down a couple of awkward steps as you go. The path eventually lowers you down to the valley

floor, where you should head south to meet the main Devil’s Ladder path. Now follow this back down the glen, over the Gaddagh River to the Black Stream, where you should retrace your outward steps back down into Cronin’s Yard.

Glendalough T

he beautiful valley of Glendalough in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains is a truly spellbinding place possessing the uncanny ability to completely enchant and enthral the first-time visitor. Apart from being a very popular tourist destination it also offers the hillwalker wonderful walking on its surrounding mountains. Tourists and day-trippers normally congregate about the valley floor, around the monastic city, its churches, but this walk begins away beyond Glendalough and yet takes in a classic circuit of its mountains, high above the glen with views of the magnificent glacial valley from their lofty summits.

Getting There From the east of the mountains, take the M50/M11 to Kilmacanogue and cross the flyover onto the R755. Drive via the villages of Roundwood and Laragh and turn left immediately after the bridge in Laragh onto the Rathdrum Road. After 1?km fork right onto the Military Road, signposted Glenmalure. Drive uphill for nearly 4km. As you crest the brow of the hill you are on The Three Crosses Pass (375m). Immediately to the right is ample car parking at the recently created Shay Elliot Forest car park. (GR: T 130,922). From the west of the mountains, take the N81 to Hollywood, turn onto the R756 and enjoy the drive via the Wicklow Gap and Glendalough to Laragh; here turn right before the bridge, onto the Rathdrum Road and follow as above.

Route Exit the car park back onto the Three Crosses Pass. Turn left on tarmac for 175metres before turning left again onto a forest track beyond a barrier. Follow this track for 1? k past a cluster of beehives before the track comes to an abrupt end at a fence. Cross the fence and follow the remnants of the old road for approximately 150 metres before turning left and climbing west through the heather using any game trails to ease your progress; always keeping a line of ESB poles off on your left and always heading for the high ground to locate a cairn at 466m on Cullentragh Mountain. From the cairn, follow a single file trail west towards a fence line; if in doubt tend to the right, but always hold the high ground above Derrybawn Glen. Cross the fence and traverse to your right, down through the

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Distance: 15Km Ascent: 646 Metres Time: 5 to 6 hours Maps: OSi Sheet 56 or Harvey’s Wicklow Mountains

heather towards several trails converging on a fairly insignificant col linking Cullentragh with the Derrybawn Ridge. Here turn north and follow a well used trail onto Derrybawn, and follow a long wide ridge to the final summit cairn. Keep to the trail as it rises and falls for nearly 1?km along the top of the ridge, with vistas opening up into Derrybawn and Lugduff Glens until on the final ascent to Derrybawn 474m summit cairn, the upper lake in Glendalough comes into view. Continue beyond the cairn for a short descent onto the northern shoulder of Derrybawn to immediately turn left and follow a deeply eroded single file trail on a long downhill through the heather to enter an area of clear felled forest before joining a forest track. Cross the track to continue downhill across a grassy area with a scattering of trees to join a second forest track and turn left to reach and cross a bridge and immediately cross a second bridge over Lugduff Brook, upstream of the deep gorge of Poulanass poll an easa ‘the hole of the waterfall’. Beyond the bridges there are three forest tracks, follow the middle track directly ahead as it doglegs uphill amid tall mature Douglas Fir trees. As the track gains height and turns left, immediately to the right follow a narrow trail into young forest as it rises steeply on nearly 600-steps created by railway sleepers to eventually reach a stile and turn left onto the Spink spinnc ‘a pointed hill’.

Follow the boardwalk of railway sleepers along the Spink, gradually gaining height as the most amazing views into Glendalough emerge. Continue uphill on the boardwalk to reach a fork, here turn left alongside the forest to reach an open trail leading uphill towards Lugduff log dubh ‘black hollow’ Mountain. The trail turns left at a signpost onto the eastern shoulder of the mountain with views across the heavily forested Lugduff Glen to the distant Ridge of Derrybawn. Directly below is Prezen or Prison Rock, the legendary hiding place where Glendalough’s monks buried the monasteries artefacts and treasures to save them from pillaging Vikings! The trail again turns left and downhill to a boardwalk leading to the high pass of Borenacrow. From the pass, leave the boardwalk, to climb the western slope of Mullacor Mountain 657m. From Mullacor descend due east following a well used trail with Lugduff Forest off on the left, to reach a stile at the corner of a fence line, here continue east on the outside of the fence to a fancy three-way stile on spot height 510m. Continue with the real Cullentragh Mountain off to the left and on the right the falloff into Ballybraid Glen, ahead are Kirikee, its summit dissected by a field and Carriglineen Mountains. Follow the fence east to a small gate at a corner of the fence line; here turn right and left to follow a firebreak southeast over spot height 425m and a gentle downhill that leads directly back to the cars on the Three Crosses Pass.

Words: Denis Gill

Photo: Eoin Clarke

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Slieve League W

ith the exception of Errigal, the walk to the summit of Slieve League is by some distance the most popular walk in the northwest of Ireland. The approach from the car park at Bunglass is the standard out-and-back route. However, a full traverse of Slieve League with a finish at the beautiful beach at Trabane is highly recommended. You will of course need to arrange transport from this end. The figures provided for each walk are totals for the out and back journey and in the case of the traverse to Trabane, cover the whole walk from Bunglass.

GETTING TO THE START Drive west from Donegal town through Killybegs and Kilcar to the small village of Carrick. Drive up into the main street and take a road to the left signed ‘Slieve League & Bunglass Cliffs’. To reach the start of the Pilgrims’ Path turn right shortly before Teelin village onto a minor road signed with a walker symbol and the words ‘Slieve League’. The signs lead to an informal parking area at the bottom of a single-lane road (GR: G 578,768). It is possible to continue up the road by car, passing through a gate and parking 1km higher up. However, due to the narrowness of the track it is best to walk this section. To reach Bunglass continue into Teelin and look out for a road to the right beside the school, signed for Bunglass. The road climbs steeply to a gate, which cars are allowed through (be careful to close it behind you), and continues to the parking area at Bunglass (GR: G 558,757). For the A-to-B traverse of Slieve League you’ll need to leave a car at the parking area above Trabane beach at Malin Beg. To get there continue through Carrick on the R263 for 4km and turn left onto a minor road. Follow this for another 7km and turn left onto the R263. The parking area is situated at the end of the road (GR: G 498,800). The map required for all three walks is OSi 1:50,000 sheet 10.

Bunglass to Slieve League In some ways the best view of Slieve League is from the car park! If you’ve never been to Bunglass before, the sudden sight of the cliffs in all their glory falling almost 2000ft into the Atlantic is utterly absorbing. This place is also known as Amharc Mór (the Big View). For a short distance a well-constructed flagstone path leads northeast from the car

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park close to the cliff edge. Where it ends, an informal path continues across Scregeighter (308m). The path then swings northwest and climbs right along the cliff edge to the Eagle’s Nest (323m), from where the drop to the ocean is almost vertical. Take care here in windy conditions. The path now moves away from the cliffs and crosses a couple of small rises before climbing diagonally across the heathery slopes of Crockrawer to a ridge with fine views at 435m. There is a wonderful juxtaposition as you look back down the line of the ridge. On one side the cliffs fall away for over 1000ft, while on the other the sheltered waters of Teelin Bay point inland to the farmland around the Glen River. The cliffs are now at your left-hand side with increasingly steep slopes on the right. At one point the ridge narrows to a rib of rock, half a metre wide, with dangerous drops on both sides. Although the OSI map marks One Man’s Pass as close to the summit of Slieve League, this section is surely more deserving of the name. It is a straightforward scramble in good conditions but is best avoided in wet and/or windy weather. An easy alternative path to the right avoids the difficulties and rejoins the crest of the ridge a little higher up. The ridge now relaxes and you emerge on the broad peat-covered eastern summit (560m). This isn’t the true summit, which is still about a kilometre further to the

Slieve League Traverse Distance: 15km Time: 4-5 hours Ascent: 570m Bunglass to Slieve League Distance: 10km Time: 3.5-4 hours Ascent: 500m northwest, but it is only 45m lower and for many walkers it is good enough. The views after all are very similar from both. However, a fine ridge (One Man’s Pass) connects the two, and it is worth going all the way to the trig pillar at 595m just to take in this enjoyable stretch of walking.

Slieve League Traverse From the summit of Slieve League head almost due west and pick up a stony path that winds steeply down onto the superb western shoulder of Slieve League. The descent is steep but you’re rewarded with wonderful views back to the southeast across the cliffs, and in particular some precarious pillars of shattered rock. It is worth keeping to the cliff edge as you reach the bottom of the descent for some dizzying views over cliffs which seem to overhang the ocean. Drop down into a streambed and climb steeply onto a southern spur of Leahan. Now follow along the cliff edge before swinging northwest to reach the end of a rough track. This track leads around the bay with the fine horseshoe beach of Trabane immediately ahead. You can either descend steep grassy slopes onto the sand or continue along the top to reach the car park.

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Words: Helen Fairbairn Photo: Gareth McCormack

Torc Mountain T

orc Mountain in County Kerry is a modest hill that leaves a big impression. Situated in the heart of Killarney National Park, the view from the 535m-high summit is the main attraction of the route. The outlook offers a magnificent panorama over the celebrated Killarney Lakes, backed by the peaks of Ireland’s highest mountain chain Most Irish hillwalkers learn to associate such viewpoints with a significant amount of toil, yet the trip up Torc Mountain is not overly strenuous. Granted, there’s no getting away from the 490m of ascent (or 380m if you start from the upper car park), and the mountainous nature of the route means you have to keep an eye on the weather. But the recent completion of a mountain trail means this is now a walk that is suitable for almost all the family.

Getting to the start The route starts and finishes at the main parking area for Torc Waterfall ( GR: V 966,847). This is located on the eastern side

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of the N71 Killarney-Kenmare road, around 6km south of Killarney The route can be shortened by 1.5km by starting at the upper car park (GR: V 967, 842). This will also take around 110m of ascent and descent off the walk, but means you will miss Torc Waterfall. To access the upper parking area, take a minor road south from the N71 around 1.5km north of the main waterfall car park. Follow the road steeply uphill to the car park at the end

The Walk From the main car park, follow signposts to Torc Waterfall. A wide footpath leads through the woods to a viewpoint beneath the main falls, where the Owengarrif River Opposite: At Torc Waterfall, Killarney National Park The boardwalk on Torc is designed to reduce erosion of the mountain plunges over a series of rocky walls on its course to Muckross Lake. The cascade is widely acclaimed as one of the finest waterfalls in Ireland, and it’s a popular tourist site during the summer months. Though the area is likely to be busy from

June to September, the falls still make a beautiful start to the day From the main viewpoint, turn left and begin up a flight of concrete steps. The path zig-zags up the steep, wooded slope beside the waterfall, with steps and handrails in place where necessary. The climb is sustained all the way to the top of the falls, where you rejoin the river shortly above its precipitous plunge. This section of trail is part of the Kerry Way, and you should follow signs for the ‘Kerry Way to Kenmare’ for the next kilometre Turn left beside an old stone bridge and then, 20m later, turn right onto a sealed road. The upper car park that provides the alternative start/finish point is situated here on the opposite side of the road The road section lasts for just 100m before vehicle access is barred. Pass around the barrier and continue ahead along the track. The route now traces the old 18th century Killarney-Kenmare road, the main thoroughfare between the two towns before the construction of the N71. In places the original cobblestones are still visible underfoot Follow the track over a bridge and turn left on the opposite bank, still walking through beautiful deciduous woodland. It is

not long, however, before the trees fall back and you cross onto open, mountainous terrain beside a national park information board. Across the river to your right lies the high grassy slope of Mangerton Mountain. Continue to follow the track, climbing gently along the valley floor. Around 300m beyond the last trees the path for Torc Mountain leads off the track to the right. It is now essentially a matter of following the path all the way to the top. The recent construction work means that the route is easy to spot as it winds gradually up the southern flanks of the mountain. Cut stone lines part of the route, while boggier sections are crossed by wooden boardwalks wrapped with metal wire for traction. Less than an hour of climbing will bring you to the compact summit and its marvellous views. The town of Killarney lies below you to the north, and the Killarney Lakes are spread out to the north and southwest. Many of Kerry’s most famous mountain peaks are also visible, including the McGillycuddy Reeks directly to the west. Once you have fully appreciated the view, retrace your steps down the mountain to Torc Waterfall.

Distance: 8km/5 miles Total Ascent: 490m/1610ft Time: 3-4 hours

Maps: Use OSI 1:50,000 sheet 78 or, for more detail, OSI 1:25,000 Killarney National Park.

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Words: Tom Hutton Photo: Eoin Clarke

The 12 Bens T

he rugged quartzite peaks of Connemara’s Twelve Bens huddle together to form a rocky star-shaped hub from which radiate a succession of remote and beautiful valleys. The northernmost of these, Glencorbet (anglicised from Gleann Carbad) forms a classic horseshoe of skyline walkways that tower high above the tumbling Kylemore River. The head of the valley is dominated by a congregation of impressive peaks, including the steep and forbidding Muckanaght, which looks almost impenetrable from the approach; and the mighty Ben Baun, which at 729m (2,392ft) is the tallest of all the Bens. Like all the horseshoes in the Twelve Bens, you’ll know you’ve done something special by the time you get back.

Getting to the Start The walk begins quite close to the N59, about halfway between Letterfrack and Leenane, just a couple of kilometres east of Kylemore Lough. Take the R344 at the eastern end of the lough and follow this for

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Time: 8-9 hours Distance: 16km/10 miles Ascent: 1,300m/4,265ft

2km to a turning on the right. Take this and park courteously by the bridge over the Kylemore River. GR: L 799,574.

The Walk From the bridge, continue up the track and take the left fork where it bends around to the right. Follow this easily upwards onto the shoulder of the ridge and then, as it starts to drop again, leave it to the right to follow the pathless crest of the blunt, boggy spur upwards towards Minnaunmore. The going is quite rough, with boggy patches and rocky outcrops to outmanoeuvre in places. But it’s not too steep so progress is reasonably easy. Bear left once you reach the top – probably close to the spot height of 273m – and continue westwards to cross a fence. Stay close to the crest, which undulates a fair bit, and you’ll eventually come to a steep descent that leads into a boggy col ahead of the main ridge. Cross this and keep ahead, up a grassy gully, into an obvious saddle between Benbaun (not the highest one but instead one that’s also known as Maolan) and Benbrack.

Maps: OSi 1:50,000 sheet 37; Harvey Superwalker 1:30,000, Connemara

Bear left here, where you’ll locate a semblance of path, and continue upwards to the summit cairn, which is concealed amongst broad rocky bands. At 582m (1,909ft) this is the tenth highest of the Twelve Bens and the first of four climbed by this route. Head southwest away from the summit on a vague path and then drop steeply down the edge of the west-facing escarpment into the deep notch of Maumnascalpa. Take a good look at the lie of the land, on the steep flanks of Muckanaght, ahead as you descend. The safest climb is to the west of the obvious steep spur, trending rightwards slightly as you near the top. A careful approach is definitely required, especially nearer the summit where the way is guarded by small outcrops than can be really slippery. Weave your way through these and the summit cairn is reached by an easy walk to the left. Those with a faint heart can head southwest from Maumnascalpa instead, and locate a good path that runs beneath the northeast face of the hill. This leads to the col beneath Benfree, but then leaves an up-and-back

sortie to the west to claim Muckanaght. From the flat top of Muckanaght head southeast and then east to drop steeply into the next col. The steep, craggy section is best flanked to the right. Ahead now lies another steep climb, this one onto the summit of Benfree. It can be made a little more interesting by trending rightwards to enjoy fine views over the sweeping southern face of Benbaun, but either way it’s steep and relentless, and you’ll be pleased to see the top. Benbaun looms large now, just over a kilometre further along the ridge and 100m higher. Drop easily into the saddle that separates the two peaks, and then continue on a clear path that eventually threads its way through a desert of white quartzite – far more typical of the Bens – to the summit. The true name, Binn Bhán, means ‘White Peak’ and it’s not difficult to see where the name came from; especially on bright days when the reflections from the quartzite are almost blinding. Leave the summit to the north – almost doubling back on yourself – and stay on the summit ridge until you locate a faint stony path that drops steeply east, weaving its way through a field of scree onto the long whaleback spur of the northeastern ridge. The path becomes clearer as the ridge narrows and eventually you’ll arrive at a cairn

on a spot-height named Knockpasheemore – a fine spot to sit and reflect on the day. From here double back slightly to avoid steep ground, then descend northwest and then north to drop down the steep grassy hillside, keeping a stream gully over to the left. The

going gets boggy as you near the bottom, but the banks of the Kylemore River aren’t too bad; and there’s a vague path following its twists and turns downstream too. Stay with the river all the way back to the bridge and your car.

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Words: David Herman Photo: Gareth McCormack

Lough Tay T

his is one of the loveliest areas in Wicklow, a superb mix of rugged mountains flanked by impressive cliffs, interleaved with valleys carrying a hill stream and a placid mature river. There is only one long climb, that to rocky Knocknacloghoge, a splendid viewpoint over much of the eastern part of the range. An enjoyable and easy walk suitable for short winter days.

Getting to the Start From Dublin take the M/N11 to Kilmacanogue; here take the R755 towards Glendalough, but turn right after 7 miles, signed for Sally Gap. Park at the forest entrance on the left after 1.8 miles (GR: S 172,063).

The Walk From the forest entrance turn left uphill, pass the entrance to Ballinrush Estate and take the tarmac road. And now for a downhill, a happy way to start a walk. The view along here, dominated by the mighty cliffs of

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Maps: OSi 1:50 000 sheet 56 or Harvey’s 1:30 000 map, the latter better for the tracks at the end of the walk.

Fancy, ending in huge boulders on the shores of Lough Tay, is among the most splendid in Wicklow. The mountain to the left of these cliffs is Knocknacloghoge, today’s goal. The pointed peak to the left again is Scarr. Take the road for about 500m and turn off left downhill onto a rough path that ends back on the same tarmac road, but now close to the valley floor. Turn left onto the road again and cross one wide wooden bridge. Just beyond it cross a gate-cum -stile on the right and continue into the valley of the Cloghoge Brook, with Fancy dominating on the right and Knocknacloghoge on the left. By the way, from this stile you can tackle Fancy directly (thereby adding about 40 minutes to the walking time). Continue upstream along the delightful Cloghoge Brook, on improving underfoot conditions, until you enter a gently shelving plain. Cross the Brook and walk southwest, heading for the shallow col between Knocknacloghoge and the high ground stretching away northwest to the Military Road. From the col head directly to the

Distance: 13km (8 miles). Ascent: 520m (1700 ft).

summit (534m), a rocky height offering a few places where you can enjoy a well-deserved break. You will hardly fail to recognise Lough Dan, shaped like a banana stretching away to the south, with Scarr to the south overlooking it. You should also easily recognise the reservoir ramparts of Turlough Hill with Lugnaquilla to its left. The descent is easy enough, though take care in high heather. Start off southwest and you will see forest ahead with an enclosing fence and firebreak. Head for the left end of the fence and when you reach it keep it on the right to walk a rough path. This will take you down to the Copse (GR: S 132,046), a lovely stand of old oak trees on the opposite bank of the river, the Inchavore. About a kilometre or so from the Copse a clear path emerges along the river and passes between the southern cliffs of Knocknacloghoge and Lough Dan, presaged by a lovely crescent of yellow sand at the western end of the lake. Walk a little further on and you will come to a two-storey house close to the convergence of the Cloghoge

River and Lough Dan. This is the crux of the whole walk, the point where you will have to cross the Cloghoge on mercifully massive boulders that are, not so mercifully, in places, inconveniently widely spaced. If the water is high you may prefer to wade either here or a little downstream where the river is wider and therefore shallower. If you elect to wade at the boulders do so just upstream of them so that you can balance easier against them if the current is strong. If you don’t feel up to this river crossing there is a ready solution: simply take the track you are now on back to Pier Gates, a lovely walk all the way. Having crossed, take the clear path uphill through an ancient wood and so reach a track. Turn left onto it but only for a few moments. Take the first track right, a steeply rising grassy one heading acutely back (this section is not shown on the Harvey map, one of its few errors). It shortly bends sharply left and continues uphill through old conifers and passes the remains of houses and field boundaries on the left. Continue diagonally upwards on what is now a narrow path showing increasing hints of expiring completely; if all else fails head directly to a dense block of forest to the northeast. Once there turn right and only a few hundred metres further on you will come

to two sturdy posts. Turn left here onto a clear track and immediately left again onto another track. After a few hundred metres you will see a wide track off to the left which

you can reach on a narrow path. Turn left onto this track (it’s the Wicklow Way) and take it all the way to the start about two kilometres away.

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Snowtime In The Beaufortain

View from the dortoir window at Refuge Nant du Beurre

Judy Armstrong found this corner of southeastern France perfect for unguided ski-touring. Photos by Judy Armstrong 34 WWI 100


couple of years ago, while walking the GR20 longdistance footpath in Corsica, Duncan and I met a Belgian couple. Normally we keep to ourselves on expeditions, but we got on so well with Peter and Hilde that we ended up walking the entire route together. Last Spring we decided to rekindle the friendship, by meeting up in the French Alps

for a short walking holiday. But Spring in the Alps is still snowtime, and footpaths had disappeared under a couple of metres of white stuff. Still, we all enjoy a challenge, so we made a plan: Peter and Hilde would march on snowshoes, while Duncan and I would trek on skis with ‘skins’, strips of fabric that glue onto ski bases so the skis grip as we slide up the mountains. Our reason for choosing

touring skis was that Hilde and Peter walk like the wind. They would always be faster than us up hills, but the skis would be much faster downhill, enabling us to catch them up. Next, we had to choose a location. As regular readers will know, I am not a fan of heavy rucksacks, so we needed an area that had mountain huts, known as refuges, so we could ditch sleeping bags, tents and cooking

gear, and simply carry food. Our destination also had to be fairly mellow – snowshoes can be scary beasts on steep-sided, icy mountains – but with enough alpine scenery to generate the ‘ahhhh!’ factor. We chose the Beaufortain, a collection of mountains, valleys and lakes, wedged into a corner between France, Italy and Switzerland. Unlike its better-known neighbours the Vanoise National Park and Mont Blanc

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The Beaufortain massif, the Beaufortain has no glaciers, so the equipment needed for crevasse self-rescue – ropes, pulleys and hardware – could be safely left at home. Because of this glacier-free environment, the Beaufortain is a top choice for unguided alpine fun. The peaks are high but not intimidating, the ridges sharp but not too exposed. There is a comprehensive network of huts, with guardians offering catering in holiday periods. We weren’t visiting in the busy season but the huts, which have gas, wood, blankets and cooking equipment, are open for use all year round. In summer, the footpaths are busy with hikers on the famous GR5, which traverses the Beaufortain en route to Nice. Less wellknown is the nine-day Tour du Beaufortain, which loops around the whole area. We didn’t have that amount of time but, since it was easy to cherry-pick shorter segments, the TdB became an obvious target for a few days on foot. Our starting point was Grand Naves, a village on a mountainside high above the Isere river. Grand Naves is home to a highaltitude cross-country ski station, and offers rapid access to pretty peaks like le Quermoz (2296m), Pointe de Dzonfie (2455m) and le Grand Cretet (2292m). It also owns the Waymarking in Grand Naves

Refuge du Nant du Beurre, a 700m height gain and two and a half hour walk, or three hour shuffle on skis or snowshoes. Because the refuge is owned by the village, access is by key, rather than the open-door policy adopted by huts owned by national parks or climbing clubs. We’d been told that the Maison de la Montagne (effectively, the tourist information centre) had the key, but the maison’s doors were locked and the village appeared deserted. Dumping our loaded packs, we headed off in four different directions, hunting for someone – anyone – who might shed light on the situation. The solution was found at Chez Fred, a bar restaurant which offers B&B and is the social hub of the village. The owner, Frederic Abondance, didn’t have the key, but he had excellent coffee and cakes… Caffeine levels were sky-high by the time we located the key and set off. Slotting skis and snowshoes down the sides of our rucksacks, we picked up summer signposts for the TdB and headed north. The track, at this stage bare of snow, climbed gently through forest and past alpine flowers taking their first peek at Spring. The cattle – Tarine and Abondance - that normally graze these meadows to produce Beaufort (a gruyere cheese), were still in the wintering barns. In Refuge Nant du Beurre

Duncan and Hilde start the search for the refuge Nant du Beurre... Heading to meet the snowshoers on the Cormet d'Areche, above Refuge de la Coire

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another month’s time they’d be all over these hills, bells clonking and tails swishing. As we’d expected, the snowshoers were making faster progress than we skiers. They were also taking a different route. Hilde had a new toy, a GPS, and had programmed into it the exact route of the TdB. They were determined to follow it regardless, and disappeared toward a ravine. Duncan and I, meanwhile, had plotted our route on the old-fashioned paper map. We took into account aspect and angle of slope, snow conditions and height gain, and set off on a gentle climb. While walkers or snowshoers can easily step up or down steep segments, it’s much more difficult on touring skis, and we needed to keep a constant line if we were to make safe progress. In Spring, it’s best to start early and finish early: sun melts and rots the snow, and slush is much harder to move through than hard or compacted snow. But because of our delay with the key, the sun was now high overhead, the snow was turning to porridge and progress was slow. With the Belgies nowhere in sight, Duncan and I stopped for lunch outside a stone chalet. The views spread east to the pyramid summit of le Quermoz and south to the majestic peaks of the Vanoise National Park; the light shimmered and

“He stopped dead, then called us to join him. Beside the table, in soft snow, he’d found a set of fresh tracks. ‘Lynx?’ he asked, incredulously.” mountains sparkled. As we stared, a movement caught our eyes – it was Peter and Hilde, far below but further up the valley. We worked out their line, and intercepted them on a plateau just 500m from the refuge. Snowshoers and skiers approached the hut, on a broad plain at 2075m, in perfect harmony. As Peter, Hilde and I stepped out of our bindings, Duncan checked out a picnic table nearby. He stopped dead, then called us to join him. Beside the table, in soft snow, he’d found a set of fresh tracks. “Lynx?” he asked, incredulously. “There’s a rumour that lynx are in the area, but they’re never seen. I wonder…Oh! And look at this…” The table top had been gouged, treated as a scratching post by super-strong claws. The lynx theory was gaining ground – and that night, when Hilde and I needed a toilet visit, we went together. The refuge, a lovely wood and stone building, was cool inside, with a stove for evening warmth. As the setting sun cast pink ‘alpenglow’ over the mountains, we lit the fire and settled down with the maps.

Plan A had been to climb Pointe du Dzonfie, which rose steeply behind the refuge. After the intense heat of the day, the partially melted snow would freeze, making it easy to gain height in the early morning. But we realised that the extra time needed to climb Dzonfie would mean a late arrival at our second refuge, so we reluctantly abandoned the idea. After the pink evening, the morning was a frozen shade of blue. The snowshoes clattered on the icy surface, as Peter and Hilde marched to the first pass. On this kind of snow, our skis slid rather than sinking through the crusty surface, and we reached the pass together. Having climbed out of the Grand Naves valley, we had earned a new panorama. Mountains multiplied toward the horizon and the morning cast golden light over distant peaks… it felt incredible to be part of such an alpine wilderness. At this stage, our ski route and the TdB followed the same line. This cut across a steep, concave face, under the northern ridge

of Dzonfie toward the Col des Tufs Blancs. For Duncan and I it was relatively simple: we tipped the skis onto their metal edges and let them slide across the mountain. But the snowshoers had to tilt their feet flat onto the slope so the crampons underneath the platforms could bite the ice, while keeping their legs and bodies upright. Eventually at the col, we parted company. The Belgies followed the TdB summer route which lost then gained height, while Duncan and I wanted to conserve energy and maintain a steady line. We would end up in the same place, but by different means. Our route took us around a conical peak and under the looming bulk of Cret du Rey, one of the highest peaks in the immediate area at 2623m. Already snow was peeling off the sides, creating small avalanches that piled debris around us. We increased our speed, eager to be out of this danger zone. We were separated from Peter and Hilde by the pyramid of Pierre Percee (2495m), but met them in a valley below it. By now, we

Hilde admires the Vanoise from Col du Tufs Blanc

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The Beaufortain

Second lunch at the Cormet d'Areche, above Refuge de la Coire

Skinning uphill from Grand Naves Leaving Refuge Nant du Beurre

Peter lights the fire using his vaselineand-match trick

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“We had to be careful not to enjoy the descent too much: the climb to the next ridge followed a precise line, and we couldn’t afford to miss the turning.” had stripped climbing skins from skis, and were sliding rapidly downhill. In fact, we were making such good time that we ditched our rucksacks, climbed back up one particularly nice slope, and skied it again. We could see the next hut now. It was an hour’s walk on snowshoes, or a five minute glide on skis… Swooping down the mountain, we revelled in the speed, forgetting how we’d complained at the extra weight of our equipment during the morning’s climb. The Refuge de la Coire is a large building painted pale apricot. It is owned by the village of Granier and has little character but a superb location. Again, we were the only visitors, so stashed our packs in the dormitory and headed out to meet our friends. We climbed to a white-painted cross that marks the pass, the Cormet d’Areches, at 2109m. In the distance, we could see Peter and Hilde threading their way along the line of a frozen river, tiny figures in a white immensity. Hilde’s GPS plotting was perfect: while it wasn’t necessarily the best line for skis, the TdB was proving a fine route for snowshoes.

We were, however, getting nervous about the daytime heat. The snow was melting in layers, and was safe while heavily frozen but prone to disintegrate, leading to avalanches, once the sun hit. The solution was to start moving before dawn cracked open the day, so we would be off the snow before it fell apart. Climbing away from the refuge in the early morning, we made steady progress. A fat moon hung over the Cret du Rey and breath froze in our throats. After rounding a shoulder, we reached an alpage, buildings used by farmers who bring their animals from the valley to the alpine meadows in summer. Above the alpage was the Col du Coin, a narrow notch in a tightrope ridge, with steep slopes dropping abruptly to a valley. Duncan and I made a real mess of the final ascent, slithering and slipping on the ice; Peter and Hilde fared better, the sharp metal teeth under their snowshoes chomping firmly into the mountain. Going down, on the other hand… After stripping off the climbing skins and pulling our rucksacks tight, Duncan and I cut a speedy line across and down the face. But the snowshoers had to bend their ankles so the crampons could bite the snow, and move

Snowshoers descend the Col du Coin, the Pierra Menta bold on the horizon in the background

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The Beaufortain down a 40 degree slope without falling. Peter’s face was white with concentration, and it seemed an age before they were safely down. In summer, the valley is speckled with turquoise lakes and butterflies. In winter, it’s a silky carpet of white, and the perfect platform for touring skis. We had to be careful not to enjoy the descent too much: the climb to the next ridge followed a precise line, and we couldn’t afford to miss the turning. Because it was a western slope, we were climbing in shadow. This cast a blue light over the snow, creating violet-dark shadows and making icicles glitter in reflected light. Transfixed by the beauty, we climbed slowly.

We were now on the line of the GR5 and heading for the Col du Bresson, a high point on our route at 2469m. To our right was the extraordinary rock spire of Pierra Menta, a landmark and magnet for rock climbers. Its outline changes with the aspect: from the north it’s a fang, while from the east it morphs into a vast, sheer-sided block. On the far side of the pass is the Refuge de Presset, owned by the French Alpine Club. It’s in a stunning place but tiny, easily accessible and far too popular. We turned our backs and headed downhill, carving sweet turns in perfect Spring snow. Below the Presset and around a corner, is

the Refuge de la Balme. It is usually bypassed in favour of its glamorous neighbour, despite a fabulous location under the Pierre Menta. We made ourselves at home and waited for Peter and Hilde, who finally appeared glissading down just-melted snow, their snowshoes acting like sledges. The route out was downhill all the way, through an avalanche-prone, U-shaped valley. But that was tomorrow. For now, the sun shone brightly on the Pierre Menta and rivers giggled to life under their mantle of snow. We stashed the skis and snowshoes side by side, and proposed a toast: to walking, to friendships, and the next adventure.

Magnificent Pierre Menta, from just below Col du Bresson

FACT FILE Getting there: nearest airports are Geneva (direct from Belfast with Easyjet), Lyon and Grenoble. Public transport in this area is limited so car hire is recommended. If you walk or snowshoe a noncircular route, try Dominique Taxis to return to your starting point (, tel +33 684 609 552). Grand Naves: Bar Chez Fred offers B&B and meals (tel +33 479 246 521). Maison de la Montagne is open most of the year (, tel +33 479 244 013). Apply here for the key to Refuge du Nant du Beurre. Mountain huts (reservations required when guarded in summer and at peak periods): Refuge de la Coire (commune of Granier) +33 479 097 092; Refuge de Presset (French Alpine Club [CAF]), www.clubalpin. com, +33 687 540 918; Refuge de la Balme (commune of Aime), +33 684 350 741 Maps: French map IGN series, 3532 OT Massif du Beaufortain (1:25,000), GPS compatible ( Duncan skiing off Col du Coin on frozen snow

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WOLVES! Man’s Best Friend was once an implacable enemy. Keep your eye on him. By Dick Warner


n my walks I’m usually accompanied by a dog. You may be the same. But you should be aware that your animal companion is actually a domesticated European wolf. This was a matter argued about for many years but recent genetic studies have shown that all the dogs in the world are descended from wolves. The proper name for the sub-species is the Eurasian wolf and it seems that the first ones were tamed in central Asia between 15,000 and 20,000 years ago and that this was a one-off event. In other words all modern dogs are descended from a common ancestor and they are almost certainly the first wild animals ever to be tamed by humans. In Europe the wolf is one of the largest and most potentially dangerous of all predators, so it’s not surprising that it has become the bad guy in folklore, fairy-tales and mythology. But Little Red Riding Hood’s nemesis is generally portrayed by modern biologists as the victim of atrocity stories. The politically correct statement today is to say that wolf attacks on humans are almost unknown and that they are benign and beautiful creatures. Well, I checked the data and this isn’t totally true. Unfortunately wolves have killed a lot of people in the past and continue to kill small numbers today. One of the statistics I dug up was that in Russia, between 1840 and 1861, 273 people were reported to the authorities as being killed by non-rabid wolves and that an astonishing 269 of these were children. In France between 1580 and 1830 3,069 people were killed by wolves, 1,857 of these were killed by non-rabid wolves. Wolf killings are still being reported in small numbers from eastern Russia.

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Curiously enough the wolf tends to have a rather different reputation in Irish folklore. There are a few references to wolves attacking livestock but I’ve only come across one that refers to wolf attacks on humans. The Annals of Connaught mention that in the winter of 1420 wolves killed many people. This is outweighed by a large number of accounts of friendships between wolves and humans, particularly human saints and holy men. Perhaps the most extraordinary of these is the story of the werewolves of Ossory recounted by that indefatigable Norman journalist Giraldus Cambrensis in the 12th century. It’s a long story but the gist of it is that a priest on a journey camped one night on the edge of a forest in the diocese of Ossory and was approached by an elderly but pious werewolf who asked him to perform the last rites over his wife, also a werewolf, who was dying of an arrow wound inflicted by a hunter. The priest wrestles with his conscience because he knows that the last rites are supposed to be reserved for humans and not dispensed to wolves but all ends happily when he anoints the dying she wolf and her husband is very grateful.. Wolves were fairly common in Ireland up until recent historical times. Customs House records indicate that in the 1500s between 100 and 300 wolf pelts a year were exported from Dublin to Bristol. By this time the wolf was extinct in England and Wales, though it still survived in the highlands of Scotland.

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“In Europe the wolf is one of the largest and most potentially dangerous of all predators, so it’s not surprising that it has become the bad guy in folklore, fairy-tales and mythology.” Mary Queen of Scots enjoyed wolf hunting in Atholl. In 1652 a public hunt was organised to eradicate wolves from Castleknock, now one of the inner suburbs of west Dublin. And in 1698 an Alderman of Cork City wrote a letter complaining about the large number of wolves and foxes roaming in and around the city. It was really Cromwell who finished off the Irish wolf. He granted land to many English settlers who were outraged to find wolves still roaming across it. So in 1653 the Cromwellian Parliament decreed a bounty of £5 on male wolves and £6 on females. This was serious money in those days and wolf numbers declined rapidly as they were persecuted by bounty hunters and their forest habitat declined. In 1786 John Watson of Ballydarton in County Carlow was suffering sheep losses to a lone wolf with a den on Mount Leinster. He organised a hunt and his wolfhound killed the predator. It’s the last authenticated record of a wolf in Ireland. There are several species of wolf in he world, most of them extremely endangered, like the Ethiopian wolf, the Indian wolf or the red wolf of the southern United States, which actually became extinct in the wild in

1980 but is being reintroduced from zoobred specimens. But the species we’re dealing with here, by far the least endangered, exists in a number of debatable sub-species, all across the northern hemisphere and has a number of English names, including grey wolf, timber wolf, and northern wolf. Despite enormous pressures from humans wolves still survive in significant numbers in Europe. The total population, excluding European Russia, is estimated to be between 18,000 and 25,000 animals. The bulk of these are in Poland, Romania and the Balkans. But if you go hill-walking abroad you could be lucky enough to spot these very shy animals in other countries because there are relict populations in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and Finland. They are also spreading and have recently recolonised France, Germany, Sweden and Norway. I am fascinated by wolves and have devoted quite a bit of time and energy to looking for them. I’ve only been successful twice, once in western Canada and once in the Carpathian mountains of Romania. The wolves in both countries looked quite different. The Canadian one was much larger and much hairier than the Romanian one. The literature suggests that this is what is to be expected.

Nature “In 1786 John Watson of Ballydarton in County Carlow was suffering sheep losses to a lone wolf with a den on Mount Leinster. He organised a hunt and his wolfhound killed the predator. It’s the last authenticated record of a wolf in Ireland.”

Southern European wolves are quite small and have been separated into various slightly dubious sub-species such as the Italian Wolf and the Iberian Wolf. But there is some evidence to suggest that the extinct British and Irish wolves belonged to an Arctic sub species that was much larger. Wolves have evolved to hunt animals larger than themselves, usually hoofed animals such as species of deer, bison or wild horse. But they’re adaptable creatures and one population on a large Arctic island preys exclusively on hares, which are the biggest animals available to it. The Ethiopian wolf, which is a different species, hunts even smaller prey like mice and voles. One population of European wolves in northern Spain seems to survive today purely by killing

livestock. Scandinavian wolves, on the other hand, specialise in moose (sometimes called elk) which are truly enormous beasts. European wolves and North American grey wolves are very closely related - they are certainly the same species - but there are some behavioural differences. In Canada and the United States wolves tend to form large packs of up to sixty animals, European wolves tend to live in much smaller family groups, typically of less than a dozen individuals. The differences have probably developed because North America has much larger wilderness areas than Europe and also supports large herds of prey animals like caribou that can provide a food sources for a bigger group of predators. Irish wolves probably hunted deer and a lot

of wild pigs, a species that became extinct in this country shortly before the wolf did. They also posed quite a threat to livestock. Under Brehon Law a contract to rent a farm often contained a clause obliging the the tenant to keep one or more wolfhounds and to organise hunts as frequently as once a week. In parts of Britain, and even in this country, there are occasionally calls for wolves to be reintroduced to control rapidly expanding deer populations. It’s a nice idea but not really a runner. The feelings that farmers have for their livestock have created problems for the programmes to reintroduce large birds of prey. They pose virtually no real threat to farm animals, but wolves certainly would. That’s why we exterminated them in the first place.

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Sunrise, Sunsets and Paintbrush Skies

Sunrise,Sunsets and P Adrian Hendroff captures the magic of the Irish mountains in words and images. Photos by Adrian Hendroff

I ARISE from dreams of thee In the first sweet sleep of night, When the winds are breathing low And the stars are shining bright: I arise from dreams of thee, And a spirit in my feet Hath led me - who knows how? To thy chamber - window, Sweet! - Percy Bysshe Shelley

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stared up the treadmill of scree that lined O’Shea’s Gully. Its loose rocks glinted tints of silver-grey under the brightening pre-dawn sky. The smell of rock in the air was strangely intense, intoxicating me like sweet perfume. The mountain had cast its spell and I felt part of its rocky arm that surrounded me in a wide semicircle. Hours earlier, I had spent a benign night camped under a starry sky near a lake at Cummeenoughter, a hanging valley nestling under the shadow of Carrauntoohil in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks. But now, I grew in anticipation as the promise of a new day beckoned. As I arrived on the top of the gully, a section of sky near the horizon flushed an intense pink and vibrant orange. The rest of the Kerry sky scintillated a whitish shade of purple. These colours uplifted my spirits and I felt my cheeks glow as I negotiated rocky ground that led to Ireland’s highest mountain. I arrived on Carrauntoohil’s summit just before 5a.m., with its cross and stone shelter silhouetted against the dawn sky. Out of my many ascents, this one was special: I stood on the summit and watched the mountains come alive. The rising sun over the Reeks blessed the Iveragh hills with a delicate dawn quality; melting away layers of clouds that wrapped the shadowed valleys below.


Paintbrush skies Of late, such are the moments I cherish in the mountains. These ‘magic’ or ‘golden’ hours at dawn and dusk when the sun starts to rise or sinks low in the sky is quintessential; the quality of its light nonpareil. Such are moments that I wish would last an eternity. But they do not: each moment is unique to the place, the season and the time. It will never repeat itself exactly always a different cocktail of ingredients of infinite variety. I have been lucky to have witnessed such moments of beauty in the Irish mountains during the making of my book From High Places. To me, the book has been a labour of love for the good part of the last decade of my life. The seeds of passion for our high places was not borne overnight, but planted in me over time from the day I decided to climb all 212 of our mountains over 2,000 feet while descending towards Hare Gap’s in the Mournes in 2002. I got there in the end in November 2006 on Croaghgorm in the Blue Stacks of Donegal, and was enjoying it so much that I went on to do the remaining ‘tops’ of the 600m Vandeleur-Lynam list, culminating in the ascent of the south

summit of Aghla Beg in August 2009, ironically also in Donegal. That was my own personal holy-grail, a ticklist of 268 peaks, achieved. I had quenched an obsession, satisfied my innate curiosity of ‘what lies beyond’ and the view of the world from thisor-that summit. Often during my ‘quest’, I wondered what was left to do or see in the Irish mountains once I climbed my final 600m peak. I was wrong: there is plenty. Over time I realised, the mountains are not all just about summits. It’s also about remote valleys, tranquil lakes, captivating ridges and savage crags. It’s about different routes to these wild places in which each excursion lends a unique experience or a new discovery. It’s about the appreciation of the history of each mountain area; its geology, fauna, flora and folklore combined. We are lucky in Ireland that we can also add the proximity of the sea to most of our mountains. With the delicate interplay of light and shadows amongst them, we are left with a truly fabulous arena of haunting beauty. Not just at sunrise and sunset, but of the paintbrush

skies that occur between cold fronts, typically after blustery showers of rain and hail. It is then when clouds sweep across the sky in belts, followed by clear sunny spells between showers that often create momentary dream-like images of ethereal grandeur. The beauty of sunrise, sunsets and paintbrush skies are one of the sheer delights of hill-walking that I wanted to share in From High Places, both in images and words. In a sense, such rare moments make familiar Irish mountain scenes look unfamiliar to the eye. Here are some such moments:

Adrian Hendroff's book From High Places (The History Press) is on sale nationwide from good booksellers. A full review will follow in our next issue.

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Sunrise, Sunsets and Paintbrush Skies

Slieve League, south Donegal

Out of all my ascents to this fine summit by the edge of the sea, one stands out above the rest. Late one February afternoon, having earlier climbed Slievetooey, a mountain range west of Ardara, I found myself ascending the flagstone path leading up to Slieve League from Amharc Mór. Lapping Atlantic waves beat against the cliffs thousands of feet below as I ascended toward Scregeighter, Crockrawer and negotiated the sharp crest of Keeringear. Later, moving on at a canter along the broad One Man’s Pass, I reached the trig pillar on the summit of Slieve League. And then the fun began: as the evening sun dipped westward below the horizon, I witnessed a dazzling display of colours on cliffs to the south-east, its rocks bathed in a warm vermillion glow and stained with purple-pink shadows. For photographers, this is an opportunity to work with the natural light. At sunset, as the sun dips to the west, shoot anything but west (in this example I pointed my camera south-east). Similarly, at sunrise, shoot away from the rising sun. If the sky is clear to the east, point the camera west. Better still, if there are wispy clouds to the west, these will pick up the colours of sunrise, resulting in an interesting composition.

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Urris Hills, Inishowen

There are exceptions for shooting into the sun. I once ushered in the darkness on the rough ridge-line of the Urris hills. The final hour of winter light was fast approaching as I negotiated ground high above Crunlough and Lough Fad and soon the sun was a glowing ball of bright-yellow above Lough Swilly. Its rays parted the waters of the Swilly as a royal-yellow carpet that rolled from distant Derryveagh peaks, with orange glints at the carpet’s edge sparkling like diamonds. I took my chance with this shot by shooting into the fiery ball of the sun. Fortunately for me, it turned out well. However, there is no harm in waiting for the sun to drop beneath the horizon. As it does, the potential of flare reduces and the upper atmosphere turns a blaze of purple and crimson hues. Some scale to the composition is also a good idea; in this example the person standing at the edge of the ridge provides just that.

Mangerton plateau, Iveragh Peninsula It is believed that somewhere on Mangerton’s heights a Bronze Age gold lunula, a crescent-shaped metal ornament, was found. This is reminiscent of the golden light that enveloped the mountainside as I topped out a gully from the depths of the Horses Glen late one spring. As I wandered toward the northern rim of the plateau, the ink-blue waters of The Devil’s Punch Bowl and the snake-like ridge above the Horses Glen caught the dying embers of the sun. There were no echoes of the monster that is said to be imprisoned

in the depths of the Punch Bowl, or lament of the butchered McCarthy’s and Normans of 1262, but only silence: a powerful and uplifting silence of the mountains in its eternal evening glow. Sometime later, from high on the plateau, I stood and watched the sky above the Reeks and Iveragh peaks in the distance come on fire, as the evening sun burst through a gap in the clouds, with the silent world at my feet. Indeed a heavenly vision - nature’s display of explosive light!

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Sunrise, Sunsets and Paintbrush Skies

Lough Belshade, Blue Stack Mountains, south Donegal

This image portrays Ireland’s mountain landscape at its wildest best. It is a classic display of ‘wild light’, a product of dense cloud coverage which filters and veils the sunlight, which endeavours to escape through layers of cloud. Here, the light was utterly absorbing as I descended toward Lough Belshade from the Blue Stack ridge over scores of snow-laced granite boulders and under the towering dark-grey buttresses of Binmore. The evening sun caught the cliffs on the back of the lake with striking intensity, lighting up its crags in a yellow fluoresce. The cliffs and all its dazzling colours were reflected off the wild ice-scratched basin of Belshade, itself cast in a purple-blue glint under rolling clouds. The landscape voiced a peculiar tone, as if a mystical vortex had opened up a time-warp into a Jurassic world.

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Knockanoughanish, Beara Peninsula This image was taken in late summer, weeks after I had submitted the manuscript for From High Places. It is an inspiring panorama seen from the modest summit of Knockanoughanish, ‘the hill of solitude’, with shafts of sunlight piercing through billowing clouds behind the silhouette of Knockatee and illuminating the waters of Kenmare River below. The dark outline of rolling Iveragh hills in the distance adds an element of mystery to the scene as clouds scud across the sky in the drifting light and shadows, a moving testament to the power of the unspoiled landscape: nature’s own living hieroglyph. I wasted no time in submitting this image for From High Places and am glad it made the book! In such moments, I am humbled by the power of the mountain landscape; I feel overwhelmed and in complete awe. My spirit quietens and I lose myself in the landscape, almost becoming part of it. The scene reminded me of what the late Irish poet, John O’Donohue wrote: The echoes take us To the heart of the mountains. When the silence closes, You say: Now that they Have called our names back The mountains can Never forget us.

Galtybeg, Galtee Mountains

One winter, I found myself on the Galtee ridge in southeast Ireland, its steeper northern ramparts streaked with snow like a zebra’s stripes, whereas its gentler southern slopes were virtually void of any. As I approached Galtymore from Galtybeg’s summit ridge, I witnessed the softest gleam of light bouncing off the snow amidst an overcast but charming winter sky. It was a spellbinding scene, a magical halfway house between this world and the next. The magic of reflected light in the mountains, it filled me with a warm embrace on that otherwise chilly winter evening.

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Sunrise, Sunsets and Paintbrush Skies

Paintbrush skies Here are two examples of striking clouds and paintbrush skies between cold fronts. Minutes before both images were taken I was soaked in an almighty outpouring of water from the heavens. The first image, taken early in the day from the flat expanse of windswept grass and wild heather of Reenconnell’s hillside above the town-land of Kilmalkedar in the Dingle Peninsula, showcases the entire sweep of the Brandon range on its gentler western side. The second image was taken late in the day from the summit of Knockpasheemore in the northern corner of the Twelve Bens in

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Connemara, with the Glen Inagh River seen twisting along the broad valley floor. South of this river, steep mountainside soar upward ominously, complete with buttresses and crags, ending on its upper ranges to form a rugged massif of roller-coaster rises and dips. It is a fascinating view, dominated by Bencorrbeg, the ‘peak of the little corrie’, and Binn an tSaighdiura, the ‘soldier’s peak’. In both examples, clear spells between showers was the opportunity I used for photography.

Cloonaghlin, Iveragh Peninsula

The final image is another powerful example of the intricate play of light and shadows at sundown. It was taken on a cold winter evening above Derriana Lough from the spur that rises north of Cloonaghlin, deep in the western end of the Iveragh Peninsula. Over the following days, I had spent two nights camped in sub-zero temperatures and freezing winter conditions amongst Old Red Sandstone mountains in one of the wildest parts of Kerry. A small price to pay then, to witness nature at its poetic best: another sunrise, more sunsets and several more paintbrush skies in the days ahead. It’s a hard life, but a fulfilling one. I leave you to ponder on the words of John Montague, and perhaps you, like me will endeavour to ‘chase the light’ in 2011 amongst the mountains in our great outdoors: A feel of warmth in this place. In winter air, a scent of harvest. No form of prayer is needed, When by sudden grace attended. Naturally, we fall from grace. Mere humans, we forget what light Led us, lonely, to this place.

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Maritime Alps Bergue Superieur, a 'village perchee' overlooking the Roya valley

Take it

Easy‌ Judy Armstrong follows an enlightened path from the Maritime Alps to the Mediterranean. Photos by Judy Armstrong

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have a new yoga teacher. His name is James and he speaks in a normal voice except when he’s deeply into the class. Then he puts on a weird, husky whisper and says, “BREATHE deeply! Take it EASY…” and he kind of stretches and relaxes at the same time. I like yoga. I like walking more, though. And in the middle of one class, as I was trying to breathe and take it easy, I realised it would be funky to do all that while on foot, in the mountains rather than in the yoga room that smells of dust and silence. I did some thinking. To breathe and relax and stretch and take it easy while you’re walking, you need to travel light. I don’t enjoy travelling in a herd, so for me, that meant walking independently, with someone else carrying my kit. To cut a long story short, I found the solution. There’s a small company in Britain called On Foot Holidays, who provide both guided and self-guided versions of some of the most wonderful walks in Europe. The one that appealed to me most was a week-long trek through the French Maritime Alps, from the door of the Mercantour national park near the Italian border, down to the Mediterranean. There were several reasons. This walk follows part of the old Route du Sel, the centuries-old route from the Mediterranean to Italy over which mules and men hauled precious salt. So there were snippets of history along the way to add interest to the scenery – which, itself, was a draw. From the verdant alps, through deep river gorges, to the sun-bleached vegetation of the southern coast, it was as varied as a technicolour dreamcoat. Simon and his team at On Foot were wonderful. As part of their selfguided pack, they included full maps, plus route notes so specific we could almost visualise each day without stepping into it. They recommended we fly to Nice, then take the train to our starting point at La Brigue. When I say ‘we’, I include my yoga friend Wendy. She calls it ‘a nice lie down on a Tuesday’ so I figured she was in for a shock when we had to walk rather than getting horizontal. Now, some budget airlines (no names…) are a nightmare, but we flew to Nice with Jet 2, and it couldn’t have been better. Prompt departure, friendly staff, allocated seats… I’m converted. Anyway, we landed in Nice, caught a bus into town and plonked into a restaurant seat by the bright, blue ocean. It was almost tempting to miss the train to L Brigue, but I’m glad we didn’t. The train ride, itself, was eye-watering. It climbed from sea level to 1000 metres within 36 miles, passing through more than 50 tunnels and over 30 bridges and viaducts. As it gained height, it squeezed through narrow valleys, performed a loop inside a mountain and emerged in the upper Roya valley. Here, in the clean, calm air of the Maritime Alps, was La Brigue. And waiting for us at the train station was Robert, our host for the next two nights. A psychology student turned social worker and truck driver, he now runs the little hotel Fleurs des Alpes with his wife Laurence, providing a social hub for La Brigue and a warm welcome for walkers.

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Maritime Alps


“To breathe and relax and stretch and take it easy while you’re walking, you need to travel light.” Place St Martin, with St Martin and one of the two Chapels of Penitents, La Brigue

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Brigue was fascinating. High houses crowd narrow alleys, linked by stone buttresses and split by corridors. It has sculpted lintels, arcades, water fountains and a ruined chateau. Across the square from Fleurs des Alpes is the imposing church of St Martin, flanked by twin Chapels of Penitents. A stroll through the town - French for less than 65 years - felt like an excursion to medieval Italy. Robert and Laurence enjoy looking after On Foot walkers. Apparently, because we are here for an adventure, we look for the best in a place. Wendy and I didn’t have to look far: sitting on the hotel’s terrace, watching fireflies zing and sparkle, drinking wine and eating Laurence’s superb food, seemed a fine way to start a hike. Next morning, in simmering heat, we set off south. Oh, I forgot to say: an obvious attraction of this route was that, starting in the mountains and finishing at sea level, we would inevitably climb less than we descended. This theory worked overall but on a micro-level we still had plenty of ascent to tackle. On our first day, after a relaxing march down the valley on a glorious footpath through woodland, we breathed and took it easy. This lasted right up to the climb that started at St Dalmas de Tende, when we breathed, sure enough, but left the ‘easy’ bit on the riverbank. But what a glorious day. We walked through stone villages straddling rock ridges, and hamlets tucked under cliffs. We skinnydipped in a crystal river under a stone arched bridge and ate Lawrence’s picnic on a hillside flush with lavender, thyme and sage. We nearly joined a party at Bergue Inferieur, but didn’t quite have the nerve, despite energetic encouragement from the local lads. At the end of the day, dusty after bouncing down a mountain’s worth of switchbacks, we caught the train from Fontan back to La Brigue. Robert was looking flustered: the village had decided to have an impromptu ‘get together’ for drinks at the hotel: despite sidestepping the festivities earlier, it looked like a party had come to us. Somehow, we managed to get up in the morning. Robert shuttled us back to Fontan and our bags down the valley to our next halt, while we headed up hill to Saorge. This extraordinary fortified town is pressed against a hillside and along a ridge dominated by a Franciscan monastery. We drank strong coffee and ate sticky cakes, before exploring the village along footpaths and ramps, through tunnels and up staircases. Eventually we tore ourselves away, dropping through olive groves to a glittering green river where families are swimming and sun-

bathing. They hadn’t seen the sky… clouds were building, and by the time we were halfway up the mountain on a cobbled mule path, the storm hit. We sheltered under trees and watched as torrential rain, lightening and thunder slashed the valley. The storm was set like grey cement so we eventually quit waiting and set off into the rain. Actually, it was fun: we were wet, but moving fast enough to keep warm, and it felt really free, somehow. So we zoomed up and across and down the hillside, above the churning river and under rocky cliffs; as was the case every day, we never met another walker. Near the town of Breil-sur-Roya, we saw our first casoun. Small buildings made of stone and lime, they have a rounded, vaulted roof without tiles or wooden frames and are unique to this region. Some have been concreted into holiday homes but most are left to crumble; they’re rather lovely. Breil-sur-Roya, on the other hand, isn’t a place of beauty. A strategic location at the crossroads of valleys and alongside the river, it was a major stop on the salt route. Today it hosts railway and road links, with all the noise and bustle that go with them. But in the pedestrian street of Rue Pasteur, we found pastel buildings, cobbled alleys and food shops for a gourmet picnic for the next day. Wow, and what a day. This was the highlight of the week: a climb away from town, around a terraced hillside, and up into a valley with red rocks, spiky bushes and feathery towers of wild dill. Eventually we dropped to a stream, where we whipped off boots and socks for a paddle. Dragonflies hovered, cicadas rasped and frogs squelched; it was paradise. The path hauled us back up the mountain to Piene Haute, a jigsaw of alleys with whitepainted houses, terracotta tiles and pots stuffed with roses and jasmine. We climbed to the church on a rock outcrop and peeped over the side. A big bird spiralling on a thermal nearly took my head off: it was a shorttoed snake eagle, a migrant from North Africa and one of several breeding pairs in this area. Below the village, after a march along a dusty track, we were stopped in our tracks by a large sign. It said: ITALY. We checked our route notes and realised that Italy sticks a long thumb into France just here and yes, we WERE crossing an international boundary. So, we spent a few minutes hopping to and fro across the imaginary line, chuckling to ourselves and thinking about our passports, deep in our luggage in Sospel. Ah, Sospel. We reached this pretty town

On the old Salt Road, below Granile

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Maritime Alps

View into the Bevera Gorge, from the old border stone

Footpath signposting was excellent throughout the Roya area

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after a fabulous walk along the Bévéra gorge, with more skinny-dipping and tightrope walking along ancient paths, and views that soared like the snake eagle. Still, we were happy to land at Villa Amiel, home to Mark, Patrick and their pedigree cats. Mark is an authority on Sospel and has written a book on its complex history for On Foot Holidays. Armed with this, we spent the evening exploring, culminating in an open-air performance of the opera Carmen on the steps of the cathedral. In the morning Patrick despatched us with a picnic lunch to feed a family. And we needed it: a brutal climb through woodland was followed by a tough descent and another climb to a ridge. But then, suddenly, the effort was forgotten: we could see the sea. The sea! It was almost a shock. Initially we thought it was just sky and horizon but after walking toward it for an hour we recognised Menton, our final destination, hazy in the heat. All afternoon we marched toward it, finally rounding a corner to find the view blocked by a great rock. On this rock was the village of

Sainte Agnes, our night’s stop. Like all of the picturesque ‘perched villages’ in this area, Sainte Agnes was a quirky place, with alleys, craft shops and restaurants. We climbed to the ruined chateau to admire the medieval herb garden and panorama of the Cote d’Azur; then, when the day visitors left, we chose a corner on a restaurant terrace. Our meal was served as the sun set, casting a pink glow over the hills and shadows over the coast. To reach Menton, it looked like we should just step off the mighty rock. But it was better than that, with a glorious hike down shady paths to the medieval village of Gorbio. We drank strong coffee in a square studded with sunflowers and decided not to go home, ever. After the coffee, we changed our minds, then marched over another hill and down a rollercoaster ridge. Now the views were 3D: west to the sprawl of Monaco, east to Italy and down to the old town of Roquebrune. Following a series of exquisite staircases, we dived between painted buildings to paved squares, and down to the sea. On Foot suggested taking the train from Roquebrune but we never considered it. The coastal path around Cap Martin was the per-

“A stroll through the town - French for less than 65 years - felt like an excursion to medieval Italy.” Breil sur Roya, an important halt on the Salt Route

River and stone arched bridge, below Saorge


Getting there: Judy Armstrong flew to Nice from Leeds Bradford airport, with Flights start from £29.99 per person one way, including all taxes. also flies to Nice from Manchester. Details from Ryanair ( flies from Dublin to Manchester and Leeds; Aer Lingus ( flies to Manchester. Walk organisation: On Foot Holidays specialise in selfguided walks for independent people. This seven-night Alpes-Maritimes walk is graded Medium and can be walked from April to October, with spring and autumn as the optimum seasons. Organisation and support before and during the trek are outstanding. Accommodation is pre-booked in small, personal hotels, and luggage is transferred for you. Details from On Foot Holidays,, tel +44 1722 322 652. fect way to wrap up an exceptional walk: to arrive at our destination by train would be to lose the essence of our journey. And so we walked, past priceless villas and sleek yachts, past pebble beaches and the crash of surf, all the way to Menton. By the time we reached our seafront hotel, just before the old port, we truly felt we’d arrived. The hotel, used to On Foot walkers arriving hot and tired, welcomed us with smiles and a room with a balcony five metres from the sea. We looked at our dusty boots, then at the gentle waves of the Mediterranean. I relaxed, Wendy stretched; we drank cold beer. Then we breathed deeply and took it easy. James would have been proud of us.

Maps: On Foot Holidays provides IGN 1:25,000 walking scale maps (3841 OT, 3742 OT), and colour copies of maps with the route marked, so no supplementary maps are necessary. They also provide comprehensive route notes, plus booklets on other walks in the AlpesMaritimes. For a broader area view, consider the Cicerone guidebook Walks & Treks In The Maritime Alps (

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The Walking There are countless good reasons to walk Ireland’s mountains. Here’s 20 of the best By Claire Graham


Hillwalking, it seems, is the new black, and with Ireland’s mountains amongst the most accessible and inspiring in the world, there is no better place to walk. Of the thousands enjoying the sport, many regard it as the best investment in time and energy they have ever made. If you’ve never taken to the hills and need convincing, or you do it just because you love it and want to know what it’s doing for you, here’s the lowdown on why your body and mind will thank you for joining Ireland’s fastest-growing leisure movement.



Hillwalking... Is Good For Your Heart It reduces

Builds Muscle In addition to burning

the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke – especially if it’s aerobic. Fit and active people have around half the risk of cardiovascular disease compared to unfit inactive people. Thirty minutes of walking per day is enough to produce significant heart health benefits, according to US journal The Physician and Sportsmedicine. In a large-scale study, women who walked briskly (defined as three to four mph pace) for at least three hours per week, had the same amount of protection against heart disease as women who exercise vigorously for an hour and a half a week – both groups were 30-40% less likely to develop heart disease than their sedentary counterparts.

fat and calories, walking builds muscles. Walking also boosts the strength and endurance of those muscles, which means you'll be able to do more with less fatigue. The muscle groups affected by walking include calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, buttocks (gluteals), abdominals and ankle extensors.

Lowers Blood Pressure It gets the heart pumping regularly and rhythmically so lowers blood pressure. Regular physical activity can help reduce

Lowers Cholesterol Walking can decrease cholesterol levels, a common cause of heart disease. More specifically, it increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL), considered to be the ‘good’ cholesterol, which helps move bad cholesterol from the artery walls.

Slows Ageing According to The US Dept of Health, regular participation in physical activity such as walking is associated with reduced mortality rates for both older and younger adults. Leading an inactive and unhealthy lifestyle accelerates the aging process. Research shows that what was once accepted as a natural part of growing older - a decline in physical activity and strength - does not have to accompany ageing. In 2001 an article in the American Journal of Public Health identified a relationship between reduced mortality risk and moderate recreational activity. A study of two groups of middleaged men over 23 years found that nonexercisers lost 41 percent of their aerobic power, while the exercisers only lost 13 percent.

Frees the mind You’re outside, in the fresh air, away from the TV, the phone,

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the computer...Walking’s greatest health benefits may be beyond the merely physical; many walkers seek ‘spiritual’ well-being as much as physical health and fitness. Walking causes the release of brain chemicals called endorphins, which are natural tranquilisers. Exercise also releases adrenaline, which is produced by the body to cope with danger. If the adrenaline isn’t released from the body, it accumulates, causing muscle tension and feelings of anxiety. A recent study tested 36 walkers for anxiety, tension and blood pressure levels before, during, and after 40 minutes of walking. The subjects showed immediate decreases in tension and anxiety, as well as in blood pressure, after walking, regardless of how fast or slow the participants walked.

Increases Flexibiity and Co-ordination It helps with flexibility and co-ordination and so reduces the risk of falls in older people. Because walking depends on the interaction of head, arms, body and legs, it promotes flexibility, which demands a full range of movement in your joints and muscles. Flexibility is increased by taking the joints through their full range of motion. Walking automatically works the muscles and your legs and feet, and if you use your arms as

you walk, you’ll improve the flexibility of your upper body.

Strengthens bones Regular walking can help prevent osteoporosis, a bone disease which affects mostly, but not exclusively older women who lack sufficient amounts of calcium. This deficiency reduces bone density, increases the bone’s porosity and brittleness, leading to a susceptibility to broken bones. Walking helps reverse the negative effects of osteoporosis by increasing the bone density and slowing the rate of calcium loss, thus strengthening the bones and decreasing their susceptibility to break. Hill walking is particularly beneficial because off-road surfaces are kinder to bones and joints than asphalt and concrete.

Can reduce the risk of cancer There is growing evidence that walking can lower the risk of certain cancers. A study published in the Epidemiology journal found that those who took up exercise after the menopause had a 30% lower risk of developing breast cancer, while those who had been active throughout their lives had a 42% lower risk than sedentary women. Meanwhile, a large study carried out in Scandinavia found that recreational activity. A 2008 study conducted by Washington University School of Medicine also confirmed that physical activity reduces colon cancer risk. While just an hour of walking a week seemed to protect against the disease, the more strenuously women exercised, the lower their

risk, the study found. Women who walked for 1 to 1.9 hours each week were 31 percent less likely to develop colon cancer than those who didn’t walk at all, the researchers found. And women who exercised at moderate or vigorous intensity for more than 4 hours weekly were at 44 percent lower risk of colon cancer than those who exercised for less than an hour a week.

Feels Good! Whether it’s the sense of freedom that comes from exploring the outdoors under your own steam, the sense of achievement that follows a challenging walk, the pleasure of a well-earned lunch on an open hillside or the sheer majesty of the landscape below, there are few activities as rewarding as hillwalking.

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moderately depressed. In those who are severely depressed, exercise appears to be a useful addition to professional treatment. Walking can promote feelings of pleasure and well-being and can help relieve depression by encouraging the production of endorphins. And unlike some more strenuous exercises, walking feels good while you’re doing it, not just when you stop.

Builds Relationships The social opportunities offered by hillwalking make it healthy for relationships, offering relaxation, social contact and conversation, if you want it! Helps You Sleep Better Walking can combat insomnia and other sleep disorders by relaxing muscles, lessening symptoms of depression and anxiety, and reducing stress.

Boosts Immunity There’s plenty of evidence that moderate exercise boosts the body’s ability to fight bacterial and virus infections by increasing the body’s natural defences. One study divided 50 people into two groups – one which walked briskly for 45 minutes a day, five days a week, and the other that did not exercise. The walkers experienced only half as many colds as the control group.

Fights Diabetes Regular exe rcise helps regulate blood glucose so reduces the risk of non-insulin dependant diabetes. It can help to control body weight as it burns calories - The intensity of walking for fitness and weight-loss varies according to the age and fitness of the individual, but generally, ‘brisk is best’. Relieves Arthritis Although arthritis pain understandably leads many sufferers to reduce their levels of activity, reduced movement can actually exacerbate the problem. Most people with arthritis can benefit from regular exercise, and research indicates that walking may be the best exercise, as it helps strengthen muscles, especially in the legs. People with arthritis in their knees or ankles benefit from strengthened leg muscles, because they can relieve the pain caused when bones rub against each other. In addition, the natural tranquilising effect of walking can reduce arthritic pain.

Reduces Back Pain Lower back pain is one of the most common health complaints, and can seriously compromise quality of life. Regular walking combats the most common forms of muscular back pain, and even some disc-related forms - especially those which are worsened by long periods of inactivity such as sitting at desks. Talk to your doctor about it! Helps You Give Up! Thousands of

and away from shops, you’re taking yourself away from ‘the scene of the crime’ if habitual unhealthy eating is part of your problem. Plus, the motivation of being able to walk further, faster can be a powerful ally to struggling willpower.

Helps Weight Control It’s a complex subject, and exercise alone is rarely the whole answer, but like all regular vigorous activity, hillwalking burns carbohydrate and fat. It can also raise your metabolic rate, so that even when you’re not walking, you’re still burning more fuel. And by getting out of the house

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Eases Depression Walking has been shown to relieve the symptoms of A study on the effects of exercise on mental health concluded that long-term exercise reduces depression in people who are

people have found that exercise helps to ease the pangs of addiction that make giving up smoking so tough. Whether it’s because walking takes you out of your usual environment or perhaps because it gives your lungs something else to occupy them, it could work for you when all else has failed!

Broadens the Mind Because it’s the only way to experience much of Ireland’s most beautiful scenery, hillwalking literally opens up new vistas. And by challenging yourself physically in a way you may never have done before, you may just discover a new you at the same time. It doesn’t stop there either - many hillwalkers have found that the overseas travel possibilities offered by walking have added new perspectives to old holiday favourites.

Look Who’s Walking... Meadhbh, who has just turned 30, came to hillwalking after taking part in a charity walk to Machu Pichu five years ago. Since then walking - and charity treks have become her passion. Her most ambitious walk to date has been Kilimanjaro and closer to home she’s done a 30 hour 100km walk for Oxfam. Why Walk? For Meadhbh walking is as much about the mental health benefits as the physical. She doesn’t get the same feeling of wellbeing from the gym. “Gyms can be very image-focussed and can sometimes feel like a room full of the stresses and strains that people are desperately trying to burn off. Walking in the outdoors is a far different experience and it’s almost impossible to feel stressed out after a good long walk.” She’s happy to walk anywhere, but loves warm weather – she recommends The Cinque Terre in Italy and gorge walking in Crete.

Sean, who’s 52, is just back from walking in the Pyrenees with his brother-in-law. He took up hillwalking as a teenager because he “didn’t enjoy contact sports.”. The walking bug has stayed with him. He’s now a secondary school teacher and leads groups of younger teenagers on organised walks. Why walk? Mainly because it makes him feel good, mentally and physically. He enjoys taking his pupils on treks and is always amazed at how much they benefit from it. For many it’s their first time walking in what Sean calls ‘the wilderness’ and it can be a major experience for them. Many don’t realise how unfit they are until they try a hillwalk – it can be a bit of a rude awakening according to Sean and it often spurs them on to take up exercise in general. While hillwalking isn’t overtly competitive, Sean

reckons it does encourage healthy rivalry between group members – no one wants to get left behind, unable to keep up. Plus the social aspect is huge – pupils communicate between themselves differently when they’re out of the classroom and certainly end up with more respect and time for Sean as a teacher by day’s end. His walks have even influenced the career choices of several of his past pupils – they’re now pursuing their passion as instructors in Outdoor Activity Centres. Sean feels great that he triggered their interest.

Brenda and Jim are in their late 60s. They joined a walking group when they ‘downsized’ from city to country, as a way of getting to know new people. That was 10 years ago and since then they’ve travelled extensively on hillwalking holidays. Jim has a heart condition which walking (with his doctor’s approval) helps with. Their best (walking) friends are chefs who walk to ‘de-stress’. They feed Brenda and Jim en route! Why walk? Brenda loves it because you get a different perspective on a place than you would in a car. It forces you to slow down and take stock. Jim literally sees walking as a lifesaver and loves it because, despite his heart problems, he can still do it. He’s certain it has helped in his recovery from cardiac surgery, keeping him active and stopping him putting on excess weight. Best of all, it takes his mind off his physical problems.

gives them a chance to reconnect, to get away on their own. They get to have an uninterrupted conversation – if they feel like it! Or they like to just be... They usually combine a walk with an overnight stay in a nice hotel or B&B and dinner out.

Claire took up ‘therapeutic’ hillwalking at 45, while in treatment for cancer a few years ago and developed a taste for it. She used to be the classic ‘gym joiner’, but didn’t enjoy it so always gave up after a couple of sessions. Now she tries to get a short walk most days and something a little more challenging at the weekends. She has been away on various walking holidays including to The Cinque Terre and Piedmont in Italy, plus countless hills and mountains around Ireland. Why walk? She wouldn’t class herself as super-fit, likes going at her own pace enjoying the scenery, the company and the feeling of achievement afterwards. She never saw herself as a physical person capable of much exercise, but hillwalking has given her a new confidence in her body, especially after the rigors of cancer treatment. She’s less afraid of exercise now and trusts her body more as a result of taking up hillwalking. She’s also in no doubt that it helped in her recovery. If all else failed she went for a walk!

Maire and Joe are in their forties and parents of 3 children between 10 and 16. They have always enjoyed walking but don’t get the opportunity to do it together as much as they used to. Why walk? Apart from all the aforementioned benefits, hillwalking

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A Strange Kind of Warming Climate change or global warming? It’s not just a question of semantics, says Dick Warner


t’s a simple and obvious question unfortunately the answer is complicated and cryptic. The problem is partly semantic. Global warming should really be called climate change. But under George W Bush the US administration was hijacked by climate change deniers. They were led by powerful lobbyists from Big Oil who had funded Bush’s campaign. They latched on to the phrase ‘climate change’ because it suited their thesis that the changes were due to natural causes rather than man-made effects on the atmosphere. The ‘good guys’ who believed the hard scientific evidence that burning fossil fuels and the subsequent greenhouse effect was changing our climate were then forced to abandon the more accurate phrase in favour of ‘global warming’, This is not to say that the phrase ‘global warming’ is inaccurate. Despite the fact that Ireland has just experienced two very cold winters in a row, the globe is getting warmer. It’s just that climate is such a complicated subject that when the globe warms up parts of it will get colder for part of the time. The most powerful computers that human beings have ever built are running programmes to try and sort all this

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out. They are a long way from coming up with definitive answers. There are two main theories that attempt to explain why global warming might lead to colder winters in Ireland. The first is based on ocean currents and the second is based on winds. There are also some scientists who put all the blame on sun-spot activity, but I believe they are running a poor third to the terrestrial theorists. At its simplest, the ocean current theory is quite easy to understand. The greenhouse effect is causing the north polar ice cap to melt. There is plenty of evidence from satellite imagery, iceberg patrols and other data to back this up. All the melt water is cooling down the north Atlantic and affecting the power and direction of ocean currents. These currents have a vital effect on the temperature of the coasts and islands around the ocean and Ireland is obviously in the front line where this is concerned. The atmospheric explanation is both a bit more complicated and a bit more credible. It’s complicated because it has to do with stratospheric winds, the so-called jet-stream, as well as the winds we experience at ground level. The two are often quite different in both speed and direction. But it’s credible

because the freezing conditions we experienced this winter and last winter had to do with masses of very cold air flowing down from the Arctic and causing frost and snow for weeks at a time. The changes in wind direction at ground level were mirrored by changes in the track of the jet stream . What makes the whole thing so fiendishly complicated is that the two theories do not exist in isolation from each other. Ocean currents and ocean temperatures affect wind speed and direction and, to a lesser extent, the opposite is also true. Who’d want to be a meteorologist? But the question everyone wants the answer to is whether icy winters are going to become the norm or are they just a flash in the pan? Should I invest in an ice-axe and crampons for my winter walks in the Wicklow mountains or will everything revert to normal? You won’t get an answer to this from the meteorologists and the climate experts - they are the most conservative people in the world when it comes to foretelling the future. I’ll be a little braver. On my reading of the evidence I believe that global warming will result in very cold winters in Ireland for some years to come.


BREATHABLE and FOR If you’re up for an outdoor adventure, you’ll need clothing that can protect you from the elements. Isotex. Let the weather do its worst.



Look out for us in all good outdoor and camping shops or visit

1542_WWI_waterproof&ready_A4.indd 1

10/12/2010 14:30

Gear Waterproofs? Don’t Sweat It….. Staying dry is the easy part, says Andy Callan


nce upon a time, before things got complicated, waterproofs were only that – waterproof and nothing else. You avoided putting them on for as long as possible, because as you flogged your way uphill the condensation inevitably built up inside and you began to overheat. Neither had anywhere to escape to, so you began to stew in your own juice like a boil-in-the-bag meal. Then along came W.L. Gore with his fabric developed for astronauts and things started to change. Yes, these first-generation breathables were bug-ridden – an inability to handle our dirty, sweaty, whiney, money-back bodies was an obvious flaw, but things have moved on to the point where even first-time novices now begin hillwalking with some form of breathable rainwear. Firstly let’s debunk the biggest breathable myth; these fabrics can’t stop you from sweating, which is the body’s natural reaction to exertion, intended to cool the body. The layering system that we talk about is meant to progressively move the sweat (moisture) away from the skin, keeping you dry(ish!) and comfortable. This can only happen if you use wicking fabrics; any cotton-based garment will simply hold the sweat and render all your high-tech clothing useless. Obviously this process is impeded by things like rucksacks which will cause large damp patches – not the fabric’s fault at all. Next up – these fabrics don’t ‘breathe’. They transfer body moisture between their surfaces by means of pressure gradient. As you exercise, temperature and humidity build inside the jacket, driving the moisture through the fabric’s pores to the cooler outside surface where it evaporates. This evaporation is affected by various things, such as how clean the garment is, (always follow the care label), or if the outer face is soaking wet. The major factor which affects moisture transmission is HUMIDITY. If it’s warm and humid outside the jacket, this reduces the pressure gradient and the force which drives vapour to the outside. Moisture then starts to gather in the wicking layers and you feel damp or wet if the sweat can’t be moved fast enough. When this happens you need to stop, ventilate and drop

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a layer. So what makes a breathable fabric waterproof? Well, that depends on what you actually consider waterproof. It’s possible to make a fabric with a weave tight enough to keep water out in all but the worst conditions; this can be improved by using chemical water repellents, so you can also reproof it when required. This is how garments such as Paramo, Furtech and Buffalo work, and because they’re simple and easy to care for, they can be recommended, their only drawback being they’re warmer and heavier than equivalent garments from other manufacturers. Truly breathable fabrics use either hydrophilic (water-loving) or microporous materials, either as a coating (i.e. Triplepoint) or a laminated film (i.e. Scantex). Bi-component materials are a combination of both (i.e. Gore-Tex). An explanation of how these fabrics work would fill the magazine, bore you to tears and leave you none the wiser. And where manufacturer’s performance claims are concerned, Disraeli’s dismissive ”Lies, damn lies and statistics” comes to mind. What do they all mean? Not much, since most figures quoted by manufacturers are the results of different tests and obviously enough each will quote the figures that show their fabric in the best possible light. But here’s my ‘Noddy’s Guide’ to the most common tests used.


Moisture Vapour Transformation Rate measures how quickly the fabric moves moisture from the inner to outer surface – can be tested by different methods which obviously gives different results.

Hydrostatic Head

Imagine a column of water measured in millimetres sitting on top of a swatch of fabric. The figure given is the largest amount of water the fabric will withstand. This gives a good measurement of waterproofing in a static situation such as sitting on a wet surface.



A test developed by the Hohenstein Institute, a proving ground used by many of the big names in the fabric industry, the fabric is placed above a porous metal plate, this is then heated and water is channelled into it to simulate perspiration. The plate is kept at a constant temperature; as water vapour passes through both plate and fabric, it causes Evaporative Heat Loss and more energy is needed to keep the plate at the same temperature. RET is the measurement of the resistance to evaporative heat loss. The lower the RET value, the less resistance to moisture transfer and the higher the fabrics breathability. Sounds good so far, but Hohenstein also added a ‘real time’ side to their test by getting people to wear clothing with varying RET values and then work out on a treadmill. They gathered their comments, matched these to the RET values of the fabrics and came up with the Comfort Rating System below.

Range 0-6 6-13 13-20 20-30 30+


Very good or extremely breathable. Comfortable at high activity rates. Good or breathable. Comfortable at moderate activity rates. Satisfactory or breathable. Uncomfortable at high activity rate. Unsatisfactory/slightly breathable. Moderate comfort at low activity rate. Unsatisfactory/not breathable. Uncomfortable and short tolerance time.

Testers couldn’t notice differences between garments made with different fabrics within these ranges, so one made of a 13 RET fabric felt no different to another made of a 19 RET fabric. As such, this seems the best measure of breathability and it’s the one you should pay most heed to when checking out your next jacket. Have a look at the figures for a range of breathable fabrics at the following web address, ; it makes very interesting reading……

Jacket Features

Once you’ve made a decision regarding your preferred fabric it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of what you need in your jacket. Here’s a quick guide to what to look for. Hood: A proper mountain hood is essential; make sure it completely covers your head and can be closed over your throat and chin. If it’s oversized this won’t be a problem – that’s what the volume adjuster at the rear of the hood is for! My preference is to go for a hood that fits over a helmet if possible, not just from a mountaineering viewpoint - it also allows you use it for cycling etc. Pockets: It goes without saying that pockets which are obscured by your sack’s hipbelt are at the very least annoying, so look for a minimum of 2 map-compatible pockets placed clear of this area. Inside pockets are handy for keeping gloves etc. dry and close to hand. Get into the habit of keeping car keys in the same place, whether in your rucksack or jacket; it saves loads of confusion and stress at the end of a long day. Cut: Your jacket should be big enough to accommodate an extra layer underneath without being too baggy. In winter I always carry some form of insulated clothing (usually Primaloft); this can be pulled on over my waterproof if stopped for any length of time, saving the hassle and inevitable heat loss involved in removing the hard shell to put on an extra layer beneath. The jacket must also be long enough to reach the top of the thighs at very least. Sleeves: These must allow for plenty of movement including reaching overhead, cuffs should be adjustable for ventilation or waterproofing depending on conditions. Venting: At its simplest this can be just a matter of opening the main zip. But in inclement weather underarm ‘pit zips’ let heat escape without letting in too much rain or snow. Some jackets use mesh pockets to achieve the same result; this works well, but might allow water in at the vulnerable chest area.

Jacket Tests Rab Latok 340/£275


Designed with winter mountaineering in mind Rab’s Latok jacket is slightly shorter than some of the others tested so it won’t bunch up under a harness, but still long enough to cover your bum. It has 4 chest mounted external pockets and another 2 internal ones, these are ideal for stashing gloves or smaller items such as a mobile phone. The 4 outside pockets all have water resistant zips and are placed in the optimum position for access. None of these pockets are mesh lined so despite the fact that their zips don’t have storm flaps any water that does seep in through the zippers can’t get through to your inner layers. The pockets are all big enough to hold maps or guide books and the 2 “napoleon” pockets also house the waist drawcords. This is a clever idea which keeps the Latok’s front flat and neat so it doesn’t obscure your view of either what’s on your harness or more importantly, your feet! Made from 3-layer eVent fabric the Latok is both extremely waterproof and breathable, on top of which it’s also durable enough to take all the abuse that winter mountaineering entails. Why am I so sure? I’ve owned one of these for 2 years; a friend has his for the same length of time and both of us swear by these jackets. Yet another friend – a renowned cheapskate – went looking for one online but couldn’t find one so he ended up with the Latok Alpine jacket instead. This is made from the same fabric but a lighter jacket with only 2 outer pockets. Getting back to the Latok, some may quibble about its weight (648g men’s L) or slightly shorter cut, but they don’t understand what it’s aimed at. In focussing on the needs of the winter climber Rab have developed a brilliant jacket that really does it all, right across the broad mountaineering spectrum and now available in a women’s model.

Rab Drilium 200/£175

Made from the same 3-layer Event fabric as its big brother the Latok, Rab’s Drilium is more of a multi-activity jacket weighing 375g for a men’s Large. A decent wire peaked and volume adjusting hood rolls away neatly into the collar but unlike some of the jackets tested it’s otherwise permanently attached so there are no weak spots. The Drilium has 2 map sized chest pockets with another smaller zipped pocket inside. All the Drilium’s zips are water resistant but have no external stormflap. This is common across the Rab range, they’ve obviously decided that easy access is more important than enhanced waterproofing and I agree with their approach, especially where “solid” rather than mesh-lined pockets are concerned. The eVent fabric is fairly bombproof and in my opinion probably the best available in terms of combining performance, user comfort and more importantly price! In summary, Rab’s Drilium jacket is an excellent option for somebody who doesn’t need the weight penalty that goes with a heavy” winter-ready” jacket but still wants a performance fabric and all the right features.

Berghaus Mera Peak 330/£240

Those of us who’ve been around “a while” will recognise the name Mera Peak which was originally a 2-layer version of Berghaus’ Trango Extreme, a benchmark 3 layer Gore-tex mountaineering jacket from the nineties. Well the Mera Peak has returned, now the fabric is Performance Shell (previously known as XCR). Other features include 4 external pockets (2 chest, 2 hem), roll-away hood and pit zips for venting. It weighs 752g (men’s L) which is a bit of a drawback, probably due to the mesh liner common to all 2-layer garments. The hood is good, it can be worn over a helmet but its peak is stiffened rather than wired and the roll-away arrangement is a bit of a faff. Moving on to the pockets, both the “Napoleon” chest pockets are well placed but a bit tight for a folded map, the lower ones are just about out of the hipbelt line and are only for hand warming due to their vertical zips. The original Mera Peak had a fully waterproof double stormflap over the main zip; this has been replaced with a newfangled water resistant zip and an internal flap, a neater but not as weatherproof combo. In summary the Mera Peak is a decent jacket with plenty of good features, but it’s relatively expensive for a 2-layer model.

Berghaus Cornice IA 215/£160

Also available in a women’s version the Glissade, this is another 2-layer Goretex performance shell jacket but in a longer, walking style. As usual with 2-layer garments it has a mesh liner, this makes the Cornice more comfy but also adds some weight (730g, men’s L). The hood is reasonable, with a large slightly stiffened peak which can be rolled into the collar. It doesn’t move well with your head however and the chin guards tend to flap about if not secured properly. These faults are directly due to its roll-away design, something I’ve never really seen the need for it in the first place. This is a real shame because the Cornice is a classic design for hillwalking, its mid-thigh length means the 2 lower pockets stay hipbelt free and there’s a massive mappocket under the stormflap at chest level. The newer Gore Pro Shell fabric would provide better performance than the Performance Shell used here but I think the Cornice’s price makes that a moot point, given it’s aimed at hillwalkers rather than mountaineers. By the way the IA in its name refers to the Cornices Inter Active zip, allowing you to use any compatibly zipped fleece as a liner in cold weather – handy for walking the dog but not great in the hills since it leaves a cold spot down your front. Apart from my concerns re its hood the Cornice/Glissade is a solid hillwalkers jacket and well worth it at this price.

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Craghoppers Kiwi


Made from Gore-Tex 2-layer Performance Shell fabric, Craghoppers Kiwi jacket has a slightly longer (mid-thigh) cut than most of those tested. The Kiwi is primarily aimed at low level walkers who would stick to the valleys, taking in the odd hill now and then. Indeed if it weren’t for the subdued Gore-tex branding you could easily confuse it with a plethora of “everyday” jackets. It has a roll-away hood, 2 hip and one map pocket. The hood is fairly good with a wired peak and unlike some others tested, the chin guards are easily secured when not required. Again the longer cut means the 2 lower pockets aren’t restricted by a hipbelt, these pockets have microfleece linings so they’re a bit cosier too. This jacket is quite a loose fit so luckily Crags have added a waist drawcord to help control some of the excess fabric, which goes some way to explaining why it weighs a hefty 772g (men’s L). Again price is the Kiwis major plus point given that it’s a Gore-tex fabric, so it’s great value provided you’re not looking for an uber-technical jacket. I should also mention that the same is available in Craghoppers Aquadry fabric which is substantially cheaper but with a bit less performance.

Sprayway Nyx 240/£170

Weighing in at a lightweight 576g (men’s L) Sprayway’s Nyx is a short-cut 2 layer Gore-tex performance shell jacket. Its hood has a wired peak and folds away neatly and quickly if desired, not something that can be said of many of the tuck-away designs tested. This hood is very good at its real job too; it provides plenty of protection and moves as you turn your head. The Nyx has 2 large waist level pockets and a similar inner pocket. These waist pockets will easily accommodate an OS map but are obscured by a hipbelt, you can still get your hands in but it’s a real nuisance. This is also quite a short jacket which makes it less than ideal for hillwalking purposes. Both of these points detract from its excellent hood and decent price.

A very traditional jacket in appearance due to its canvas-like outer fabric, Sprayway’s Kenmore is again made from 2-layer Gore performance shell. The first thing you’ll notice when you put on the Kenmore is its weight, a hefty 952g (men’s L). Added to this is its bulk, it takes up a fair bit of space in a rucksack so this is obviously not aimed at hillwalkers but would excel as a dog walkers jacket. The zip-off hood is reasonable and it has 4 pockets – 2 waist, 1 map and 1 inner. Because of its length the outer pockets are well clear of the hipbelt zone. Overall, the Kenmore jacket is built to last but best suited to more sedentary pursuits.


Sprayway Kenmore 190/£130

Golite Tumalo 125/£125

Described by Golite as “our lightest waterproof/breathable shell combines pack ability and fit with a durable 100% nylon face”, the Tumalo weighs a mere 288g (men’s L) and it’s made of Pertex Shield, a very breathable and waterproof fabric. You can scrunch it down into a very small ball that’ll fit neatly into either of its pockets. However these pockets are placed right in the hipbelt zone, which is annoying to say the least. Another gripe is the very basic hood; it’s a bit on the small side and doesn’t have any stiffening in the peak. Being so light, I’d have thought Golite might have tried to market the Tumalo as an Alpine shell, something that the poor hood and pockets firmly exclude.

Golite Badlands Trinity 200/£160

Made from Golite’s own 100% recycled Trinity fabric which has excellent test results for both breathability and waterproofing, the Badlands has 2 large hip pockets and 1 small chest pocket. It also has 2 long pit zips, these come up towards the chest area which makes them very easy to open/close and also helps you remember whether you’ve inadvertently left them open! The Trinity fabric is impressive with good performance figures and it also stretches for improved movement. I have a few gripes though, the pockets are in the wrong place vis–a-vis hipbelts and the hood has no wired peak (a common fault in American designs), both of which detract from an otherwise excellent jacket.

Mammut Adrenaline 450/£380 A super-tough mountaineering jacket made from 3-layer Gore Pro shell, the Adrenaline sports rubberised patches at the shoulders where most wear occurs. Thankfully the 2 main chest pockets are well out of the way of hipbelts and harnesses plus there are another 2 stash pockets and a zipped pocket inside. The main pockets are mesh lined; this is good for venting but might let some water in if you’re not careful enough. A helmet friendly hood can be easily cinched down and it moves with you as you turn your head. The main zip is of the waterresistant type and has small inner flap rather than a true stormflap but I didn’t find this a problem. The underarm pit zips have nice positive zip pullers, a good idea since these can be awkward to reach when wearing a rucksack. These features all combine to make the Adrenaline a top notch mountaineering jacket, expensive but well designed and hard wearing.

Mammut Kiruna 266/£225

Slightly longer in the body which is always a good start for a walker’s jacket, Mammut’s Kiruna is a 2-layer Gore Performance Shell jacket with masses of pockets 6 in total – 2 hip, 1 outer chest, 1 inner chest and 2 inner “stash” pockets. The hood is good but needs a wired peak and the left side hood drawcord finishes up under the main zip’s flap – exactly why escapes me. There is a volume adjuster tab on the back of the hood; this appears to be an afterthought as it does nothing and you adjust the hood’s volume via the aforementioned chin drawcords. The Kiruna is quite heavy at 772g for a man’s large size and the lower pockets lie right under a hipbelt which makes it less than ideal as a hillwalkers jacket.

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s 2 hip, a wired hy e an ed r



Lowe Alpine Flash ?250/£200

Having decided to return to Triplepoint Dynamic as their fabric of choice for their top jackets back in 2009, Lowe Alpine were on a safe bet since Triple point always had a loyal following. Many users reckoned it actually performed better than some of the other more expensive fabrics, especially in our typically wet conditions. The Flash is a technical mountaineering model, hence its short length and 2 large chest pockets. Lowe Alpine have always been good on hood design and this no exception, it moves with your head and is helmet compatible, it can also be rolled away when not needed. Unusually the main zip isn’t a water resistant type, traditionalists will be glad to see a double stormflap and this also applies to the pockets. Like I said the chest pockets are always easily accessible and they’re mesh lined for better ventilation, this may let some water in unlike other “solid” pockets. Lowe Alpine have taken to placing their pit zips on the back of the upper arm, it makes them easier to open but also easier to forget too! The Flash is a bit shorter than some other jackets tested so you may need to wear over trousers more often but that’s the only niggle I can find. Otherwise it’s a solid technical jacket which would be suited to most mountain activities and its brilliant value.

Outdoor Research Rampart 85/£65.00 Made from their own Barrier fabric, the Outdoor Research Rampart is a no fuss minimalist design. When they say minimalist take them at their word, 2 hand pockets, waist-to-armpit pit zips and 1 small chest pocket and that’s your lot. The Barrier fabric scores well for waterproofing but it’s not great as regards breathability so the pit zips were used frequently. Again the hood is fairly basic but has no wired peak; it also has an air vent at the top which is unique to say the least. Having said all that the Rampart weighs only 380g (men’s L) and the price is ridiculous, once you’re not expecting too much as regards performance.

Outdoor Research Foray 190/£145


This jacket uses Gore-Tex Paclite, the lightest of Gore’s fabrics, weighing only 574g for a men’s L. I have to say I’m not a Paclite fan, yes it’s light but it does show condensation on the inside face because it hasn’t got a scrim layer. Carrying a Paclite garment is always a bit of a dilemma - I’m always left thinking that I’ve got to carry it but hope to God I won’t have to wear it. Anyway back to the Foray, it has 2 large front pockets, a chest pocket and 2 inner pockets. The main pockets are hipbelt friendly and will take an OS map, while the front zip is water resistant with an inner flap. An unusual feature of the Foray is its full-length pit zips extending from waist to armpit, a great idea considering my earlier remarks re Paclite. The hood is well designed but really needs a proper wired peak. This flaw seems endemic to all US designs, when I enquired I was told that it’s due to their fondness for baseball caps…. If you can get over this glitch and reckon the weight advantage outweighs (no pun intended!) the breathability question then the Foray could be the jacket for you.

Regatta Descend II/Adrianna 100/£90

Again made from an own-brand breathable fabric Regattas Descend II (ladies is Adrianna) scores well on the breathable/waterproof tests with its Isotex 10,000 fabric rated very breathable and very waterproof. It has a long list of features – pit zips, 5 pockets, 2 large chest, 2 inner, 1 map and a removable roll-away hood. There’s also a ski-pass type pocket on the left arm and the Descend is lined throughout. This lining does impose a weight penalty though; the Descend weighs 708g (size L). Last time I reviewed a Regatta waterproof I commented on the silly map pocket placed low on the right hand side underneath the one-way main zip. Guess what? It’s the same here, makes you wonder what the designer was thinking. On top of that the hood doesn’t move well with the head and it has no wire stiffener. This is a shame because it mars what could be a good jacket for those on a tight budget.

Regatta Lilyanna 65/£60

Made with a lighter weight version of their Isotex fabric the Lilyanna is cut slightly longer to cover “vital areas”. Again it has a good list of features – 2 lower pockets, 1 zipped chest pocket, pit zips and most importantly the fabric has stretchy panels for improved movement and fit. The hood is similar to that of the Descend 11/Adrianna so the same comments apply but here the pockets also lie under the hipbelt zone. This firmly places the Lilyanna in the casual jacket category and best suited to low-level walks.

Target Dry Pioneer 99/£85

Famous for their Mac-in-a-sac line of cheap and cheerful waterproofs, Target Dry have made steady inroads into developing more technical waterproofs but with a constant eye on the price point. The pioneer is part of their extreme series, a classic length walker’s jacket with 2 large chest pockets, 1 inner pocket and volume adjustable hood. The fabric is rated as waterproof and breathable, slightly less than most of the others tested but still sufficient for most conditions. I especially liked the chest pockets Microfibre lining, really comfy and warm on cold days. These pockets are very long, extending downwards below the waist drawcord and straying into the hipbelt zone, but you can still access the upper parts easily. At this price you expect some faults; none of the drawcords can be adjusted with one hand and the hood needs a wired peak, small things that could be easily corrected. Another good idea would be to investigate some way of reducing its weight, maybe by changing the liner? Having said that the Pioneer ticks most of the boxes for a walker’s jacket and would make an ideal first buy for someone taking up walking or for those on a tight budget. Prices are for guidance only

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Mike Banks

This article originally appeared in WWI 47 and is re-published in memory of the late Joss Lynam


B Lynam

Prophet of the Outdoors By Declan O’Keeffe A man of many parts, who continues to give of himself unselfishly, Joss Lynam is a living legend of the Irish outdoors world 70 WWI 100

Joss in the Vanoise Alps, 1947

n the wall of his office at home in Clonskeagh, Dublin, there is a caricature of Joss Lynam with several hats on his head and a few more on the floor. It bears the legend "Joss on a quiet day." It is an understatement. Undoubtedly the best-known personality in Irish mountaineering, Joss has in a long career embraced all aspects of the sport, from chairing the National Waymarked Ways Advisory Committee to leading the Irish Expedition to Changtse (the North Peak of Everest) in Tibet, in 1987. This was the beginning of the trail that would lead to the successful first Irish ascent of Mount Everest six years later. The fact that at 63 years of age he had undergone major heart surgery before going to Changtse was regarded by Joss as "nothing but an expensive piece of plumbing." The central focus of Joss Lynam’s activities has always been adventure sports – orienteering, walking, canoeing and especially mountaineering. Born in London to Irish parents on 29 June 1924, he was educated at an English public school, left school during the war, was commissioned and then sent to India. He returned to Ireland after the war to study civil engineering at Trinity College and in 1948 he helped to found the Irish Mountaineering Club. Joss is a walker, climber and mountaineer with experience in Ireland, Britain and abroad. His engineering career brought him first to Wales and later to the Lake District and then back to India. In 1964 he took part in the first Irish Himalayan expedition to Rakaposhi. As well as several Alpine trips, he visited Greenland in 1968 and again in 1971. His climbing career was at its most intense in the late ’60s and early ’70s, with expeditions to the Himalayas, the Andes, China and Tibet. The Association for Adventure Sports (AFAS) was founded in 1969 with Joss as secretary. Its aim was to provide training and development in outdoor activities. As a response to

W Hannon

King of the Castle – On the summit of Viscaria Peak, Greenland, 1993

Mike Banks

a disaster in the Cairngorms when ten children were killed, Joss helped to set up the Mountain Leadership (ML) scheme, whose initial drive was towards those leading groups of inexperienced people in the mountains. He was an instructor and assessor for many years. Shortly after the formation of AFAS, six clubs came together to found the Federation of Mountaineering Clubs in Ireland (FMCI). This was the first All-Ireland mountaineering organisation and the forerunner of the Mountaineering Council of Ireland (MCI). Once again Joss was secretary. Shortly after the FMCI came into being, Joss very quickly and adroitly brought the ML scheme under the authority of the FMCI and thus Bord Oiliuint Sleibhe (the Irish Mountain Training Board) was born. When Tiglin, the National Training Centre, was founded, Joss not only helped conduct negotiations with An óige for permission to use their premises, he helped secure funding from the Carnegie Trust and also did most of the work in laying concrete floors to improve the new quarters. Since 1984 he has been Chairman of the National Waymarked Ways Advisory Committee. This is a job that he particularly enjoys as it takes him to parts of Ireland which he might otherwise not visit. He believes that the waymarked ways give a lot of happiness to walkers without creating too many erosion or access problems. Joss was one of the moving forces behind the establishment of the Centre Standards Board, the first approving authority for outdoor activity centres in Ireland. For many years he was also heavily involved with the Department of Education in structuring the curricula for the outdoor pursuits courses of the VECs. As Chairman of the Expeditions Commission of the UIAA (the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation) since 1989, Joss provides an international service to mountaineering. As a policymaker he plays a major role in resolving problems both for expeditions and their host countries. Closer to home, he has recently been appointed Vice Chairman of the Dublin Wicklow Mountains Board. Joss has published many books on walking in Ireland, and is the general editor of the Irish Walk Guides series of guidebooks published by Gill & Macmillan. He refuses to call a halt. His Easy Walks Near Dublin has been particularly well-received. He edited Irish Mountain Log, the quarterly publication of the MCI, from the first issue in 1978 until he retired from the post in 1999 with no fewer than 50 issues under his belt. He continues to edit its books section, which is the source of the MCI Library of over 500 mountaineering book, held in the University of Limerick. He is currently editing the first journal of the Irish Mountaineering and Exploration Historical Society. Joss acknowledges that his role as editor and author of a number of walking guides has added to his own walking experience. He also sees his own broad range of mountaineering interests as having contributed to his role as editor. As a walker who has explored Ireland, and a climber who has visited the Alps, the Andes and the Himalayas, he has a broad view of Irish mountaineering. In 1991, at the age of 67, Joss bought a ‘top of the range’ mountain tent, guaranteed for exceptional durability. Over the A man for all outdoor seasons. Fishing in the next four years he made four Tasermiut Fjord, Greenland, 1968

On Saga Peak Summit, Greenland, with Mike Banks, 1993 R Lynam

J Bent

Joss The Mountaineer

Age no barrier – On Carrot Ridge, Twelve Bens, Connemara, 2000

WWI 100 71

Mike Banks

anyone must who has endured a lifetime of mountains, that a summit is just one of many possible conclusions." Joss Lynam was 77 earlier this year. His energy and commitment are legendary and age has not diminished them. He is still a regular walker, despite having no cartilage in either knee. He is also a regular visitor to Dalkey Quarry. On his 75th birthday he climbed Pine Tree Buttress at Luggala fifty years after his first ascent. Joss and his wife Nora met through the Irish Mountaineering Club and theirs was the first wedding in the Club in 1951. They climbed together in Ireland, the Lake District and the Alps until family matters intervened. They have passed on their love of the outDeserving winner of the Walking World Ireland/ doors to their children. Elder Waterford Crystal Walker Award, 1997 daughter Ruth is an international orienteer as well as a mountaineer; son kidney failure, was a ski instructor at Nicholas, who died some years ago from Kilternan and their younger daughter Clodagh is also a walker. The next generation is also involved - their three grandsons have all been seen at Dalkey Quarry and at orienteering events. Joss and Nora still enjoy walking together. Says Joss, "I owe Nora a tremendous debt of gratitude. Without her help and advice I wouldn't have done half the things I have, especially in the early days of the Association for Adventure Sports." The decision of the Senate of Dublin University to award a Doctorate (honoris causa) to Joss Lynam on December 14th constitutes a formal recognition by Trinity College of the singular achievements of one of its most distinguished graduates, in more than fifty years of unstinting and enthusiastic service to Irish mountaineering and to the Irish outdoors. Joss, the doyen of Irish mountaineers, has been well called a prophet of the outdoors. On behalf of his many mountaineering friends and acquaintances, and the Irish walking and climbing community, the Mountaineering Council of Ireland salutes Dr Joss.

Left: At his ease in the Himalayas. Joss at Garhwal, India, Jaonli Expedition, 1989

Ron McGarry

trips. They ranged from the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming to the Tienshan Mountains in northwest China, by way of the uninhabited island of Sermersoq, off the southwest coast of Greenland and the Italian Dolomites. Proof, if proof were needed, of Joss's insatiable appetite for - and positive attitude to - life. It would be possible to fill twice the space allotted to this tribute with a litany of Joss's achievements as a mountaineer but that would still only give a small flavour of this most generous of men. As a most prolific and generous servant of Irish mountaineering, he is a man who will put himself out considerably to help a fellow walker or to point another climber in the right direction. From the outset, Joss’s wise counsel and capacity for hard work were of considerable help in establishing the Mountaineering Council of Ireland as an important force in the development of walking and climbing in Ireland. He has always handled differences of opinion with tact and a remarkable ability to maintain his friendship with those with whom he might differ from time to time. In the words of one of his fellow mountaineers, Dermot Somers, he is "a man who knows, as

Mountaineering Ireland

A New Proposition The Mountain Access Scheme has much to offer both hillwalkers and landowners, says Helen Lawless


ther than the relatively small area of our six National Parks and land owned by Coillte, virtually all of the Irish mountains are privately owned land (owned individually or in common) and as walkers we do not have any legal right of entry to those lands. We walk the hills with the goodwill of landowners and despite the increased number of walkers, the vast majority of landowners continue to allow access. The absence of any mechanism to manage access to the uplands has led to conflict in a small number of areas. This prompted Minister Eamon O Cuiv, in 2004, to establish Comhairle na Tuaithe, a national body to address matters to do with countryside recreation. Comhairle has come forward with the Mountain Access Scheme, a project currently being piloted on Binn ShlĂŠibhe (also known as Mount Gable) in Co. Galway and Carrauntoohil in Co. Kerry. By formally agreeing access with the landowners on a mountain, producing a map showing designated access points, indemnifying the landowners, providing parking and any infrastructure required to

34 WWI 100

sustain recreational use, the Mountain Access Scheme sets out to manage recreational enjoyment of mountain areas in a way that minimises inconvenience for landowners and local residents, and means that use of the area can be promoted with clarity and confidence. The Mountain Access Scheme is a different proposition to a waymarked walking route. The scheme should not involve the development or marking of trails on the mountain, other than where trail repair or construction is required to avoid environmental damage. As these are mountain areas, recreational users are expected to be appropriately skilled and equipped to look after themselves. Discussions in the two pilot areas have uncovered some of the factors that can detract from the relationship between walkers and landowners. Dogs are a key concern. As not all dogs are kept under control, there is a clear message coming from the landowning community that dogs are not welcome on the hills. Inconsiderate parking can cause problems. Parked cars can at times prevent livestock or wide machinery gaining access to fields

or along narrow roads. The increased commercialisation of walking has irritated some landowners, as they see other parties generating income from activity on their land without any consultation. Comhairle na Tuaithe’s Mountain Access Scheme potentially provides a mechanism to acknowledge land ownership, and to prevent frustrations growing into problems, while at the same time meeting the reasonable expectations of walkers with regard to access. At an individual level, we can each make a positive contribution to relations with landowners and other upland residents, by being more considerate in our behaviour and supporting the rural economy by using local shops, pubs and restaurants. Helen Lawless is Hillwalking, Access & Conservation Officer with Mountaineering Ireland, and along with Joss Lynam, represents Mountaineering Ireland on Comhairle na Tuaithe. Helen can be contacted on 01 6251115 or

Off-roaders are off-side


any walkers are upset by the damage caused to our hills by the recreational use of off-road vehicles. What you may not realise is that in most upland areas this activity is illegal and the penalties are severe. If you see quad or scrambler bikes on the hills, phone the local National Parks & Wildlife Service or the Gardaí. If you come across this activity in the Wicklow mountains phone 087 9803899 immediately as this area has the benefit of weekend Ranger cover. Save the number into your mobile phone so that you have it when you need it. In Northern Ireland contact the Police, as the use of any vehicle more than 100 yards from a public road without the landowner’s permission is against the law. While the authorities may not always be in a position to respond, all calls are logged and each one adds to the pressure for this problem to be dealt with. In August 2010, Minister John Gormley introduced stronger regulations prohibiting the recreational use of off-road vehicles in 13 areas (listed below). At a recent meeting with Minister Mary White, Mountaineering Ireland thanked the Minister for her work on this issue and emphasised the actions required to implement the new regulations, as well as the need to extend this protection to other upland areas.

80 WWI 100

Walkers are asked to contact Mountaineering Ireland (helen@ if they have seen evidence of off-road vehicle activity in any upland area not covered by the new regulations. The information gathered will form part of a submission to the Department of the Environment seeking to apply the regulations to additional areas. The 13 areas already covered are: - The Raven SAC, Wexford; - Blackstairs Mountains SAC, Wexford/Carlow; - Wicklow Mountains SAC,Wicklow/Dublin; - Kilpatrick Sandhills SAC, Wexford; - Cahore Dunes Polder SAC Cahore Marshes SPA, Wexford; - Slieve Blooms SAC, SPA, Laois/Offaly; - Carlingford Mountain Louth; - Ballyness Bay SAC, Donegal; - Gweedore Bay Islands SAC Donegal; - Castlemaine Harbour SAC, SPA (including Inch Strand) Kerry; - Galtee Mountains SAC Limerick/Tipperary; - Slieve Bearnagh SAC Clare; - Slieve Aughty SPA Galway/Clare

Mountaineering Ireland

Training Officer


Crampons Q. Any tips for first-time crampon wearers? A. Tip 1: keep your feet apart and wear gaiters over your expensive Gore-Tex trousers. Tip 2: it’s tempting to ‘edge’ the foot into a slope just as you do with boots on wet grass slopes, but this only uses one row points. On moderately steep snow or ice it’s more efficient, and safer, to roll your ankle and use all the downward-facing crampon points. When it gets steeper, frontpoint, but keep your heels low. And finally, don’t leave it too late to put them on before you need them, but take them off when the going gets easy and safety isn’t compromised. Q. How many points are best for walking? A. A ten point crampon is lighter and produces a more ergonomic action than 12 point crampons for walking. They lack a secondary set of points immediately behind the front points, which add stability when climbing steep ice. Q. Do I have to be on snow or ice to practice wearing crampons? A. When the ground is frozen you can practice flat footing on steep grass slopes or you could put a railway sleeper against a wall and front-point. But the best plan is just to allow some time to practice your skills on easy, safe ground. Q. Strap-ons or clip-ons, which is best? A. I prefer mixed straps for all round use; great for walking and steeper ice too. These are simple and efficient and suitable for most things. The heel attaches with a lever or clip (or rear plastic cup if the boot doesn’t have a welt) and the front of the crampon attaches with a strap and a ring (or a plastic bail). Because they don’t require significant notches at the toes, these bindings can be used with lighter walking/mountaineering boots without substantial front welts. I don’t like strap-on crampons because they make my feet cold when the straps are tightened around the boot. Q. I enjoy easy walking and only occasionally cross flat sections of snow or ice, do I need a full crampon? A. No. Walkers that rarely encounter snow conditions or who walk mainly on very gentle inclines in winter can use smaller four or six-point crampons. The Petzl Charlet Spiky is easily fitted and gives extra grip on both the heel and forefoot, while the Grivel Spider offers more aggressive points in a strap-on style. There are also a variety of attachments for shoes and lightweight boots that have small spikes or cable attached to a rubber frame that slips

over the boot/shoe e.g.The Yaktrax Walker. They are great, but should be avoided in terrain where a slip has serious consequences. Q. Is it easy to fit crampons to my boot? A. Crampons and boots make an integral unit and using the wrong type of crampon on the wrong type of boot can break them or make them fall off the boot. The sole of your boot should match the shape of the crampon, with no large gaps. A correctly adjusted crampon should remain attached to the boot with the straps and clips undone. When buying crampons, always take your boots with you and fit the crampons in the store. Manufacturers’ crampons are all slightly different - some suit narrower boots, some suit boots with a thicker sole, some won’t fit boots with too much of a ‘rocker’ (curved section of the sole). Q. Snow seems to collect under my crampons what can I do? Anti-balling plates are essential to prevent the build-up of snow on the underside of crampons, especially in wet snow conditions. The traditional remedy is to tap your crampons with your ice axe, but this is awkward, time consuming and distracting. You can put ‘Duck’ tape on the bottom but this remedy doesn’t last long and is not as effective Alun Richardson is Mountaineering Ireland’s Training Officer. Alun is an IFMGA Mountain Guide and is the author of a number of books, including Mountaineering - The essential skills for mountain walkers and climbers. To contact Alun email

Ulster View

Ulster View

Visitor or Trespasser? Access Rights in Northern Ireland are a law unto themselves, says Ronnie Carser

A distant Ben Crom


hen you decide to go for a walk in the Northern Ireland countryside, do you know where you will be welcome, where you may be unwelcome, where you have a legal right of access? Do you care? Are you prepared simply to walk where you please, without thought of the consequences? You have only a right to walk on the public road, on public rights of way and public footpaths. Access to all other land requires the prior permission of the landowner or occupier, which, when given, makes the walker a visitor and burdens the landowner with a duty of care thereto. When permission to enter is not sought or is refused and the walker proceeds, he/she becomes a trespasser but the landowner still has a duty of care, although this is limited to simply not acting negligently or

The Mourne Mountains

recklessly with regard to the walker’s safety. Problems arise in areas such as the Mournes, where walking has been a tradition, where it has been tolerated by landowners and thus it is unclear whether the walker is a visitor or trespasser. What happens if you slip and break a limb?

Antrim Plateau

Can you sue for damages? It all depends - if a trespasser, highly unlikely. If a visitor, yes, you can but a Court will take the view that by entering land, you have accepted the risk involved. However, there is nothing in law to

prevent you trying, there is no absolute certainty that your case will be dismissed and, without doubt, you could give a landowner an uncomfortable and potentially costly, experience You may have a better chance of successful legal action if you are ‘lucky enough’ to sustain injury on publicly-owned land; for example, a district council park or land owned by a government agency such as DARD. Why? Simply because these bodies carry public liability insurance cover and may opt to settle a claim out of court. In both Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, legislation has been enacted to protect landowners from claim, a claimant first having to prove negligent or reckless behaviour. It is entirely wrong that, in Northern Ireland, any landowner, who willingly permits access, should have no legal protection against claim. The Ulster Federation of Rambling Clubs, together with other outdoor oriented bodies, has long sought to have NI legislation modernised to both clarify a walker’s legal


status as that of a recreational user and limit the landowners duty to simply that currently owed to a trespasser. In its recent submission to the NI Law Commission, the Federation has gone further by suggesting that an owner should owe no duty of care at all to a recreational user but with exclusions for

negligent or reckless behaviour. So, wherever you choose to walk in Northern Ireland, remember the goodwill so often generously shown by the landowner and determine to support the efforts being made to give him/her a measure of security and peace of mind.

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Ruffwear Palisades Pack 150/£120 Roamer Leash 35/£28

Going boldly where no WWI gear tester has gone before, I spotted these Ruffwear pieces at a Trade Show a few months back. I bring our dog Bruno with me into the hills whenever feasible; this can cause a few logistical headaches. Primarily, like all dogs, he needs to be kept on a lead – natural nosiness and boundless energy are a hard combination to control. Regardless of his friendly nature, no dog should be let wander anywhere there’s a possibility of meeting livestock. Up until now I’ve used a short climbing sling worn across my chest, with a 5 foot length of 9mm climbing rope clipped to it via a small karabiner. The Roamer Leash is made of tubular webbing and is semielastic so it stretches from 0.9-1.4m. This is great since it reduces tugging on the body at either end of the lead. Its handle can be adjusted to fit around the waist or my preferred option, across the chest and it’s closed by a clip so the dog can be secured to a post if required. The business end attaches to his collar by a sturdy glove-friendly clip. As I said the Roamer’s bungee element is great but it can make it difficult to haul in “his nibs” in extremis, I tied a few overhand knots along the leash to make it easier – there’s a “traffic handle” at the collar to keep the dog close if needed. This leash is a good compromise between letting the dog explore while keeping him under control, it also works if your dog’s also your training partner when you go for a run. Moving on to the Palisades Pack, this is basically a set of saddlebags attached to a dog harness. Each side houses a 1 litre water bladder (remember to balance the weight in each side) with plenty of space for bowls, dog food etc.; the load can be compressed by means of internal straps so the dog’s balance isn’t affected. If you come to an obstacle, you can detach the pack from its harness and lift the dog over by the large grab handle on top nice and easy even allowing for a hefty, wriggly, 2 year old Labrador. Bruno has plenty of previous experience with wearing a harness and it’s not something he enjoys, so initially it got a frosty reception. Now when he sees it he knows along walk beckons and he starts bouncing around, high praise indeed from a very discerning tester!

Julbo Around Excel

I briefly mentioned the advisability of carrying ski goggles as part of your winter mountaineering kit in our last issue, well here are an excellent pair of same, suitable for all winter sports. The Around Excel’s shape allow good peripheral vision, something that’s not always true of other designs and they stay fog-free, even when you’re flogging uphill. They’re lined with comfy double-density foam and the strap works with a variety of helmets. Available in either Cat3 (cloudy or low-light conditions) or Cat4 (strong sunlight) lenses, their main advantage is their low profile which doesn’t block your view of you harness etc.

Moveable Feasts by Amy-Jane Beer & Roy Halpin, Cicerone Press 18

Subtitled “What to eat and how to cook it in the Outdoors” this book is a great resource for anyone who recreates in the hills, goes camping or even - God forbid- goes canoeing! Not just a list of campfire recipes, it also gives you loads of info on nutrition, equipment, expedition cookery, water and how to treat it. Most importantly it also has tips on what to do when it all goes wrong, whether that is through illness, accidents or culinary cock-ups! Not all the recipes are one-pot meals, some are obviously meant for home cooking. This seemed a bit confusing at first but when I thought about it gives you a bit more wriggle room when you’re cooking for your mates in a hostel or self-catering chalet – Spag Bol loses its appeal fairly quickly. Looks like the lads are in for Speedy Fish and Chickpea Risotto next trip, watch this space for further comments……..

WWI 100 75

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Subscribe NOW for our BEST EVER VALUE OFFER and Glenveagh National Park. Three kilometres north of Kilmacrennan take a left turn onto the R251, signposted for the national park. Follow this road for about twenty kilometres until you see the cones of Aghla Beg South and Aghla More rising above a forestry plantation on the right. Go slow as you sweep down onto a long stretch of straight road with Sand Lough down on the left. Look out for a track entrance on the right where there is parking for two cars (GR: B 953 205). The route starts and finishes here. If there is no room to park, drive on for 800m to the formal car park at the foot of Errigal, and return to the track on foot.

The Aghlas

The Walk Set off along the track, which heads straight across the bog towards the eastern shoulder of Mackoght. Follow it around a large hairpin and then up to a shallow col. Soon the track begins to descend steeply along the west side of a small valley, and


then swings north, crossing a stream and descending through a series of switchbacks towards Altan Farm and the eastern shore of Altan Lough. It is tempting to shortcut the hairpins, however the ground is so rough that you probably save energy by sticking to the track.

“There is a small river crossing at Altan Farm that can be tricky after heavy rain, so gaiters and walking poles are recommended.” The track peters out on the southern bank of a small river that feeds in to Altan Lough. Altan Farm is on the opposite bank with the imposing southern flanks of Aghla More rising steeply behind. There are some good stepping stones in place,

at the End of an Era


Galty Mountain Rescue!

Denis Gill and his companions found beauty, charm – and Irish connections – in the Caribbean’s socialist stronghold. Photos by Denis Gill

View across Altan Lough, with Altan Farm on the far left


★ Crampon-Compatible

Gareth McCormack samples a challenging outing across three often-overlooked Donegal summits.

Boots, Ice Axes

Photos by Gareth McCormack


he Aghlas are a trio of graceful conical summits situated just northeast of Errigal in County Donegal. Their proximity to such a justifiably popular mountain means that they are often ignored and seldom visited by walkers. However they are certainly worth the considerable effort required to make the round of all three tops from Altan Farm. It’s a route full of character and variety, and despite the modest height of the peaks themselves, still packs in over 900m of

vertical ascent and descent. This approach from the south is the hardest route on the Aghlas, but with the shorter northern approach from Procklis currently complicated by poor access, the Altan route is now preferable. Although there is a defined track all the way to Altan Farm, it can be very wet in places. There is also a small river crossing at Altan Farm that can be tricky after heavy rain, so gaiters and walking poles are recommended. I’ve taken the liberty of renaming the highest summit in the Aghlas as Aghla

Beg South. On the OS map it is unnamed, and the name Aghla Beg is given to a slightly lower summit to the north. Aghla More is itself 19m lower than Aghla Beg South. One explanation offered for the apparent mislabelling of summits using ‘beag’ and ‘mór’ is that those applying the original names were more interested in acreage than in height.

Getting to the Start Most people will be approaching the Aghlas from Letterkenny. Take the N56, signposted for Kilmacrennan, Dunfanaghy Altan Farm, with Aghla More behind


23 Crockauns

Crockauns & Hangman’s Hill

Helen Fairbairn recommends a short but rewarding mountain circuit on the SligoLeitrim border. Photos by Gareth McCormack


GTJ - The Easy Way


Feisty Friends

Weekend walking in the Jura

IS S N 0791-8801

Gift ideas for walkers

and when he fledged he became the first Donegal-bred golden eagle to be fitted with a satellite transmitter. Extensive satellite coverage of his movements confirmed that by December he had established a territory centering around Crockauns and Hangman’s Hill, and several walkers were rewarded with sightings of him soaring overhead. Sadly, Conall’s last live reading came from Truskmore on 16th February 2010. Within days he was found dead, poisoned by toxic meat bait left out by a farmer to control crows and foxes. Though not the only case in recent years, Conall’s death prompted Minister for the Environment John Gormley to confirm that new legislation was being prepared to strengthen the regulations on poisoned bait. Meanwhile the reintroduction programme is continuing, and the area has at least proven itself suitable eagle territory. We can only hope that Conall’s peers fare rather better, and future walkers may again be able to experience the thrill of seeing such a charismatic bird of prey in the vicinity of Crockauns.

Getting to the Start The route starts and finishes along a narrow lane just south of Crockauns, around 10km northeast of Sligo town (GR: G 764,403). To get there from Sligo, take the N16 towards Manorhamilton. Around 3km beyond the edge of town, you come to a sharp left-hand bend. Turn right onto an unsigned minor road that leads off from the apex of the bend, and continue for roughly

4.5km.Towards the end of the road the tarmac surface turns to gravel. Shortly beyond this, both verges open into grassy lay-bys, providing space to park three cars. If you need more room, further space can be found back along the verges west from this point, though please take care not to impede access to any fields.

The Walk Before you start walking, take a moment to examine the cliffs of Crockauns that lie just north of the starting point. You will finish the circuit by dropping around these from the west, and it’s worth getting your bearings at the outset. Begin the route by following the track east, heading towards the cliff-fringed hill marked on the map at 374m. Keep left at two forks and pass over a rise, where the track dwindles underfoot. A ruined stone farm now comes into sight, nestling in a hollow to your right. Continue along the track for roughly 80m beyond the rise, where you draw close to a stream on the right. Cross the fence and stream, then turn left and follow the bank east. Within long you’ll need to pass through a metal gate, then follow the fence line as it climbs south towards the col on Keelogyboy Mountain. The ascent is steep and continuous, crossing a mixture of tussock and short grass. At the top of the col, turn left and complete the final ascent to Keelogyboy’s northeast top. As you emerge onto the plateau, it comes as a shock to


Dear Santa...


hough short enough to fit into a winter’s day, this circuit visits an impressive variety of scenery. An expanse of limestone pavement, a fine viewpoint across the dramatic Glencar valley, and three summits of distinctly different character are just some of the treats on offer. Crossing back and forth across the SligoLeitrim border, the modest height of the hills allows fine views without too much upward toil. This is a wild and little-visited corner of the country however, and the grassland can be rough underfoot. The route’s only cairn lies at the top of Crockauns, though the distinctive topography makes navigation easy enough. Be wary of walking in poor visibility however, because there are numerous small cliffs that could be hazardous. Apart from the views, the main attractions of the area are its natural features. All of the land visited on the Sligo side of the border is a Natural Heritage Area, due to the richness of the bog. In geological terms, it’s the limestone bedrock that provides most interest. Amongst various sink-holes, the northeast top of Keelogyboy Mountain is particularly interesting, holding a fragment of karst landscape reminiscent of the Burren. The area has also been in the news in recent years thanks to Conall, a male golden eagle chick. Conall was reared in the wild in Glenveagh National Park in 2009, as part of the project to reintroduce golden eagles to Ireland. Conall hatched in late April 2009,

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Limestone pavement on Keelogyboy Mountain

View to Crockauns from Hangman's Hill



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WWI 100


The Aghlas



Routes! Glencree, Sawell & Dart, Luggala Valley, Crockauns & Hangman’s Hill...


Walking World Ireland is Ireland’s No.1 outdoor activity magazine. Published bi-monthly, Walking World Ireland is packed with a range of articles covering a huge variety of walking routes to suit all tastes and levels of fitness at home and abroad, Wildlife, gear reviews, opinion pieces and much more add up to the most complete coverage of Ireland’s favourite leisure activity. Contributors include many of Ireland’s top writers and photographers, including Dick Warner, Damien Enright, Michael Fewer, Gareth McCormack and many more.


The 2010 Index

Issues 94-99

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U The index of the many routes, features and other articles listed in these pages gives an indication of the main content of each issue, in various categories. Previous indices have been published as follows: Issue 1-22 (Issue 23), Issues 23-28 (Issue 29), Issues 29-34 (Issue 35), Issues 35-40 (Issue 41), Issues 41-46 (Issue 47), Issues


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47-52 (Issue 53), Issues 53-58 (Issue 59), Issues 59-64 (Issue 65), Issues 65 –70 (Issue 71), Issues 71–76 (Issue 77), Issues


77–82 (Issue 83), Issues 83–88 (Issue 89), Issues 89–93 (Issue 94).

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Morocco Bound

Ski-ing in Africa - why not? Judy Armstrong boldly went where few had been before


With the Lugs in Zakopane

Michael Fewer joined Ireland’s oldest walking group for a week in the Tatras, on the PolishSlovakian border


Walking the Roof of Spain

Armstrong discovers perfect beaches, perfect weather and a perfect welcome for walkers.


Tour of Mont Blanc

Helen Fairbairn visited three countries and tackled numerous alpine passes to complete the most popular long-distance walk in Europe.


The Homes of Uttarakhand

Diana Gleadhill describes the walk of a lifetime through the villages of Uttarakhand, in India’s mountainous northwest

Damien Enright extols the ancient and unique landscape of Spain’s Sierra Nevada



CROWS walking club spent five days in Spain’s Sierra De Aitana. Hills were climbed, fun was had, as Eugene Mulholland reports.

Girl Power

Judy Armstrong joined a women-only group for a weekend of walks and laughter in the Aravis Mountains of eastern France


Sandwood Bay

At the north-western tip of Britain, Judy


Spanish Scramble

Cuba At the End of an Era

Denis Gill and his companions found beauty, charm – and Irish connections – in the Caribbean’s socialist stronghold


Walking in the Jura

The Grande Traversée du Jura is the perfect overseas long-distance walk for weekend warriors, says Judy Armstrong


Lough Acoose

Tom Hutton turns his sights to a low level circuit of Kerry’s beautiful Lough Acoose


Hag’s Glen Horseshoe

A different route to the top of the nation’s tallest peaks


Coastguard Station

This easy circuit on the northern Beara Peninsula showcases some of the region’s most attractive coastline, says Helen Fairbairn



Helen Fairbairn samples some of the finest


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coastal walking to be found on the Ring of Kerry.

glacial corries in a remote corner of south County Mayo.




Simon Stewart of on the value of putting Ireland’s uplands online

Coomloughra Horseshoe

Some walks are so good that you find yourself wanting to complete them time and time again. For Tom Hutton, it’s the magnificent Coomaloughra Horseshoe


Classic Brandon Scramble

Tom Hutton traces an airy ridge up the mountain that inspired a saint.

Crockauns & Hangman’s Hill

Helen Fairbairn recommends a short but rewarding mountain circuit on the Sligo-Leitrim border


The Great Sugar Loaf


There are great mountains, little mountains... and great little mountains. Denis Gill explains.



Tory Island

Gareth McCormack recommends a trip to this remote northwestern outpost, with its spectacular coastline and unique island atmosphere.


The Aghlas

A challenging outing across three oftenoverlooked Donegal summits.


Tracing the tragic story of Feagh McHugh O’Byrne in a compelling route above Glenmalure.



Denis Gill explores a majestic glacial valley with a range of walking challenges, less than an hour from Dublin

Ott Mountain Circuit

Helen Fairbairn extols the scenic delights of three compact summits in the western Mournes




Lugnaquilla from the East

Denis Gill suggests an alternative approach to Leinster’s highest summit.

Slieve Beagh

The rolling moorland around Slieve Beagh lays down a challenge to even experienced walkers, as Gareth McCormack found out.




Along the Port Path

Circling Lough Tay

Denis Gill continues his exploration of Wicklow’s stunning and historically rich Luggala Valley



Helen Fairbairn enjoys the incredible views from the highest mountains in the Sperrins



The Arderins

The list of every 500m+ peak in the 32 counties. You know what to do!


Here Be Treasure

Geocaching is the happening thing on hillsides. Here’s what it’s about


White Water

Celebrating the poetry and spectacle of Ireland’s waterfalls


Rescue Me!

For most of us Mountain Rescue is something you see on TV. For Derek Fanning it was real and on TV


Dear Minister...

Ireland is drowning in litter. We just wondered if you had noticed. An open letter to the Minister for the Environment.

Between Two Lakes

Denis Gill describes an historic walk between Loughs Dan and Tay

Gareth McCormack explores a scenic coastal path linking Portstewart and Portrush on the Causeway Coast.

Sawel & Dart


Climb (and catalogue) Every Mountain!

A Festival on the Edge of the World

Denis Gill spent a fascinating and entrancing weekend on Achill

The Keenagh Loop


A League Apart?

One of Ireland’s most celebrated natural wonders is being seriously mismanaged, argues walking guide Tony Birtill


Putting a Name on It

The OSi’s standards of placename accuracy have declined, says Paul Tempan (96)


Lost in Translation

The origins of the names we give our mountains are not always as obvious as we think, says Paul Tempan

Gareth McCormack checks out a beautiful National Looped Walk in the heart of Mayo’s Nephin Beg Mountains.


Big welcome, great walks, major fun - what’s not to like?




The legacy of the past in the names of the present. By Barry Dalby, EastWest Mapping

The ridges, lakes and corries of one of Mayo’s most engaging summits




Michael Fewer hangs out with a Search and Rescue crew

Corraun Hill


This limestone plateau above Manorhamilton makes for a fascinating half-day walk. Gareth McCormack used the Leitrim Way to explore



The Conquest of Beara

Kevin Corcoran completes unfinished business with one of Ireland’s great challenges


Helen Fairbairn rediscovers this previously inaccessible peak in Sligo’s Dartry Mountains.



Wee Binnians Walking Festival

Maumtrasna’s Eastern Corries

Helen Fairbairn recommends a trip around two


Gods, Giants & Polar Explorers

Michael Fewer walks across the Dingle Peninsula.

Placenames of the Wicklow Uplands

ISSUE 96 Kyle Loop, Co. Wicklow Kilbrannish Loop, Co. Carlow Glenbawn Loop, Co. Tipperary Ballyhourigan Loop, Co. Limerick Castle Lake Loop, Co. Cavan Fr. Murphys’s Loop, Co. Cork Fionn MacCool Loop, Co. Kerry Black Ditch Loop, Co. Mayo

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Lough Mohra Loop, Co. Waterford Mountain Grove Loop, Co. Kilkenny ISSUE 98: South East Special Ballinacourty Loop Devil’s Bit Loop Greenane Loop Glenpatrick Loop Askamore Loop Slieveboy Loop Windfarm Loop Clogrennan Loop Fraughan Loop Pheasant Loop


Sheeps Head Loops Barán Loop Seefin Loop Glanlough Loop Ardnakinna Loop Rerrin Loop Pulleen Loop Dursey Island Loop Garinish Loop Creha Quay Loop Dunboy Woods Loop Bullig Bay Loop



Wild Weather Warriors

Frosts, floods and snow all hit us hard last winter, but how do the beasts and birds fare in extreme conditions?


Dick Warner challenges traditional assumptions about land usage in Ireland - and offers some alternatives

Just Dropping By

Foreign visitors will be flying in all shapes and sizes this winter. By Dick Warner

We know the robin as the gardener’s friend. You certainly wouldn’t want one as an enemy. By Dick Warner

Gas Guzzlers

Ireland’s love of ruminants is becoming a costly affair


Stocking Fillers Looking out for ideas for the outdoorsy types in your life? 94

Total Pants Andy Callan wears the trousers around here, and what he says goes - on our legs 95

A Pack is Born

It was joyous and emotional, but not all plain sailing. Judy Armstrong talked to the proud parents of Lowe Alpine’s Airzone range

Rich Canvas

If there’s one thing better than a day on the hills, it’s a night on the hills. Andy Callan talks tents and stoves.


The warm and fuzzy world of polypropylene gets the Andy Callan treatment



Pole Position

Andy Callan knows where he stands when it comes to using walking poles

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Water, Water - Everywhere

Water comes in all shapes and sizes these days; Andy Callan tries three of the best hydration systems

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Fresh Approach

Andy Callan treads boldly in search of the perfect all-rounder; the go-anywhere approach shoe

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The North Wind Doth Blow...

…and when it doth, you’d best be prepared, says Andy Callan. Winter walking safety tips, plus tests of crampon-compatible boots and ice axes


Politics and Walking

Michael Fewer recounts the patchy relationship between walkers and the political establishment


Dogs in them thar hills

Michael Fewer recalls a few dog days he could have done without

95 New Product Base layer with a difference, hot drops on the hills and a stretchy shell

What’s So Special About Ireland?

Dick Warner looks at Ireland’s wildlife and wonders what makes it different to the flora and fauna of other countries


Our Countryside - What’s it For?

All Ireland’s Land Mammals

If it’s wild, warm, furry and Irish, it’s here! By Dick Warner


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99 ISSUE 97: West Cork Special

It’s Only Natural

Why do we appreciate nature? Dick Warner explains what would seem to be a waste of (evolutionary) time.



Looping Erris Head

Michael Fewer is impressed by the National Looped Walks Network.

Soft Sell

The functionality of traditional jackets with the comfort of fleece - these jackets promise the best of both worlds. Do they deliver?




Mountain Misfortunes

Michael Fewer on a tragic history etched on Ireland’s hills.


Volcanos and climate change – what’s the connection? Dick Warner has some surprising angles

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Vision Things

Headtorches make a lot of sense, and we’ve tested a lot of headtorches.

When Mountains Were Young

The Appalachian Trail International turns back the clock of geological time.

2011 Irish Walking Events January January 15

Enniskerry Walking Association Saturday Afternoon Walk

Rathmichael Church to Carrigollogan. Approx 4miles  2.5 to 3 hours Meet Outside Spar 1.30pm. Meet Rathmichael Church 1.50pm Feel free just to turn up, or for further information, phone Niall Lenoach, EWA Chairperson, (087-928 4934) or Noel Barry, EWA Secretary(286 0043).email: enniskerrywalking@ January 23

An Óige Hillwalkers Club East Wicklow

Leader: Philip Hayden Route: Kilmacanoge * Sugar Loaf * Ballyremon Commons * Djouce * White Hill * JB Malone memorial * Car Park overlooking Lough Tay (Grid Ref. 168078). Distance: 15km; Ascent: 700m; Map: OS 56, Harvey January 28–30

Glen of Aherlow Winter Walking Festival

6 Graded Walks catering for all levels of walker Excellent Accommodation. Nightly Entertainment. All walks led by the Galtee Walking Club Details from: Glen of Aherlow Fáilte Society Ltd, Coach Road, Aherlow, Co Tipperary. Tel: 062 56331 Mobile: 086 8314443 Email: Web: January 29

Enniskerry Walking Association Saturday Afternoon Walk

Barnaslingan Wood to Ballybetagh via Killegar Approx 3 hours. Meet outside Spar 1.30pm    Meet at Barnaslingan lane car park 1.50pm Feel free just to turn up, or for further information, phone Niall Lenoach, EWA Chairperson, (087-928 4934) or Noel Barry, EWA Secretary(286 0043).email: enniskerrywalking@ January 29-30

Sperrintrek 2011 : Winter Hill Walking Festival

Contact Cookstown Tourist Information Centre Tel: 028/048 8676 9949 or book online at www. Sperrintrek is a series of three walking weekends in the Sperrins Mountains, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There will be two walks during each weekend, with walkers having the opportunity to choose either a Grade A or Grade B walk on the Saturday. Join Sperrintrekkers on Facebook!

January 30

An Óige Hillwalkers Club Introductory Hillwalkers Hike

The glen of the two lakes Leader: Deirdre Muldowney Route: Glendalough Upper carpark * Spink * Lugduff * SP 702 * Lough Firrib * Turlough Path to Wicklow Gap Car Park. Distance: 16 km; Ascent: 700m; Maps: OS 56, Harvey Note: Please make sure you are properly dressed for the hike.

February February 6

An Óige Hillwalkers Club Glencullen to Glencree

Leader: Frank Rooney Route: Military Road * Kilakee Mountain * Cruagh Mountain * Tibradden Mountain * Fairy Castle * Glencullen Rd * Knocknagun * Prince William Seat * Knockree * Knockree Hostel. Distance: 17km; Ascent: 700m; Map: OS 56 & OS 50, Harvey February 12

Enniskerry Walking Association Saturday Afternoon Walk

Glencullen to Prince William’s Seat Wicklow Way. 2.5 hours 400ftapprox Meet Outside Spar, 1.30pm,   Foxs Pub overflow car park at 2.00pm Boranarltry Bridge. Feel free just to turn up, or for further information, phone Niall Lenoach, EWA Chairperson, (087-928 4934) or Noel Barry, EWA Secretary(286 0043).email: enniskerrywalking@ February 26 

Enniskerry Walking Association Saturday Afternoon Walk

Lough Bray circuit. 2.5 hrs 400ft climb Meet Outside Spar, 1.30pm, Meet at car park above upper Lough Bray 2pm Feel free just to turn up, or for further information, phone Niall Lenoach, EWA Chairperson, (087-928 4934) or Noel Barry, EWA Secretary(286 0043). email: enniskerrywalking@


variety of themed walks. Catering for all fitness levels, the range of walks are inspired by the beautiful location of Carlingford - some walks are along the peaks of the Cooley Mountains while others hug the rugged shores of Carlingford Lough. March 5-6

Táin Walking Festival

For further information and registration Tel: +353(0)42 9373033 Email: Web: Based in the beautiful village of Carlingford, this weekend festival showcases the wonderful walks on the Táin Way and scenic Cooley Peninsula. Festival Programme includes moderate to challenging mountain walks, guided historical tours, nordic walking, night and coastal walks. March 12

Enniskerry Walking Association Saturday Afternoon Walk

Lough Dan from Old Bridge. (2 hours, 5 miles). Meet outside Spar, 1.30pm; Parking on approach to Roundwood Village 1.50pm to pool cars. Then Old Bridge near Scout Lodge. Feel free just to turn up, or for further information, phone Niall Lenoach, EWA Chairperson, (087-928 4934) or Noel Barry, EWA Secretary(286 0043).email: enniskerrywalking@ March 12-13

Ardara Walking Festival

Tel: +353 (0)86 2341061 Email: Web: We look forward to meeting old friends and new in the heritage town of Ardara for the Annual Walking Festival. We offer the some of the best walks of any Walking Festival in Ireland. Guaranteed to challenge and exhilarate the experienced walker and encourage and satisfy the not so experienced walker. Web: Walk Ireland’s best walks over St. Patrick’s weekend. Choose from A or B walks including Ireland’s highest mountain, Carrauntoohil. Welcome briefing and slide show by Seán Ó Súilleabháin (founder of the famous Kerry Way walking route). Spend 3 or 4 nights in the picturesque town of Killarney alongside Killarney National Park and lakes. Meander through wonderful book, craft and coffee shops. Enjoy a drink or a dance with some traditional music in the evening. Experienced Go Visit Ireland guides ensure that everyone enjoys their weekend to the maximum. March 18-20

Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail Walking Festival

Telephone: +353 (0)94 9366709 Email: Email: info@ Web: www.croaghpatrickheritagetrail. com The Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail Festival will consist of a three-day guided walk along the Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail from the town of Balla and goes on to the village of Murrisk. On each of the three days, transport will be provided to and from start/ finish points. The Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail extends from the town of Balla in central Mayo, to the village of Murrisk at the base of Mayo’s holy mountain, Croagh Patrick. The Trail is 61km in length and mainly at low level, but the walker should note that the Trail does reach a high point of 310 metres around the foothills of Croagh Patrick. March 20

Debra Ireland Wicklow Mountains Half Marathon Registration for the race is €20 per person and we are asking people to raise an additional €50 for DEBRA

March 17-20

St. Patrick’s Walking Festival, Kerry

Tel: +353 (0)66 9762094 Email: ggallen@

March 5-6

The Táin Walking Festival

Tel: +353 (0)42 9353116 +353 (0)42 9373033 +353 (0)42 9324153 Alison Condra Email: Contact for info on Walks Web: Based in the medieval village of Carlingford, the Táin Festival uses many of the historical trails used by CúChulainn as the backdrop for this

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Ireland. The event includes a walking category as well as a running category. Included in the registration fee is bus transfer to the race start, race support along the route and post race tea and coffee. Registration cost: €20 and all participants are required to fundraise a minimum €50 for DEBRA Ireland. Tel: 01 412 6924 Email: Web: March 26

Enniskerry Walking Association Saturday Afternoon Walk

Glendalough to Glendassan and mine works. 2.5hrs Meet outside Spar 1.30pm Meet Glendalough upper lake car park 2.15pm (€4 charge to park) Feel free just to turn up, or for further information, phone Niall Lenoach, EWA Chairperson, (087-928 4934) or Noel Barry, EWA Secretary(286 0043).email: enniskerrywalking@

April April 2-3

Lough Derg Walks

Dromineer, Co Tipperary Contact: Tom Rea Tel: 087 257 1204 Email: Web: Two walks involving boat trip/bus, 21km and 16km. April 9

Enniskerry Walking Association Saturday Afternoon Walk

Tonduff South to Glensoulan from Crone 3hrs 900ft Meet outside Spar 1.30pm Meet Crone Wood car park 1.50pm Feel free just to turn up, or for further information, phone Niall Lenoach, EWA Chairperson, (087-928 4934) or Noel Barry, EWA Secretary(286 0043).email: enniskerrywalking@ April 9-10

Boots ‘n’ Bogs Festival

Knockatallon, Co Monaghan Contact: Paddy Sherry Tel: 047 89014 or 087 2525457 Email: knockatallonramblers@ovi. com Two days of rambling through the lanes, forest tracks and blanket bog of the Sliabh Beagh area. Open to nonclub members. April 15 - 17

15th annual Kerry Charity Challenge in aid of the blind.

Climb Carrauntoohil or Hungry Hill in the company of an experienced guide, traverse a full section of the Kerry Way or enjoy a choice of easier, low-level walks . Cost €199 covers hotel bed and breakfast on Friday and Saturday in the Kenmare Bay Hotel, along with dinner and entertainment Saturday evening. Information from Michael Sutton, Tel: 086- 4009989 Email: michaelsutton1949@gmail. com.

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April 17

Slievenamuck Marathon and Half Marathon Galtee Walking Club Location: Rock an Tarbh Car Park Glen of Aherlow. This walking event is open to everyone who feels they have the required level of fitness to complete either the 20km or 40km course. The registration fee is €10.00 per person. The location for the Marathon is the Slievenamuck Ridge, the long low hill which forms the northern edge of the scenic Glen of Aherlow. Contact: Rody Tierney Tel: (062) 51775 Email: Open to non-club members April 23

Enniskerry Walking Association Saturday Afternoon Walk

The Spink, Glenealo and Miners’ Village, Glendalough (400 mtrs climb, 3.5 hours). Meet outside Spar 1.30pm Glendalough upper lake car park 2.15pm  (€4 parking charge) Feel free just to turn up, or for further information, phone Niall Lenoach, EWA Chairperson, (087-928 4934) or Noel Barry, EWA Secretary(286 0043).email: enniskerrywalking@ April 23-24

North Leitrim Glens Hillwalking Festival

Contact: 086 8418843 For further information visit our website: or email info@ April 29-May 2

Ballyhoura International Walking Festival Tel: +353 63 91300 Email: Web: April 29-May 3

Slieve Bloom Walking Festival

Tel: +353 (0)86 2789147 Email: Web: Escape from it all on a spring break in the beautiful Slieve Bloom Mountains for the Annual Slieve Bloom Walking Festival. Slieve Bloom is full of hidden, magic places for walking, especially perhaps along the streams and rivers that radiate from the hills in all directions. The walks are off the beaten track, places you will discover as your guide takes you into remote and wilderness areas of the Slieve Blooms, which are only accessible on foot and rarely frequented by hill walkers.

April 29-May 2

Achill Walking Festival Féile

Siúlóidí Acla Full Details from Achill Tourism/ Turasóireacht Acla Tel: 098 47353 or Lo-call 1850 224455 Email: Explore our unique landscape with knowledgeable guides April 29-May 1

Leenane Mountain Walking Festival

Leenane, Co. Galway Catherine O’Neill 087 9577364 or Mary Young 0872 855756 Email: Event open to non club members 2 days of Guided Mountain Walks of differing lengths April 30-May 2

Donegal Bluestacks Walking Festival

Tel: 087 7844803 Email: donegalwalkerswelcome@ Web: www.donegalwalkerswelcome. com Donegal Town is set in a valley girdled by the Bluestack Mountains and Donegal Bay. Unspoiled hills, nature, 17th century castle, myths and legends April 30-May 2

Cape Clear Island WalkingTalking Weekend

Tel: +353 (0)28 41923 Email: Web: Cape Clear Island Walking Talking Weekend offers a range of interesting walks throughout the Island guided by resident guides who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the Island’s history, folklore and ecology. The Island has a variety of terrains and stunning scenery and is also famous for both bird watching and whale and dolphin watching.

April 30


Contact: Rhodri Ceredig, NUIG Mountaineering Club Web: Email: Tel: 091 49 59 16 (Office) 087 12 03 869 (Mobile)


Maamturk Challenge

May May 7-8

Killeter Heritage Trails

Hillwalks & Ecology For more details log onto: www. May 20-22

Dunmore East Rambling Weekend Festival

Mobile: +353 (0)87 6743572 Email: Web: A walking festival with a difference. Discover the wonderful nooks and crannies in and around the coves and cliffs of Dunmore East and surrounding areas. Directed towards the rambler rather than the serious walker, this festival is ideal for families and the active retired and all in between. There will be seven walks to choose from, each walk will be repeated twice a day. All walks are repeated on Sunday. May 21

Clare Burren Marathon Challenge Full marathon Half marathon Mini marathon Ireland’s Spectacular Adventure Marathon; Walk / Jog / Run across the Burren Terrain. Starting at 9am. on the Pier, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. Organised by The Ballyvaughan Fanore Walking Club. Tel: 087-7779714 / 087-7911700 Email: info@ Web: www. May 28-29

Sperrintrek Spring Trek For more details log onto:


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April 29-May 2


Tel: +353 (0)86 0664860 Email: Web: If you want to relax and unwind and hear the cuckoo sing come walking in Tarbert. You can enjoy wonderful cross country walks along farmland, bog land and woodland. The event offers 3 days of wonderful walking. Experience the scenery and the solitude of the landscape and receive a tonic for mind, body and soul.

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Tarbert Cuckoo Walking Festival





June June 3-6

Glen of Aherlow Summer Walking Festival (June Bank

Holiday Weekend) 9 Graded Walks catering for all levels of walker Excellent Accommodation. Nightly Entertainment. All walks led by the Galtee Walking Club Details from: Glen of Aherlow Fáilte Society Ltd, Coach Road, Aherlow, Co Tipperary. Tel: 062 56331 Mobile: 086 8314443 Email: Web: June 4-6

Sliabh an Iarainn Hillwalking Festival

Contact: Jackie 071 9641569 For further information visit our website: or email info@ June 14

Glenullin Walking Festival For more details log onto: June 18-19

Killeter Heritage Trails

Archaeology For more details log onto: June 26

The Galtee Challenge/Crossing Contact: Pat Ryan 087 970 4404 or Owen Ryan 087 227 3562 Web: June 30-July 3

Castlebar International 4 Days’ Walks

Ireland’s oldest walking festival. Explore the beauty of the West of Ireland, with its spectacular bogs, rivers and mountains. Contact Castlebar International 4 Days’ Walks Office, New Antrim Street, Castlebar, Co Mayo. Tel: 094 90 24102 or 087 6776274. Email: Web:

July July 2

Comeragh Crossing

Contact: John Neylin, Dungarvan Hillwalking Club Tel: 087 7931270 Email: Walk - 33km, Challenge - 42km, Team Challenge - 42km July 15-17

Slieve Bloom Eco Walking Festival

Tel: +353 (0)86 2789147 Email: Web: Discover new eyes for the landscape of the Slieve Blooms on a sociable walking weekend. You will explore the Slieve Bloom Eco walks in the company of local guides who love to share their knowledge with you. Enjoy traditional music sessions in the evenings.

July 3-31

10th Annual Laois Walks Festival Contact: Dominic Hartnett Tel: 057 8661900 Email: Web: 17 walks at 14 locations throughout Co. Laois, featuring woodland, mountain, canal, bog and road walks. Graded to suit all levels of ability. July 31

Cairn Sunday

For more details log onto:

August August 5-7

Sperrins 15th Walking Festival For more details log onto: August 13

Galway Walking Club 15th Annual Marathon Walk (Western

Way) Western Way; Killary to Maum Bridge, Connemara Contact: Helen Dolan, Chairperson, Galway Walking Club Email: galwaywalkingclub@gmail. com Event open to non-club members There are Full-Marathon and HalfMarathon options. Walkers will be taken by bus to the start of the walk. The fee is the same for both walks at €25. A meal will be provided for all participants at the Community Centre on return. August 20-21

Killeter Heritage Trails

Local History For more details log onto: www. August 27

Burren Walks

Fanore, Co Clare Contact: Tom Rea Tel: 087 257 1204 Email: or Web: 3 walks, 27km, 25km and 14km. Wonderful burren scenery, great views across Galway Bay. August 27-29

Achill Walking Festival

Full Details from Achill Tourism/ Turasóireacht Acla Tel: 098 47353 or Lo-call 1850 224455 Email: Explore our unique landscape with knowledgeable guides

September 10-11

October 7-9

Tel: +353 (0)90 6663602 Email: There are three walks organised for the Suck Valley Walking Festival. The walks are varied to suit different abilities from the 29km walk for the serious walker to the 8km walk for the less experienced. The walks are fully supervised, winding along the beautiful and tranquil Suck Valley Way.

Tel: +353 (0)52 36134 Tel: +353 (0)86 7702544 Email: Email: Web: A weekend of superb walking, great talking and traditional Nire Valley hospitality.

Suck Valley Walking Festival

September 17-18

Killeter Heritage Trails Hillwalks & Landscapes For more details log onto: September 24-25

Sperrintrek Autumn Festival For more details log onto: September 23-25

Burren Peaks Walking Festival

Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare Organised by The Ballyvaughan Fanore Walking Club. Tel: 087-7779714 Email: info@ Web: www.

October October 1-2

Baltimore “Walky Talky” Autumn Festival

Tel: +353 (0)28 20197 Email: Web: Walks accompanied by local historians or guides giving information about the local history, geology, archaeology, bird and marine wildlife and flowers. Visit places of outstanding beauty and enjoy views of West Cork’s rugged coastline. Some walks suitable for children, including all-terrain buggies, some hilly and suitable for 15 years and older. All proceeds are in aid of the Irish Heart Foundation to celebrate “World Heart Day”. Special offers for accommodation and lunch packs available. October 2

Nire Valley Walking Festival

October 7-9

Carlow Autumn Walking Festival

Full details from Carlow Tourism, The Foresters’ Hall, College Street, Carlow Tel: 059-9130411 Email: Web: The 9th annual Carlow Walking Festival allows experienced walkers to enjoy the invigorating challenge of Carlow’s mountain treks while novices will find peace and tranquillity on quiet country routes. October 13-22 Join the Irish Heart Foundation in Climbing Kilimanjaro! This is a tough but spectacularly rewarding route. On reaching the summit you will feel a sense of overwhelming achievement, a truly unforgettable challenge! For more information, please contact Gráinne on or visit October 15-16 Ballyhoura Autumn Rambling Weekend Tel: +353 63 91300 Email: Web: Oct 28-31 Footfalls Wicklow Walking Festival Tel: +353 (0)404 45152 Email: info@walkinghikingireland. com Email: Web: walkingfestivals.htm The festival offers a selection of walks to suit all levels of fitness and abilities with a selection of day walks from challenging, moderate and easy. All walks are led by experienced walking leaders who will enhance your day with information on local history flora and fauna.

Cumann Siul Cois Coiribe will have their

annual charity walk on Croagh Patrick on the first Sunday in October. In 2011 the date will be 2nd October. Phone: 091 765349 Email:

September September 3-4

Sliabh an Iarainn Hillwalking Festival

Contact: Jackie 071 9641569 For further information visit our website: or email info@

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2011 Irish Walking Clubs Index

Every hillwalking, rambling, ambling, hiking and tramping club we can find. Help us keep this list up-to-date by email at or by post and we’ll put the record straight at the next opportunity. ANTRIM Name: Spartan Red Sox County: Antrim, (Based Belfast). Contact: Nigel Whiteside Tel: 028 902 86463 (048 from ROI) Email: Name: Wee Binnians Walkers Contact: Ann McArdle, Secretary Tel: 028 906 41917 RoI: 048 906 41917 Email: Web:

CLARE Name: Ballyvaughan Fanore WC County: Clare - The Burren Contact: Mary Howard Tel: 087 7779714 / 087 2446807 Email: Web: Walks every Sunday, 3-5 hour duration. New members and visitors always welcome. Name: Clare Outdoor Club County: Ennis County: Clare Contact: Fiona Healy Tel: 087 6184956 Web: Club of approximately 120 members with main activities being hill walking, rock climbing and water sports. Members also regulalry travel abroad to world mountain ranges. Organised activities run forthnightly. Age profile over 18 to retirees. Founded 1986; open to over 18s. Hillwalking September to June - alternative Sundays (depart Ennis 8am. sharp). Two or Three weekends away per year. Walks in Kerry, Connemara, Mayo, Burren, Galtees & Comeraghs. Rock climbing in summer months. Provide yearly Mountain Skills Training through Burren OEC. Weekly meetings 10pm. Thursday nights Paddy Quinns bar in the Market, Ennis. Clooney-Quin Hillwalking Club County: Clare Contact: Frances Quinn Tel: 087 2359657 / 065 6825581 (evening) Email:

CARLOW Name: Blackstairs Ramblers County: Carlow/Wexford borders Contact: Dick Murray Tel: 087 235 4202 Email: Web: As our name suggests, we enjoy rambling in the Blackstairs, which are on the border counties Carlow and Wexford. We walk every Thursday night and on the second and fourth Sunday of each month, generally in the Blackstairs but occasionally further afield. We always welcome new members (over the age of 18) whether beginners or seasoned hillwalkers and MCI members are welcome to join us on any of our walks.

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Name: Eagle Ramblers Walking Club County: Carlow Contact: Rosemary Adamson Tel: 059 6471271 Email:  Small club with older members currently ranging in age from 55-75 years but all ages welcome. Walks vary depending on who walks on the day, safety and security for our older members always a priority. Meet weekly and usually walk for 1 hour. Name: Tullow Mountaineering Club County: Carlow/Kildare Email: We  walk twice a week. Wednesday night leaving  at 6.30pm sharp from the  Askea Church Car Park in Carlow. Sunday Walks leave at 9.30am from Barrack Street in Carlow. The first Sunday of  every week  is a  Beginnners Walk. We hike mainly in The Blackstairs,  Wicklow Mountains and The Galtees. There are about 50 of us in the club.

CAVAN Name: Owen Roe Ramblers County: Cavan, (Ballyjamesduff ). Contact: John Doherty Email: Owen Roe Ramblers is a recently formed hill/mountain walking club consisting exclusively of members of Owen Roe Army Barracks, based in Cavan town. Age range 22 to 52 years. Activities include orienteering, abseiling in addition to hill walking as core activity.

CORK Name: Bishopstown Orienteering and Hill Walking Club County: Cork based but membership widespread. Contact: Sean Cotter Tel: 021-4546195 Email: / bishopstownHC@ Web: (or simply Google BISHOPSTOWN) Over 500 members in hillwalking section alone. Hillwalks most Saturdays and Sundays all year round. Forest and cliff top and parkland walks on Tuesdays evenings from April to September. Experienced hillwalkers and Beginners are welcome. Weekends away in Ireland / week long walks in Ireland each June. 2 to 3 weeks overseas, mainly Europe and Atlas Mountains in Morocco plus three weeks in Nepal each october. Name: Blackrock Hill Walking Club County: Cork Email: info@ Web: blackrockhillwalkingclub. com/ We are a small friendly club with an active calendar of walks with  members regularly travelling abroad both as groups and as individuals to more exotic locations. We have a choice of graded walks most Sundays when we are to be found on the hills of Munster – mostly the Reeks, the Galtees and

the Comeraghs. On weekend trips we head further afield and a few times a year there are trips abroad. Check the website for details of walks, trips and events. Contact the secretary for any other details.   Name: Clonakilty Walking Group County: Cork (West) Contact: Carmel O’Donovan Tel: 023 34752 Email: Meet every second Sunday at O’Donovan’s Hotel, Clonakilty. Walks graded A & B alternate Sundays. Mostly Munster-based. Wednesday evening walks May-August (Grade C) on road, beach and in local forests. Name: Cobh Hill Walking Club County: Cork (Cobh) Contact: Thelma Mills Tel: 021 481 6611 Email: Club walks every 4 weeks or so, Sundays. Distance usually 7 miles +. Meet at GPO Cobh at 8:30 am. Age range 30-70 years. Name: Coconuts Hill Walking Club County: Cork (City) Contact: Kay.McGrath Email: Web: Club founded in 2002 by group which had been walking together since 1997. Trips in West Cork or Kerry, approximately every 4 weeks with additional walks on some Bank Holidays. Occasional foreign trips. Ages 15-70. Name: Cork Backpackers Club County: Cork (City) Contact: Kevin Hamill Email: Eithne O’Mahony Web: Meet every Wednesday night in “Counihan’s”, Pembroke Street, Cork (next to the GPO) from about 9:00 p.m. onwards. There is a day hike every two

weeks, on Sunday throughout the entire year – with four graded walks on each outing: Easy (for those trying out the sport), Short (a little longer than Easy, with fewer breaks), Moderate (for the reasonably fit) … and the Long walk (for those who really like to stretch the legs!). We organise a weekend trip on most of the “long” weekends during the year to various places including Connemara, Mayo, Donegal and Wicklow (to name a few). All over 18 are welcome; those who already have MCI membership, either individually or through another Club, pay a reduced membership fee. Name: Cork Mountaineering Club County: Cork (Midleton) Contact: John Paul Curtin Email: Founded in 1975, Cork’s oldest mountaineering club. Principal activity is hill walking but also have active rock-climbing members. Walk all of Munster’s mountains regularly: West Cork, Kerry, Galtees, Knockmealdowns & the Comeraghs. Also organise weekend breaks to other regions of Ireland and abroad. Summer evening walk on Wednesdays. Name: Dunmanway Hillwalking Club County: Cork (West) Contact: Denis O’Mahony Email: Our club has been in existience for approximatly four years. Current membership is 22. Age profile is 30 65 with some couples. New members are always welcome. Prospective members are invited to take part in two walks before coming members. Visiting MCI members are always welcome. Walks twice monthly: A - strenous, B -less streous, C - walks (mostly roads or tracks). Weekly from may to August. trip away on the May weekend, Christmas Walk and night out. All members are encouraged and invited to do any training available. Dunmanway Hillwalking Club founded in February 2004 following an open meeting for anyone interested in walking. Officially a club since Oct 2004. Initially undertook one walk (Grade A or B) monthly. Currently walks twice monthly with A/B options in same area. Grade C walks on summer evenings. Membership open to over 16’s. Age profile 30-60. First overnight trip in October - plans for many more! Everyone welcome. Social gatherings after each walk. Name: Glanmire Walkers County: Cork (Glanmire) Contact: Una Webster Tel: 087 677 5179 Email: Name: Mallow Walking Club Contact: Bride Coghlan, Secretary Tel: 087 127 0898 Name: Midleton Hillwalking Club County: : Cork Contact: Amber Harrison Email: Website: Hillwalkers and low level walkers are catered for through the club. The Hillwalkers meet every 2nd Sunday with 2 level of walks held. Walks for low level walkers are held every 2nd Wednesday and every 2nd Saturday. All are welcome.

DERRY Name: Foyle Hillwalking and Rambling Club County: Derry - City BT48 8PS Contact: Lorraine Moroney Tel: 028/048 7135 4305 Email: Web: Weekly walks on alternate Saturdays and Sundays; at least one weekend trip away per year. Age range 40+ years. Club open to NEW members. Members participate in challenge events. MI members welcome to visit and join outings.



Name: Bluestack Ramblers Tel: 087 7844803 Email: Web: The Bluestack Ramblers was set up fifteen years ago. Based in Donegal Town with members from all over Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo and parts of Northern Ireland. We go on two to three weekends in Ireland every year and sometimes to Wales and Scotland. Every two years we have a trip abroad. Christmas Party every year. We welcome new members and have a daily membership for people who are visiting or just want to walk occasionally. We have a six monthly calander and cater for all grades of walker with easy, moderate and hard walks from one hour to eight hours.

Name: North Down Ramblers County: Down (Bangor) Contact: David McAnirn Tel: 048 9145 8831 Email: The club caters for both experienced walkers and beginners, walks vary from low level walks such as canal and shoreline walks to more strenuous walks for the more experienced walkers. Walks take place mostly on Saturdays and public holidays. Starter walks on Sunday afternoons and Sunday evenings.

Name: Crannagh Ramblers County: Donegal (Buncrana) Contact: John Doherty Tel: 074 9362181 Email: et Buncrana Leisure Centre car park alternate Sundays at 10.30 a.m. Hill and coastal walks in Inishowen, Donegal and Derry. Spring weekend trip to Mournes. MI members, new members and beginners welcome on all walks. Open to adults and families. Name: Donegal Mountaineering Club County: Donegal (Donegal Town) Contact: Jeremy St. Clare Tel: (+353 87) 327 0273 Email: The Donegal Mountaineering Club was formed in May 2008 in Donegal Town, nestled beneath our ‘home’ mountains of the Bluestacks. The primary objective and activity of the DMC is for its members to complete the 211 Hewitts of Ireland, which takes us on a journey to every corner of the country. Club members are also engaged in Geocaching, climbing and bouldering, and since the club’s formation have participated in the Four Peaks Challenge.Club members are from all walks of life and all ages, and from all levels of ability. The Munros also feature large in the sights of the club as do trips further afield. The club has a ‘homely’ feel and likes to acknowledge achievements of club members such as recognising milestones like the first 50 Hewitts, or gaining the Tankard on completing the whole set. The club has one mainstay walk each month, described by the Chairman on the club’s forum. There are other walks and activities through the month which are organised by various committee members, the details of these are circulated on the forum and meetings and other communications if members are not on-line to view the forum.

DUBLIN Name: ACARA Trekking Club County: Dublin 2 Contact: Colette O’Sullivan Tel: (01) 487 7150 Email Provide facilities for regular hill walking and social events for members. Name: An Óige Hillwalkers Club County: Dublin 12 Contact: James Barry Tel: 0872737338 or An Oige Head Office 01-8304555 Email: Web: As the name implies, the An Óige Hillwalkers Club is affiliated with the Irish Youth Hostel Association, An Óige. An Óige organises Easy and Moderate hikes. The hillwalking club was established in 1993 for those who were interested in longer and more challenging hikes in Wicklow and further afield. We refer to these hikes as Hard hikes. This website is dedicated to the hillwalking club i.e. to the Hard hikes. Further information on the Easy and Moderate hikes can be found on  www. The an Oige Hillwalkers Club have a hike programme for almost every Sunday of the year. Typically, the club also organizes up to 6 walking weekends plus 2 week long holidays per year to locations in Ireland, the UK or mainland Europe. In addition, there are a number of social activities which don’t involve hiking, such as social nights out or the annual Christmas Party.  The club also organises a popular Map & Compass Course which is open to members and non-members wanting to learn or improve their navigation and mapreading skills. .  Membership: 130 Name: Bank of Ireland Hill Walking Club County: Dublin 2 - part of Bank of Ireland Sports & Social Department Contact: Declan Doyle

Name: Letterkenny IT Hill Walking Society County: Donegal (Letterkenny Institute of Technology) Contact: Conrad Gibbons Tel: (074) 918 6921 Email: Name: North West Mountaineering Club County: Walks take place in Donegal. Contact based Omagh, Co Tyrone Contact: Helen Osborne Email: Web: Walks in Donegal every Sunday, also trips to other parts of Ireland, GB and beyond.

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Tel: 01 604 3873 Email: Bank of Ireland Hillwalking Club was established for Bank of Ireland staff and is primarily for walking and rambling. Branches in Leinster, Connacht, Munster. Walks every second weekend and we also arrange a number of Away weekends each year. Name: Bogtrotters Hill Walking Club County: Dublin 11 - Finglas South Contact: Susan Walsh Tel: (+353 87) 326 0451 Email: Web: All welcome (with correct gear and some walking fitness) Meet Sunday mornings at 9.45am at the Tuning Fork pub, Rathfarnham, between Willbrook Road, Ballyboden Road and Whitechurch Road. Hill walks, varying from grades 3 -1. See web site for details.   Name: Bootleggers Hill Walking Club County: Dublin Contact: Robbie Dale Email: Web: The Bootleggers Hillwalking club was founded in 1984. We are a small Dublin based group with about 30 members. We have walks every Sunday in Wicklow, and trips to other parts of the country on bank holiday weekends. Our age ranges from late twenties to midfifties with the average being around mid-thirties. We produce a list of walks about once every 3 months. More specific information is given at the “Schedule” page. We usually recommend that people come out with us for a few Sundays to get a feel for the club before joining. You are welcome to join us any Sunday, but we have an introductory walk for new people the second Sunday of every month. Name: Bushcraft Club County: Dublin Contact: Donal Carroll Tel: 0876161367 Email: Web: Ireland’s first official club dedicated towards the study and practice of Bushcraft and primitive living skills. The aim of our club is to practice the skills of bushcraft and primitive living in a community of like minded people. We welcome complete beginners to veterans of bushcraft. Name: CIÉ Hillwalkers County: Dublin 8 - Iarnrod Eireann Inchicore Works Contact: Kieran Stack Email: Walk on the second Sunday of each month. Additional walks organised throughout the year in addition to about four weekends away during the year. Meet at Glendalough or Laragh Co Wicklow for most walks. All walks categorised as grade A or B walks with little or no short or flat walking. Membership is confined to employees of Irish Rail, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann and their immediate family members. Name: Clondalkin Hill Walking Club County: Dublin (West) Contact: Lisa Galligan Tel: 087 7467241 Meet every second Sunday at Clondalkin Sports and Leisure Centre car park, Clondalkin Village. Small group looking for new members who are hill walkers or interested in starting. Grades of walks vary depending on participants needs. Sunday walks in Wicklow would be 4 to 6 hours with stops and a packed lunch.  Long days away to the Mournes / Galtees / Comeraghs and 2 - 3 weekend away each year to Kerry / Donegal / Galway or Wales / Scotland.  Equipment can be lent to beginners on request. Twice yearly meeting to plan walks and social events

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such as literary pub crawl, skiing holiday, and Christmas parties and walks.  Club encourage members to become actively involved in planning walks and learning some basic hill walking skills over time. Name: Cnocadóirí County: Baile Atha Cliath (Dublin) Contact: Blaithin Ni Liathain Tel: 087 9258289 Emai/ Ríomhpost:  Web/Suíomh gréasáin: For an opportunity to practise your cúpla focal  while enjoying the countryside contact Na Cnocadóirí for more information. Nó más Gaeilgeoir thú, nó má tá tú ag foghlaim Gaeilge, agus má tá spéis agat sa chnocadóireacht beidh fáilte romhat teacht amach ag siúl leis na Cnocadóirí.  Téinn siad ag cnocadóireacht gach coicís, ar an Domhnach, ó Mheán Fómhair go Meitheamh.  Is i sléibhte Chill Mhantáin a bhíonn siad ag siúl de ghnáth, agus bíonn corrdheireadh seachtaine cnocadóireachta againn sa Ghaeltacht nó in áiteanna eile freisin. Tosaíonn na siúlóidí ar 11.45, agus maireann siad 4 huaire go leith nó 5 huaire de ghnáth.  Ta fáilte roimh baill nua - déan teagmháil linn chun eolas breise a fháil.  Name: Countrywide Hillwalkers Association County: Dublin Web: CHA is the longest established walking club in Ireland. It was founded in 1922 and is Dublin based. Most of our walks take place in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains every Saturday for walkers of all levels. We also organize walking holidays for Club Members in Ireland, from Co.Kerry, to Connemara, to the Mountains of Mourne and to European countries which in recent years have included England, France, Portugal and Austria. Name: DCU Hiking Club County: Dublin - Dublin City University, Ballymun Contact: John Dardis Tel: 086 360 8456 Email: Web: Founded in 1990 the DCU hiking Club is one of the biggest outdoor clubs in Dublin City University. Currently enrol over 200 new members each year, a large percentage being foreign students. Membership is restricted to DCU students only. Hike regularly around the east coast of Ireland, and have numerous trips to the west during the university year. See website for more information Name: DIT Mountaineering Club County: Dublin 9- Dublin Institute of Technology Club Contact: Patrick Carolan Tel: 086 0745789 Email: Web: Open to all students, staff & graduates from the Dublin Institute of Technology - of all levels of ability. Activities include climbing, bouldering and hiking. Indoor climbing Wall in Larkin College Mon & Tues; 7-9pm. Day trips to Dalkey Quarry, Co Dublin. Weekend trips to various locations around Ireland. Name  : Dublin and Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team Contact: Paul Keenan (secretary) Email: Phone: 087 6849773 Web: The Dublin and Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team comprises of 40 dedicated, highly trained and committed volunteers. The Team is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days of the year, to provide emergency search and rescue services, in conjunction with the Garda

Siochana, for persons lost or injured in remote or inaccessible areas within Dublin and Wicklow and on the Cooley penninsula. Name: Dublin Phoenix Nordic Walking Club County: Dublin - Phoenix Park Email:  - Club Chairman  - Club Secretary  - Membership Officer & Treasurer  - Events Organiser Web: Meet and walk every Saturday morning (10am start) throughout the year at the Papal Cross car park in Phoenix Park (Dublin) and every Tuesday evening during the summer season. Walks last  approx 1 to 2 hours, depending upon members’ preferences. Our walk takes us on various trails around the  Phoenix Park, giving plenty of variety from grassland to pathways over both flat and hilly territory. Members are divided into groups of between 6 and 15 people and walk at a pace that their level of fitness allows. Tuesday evening walks are held from Easter until the end of September. Meet at 7.30pm, again at the Papal Cross. Special events organised during summer months e.g. outings to interesting parts of the adjacent countryside including scenic views, historic sites, and picnics. These are Sunday outings and are in addition to regular walks. To book a place on the Introductory Nordic Walking Workshop: Name: ESB Hill Walkers County: Dublin - Rathfarnham Contact: Michael A. Murray Tel: Day: (+353 1) 702 6902 Evening: (+353 87) 798 0228 Email: Membership open to ESB staff, their families and friends. Walks organised once a month on a Sunday usually in Dublin/Wicklow mountains. Club travels abroad once a year for a week-long trip. The age range 40’s to retirees. Visiting MI members welcome. Name: Fineos Hill Walkers County: Dublin 2 Contact: Maria Moore Email: Club formed May 2005 to provide walking outings to the Wicklow and Mourne mountains for staff of Fineos Corporation. Main activity is classic hill walking.

Name: Fitzamblers County: Dublin 6 - Dartry Contact: Richard Kennedy Tel: (01) 497 2776 (day) (086) 171 4323 (evenings) Email: Fitzamblers established in 1995 for members of Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club who were interested in walking and ambling. Walk once every month on a Sunday. Most of the walks in Co. Wicklow with one away weekend in Ireland and a four-to-six day overseas trip each year. Name: Garda Mountaineering and Canoeing Club County: Dublin Contact: Robin Faughnan Tel: 087 3900159 Email: Web: Club covers all areas of mountaineering from twice monthly hill walks in Dublin and Wicklow Mountains to overseas trips. All ages welcome to join club including children. Club organises recognised courses to cater for every level of walker. Links with many clubs in other countries. Name: Glenwalk County: Dublin Web: Walk every second Sunday with 4 grades. Shorter unofficial walks year round on alternate Sundays, and during the summer on Wednesday evenings. Map reading courses available. Long weekends away in Ireland and Great Britain. Trips to Europe in summer. Skiing in winter. Beginners rock climbing summer only. Many social events. All correspondence via Email only which can be accessed via website. Adults only, mainly 20s to 50s age range. Name: Irish Christian Hillwalking Club County: Dublin - West (Lucan) Contact: Conor Smith Tel: 086 386 1867 Email: Web: Small countrywide-based club. Members from different backgrounds with a love for the outdoors and an interest in Christianity. Walks at different levels on Saturdays with members from late 20’s to early 50’s. Regular weekend events and some trips abroad. Check for further details Name: Irish Mountaineering Club County: Dublin 6W - Terenure Tel: 087 8216147  Contact: Tony Barry Email: Web: The Irish Mountaineering Club is the oldest such club in Ireland, founded in 1948. Membership open to anyone over 18 years of age with an interest in mountaineering. Members join as Associate Members. On attaining basic hillcraft and rock-climbing experience, an Associate Member may apply to become a Full Member Name: Irish Ramblers Club County: Dublin Email: Web: We are a hiking club based in the Dublin area. We have day-long hikes which mainly take place in the mountains of County: Wicklow. The Ramblers hiking club caters for all fitness levels. If you want to enjoy the great outdoors in the company of like-minded people then the Irish Ramblers Club is the club for you and we look forward to welcoming you. Visit us at The Lug Walk Challenge will take place in midsummer

2011. This is a walk for experienced and fit hill walkers with a distance of 53 km. and ascent of  2,290m. Watch out for details at or http:// Name: L & Q Garda Hill Walking Club County: Dublin Contact: Stephen Hayes Tel: 086 1564337 Email: Name: Lung Gompas County: Dublin 4 - Irishtown Contact: Michael Penston Tel: (+353 86) 330 9034 Email: Web: Bi monthly trek in the Wicklow mountains and one monthly trek for less experienced walkers. 2-3 week-ends away in Irish mountains and annual week abroad. Age profile 30-60 years. New members are always welcome. About 60% of club members would have done a MST course and once a year we have an in-club MST day. Name: Marley Hill Walkers County: Dublin 16 - Dundrum Contact: Philip Pearson Email: Web: Meet every Sundays 09:45 at Eden Pub Car Park, off Grange Road, Rathfarnham. Walks in Wicklow. Also an Introductory walk for newcomers on 3rd. Sunday each month. Organise regular trips around Ireland and abroad. Open to over 18s only. Name: Mountain Meitheal County: Dublin Contact: Cliona Ni Bhreartuin Tel: 087 2740513 Email: Web: Meet fortnightly on alternating Saturdays and Sundays. Dates are on web site.  Select “Programme” for details or contact the club secretary. All over 18 welcome. We are a club founded on the belief that as people walk the mountains  causing erosion as they go, it is their responsibility to go back and repair the damage. Our members ‘get out, get dirty, and give back’ once every two weeks. Non-members are always welcome to join us to help in the repair work and hopefully have a very sociable and enjoyable day giving back to the environment. Name: Na Coisithe County: Dublin - Glasnevin Contact: John  Webb Tel: 01 872 9444 / 837 6636 (h) Email: Web: Walks every fortnight published in bulletin sent to members each quarter. Three weekends plus several mini weekends (one night) away. Most walks in Co. Wicklow. Main activities include hill, road and forest walking. Age range 30-70 years.

Current membership age range 20s to the 60s. Group is linked to Cork and Belfast walking groups. Name: Rainbow Hill Walking Club County: Dublin 24 - Old Bawn Contact: Adrienne McMullan Tel: 087 6972277 Club active for 16 years. Meet at Xtravision, Village Green, Tallaght at 9am. Every 2nd Saturday or Sunday. Ungraded walks once a month for beginners. Some trips abroad. MI members welcome. Name: Shanganagh Ramblers County: Dublin - Shankill Contact: Gerry Aylward Tel: 086 3585553 Email: Web: Meet every 2 weeks on Sundays at 09:00 (long) or 12:00 (short), depending on walk, at Brady’s pub in centre of Shankill. Mostly walk in Wicklow. Two weekends away each year. Age range 7-70 years. Name: Siúl Walking Club County: Dublin Contact: Emer McLoughlin Tel: 086 1959689 Email: Membership made up of employees/former employees of the Department of Environment and Local Government, as well as friends or colleagues who pay annual subs and agree to be bound by rules of club. Long and medium walks every second/third Saturday in Dublin area and surrounding counties. Name: St. Kevin’s College County: Dublin 12 - Crumlin Contact: Noel Maguire Tel: 01 453 6397 Email: Informal group formed in 1974. Student members undergo training in outdoor instruction and other mountain skills. Name: The Co-Op Climbing Club County: Dublin Contact: Jennie Coughlan Tel: 087 2805704 Email: Name: The Trekkers Mountaineering Club County: Dublin - Killiney Contact: Gerry Fogarty Email: Web:

Name: Out & About County: Dublin 12 - Crumlin Contact: Gerry Claffey (Secretary) Tel: (+353 86) 829 1724 Email: Web: Weekly Sunday hill walking, mostly in Wicklow. Club open to newcomers, in particular Lesbian, Gay,  Bisexual and Transgendered people and their friends. Accommodate beginners and advanced walkers.

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Adult hill-walking group. Three grades of walks and about 5 walks per month in the Wicklow Mountains. Two away trips each year. Club is particularly interested in additional members in the younger age groups (20s and 30s). Current membership age range 20-70 years. Occasional formal Navigation courses organised. Visiting MI member(s) welcome subject to availability of transport.

Contact: Tom Rea Tel: 087 2571204 Fax: 093 35224 Email: Club Membership drawn from Galway Civil Defence and the Galway VHF Group (Emergency Communications). Formed to take over the running of the Annual Burren Walks formerly organised by  Thomond Orienteering Club, Limerick. Weekly cross country and hill walking. Annual Burren Walks Event.

Name: The Wayfarers Hillwalking club County: Dublin 8 Contact: Maria Conlon, Secretary Tel: 087 205 7232 Email: Web: We are mainly a Dublin based club although we have members from all corners of the country. Currently we have over 200 members. We do most of our walking in the Wicklow/Dublin area. Each Sunday we have two hikes, a short hike of 14k to 16k at a consistent pace and a longer hike, usually 18k+ and geared towards those who like a tougher day in the mountains and this requires a higher level of fitness. Occasionally we have an additional Intermediate Hike, usually 15k-18k for more experienced short hikers.Each hike is led by an experienced leader. During the summer months, evening hikes on Wednesdays are arranged.  We hope you enjoy your visit to our website and if you are interested in joining the Wayfarers we would be delighted to hear from you. We encourage people to come out a couple of times with us before deciding whether or not you wish to join, so feel free to come along on a hike any time that suits.

Name: Club Siulide Chonamara Theas County: Galway Contact: John Canny Email:

Name: Tolka Trekkers County: Dublin 15 - Clonsilla Contact: Margaret Ryan Tel: 086 810 6709 Email:  Walks generally in Wicklow - every second Sunday of month. Meet in Blanchardstown at 09:00 at the Greyhound Pub. Occasional weekends away; Scotland, Mournes, Twelve Bens etc. Age range 20s to 60s. Open to new members with reasonable fitness and correct walking gear.

Name: GMIT Mountaineering Club County: Galway Contact: Theo Mooney Email:

Name: UCD Mountaineering Club County: Dublin - University College Contact: Clare Ryan Box 63, Student Centre Email: Web: The purpose of the club is to develop confidence and independence on the mountains. Weekly hikes, regular social events, free access to a climbing wall and monthly trips for hiking/climbing around Ireland. Membership open to students, staff and graduates of UCD. The age profile is predominantly 18-30. Club organises trips, skills-training and can supply necessary equipment.

GALWAY Name: Beanna Beola Hillwalking Club County: Galway Contact: Maugie Francis, Secretary Tel: 087 873312 Email: Founded 1994. Emphasis on hill walks rather than low level rambles Fortnightly walks on Sundays to pre-planned schedule, mainly west/north-west Galway area and islands. Graded walks Level 1 (low, easy) to Level 5 (more peaks, longer and more strenuous). Occasional weekends/weeks away Ireland and abroad. New members & MCI visitors of all levels welcome. Age range 30s to 50s+. Webbed feet a plus for this terrain! Name: Burren Walking Club County: Galway - Headford.

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Name: Cumann Siúl Cois Coiribe County: Galway - Headford Road Contact: Sheila Mangan Tel: 091 765349 Email: Varied programme of walks, every second weekend. Open to all. MCI members especially welcome.   Name: Galway Walking Club County: Galway - Bohermore Email: Web: Formed in 1995, up to 200 members. Primarily a walking club but also organise both A and B rade hill walks as well as short walks. Meet in Tonery’’s bar in Bohermore every second Thursday night at 20:30. Walks all year round. Weekends away in Ireland and one overseas trip annually. All welcome.

Name: Grey Lake Ramblers County: Galway - Loughrea Contact: Ann Fahy or Mick Fox Tel: 091 841963 or Ann Fahy 087 6138907 Mick Fox 087 232 0124 Email: Walks every second Sunday. Meet Gort Road car park, Loughrea at 10am. 2-4 hour duration. Slieve Aughty, Burren and East Clare. New members welcome. Joint outings with East Clare walkers and Fanore/Ballyvaughan. Name: Maumturks Walking Club County: Galway Contact: Patricia Keane (Sec) Tel: 087 277 5057 Email: Web: The club has gone from strength to strength over the last years in October we had more than 60 members from Maam, Cornamona, Oughterard and Leenane area also Mayo, Dublin Roscommon & Navan. Over the past year we have run training courses in mountain skills and are hoping to run more in the coming year.  The committee meet every fortnight and arrange our weekly walks, these walks are planned to suit the varying needs and abilities of all our members, from the inexperienced walkers to the highly experience ones. Walks are all graded from a short stroll to a high mountain walk, we hope that way we can provide everyone with a nice day out. We have planned walks all through the area including a recent trip a trip to the Burren in Co Clare which proved very popular. The Club intends to organise walks overseas in the New Year. If anyone is interested in joining us for a walk they can contact us on 087 277 5057 or e mail at We can also be found on facebook: Maumturks Walking Club. Looking forward to seeing you all on the mountain one day The Maumturks Walking Club Committee Name: Muintir na Sléibhte County: Galway - Salthill Contact: Club secretary Peter Costello.  Email: Founded 1994, became MI club in 2009. Approx 30 members with age range 50’s to 70’s inexorably moving upwards!  Meet 1st Sunday (ramble) and 3rd Sunday (mountains) every month. Meeting point outside Wards Hotel, Lower Salthill. Also organise weekends away in Ireland and longer trips abroad. Name: NUI Galway Mountaineering Club County: Galway - University Contact: Aengus Finnegan Email: Web: Founded in 1970. Membership open to members of NUI, Galway only; undergraduates, postgraduates, staff and alumni. Walks of varying grades every Sunday during term time in Connemara, Mayo and Clare. Name: Oyster Walking Club County: Galway Contact: Deirdre Matthews Tel: 085 8386857 Email: Walk every second Sunday, mostly in the Burren, occasionally in Connemara. Walks are easy to moderate, road walking avoided. All aged 12+ are welcome. Name: Rosway Walkers County: Galway - Ballinasloe Contact: Frances Leahy Tel: 086 2250793 Email: We are based in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, just on the Roscommon/Galway  Border - hence the name Rosway. We have walks most weekends - Saturday/Sunday. 123 members, age profile From 20’s to 60’s’. Great variety of walks from local Canal, Bog, forest walks 2/3 hours to Carrauntoohil - plus peaks in Scotland, England & Wales and everything in between.

KERRY Name: Cahirsiveen Outdoor Club County: Kerry - Cahersiveen Contact: Bridget King Tel: 066 947 9088 Email: Long & short walks every Sunday. Meet at Cahersiveen Community Centre, 10:30am. Two weekends away each year. Open to new members and beginners Members aged 30-70 years. MI members welcome with own insurance. Name: Cumann Sleibhteóireachta - Annascaul Walks County: Kerry Contact: Moire Spillane Tel: (+353 66) 915 7033 Email: Name: Cumann Sléibhteóireachta Chorca Dhuibhne / Dingle Hillwalking Club County: Kerry - Dingle Contact: David Chippendale - Secretary Tel: (+353 87) 970 9472 Email: Web: Most walks begin at Tom Long’s Pub in Dingle at 10am. Walks are scheduled on alternate Sundays. Members also walk on off-schedule Sundays. The choice, duration and grade of these unscheduled walks usually depends on weather conditions. Feel free to join us for these walks as well. Most of our walks are in the West Kerry mountains, from the Slieve Mish to Mt. Eagle. We also on occasion walk in the Killarney area. This offers a huge abundance of choice, breath-taking scenery and wide variety of walks. Mt. Brandon alone offer an amazing array of approaches. Name: Kenmare Walking Club County: Kerry - Tousist Contact: Peter O’Sullivan Tel: (021) 438 5911 Mobile: (087) 675 0702 Email: Web: Meet Sunday mornings in the Square in Kenmare for either an “A” or a “B” walk. Most “A” walks start at 9am and “B” walks start at 10am and are on alternate Sundays. “A” walks are strenuous and on open, rough, mountainous ground, sometimes with an element of scrambling, typically 4 to 7 hours in duration, 10km to 17km and a climb of 600 to 1200 mtrs. “B” walks are usually on tracks or low level ground. Non members welcome on walks not reserved for members only. Non members must contact walk leader at least 24 hrs before. Open to over 18’s who will need to complete some walks with the club before applying for membership. MI members welcome with own insurance. Name: Kenmare Walking Club County: : Kerry - Kenmare Contact: Jane O’Brien (Secretary) Tel: 087 9831290 Email: Web:                                                                                             We are a small walking club with 98 members.  All the details concerning our club can be found on our website at We organise walks every sunday, alternating between Grade A and Grade B walks in order to suit all levels of fitness. Our walks cover both Kerry and Beara Penninsula. We also travel abroad as a group 2/3 times a year. Name: Kerry Garda Hill Walking Club County: Kerry Contact: Noel Burke Email: Hill walks around Kerry & Cork - 12-15 walks annually for members in upper age bracket. Regular  small group walks and climbs of medium to strenuous  level.. MI members welcome. Membership restricted to workforce and family members in the area.

Name: Killarney Mountaineering Club County: Kerry - Killarney Contact: Joe Doran Tel: 085 174 0656 Email: Web: Walk every second Sunday. Meet outside cinema in Killarney. Rock climbing every Tuesday and Thursday evening during winter at Club’s climbing wall. Over 18’s with a reasonable level of fitness and Mountaineering Ireland members are welcome. Name: Laune Mountaineering Club County: Kerry - Killorglin Web: Walk every second week approx September to June.  Two walks organised each outing - Hard ie faster pace, more ascent/distance and Moderate. Moderate walks involve ascent of 200-700 meters and  4 to 5 hours walking.  Usually walk in Kerry Mountains, weekend away once a year. Encourage members to become proficient in navigation and run in-club navigation sessions during the year. Interested people  welcome to try out easier moderate walks at own risk. Other MI members welcome. Name: Sleibhteoiri Oga Chairraí County: Kerry - South Contact: John Healy Email: Kerry, West Cork Regions, primarily focused on giving young persons access to mountains Age 10+. Name: Sliabh Luachra Hillwalking Club County: Kerry - Killarney Contact: Liz Griffin Tel: 087 972 9908 Email: Web: Name: Tralee Mountaineering Club County: Kerry - Tralee Contact: Maja Noszczyk Tel: 085 1650658 Email: Web: Founded 1954. Open to adults. Club organises 3 separate outings on alternate Sundays in an effort to cater for all who wish to walk and climb in mountainous countryside. The three outings are graded Easy, Moderate & Hard.

KILDARE Name: Maynooth Hillwalking Club County: Kildare - Maynooth Contact: Marie Kilcullen Tel: 086 398 4172 Email: Web: Previously called Glenroyal H.C. Walks bi-monthly, (one each of easy / moderate / hard hikes). Meet Maynooth 9am. Dublin/Wicklow Mountains with occasional trips away. Sometimes two activities simultaneously. One weekend away includes night hike. Beginners need to be fit enough for an 8-mile walk. Age range mostly middle aged.

Founded 1982. Walk most Sundays during the year, except July & August. Areas include Slievenamon, Comeraghs, Knockmealdowns, Galtees, Blackstairs and Wicklow. New members and beginners welcome. Age range 20-70.

LEITRIM Name: Sliabh an Iarainn Hill Walking Club Contact: Jack Lee, Aghacashel P.O., Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim Tel: 071 96 41569 Email: Web: Name: Holey Soles Hillwalking Club Tel: 086 841 8843 Email: Web:

LIMERICK Name: Ballyhoura Bears Mountaineering Club County: Limerick Contact: Renee O’Dwyer Tel: 087 1259465 Email: Walk every Sunday in the Munster area as a voluntary group. Aim to promote local areas of Aherlow and Ballyhouras. Two walking festivals annually May and October. Open to new members and welcome beginners and members from other clubs. Name: Croom Abu Walking Club County: Limerick Contact: Reg Turner Tel: 061 397726 Email: Name: Limerick Climbing Club County: Limerick - City Contact: Teresa Mathews (Secretary) Email: Web: “Hillwalking is about being in beautiful places” Marian Keyes, founding member. The club is a hillwalking club based in the Limerick area. Founded in 1982, the club currently has a membership of over 130, but always welcomes new members that share our passion for the mountains. While the club focuses primarily on hillwalking, quite a few of its members also have a keen interest in other areas of the great outdoors. The club runs three types of walks and encourages members to develop their training by arranging training courses throughout the year. See club website for more

Name: Woolgreen Walking Club County: Kildare/Wexford Contact: Kathleen Redmond Tel: 087 655 6782 Email:

KILKENNY Name: Tyndall Mountain Club County: Kilkenny Contact: Sean Costello Tel: 086 1230617

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details. Name: Mullaghareirk Ramblers County: Limerick - Newcastle West Contact: Mary Kennedy Tel: 069 62251 Email:

LOUTH Name: CROWS Hillwalkers County: Louth - County: Council Contact: Roisin McAuley - County: Hall Dundalk Name: Ferrard Ramblers County: Louth - Drogheda Contact: Ann Kirwan Tel: 041 982 2927 Email: Name: The TEAM Project County: Louth - Dundalk Contact: Terence Bannon Tel: 042 933 7711 Email: Name: Tredagh Trekkers County: Louth - Drogheda Email: Web: Walks calendar circulated to members twice a year. Long & short walks every second Sunday, meeting at Donore Road car park, Drogheda. Mournes, Cooleys or Wicklows. Occasional weekends away and navigational events. Membership open to over 18s. All comers welcome with own insurance.

MAYO Name: North West Mayo Hillwalkers County: Mayo Contact: Gretta Byrne Tel: 096 43325 Email: Outings every Sunday. Range of easy, moderate & strenuous walks. Meeting point usually at shop or pub  at the start of the walk. Open to over 18s with MI or own insurance. Name: Ox Mountain Ramblers County: Mayo - Ballina Contact: Janet Moffat Tel: 096 21984 Email: Founded 1999. Meets most Sundays September to June, within 20 mile radius of Ballina. Walks circa 8 miles. Some hill walks, with longer outings in summer, and weekends away. Ages range 25-55 years. MI members welcome. Name: Westport Hill Walking and Mountaineering Club County: Mayo - Islandeady Contact: Gwen Mitchell (secretary) Tel: 094 9026395 / 087 6116 150 Email: Open to over-18’s only, Westport Hillwalkers organise walks every Sunday, following pre-planned Schedules; 3 levels - Low, Intermediate and High. We welcome new members and MI visitors of all levels. Prospective members are invited to partake in two walks before joining up.

MEATH Name: Dunsany Hillwalking Club County: Meath - Dunsaney Contact: Pamela Lifely Email: Walks once a month, 6 to 7 hours duration. Generally in the Wicklow area. Meeting points: Dunsany and Dunshaughlin. Two weekend walking trips annually; one in Ireland

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and one abroad. Name: Garda Hillwalking and Canoeing Club County: Meath - Stamullen Contact: Robin Faughnan Email: Name: Navan Trekkers County: Meath - Navan Contact: George Hodgins Tel: 087 7733035 Email: Web: Based in Meath, do fortnightly Sunday walks of both easy and harder grades, mainly in Mourne and Wicklow mountains, occasionally elsewhere.

MONAGHAN Name: Blaney Ramblers County: Monaghan Contact: Rita Connell Tel: 042 9746554 Email: Activities: Club organises hillwalking trips every two weeks to the Mourne Mts & Cooley Mts as well as weekend trips further afield. Membership open to over 18s.New members always welcome. Affiliated to Mountaineering Ireland.

OFFALY Name: Lár Na Tíre Mountaineering Club County: Offaly - Birr Contact: P.J. Delaney Tel: 0505 47139 Email: Club meets twice a month - once midweek, once at weekend. Activities include walking, scrambling & rock climbing. Encourage all members to aspire to lead a walk. Membership open to all subject to a proposer and seconder from existing membership.

ROSCOMMON Name: Boyle Curlew Walkers County: Roscommon Contact: Philip James Tel: 086 667 8797 Email: Open to all - meets twice a month. All MCI members welcome. Walks graded A,B,C. Many family groups in club. Walking Festival yearly on 3rd. weekend in September. Name: Sliabh Bawn Ramblers County: Roscommon - Strokestown Contact: Mary Daly Tel: 071 9633777 Long or short walks every second weekend on either Saturday or Sunday. Most walks in Roscommon & Leitrim area. Meet in Strokestown at 10am. on morning of walk. One weekend away each year.

SLIGO Name: Sligo Mountaineering Club County: Sligo - town Contact: Michael Mulligan Tel: (+353 71) 41267 or (+353 71) 916 5584. Web: www.sligomountaineeringclub. org 4 walks per month. First is Club Sunday, for new members & families slower pace. Other walks of various grades. Fixed calendar of events SeptJune. Meet  at Telecentre (Wine Street CP), 10:45. Experienced members teach navigation, first aid & rock climbing to new or inexperienced members. All members MI clubs welcome. U18s must have parent or guardian as member.

TIPPERARY Name: Aonach ár Siúl / Nenagh Walkers County: Tipperary - Nenagh Contact: Mary Murphy  (Secretary) Tel: 067 41168 or 086 817 0287     Club meetings three times a year and a Winter AGM. Walks every two weeks and evening walks in summer in the Silvermines, including Keeper Hill, Slieve Blooms, Slieve Benagh, Galtee Mountains and Way marked Ways including Lough Derg Way, Slieve Felim Way, and the East Clare Way.  Clubs outings include post Christmas and summer BBQ and usually at least one trip away and at least one home based trip.  All age groups and new members welcome.  Name: Galtee Walking Club County: Tipperary - Glen of Aherlow/Tipperary town Contact: Rita Mooney Tel: 087 6242973 Email: Web: Membership of 130+. Weekly Sunday walks from September to June and Wednesday evening walks throughout the Summer, catering for different categories of experience, A, B &C. A walks are challenging mountain hikes of between 5-7 hours, C walks are 2-3 hrs duration of mostly forest track suitable for regular walkers who are new to hillwalking. The A & B walks generally located around Galteemor, Galtee Beag and surrounding peaks as well as the Knockmealdowns, the Comeraghs, the Silvermines and Slievenamon. Two or three away weekends every year. Open to and welcome new members of all levels of experience.  Name: Mid Tipperary Hill Walking Club County: Tipperary - Thurles Contact: Michael Sutton Tel: 086 4009989 Name: Peaks Mountaineering Club County: Tipperary - Clonmel Contact: Noreen Greene Tel: 087 2389083 Email: Web: Club meets every Sunday, outside “Eldon’s” Licensed Premises, Dillon Street, Clonmel. Walks are as follows: 9:30: Held twice monthly, suitable for very experienced walkers. 10:30: Held every Sunday, suitable for experienced walkers 11:30: Held twice monthly, suitable for regular walkers. 12:30: Held every Sunday, suitable for new and/or regular walkers 13:30: Held twice monthly, suitable for

families. Duration approx. 2 hrs. New members welcome and should note the following: Mountain boots and waterproof gear are essential. It is recommended that new members participate in at least two 12:30 walks before stepping up to earlier walks.

TYRONE Name: Sperrins Hillwalking Club County: Tyrone Contact: Liz Cullen Tel: 078 81916072 Email: Web: We are a very active Hillwalking Club based in the heart of the Sperrins in Northern Ireland.  Organised club walks take place twice monthly.  Grade  1 walks for the fitter walker alternate with Grade 3 walks for those who prefer a more leisurely stroll. We also from time to time have Grade 2 walks - something in between! While many of our walks are in the Sperrins we also have walks in other parts of Ireland and  at least once per year a weekend trip is organised. Safety on all of our walks is of paramount importance and therefore only suitably qualified and experienced members lead  our walks and those who lead the Grade 1 walks have  obtained the Walking Group Leader award. We welcome new members and as we are affiliated to Mountaineering Ireland membership automatically entitles members to avail of cover under Mountaineering Ireland’s Insurance policy and the Mountaineering Ireland magazine. We would also be keen to explore the possibility of joint walks with other clubs. Name: Strabane Hillwalking and Rambling Club County: Tyrone - Strabane Contact: Joe Moran Tel: 048 71884206 Email:

WATERFORD Name: Ballyduff Walking Club County: Waterford - Ballyduff Contact: Mary Crowley Tel: 086 6019428 Email: Club of over 40 members, walks every 2nd Sunday all year round, all at same level/grade. Walks can be mixture of hill, forest and road. One weekend away every May   Name: Comeragh Mountaineering Club County: Waterford/Wexford Contact: Séan Fogarty Email: Web: Founded in 1975, with aim of encouraging and developing the safe enjoyment of all aspects of mountaineering. Weekly Sunday walk, monthly indoor meetings, Bank Holidays away, regular pub get-togethers, annual social events such as Summer BBQ, Christmas “Holly & Hot Whiskey” walk and party. Meet at Hypermarket car park (Waterford), Morgan Street, Sunday 10am. For Knockmealdowns, Galtees and Wicklow we meet at 09:00. Some members are active rock climbers too. Name: Dungarvan Hillwalking Club County: Waterford - Dungarvan Contact: Katherine Foran Tel: 086 8192207 Email: Web: Founded in 1995. Walking and mountaineering activities in the Comeraghs, Knockmealdown and Galtee Mountains, and surrounding areas. Motto of fitness, friendship and fun! Membership of over 180 and a full all year programme

of A,B,C & D walks, together with monthly meetings, weekends away, holidays and regular social events. Annual fundraising walk Comeragh Crossing, runs 26 miles from Clonmel to Dungarvan for local charities. Name: Kilmacthomas Walkers County: Waterford - Kilmacthomas Contact: Milo Rathaille Tel: 051 877243 Email: Name: Nire Valley Bogtrotters Walking Club County: Waterford Contact: Lara O’Dwyer Tel: 087 6157326 Email: Name: Rathgormack Ramblers County: Waterford Contact: Michael O’Donoghue Tel: 087-2927077 Email: Web: We have three walks each month, two mountain (A or B) and one forest (C). Mostly in Comeraghs but nearer summer Knockmealdowns  and Galtees. Small adults only club with about 40 members.  

WESTMEATH Name: Athlone Walking Club County: Westmeath - Athlone Contact: Anne Keane Tel: (+353) 87 680 5105 Meet first Sunday of every month. Bus leaves the Fairgreen car park Athlone at 8am.  A and B walks catered for, sometimes C.  Also several walking weekends during the year.

WEXFORD Name: Wexford Hill Walking Club Email: Meet every Sunday, generally Wicklow, Blackstairs & Comeraghs. Four or Five weekends away annually. List of meets available on request. Mostly active September to July. Graded hillwalking, rock climbing, slide shows & foreign trips. Open to over 18s.

WICKLOW Name: Enniskerry Walking Association County: Wicklow - Enniskerry Contact: Niall Lenoach, EWA Chairperson, (087-928 4934) or Noel Barry, EWA Secretary (01 286 0043). Email: Web: The Enniskerry Walking Association was formed in 2004 to protect traditional walking routes in the area and to promote walking  for recreation, for health, as a safe alternative to car use, and to help us all to learn more about our locality. Our popular Tuesday evening walks usually meet at the Spar at 7.00 pm. Saturday walks meet at 1.30pm. All who are interested, adults or children, are most welcome. Walks vary in length but most last between one-and-a half and two-and-a-half hours; some (but not all) involve a bit of climbing. Please wear appropriate warm and rain-proof clothing, and proper walking boots for the occasional muddy or rocky track. Some walks are designated below as not suitable for dogs and you should bring a lead if you take a dog on other walks. NB: This is a community activity organised by volunteers who accept no liability for injuries or loss caused to participants in any of the above walks.

Email: Meet each Sunday 10.00am, car park of Joe O’Toole’s Pub, Aughrim. Long and short walks (mostly Wicklow). Trips away 2-3 times a year. Open to over 18s or with parents’ consent. Name: Arklow and Wicklow Hillwalkers County: Wicklow Contact: Harry Cullen Tel: 087 9197830 Email: We are a social hill walking club with 30 members and walk each Sunday with a 3 month pre planned programme. Mainly walking the Wicklow and Dublin mountains year round. Walks vary from quite easy to moderate. Age range 18 years to ‘any’ years - who enjoy a relaxing Sunday’s unwind from the working week! New members and guests welcome. Name: Crossbridge Walkers Club County: Wicklow Contact: Marcella Mallick Tel: 087 9887973 Email: Meets every Sunday at 12:30 outside hall in Crossbridge, Co Wicklow. Walks of 7 to 10 miles mainly in the Wicklow Hills. Open to all over 10 years but age range mainly 30-65. MI members welcome with own insurance. Name: Club Cualann Mountaineering Club County: Wicklow - Greystones Contact: David Pollard Tel: 087 6892427 Email: Web: The Club meets for pre-arranged hikes in the DublinWicklow Mountains every Sunday and organises trips away within Ireland or abroad for Bank Holiday weekends and other holiday periods.   A typical Sunday walk is of 4 to 5 hours duration across untracked mountain terrain. The club welcomes  new members and prospective members are encouraged to come and try out  a walk with the club.   The club organises a “Slow & Easy” Welcome Walk every month which is shorter and has less ascent than a regular walk, and is therefore more suitable for beginners. There is an active rock-climbing group within the Club which meets on Wednesday evenings at  Dalkey Quarry during the summer and at the Climbing Wall at UCD Belfield during the winter. Every year the club organises an introductory navigation and mountain skills weekend for those new to hill walking.  This year’s course will take place on the 12 and 13 of March 2011 in the Dublin/ Wicklow area. The course will cover choice of hill walking gear, map reading and basic compass work. This course is free to members and new members joining on or before that date.  Full details will be available on the website in the new year. Name: Imaal Walkers County: Wicklow Email: Hillwalking in Wicklow and Dublin Mountains Away Trips: Ireland UK and Mainland Europe. Membership Open to all over 18 years. Name: Knockadosan Dozen Hill Walkers Club County: Wicklow - Laragh Contact: Michael Miley Tel: 087 9725356 Email: Hill Walks every Saturday, circa 6 hours. Meet Lynham’s of Laragh at 09:00. Also, walks every Monday of circa 3 hours departing Glenmalure Lodge at 17:00. Six hour walk every Bank Holiday. New Members welcome / MI members welcome with own insurance.

Name: 4 A’s Walking Club County: Wexford - walk in Wicklow Contact: Billy Halford Tel: 087 0544518 or 055 22251

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Across 1 This is a bit of a duff lake in Leitrim (5)

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Would a keen Ed. spot this Co Wicklow mtn? (7) Passage tomb in Co Meath (5) Ancient Celtic alphabet (5) Former spouse (2) Soft whitish calcite (5) See 23 Across (3) Small lake on Tonelagee (5) And 21 Across. Wicklow Mtn pass (5) Pacino, Capone or __ fresco? (2) River which rises on the Devil’s-bit mtn (4) Fifth largest county in Ireland (5) Irish-speaking village in Connemara (5) Yellow-flowered bush found on mountains (5) Small mountain range north of the Alps (4) Narrow rocky pass or skin on the head? (5) Young foreign home-helpers (2,5) Headland and harbour north of Dublin city (5) Leisurely stroll or promenade (5) Is this just a short road? (2) Stream of water smaller than a river (5) Circular Iron-age settlements (4-5) Mountain overlooking L. Gill at 417m. (5) Number in a Latin hockey-team? (2) Alternative name for 33 Across (4) Craftsman who works with stone (5) Erithacus rubecola - well-known garden bird (5) Valley where 8 Across can be found (5) Mountain lake such as 22 Across (4) Is this west-Ulster river full of lye? (5) Author of Peter Pan, J.M. ___ (6) Looks debar one from this Glenasmole river! (5,5) Fun party or get-together (2) In short, it’s the rhesus factor! (2) River and valley below Maumtrasna (10) Ha! Sane walkers love this Leinster mtn (6) This hill rises to 640m. on the 31 Across Way (5) ___ Head, near Dunquin in Co Kerry (4) Shrimp-like crustaceans (5) In a cunning way (5) Ben ___, 1,344m. high in Scotland (5) Monster .. fiend (4) Nauseam or lib - it’s just a promotion! (2) Tipperary town whose name means ‘stone-fort’ (5) We lay lace along this Ulster walk (6,3)

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Long, narrow natural elevation (5) Metallic element bismuth (2) Underground enclosures as in Mitchelstown (5) All animal life (5) At 690 & 694m, ‘An Dá Chích’ in Munster (3,4) County of Ben Bulben and Kings mtn (5) Conservative island off Co. Donegal? (4) Ridge of post-glacial gravel (5) Eat a bagel on Mount ___ in Joyce Country (5) People living in Peru before 1530 (5) Part of the Kerry Way, its summit is 535m. (4) Sixth note of the tonic solfa (2) Climb over this with a bit of élan? (5) Long narrow drain or trench (5) Call upon in supplication (3) Hard variety of quartz which sparks easily (5) ..... alternatively ..... (2) Co Donegal glen in the Derryveagh mtns (5) Cliffs of ___, near Lower L. Erne in Fermanagh (5) Fermanagh village renowned for pottery (7) Caha & Slieve Miskish mtns are on this peninsula (5)

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Your short little parent! (2) A 93 Across on Brandon Mountain (4) In short, Conor O’Hagan’s role here (2) I can do an energetic hike to this 593m Mourne top (4) We’re with 26 others in this! (2) Midland lough which feeds the Royal Canal (4) ‘Thanks’ in short! (2) Donegal island, named after a seabird? (4) Ante-meridiem - before noon (1.1.) At 752m, it’s near Mullaghanattin on Iveragh (5) Shannon lake, mostly in Co Leitrim (5) Lough __, near Mullaghmore in the Burren (5) Low-lying wet land (5) Crescent-shaped lough in Donegal, near Aghla More (5) Path or route for walkers (5) Freshwater fish - rainbow or brown? (5) Near Gravale & Coronation Plantain, this is the ‘big rock’ (10) Rathlin Island lies ___ of the Antrim coast (5) Gentle Connemara mountain, summit’s at 356m (5) Bog and town in Co Offaly (5)

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I also class this county as midland! (5) Most important hill-walking items (5) Glen lying between Camarahill &Table Mtn (5) AKA Kanturk, ___ Mtn is beside Scarr at 523m (5) Iconic bear of climate-change (5) Close to Purple Mtn, at Gap of Dunloe (6) Was this 620m. Sperrin peak ever renamed? (7) Slieve ___ ‘Mountain of the small peak’, 747m in the Mournes (7) Metal spike used by mountaineers (5) Is there an oval canal at 734m. in Wicklow? (9) At 817m, only one eaglet overlooks L.Ouler (9) Wicklow lough beneath Luggala (3) Island at entrance to Clew Bay (5) 64 Down rises on 534m Slieve ___ in Co Down (5) Flows between Antrim and Down to Belfast Lough (5) Thomas ___, wrote ‘The Minstrel Boy’ (5) He trots an ass up this Moyle Way 550m top! (7) She tans her skin here in Roaringwater Bay! (7) Valley between Maumturks and Twelve Pins (5) City of the tribes (6) In the Bluestacks, it’s shrill, evil and 600m high! (6,4) The ___ , gap near Lismore in Knockmealdowns (3) There’s a TV mast here at 478m in Belfast Hills (5) Heavy fabric used in jeans (5) Reach 1001m. in the Macgillicuddy Reeks (5) Lough ___, largest Killarney lake (5) Inishowen’s 420m mountain, sounds moist! (5) Bluestack summit at 593m (5) Gaelic-speaking Outer Hebrides island (5) Large black bird of crow family (5) The ___ overlooks Glendalough Lake (5) Eskimo hut (5) Country of Dolomites and Apennines (5) Sacred song of praise (5) This 595m Wicklow mtn sounds ornate! (5) Overlooks Glen of 38 Down, at 701m in Wicklow (5) Overlooks L. Dan, sounds like a mark on the skin (5) Male red deer (4) Slieve ___ range is on Dingle peninsula (4) Boat bottom or village on Achill Island (4) Joint where Pat and Ella meet! (4) Definitely not You! (2) Ancient Egyptian sun god (2) You and I (2) ..that is to say .. (2) Form of address for man (2)

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Post your entry to: Columbia Jumbo Crossword, Walking World Ireland, ‘Edelweiss’, Cushina, Portarlington, Co Laois. A photocopy is acceptable. No faxed or emailed entries. One entry per person. Closing date: 21 February 2011. No cash substitute for prizes.

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Address: ________________________________________________________________________________________________

Name: _______________________________________________________ Tel: _____________________________________


Competition Results

November/December issue Lowe Alpine Centro Daypack Crossword Competition Results




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Congratulations to: Anne Edmonds, Bray, Co Wicklow Terry Coleman, Swinford, Co Mayo Rachel McDonald, Greystones, Co. Wicklow Brian McGarvey, Sixmilecross, Co. Tyrone Susan Deasy, Dunmanway, Co. Cork John O'Brien, Kilgarvan, Co. Kerry Gill Murphy, Lismore, Co. Waterford

Our thanks to all who entered and to our sponsors, Lowe Alpine

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Subscription Rates Republic of Ireland & N. Ireland €32 (payment by cheque, postal order or online at UK, EU, Rest of World E41.50 online at Walking World Ireland ‘Edelweiss’, Cushina, Portarlington, Co Laois Tel/Fax +353 5786 45343


98 WWI 100

WWI 100





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Engineered to carry the load in comfort.

Featured pack: TFX Cerro Torre 65+15 AdaptiveFit shoulder straps contour precisely to your unique shoulder shape

Improved venting channel The TorsoFit back can be micro adjusted for precise ergonomic fit TorsoMotion hipbelt for freedom of movement

AdaptiveFit hipbelt automatically shapes itself to your hips (TFX10 only)

Our award winning TFX trekking packs are now 20% lighter. They are engineered to maximise carrying comfort, with ergonomic designs for men and women. Fit is the secret to carrying comfort, our AdaptiveFit速 technology has been applied to both the hipbelt and shoulder harness and we've made it even easier to adjust the back length to ensure a perfect, individualised fit. TFX just keeps getting better. For more details contact Lowe Alpine on 0121 4621 599 Email

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triumph noun 1 a great success or achievement 2 celebration after a success 3 finishing the Dublin Marathon




WWI Issue 100  

The Walking World Ireland 2011 Annual - COMPLETE

WWI Issue 100  

The Walking World Ireland 2011 Annual - COMPLETE