Shorts Shift What to put on when summer kicks off
Brittany’s Pink Granite Coast SKILLS
Reading The Squiggly Bits
35 Years of Great Outdoors
FREE Silva Compass
Six Super Loops
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Routes! Beara Weekender, Newcastle Way, Dublin Mountains Way, Twelve Bens...
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Old Friends 35 years in business is something to celebrate, the more so when the business in question is retailing, and the market is decidedly 'niche'. The success of Great Outdoors undoubtedly springs from the values that have served Gerry Collins and his Chatham Street crew well, while they were serving us well. The reassurance that comes from knowing the person selling you walking boots has actually used them is not just comforting, it's essential. To the retailer, that reassurance implies a responsibility that good outdoor shops take seriously. Great Outdoors is not alone, of course. There are many great outdoor shops around the country, new and old, selling and advising in often unequal measure. They are unofficial hubs of mountain and water sports in Ireland and much needed. All are fighting hard in difficult times, and should be valued. As we all know, there's more to value than price. The news that Gavin Bate reached the summit of Everest on May 20th was also cause for celebration. Gavin rightly refuses to describe Everest as his bête noire, since every expedition has been a powerful experience from which he gained immensely. But still, summiting was a moment of joy and affirmation. Every ascent entails dogged commitment and endurance, but Gavin and Everest go back a long way, and his fight, both on the mountain and off, has been a good one. Even better news, from WWI's point of view, is that Gavin has promised to rejoin us in the next issue, with something more than a mere blow-by-blow account of his triumph. We expect no less than more from Gavin. Finally, Dick Warner, whose love for and grasp of the natural world has been a feature of Walking World Ireland since its very beginnings, will resume normal service in our next issue. Dick has been busy filming another series of his TV classic Waterways, so in this issue we have reprinted a timely piece of his from the archive. It's a celebration of summer, regardless of weather. We hope you enjoy it and everything else in this issue.
Publisher: Conor O'Hagan Consultant Editor: Martin Joyce Advertising Manager: Roger Cole. Tel: (01) 285 9111 Design: Gwyn Parry Technical Consultant: Andy Callan Environmental Consultant: Dick Warner Maps: EastWest Mapping Contributors: Judy Armstrong, Andy Callan, Zoe Devlin, 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: email@example.com ISSN No. 0791-8801 Printed by: W&G Baird Ltd 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.
BLANCHARDSTOWN: 01-8249156 BULLOCH HARBOUR: 087-7609385 CARRICKMINES: 01-2149352 WWW.53DEGREESNORTH.IE
HELLO SUMMER! important thing we can do for you. Here at 53 Degrees North we take every measure imaginable
Issue 102, June/July 2011
Adrian Hendroff describes two superb walks within easy reach of Kenmare
Dublin Mountains Way: Shankill to Kilternan Village
Denis Gill begins his exploration of our newest long-distance path
A Bencollaghduff Circuit
The Twelve Bens have always packed a mighty punch, as Gareth McCormack rediscovers on a short circuit from Gleninagh.
The Newcastle Way
A recent addition to Northern Irelandâ€™s collection of waymarked ways, this two-day circuit is full of rural charm and diversity, says Helen Fairbairn
Walking the Pink Granite Coast
Judy Armstrong walks a sublime section of the Brittany coastline. A pink gorilla features strongly
Six family friendly out and back routes for the summer months
Squiggly Brown Lines
Thay have their ups and downs, but contours are part of what we do. Andy Callan explains them
Dick Warner on the airborne visitors who help to brighten our summers
26 Gear 14
Inside the Great Outdoors
A selection of new and interesting gear
The Dublin store is celebrating 35 years in business
Andy Callan on the lighter side of outdoor gear - Shorts and Tech Tees
By The Way
A sprinkling of events, announcements, people and places from around the walking world
Subscribe to Irelandâ€™s No.1 Outdoor Magazine and get a superb Silva Field Compass FREE!
A book on Irish forestry prompts Michael Fewer to share some tree-related thoughts
Dates and reviews for the walking party animal
Crossword by Zodrick
Eight pairs of Brasher Kiso or Kenai GTX boots to be won!
FREE Silva Compass WHEN YOU SUBSCRIBE! See Page 42
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Gavin reaches the top
WWI contributor Gavin Bate has reached the summit of Mt Everest – his first successful bid after five previous attempts. Gavin, 45, had come within 250m of the summit five times in ten years, but at around 10.15am on May 20th finally summited, with his friend and climbing companion Pasang Tendi. Fellow expedition members Dave Hill and Lopsang Sherpa also reached the summit. Gavin has led four Everest Expeditions as well as the Millennium Summits Expedition. In 2000 he led the successful British team on the SE Ridge which made the first ascent of the mountain in the new Millennium. In 2002 he and friend Will Canning attempted the north face/northeast ridge route without Sherpa support or supplementary oxygen. They turned back at the Second Step when Will dislocated his kneecap, resulting in a difficult three day descent in stormy conditions. In 2005 he climbed Everest by the SE Ridge alone and without oxygen, turning back just short of the summit because of queues. Eschewing Base Camp for the original 1953 Base Camp used by John Hunt’s team, and managing with only one fly camp on the mountain at Camp
2, Gavin made a 32 hour non-stop climb time to 8,748m and back down to Base Camp.In 2007 Gavin returned to Tibet to attempt a traverse of Everest (northeast ridge/ southeast ridge) without supplementary oxygen, or high camps. Just below the summit he contracted a violent pulmonary oedema and made a very dramatic descent to Base Camp in 13 hours with Sherpa Pasang Tendi. In 2009 he was again forced to descend after a frozen oxygen mask led to hypoxia.
Great Outdoors Lunchtime Lectures
To coincide with its 35-year celebrations, Dublin store Great Outdoors is running a series of Lunchtime Lectures instore, Each talk will be in the basement with people gathering from 1.00pm and the talks running from 1.10 onwards for 40 minutes. The talks are varied and cover a wide range of subjects, some of them similar to our popular evening talks. Each talk is free but to prepare for the numbers involved, you are asked to book some free seats at www.greatoutdoors.ie
Spinc Rescue ‘A First’
June 22nd: Mountain Safety - Dublin Wicklow MRT
June 29th: Tackling Kilimanjaro - Kieran Creevy
July 6th: Introduction to GPS - Garmin Ireland
July 13th: Walking the Camino - Umberto Di Venoza
July 20th: Seakayaking - Shearwater Kayaking
July 29th: Basic Map & Compass - Kieran Creevy
On Friday 13th May a 65-year old man was stretchered from the Lugduff Spinc mountain trail, Co Wicklow. At about 12.30pm he sustained a lower leg injury and had to seek assistance to return to the valley. Both Mountain Rescue Teams in Wicklow attended the scene and helped in carrying the hillwalker approximately 2km down a very rough mountain trail. The weather was unsuitable for a heli-evacuation with blustery winds, rain, hail and poor visibility at times. Members of the Glen of Imaal Red Cross Mt Rescue Team and the Dublin/Wickow Mt Rescue Team carried the injured man for 2 hours to reach the ambulance. In what may have been a ‘first’, the man used his phone to take a photo of his GPS (Global Positioning System) screen to send his location coordinates to the Rescue Services.
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Walk The Line
DWMRT & Great Outdoors present `Walk The Line` Summer Solstice Walk. For a challenge with a difference, why not try the Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team’s Walk the line summer solstice walk. A 32km walk along the Dublin Wicklow border on June 25th, starting before sunset and finishing after sunrise. The walk starts at 9.00pm and finishes in Marley Park at about 3.00am with breakfast and a cuppa for everyone. For those with a more adventurous spirit, there will also be a running group. As well as being the opportunity to try a new, exciting challenge, the event is also a way to raise funds for the team.
Taking the Last 8 Steps
32 Steps for Cystic Fibrosis, the challenge through which Irish climbers Ian Taylor and Cian O’Brolchan aim to raise €250,000 to establish a Lung Transplant Support Fund for Ireland, moves into its final phase on July 23rd as the team take on the remaining Irish county tops. “The feedback we have received from many people has been very positive and supportive,” said a Support Team spokesman. “We have completed the first 24 Steps for CF and will resume this challenge on Saturday 23rd July on Mount Leinster which is the county top for Co. Wexford & Co. Carlow. From this date up until Saturday 27th August we will be ascending the remaining higher county tops of Ireland culminating on Carrauntoohil (1,038m), Co. Kerry. These will include the highest point in each of the 4 provinces. We would like to invite members of the public to join us for these remaining dates and details and information can be found at irelandtoeverest.com/32-steps-for-cf/ “These hikes have proven to be ideal training days for the expedition team as we prepare for the beginning of our international climbs. Robbie Kelly will be attempting the summit of Mont Blanc (4,810m) France and Cian O’Brolchain will be aiming for North America’s highest peak, Denali (6,196m), both in June 2011. We have had many days training in the Wicklow mountains, Connemara and the MacGillycuddy Reeks which has involved heavy packs, long days, over steep terrain and this training is going very well. We will send regular reports
back to Ireland from different camps as we attempt these two international climbs, in addition to updating our website www.irelandtoeverest.com and Facebook page as we progress. There are places available to join the Ireland to Everest team and climb Mont Blanc, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro and also trek to Everest Base Camp with the option of climbing Island Peak. For more details and to join these international climbs please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Historic 1948 Mountain Rescue footage on line Historic mountain rescue film footage from the late 1940s has been made available online. The Wilder Kaiser video contains historic footage of early mountain rescue techniques developed by Wastl Mariner and others in Austria and Germany in the late 1940’s. This unique video was made as a black and white silent film in Austria, and shows the evolution of early mountain rescue technique and equipment in Europe. In BInt-WWI 1 26/04/2011 8:47 amWolf PageBauer 1 about 1950210x135_Layout the German-American immigrant brought a copy
of the film to Seattle, and this became the inspiration for development of mountain rescue in the Pacific Northwest during the 1950s. In 1998 the film was digitized and narrated by the International Commission of Alpine Rescue (IKAR) for their 50th Anniversary Celebration. English subtitles were added in 2009. This film is included on Vimeo courtesy of IKAR at http://www.vimeo.com/20370150, and you can visit their web site at www.ikar-cisa.org
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WWI 102 9
Rescue Teams Stretched
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A recent statement from Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team Chairman David Williams highlights growing pressures on rescue services as mountain sports gain in popularity: “The Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team are facing very real challenges in terms of operating their frontline emergency service in a climate of reduced public funding and an ever increasing demand for their services. Every month, more people are turning to the great outdoors as a way of enjoying an affordable and healthy lifestyle with their families and friends, with obvious benefits to their health and leisure cost. With this increase in numbers heading for the great outdoors to avail of lower cost recreational time comes an ever increasing number of callouts for the volunteers to respond to someone in need of help. “Things can and do go wrong from time to time, whether you’re a novice or experienced outdoors person” says Paul Gilbert, PRO with the team, “Needless to say, our volunteers continue to respond to calls for help from the hills and mountains of Dublin and Wicklow, and occasionally further afield, 24 hours a day in all weather conditions. “Some of the numbers related to the provision of these entirely volunteer staffed services are staggering, with each member giving up to 500 hours per annum of unpaid time spent training for and responding to 999/112 calls. The team responded to 6 calls in a 24 hour period over the Easter weekend, and days with multiple callouts aren’t as unusual as one might think. In 2010 the team responded to 68 callouts. “We’re committed to providing the very best service we can, a service that we believe can only be provided by like-minded people who are passionate about the outdoors and the people who visit there. Our families and friends are supportive and understanding of what we do and realise that what we do saves lives, without a doubt. Busy weekends aren’t uncommon and we’d often receive 3 or 4 callouts back to back”. All of this comes at a cost of course, with the Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue Teams annual costs amounting to €55-60k per annum, including vehicle maintenance and running costs, training and specialist equipment overheads. Members aren’t paid expenses for travel, training or personal equipment, and Paul estimates that many members can spend thousands of euro each year to carry out their roles for the team. This isn’t unusual with rescuers from teams throughout the country doing the same. Funding to provide the teams core service is then met in part by an ever reducing government grant, (although in recent years this has been reduced by more than 40% from approx €23k to €14k in 2011) with the bulk of funding coming from members of the public and the communities the team serves. As a result of the teams frugal approach to spending all potential expenses are carefully prioritised. “We run a very tight ship financially and each and every expenditure is scrutinised internally. Our guiding principle in relation to spending is that every euro spent should have a direct impact on our ability to locate and care for a casualty on the hill”. The team continue to operate their frontline emergency service from a modest two room facility adjacent to Roundwood Garda Station, located in the highest village in Co. Wicklow, just minutes from Glendalough. The facility provides for vehicle parking, storage and meeting space. “People need help in the hills, that’s why they call us and it’s where we respond to, so hillside capability is our priority. If we’re to invest in anything it needs to be of considerable use on a callout, where it can directly benefit a casualty. Bearing this in mind, one of our key goals now is to provide a 4x4 ambulance to support our current activities around the Dublin and Wicklow mountains especially during extended winter periods.” In an effort to make up the shortfall in funding the team are undertaking two major fundraising drives in the month of June. 16 team members will take part in the Wicklow Way Relay race on the 11th June. This race is 127km in length with a total height gain of 3200m – More details can be found at http://www.dwmrt.ie In addition to this the team are also hosting ‘Walk the Line’. A 32km walk of the Dublin and Wicklow County border, which starts close to Kilbride army camp and finishes in Marley Park. The event takes place on the 25th June and is open to members of the public. More details can be found at www.walktheline.ie.
NEWS Mountain Meitheal Launch New Trail Handbook
Mountain Meitheal, the Wicklow/Dublin based trail conservation group, has launched a new handbook on trail design and construction specifically for Irish conditions. The book, written by Greystones man Bill Murphy and published by Mountain Meitheal with financial support from Coillte, is a comprehensive guide to the techniques required for recreation trail planning and construction. The book is available from www.pathsavers.org
mac in a sac
Take The Corbett Challenge
For British mountain enthusiasts, the pursuit of ‘Munro bagging’ has long provided a stiff challenge. At 3,000ft plus, there are 283 Munros (named after Sir Hugh Munro, 18561919, who first catalogued them), most of them in Scotland, so a full set can take a lifetime. Here in Ireland, with only five Munros, there is little scope for ‘bagging’, but the alternative classification of ‘Corbetts’ offers far greater potential. Corbetts derive their name from John Corbett, a member of the Scottish Mountaineering Club who in the 1930s climbed the Scottish Munros together with all of Scotland’s 2,000ft-plus hills. Corbett listed all those hills of heights between 2,500ft and 3,000ft. which became known as ‘The Corbetts’ with reference to the Scottish hills only. Now moves are afoot to establish the Irish Corbetts, of which there are 28, as a widely-recognised challenge. See irishcorbetts.ie for more on the Irish Corbetts and a full listing.
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Mountaineering Ireland’s ‘Training Schemes’ By Alun Richardson, Training Officer
y first walk in the hills of Snowdonia ended up with three of us blithely blundering around the hillside for hours and my first ice climb was with a friend who made his ice axe out of the roof rack of a car! Our first alpine route had broken crampons, chopped ropes, an abseil through a waterfall and a cold overnight bivi. We were fortunate that we learned rapidly and survived our experiences by building gradually towards each epic! The wonderful thing about hill walking and climbing is that there are no formal rules or regulations, only an unwritten code of practice for the way we conduct ourselves on the hills and cliffs of Ireland. Referees are an anathema and you can change the pitch and the size of the opposition to suit your abilities and mood - what other sport can do that? The starting point for many aspiring hill walkers and climbers is to join a Mountaineering Ireland (MI) club and gain experience from their peers. MI is made up of passionate walkers and climbers who would fight ‘tooth and nail’ to support this approach and awards or qualifications should never become a requirement to go climbing or walking on the mountains of Ireland or the rest of the world for that matter. However, Mountaineering Ireland does help its network of clubs to provide advice and deliver quality training to its members through workshops, lectures, the Mountain Log, meets, ‘Club Training Officers’, its popular ‘Mountain Skills’ courses and possibly in the future through a ‘Rock Skills course’. Mountaineering Ireland also has a more formal training and assessment scheme for those that want to be instructors and leaders, either within their clubs or commercially. Mountaineering Ireland doesn’t directly run the courses. The MI Training Board - Bord Oiliúint Sléibhe (BOS) approves ‘Providers’ to deliver its training and assessment schemes. Below is a table showing the training awards. Over the next few issues of Walking World Ireland I would like to take you through the awards
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as a friendly way of developing a sound foundation for further walking and mountaineering endeavours has earned it support from Everest summiteers and hardened alpinists through to Sunday strollers or bird watchers wanting to venture off the beaten track. starting this issue with ‘Mountain skills Training’.
MI ‘Mountain Skills’ Training The two-part Mountain Skills training scheme (MS1 & MS2) is designed to provide the theoretical and practical knowledge in basic navigation and hill walking skills to walk safely and competently in the hills and mountains of Ireland. The MS courses are not however ‘taster courses’ and should not be approached as an opportunity to discover if you will enjoy the hills or not. To get the most from the courses it is recommended that candidates booking onto the scheme should already have some mountain walking experience. This experience may be gained by: • Joining one of over 130 MI affiliated clubs (see www.mountaineering.ie) • Start out with some low-level walking on easy paths with friends and family and progress into the hills • Taking part in one of the many walking festivals throughout Ireland • Attending one of the MI’s quarterly meets Topics covered on the MS1 & MS2 include route planning, equipment, map reading, navigation techniques, movement on steep ground and coping with emergencies, but it doesn’t cover leadership or instructional skills or techniques. Its popularity
How long does it take? The MS scheme is divided into two blocks MS1 and MS2. Each block is usually run over a two-day period, comprising a mixture of outdoor practical exercises and indoor lectures. There is also a third block, the MS Assessment (MSA), that is structured to allow the candidate to test them selves against a prescribed standard. This standard is the minimum level of experience that is needed to progress to the more formal leadership training of the Mountain Leader Scheme qualification.
Do I need to do all three blocks? The MS scheme is a progressive learning schedule from the initial, very basic introduction to maps right through to the final individual debrief on completion of assessment. You can take any of the blocks as an individual training course or you can follow it step by step. Some very
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“Awards or qualifications should never become a requirement to go climbing or walking on the mountains of Ireland or the rest of the world for that matter. However, Mountaineering Ireland does help its network of clubs to provide advice and deliver quality training to its members.”
experienced candidates may choose to go straight into the MSA, being able to demonstrate a wealth of experience gained through many years of hill walking. Whatever approach you would like to follow, the approved training providers will be able to help to guide you into the scheme at a level that will best suit you
Who are the approved providers? There are currently 60+ MI approved providers of the Mountain Skills Training scheme. All of these providers are experienced Mountain Leaders who have also completed further MI training in the specific skills required to teach others in the mountains. The ongoing moderation of these providers by the MI ensures that all MS courses are delivered at a very high standard. An updated list of approved training providers is available through the MI office or on the MI website, www.mountaineering.ie
MI 2011 Events (see www.mountaineering.ie for more information) Alpine Meet Alpine Youth Initiative
3rd to 16th July 4th to7th July
BOS courses SPA CPD 24th June WGL CPD 8th Sept MLA 9th September MS 23rd June, 10th September, 9th October Assessments WGL 23rd to 25th September MLA 7th to 9th October
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Therm-A-Rest All-Season Neo Air Mattress €130 / £110
By Andy Callan
So now it’s not available in shops until July, Therm-A-Rest has developed its Neo Air into a true 4 season mattress. The original Neo-Air weighed 397g while the new All-Season version weighs 548g and rolls up into a package roughly 20x13cms (8x5ins). As a contrast, a fairly standard Trail Pro mat weighs 910g, Reflective barriers and a Triangular Core Matrix inside the mattress radiate your body heat back to you and restrict the movement of the warmed air. The Matrix also holds your body up off the ground, something that was always a problem with your usual air mattress. I was a big fan of the original Neo Air because of its lack of weight but it was quite thin, if you spend any time sleeping on your side you’ll find your pelvis can touch the ground through the mattress. This is obviously uncomfortable and can cause cold spots. I’ve used the All-Season version on several occasions and happily the problem hasn’t repeated itself, so as far as I’m concerned an extra 150ish grams is a small price to pay for a good night’s rest. My mattress was a sample version, so was tested without Therm-A-Rest’s Air Tap Pump which is available as an optional extra. These mattresses take a bit more puff to inflate than your normal Therm-A-Rest, but not that much that you’re dizzy afterwards. www.cascadedesigns.com
Keen McKenzie Sandal €85 / £75
Timberland Scafé Half Zip €50.00 / £40
A new addition to Timberland’s range of fleece clothing, Scafé fleece is made from a combination used coffee beans and yearns made from recycled plastic bottles. Seemingly the coffee grounds which are permanently embedded in the fabric absorb odour and offer UV protection too. I tested the Scafé Half Zip over the last couple of months, a simple design with a chest pocket and hem drawcord. Its cut is relaxed without being baggy and the long front zip allows it come over the head without a struggle. Light enough to do the job as a summer fleece or as part of a layering system and the high collar helps keep the breeze off your neck. As expected it wicks very well and dries rapidly. I didn’t notice any pong despite prolonged use, obviously the coffee grounds did their job so it’s nice to know you’re environmentally friendly not only to the planet, but to whoever’s in close proximity too! All-in-all the Scafé Half Zip is a very adaptable, comfy fleece top with more than just the usual passing nod to green issues. www.timberland.com
In our April/May issue we took a first look at Keen’s McKenzie and promised a closer look later in the year - little suspecting that April would bring ideal conditions for sandal-bashing. Well, it did... I’m not big on sandals; I love the way they let loads of air at your feet after a long day trudging about in boots, but I always seem to end up picking up nasty bits of gravel or stubbing my unprotected toes. So I was more than ready to trash Keen’s new McKenzie sandals when they arrived at the door, and even more so when I learned that they’re designed as a water sports shoe. The McKenzie has an all-mesh upper in a sock-like construction mated to a chunky, grippy sole unit. At the front of the shoe is a massive toe bumper which meant toe stubbing wasn’t going to be an issue. Laces fine-tune the fit – just as well really because the forefoot is very broad – and are held snug by means of a cord gripper, so you don’t even have the hassle of knotting them. The laces also serve to pull the sole unit up to meet your foot; hardly a glove-like fit but does the job nonetheless. The footbed has an anti-microbial treatment to help control the odour that seems to go with any pair of sandals. Initially I thought the footbed seemed very flat and I was worried that it wouldn’t provide much support, but I’m happy to say that despite all my reservations and prejudices I find myself wearing these sandals on all but the coldest days. They’re brilliant for après-walk wear, driving home or just lounging around. No problems with gravel, toe protection or smell. The sole unit has managed to handle a range of surfaces including a bit of ‘off road’ without leaving me sprawled on my face. They dry out rapidly and keep my feet smelling sweet. I’m almost converted. www.keenfootwear.com
GSI Halulite Minimalist €35.00 / £26
Columbia Omni-Dry Peak to Peak €320/£270
Columbia Sportswear is a huge brand currently putting a lot of resources into establishing itself as a serious player in performance outdoor gear, driven by a raft of proprietary technologies under the Omni- umbrella. Latest to arrive at WWI is the Omni-Dry Peak to Peak, a 3-layer hard shell jacket that has already received some very favourable reviews in the USA. The Peak to Peak is clearly a jacket of serious intent with a lot of nice detail touches and a purposefully understated look which we like, being sober, purposefully understated types ourselves. Columbia are pulling no punches with their performance claims for waterproofing and breathability – they say this sets new standards. A nationwide shortage of rain has held up the testing schedule somewhat, but we’re looking forward to asking some probing questions of this jacket. Price and spec pit the Peak to Peak squarely against high-end Gore-Tex and eVent jackets, but Columbia are confident that Omni-Dry can walk the walk. Watch this space, but no need to pray for
rain quite yet, thanks.
Designed with ultra lightweight camping freaks (those who live by the motto “Ounces make pounds make pain”) in mind, the Minimalist has five components - a 0.6l pot with a sip-through lid, insulated sleeve, pot gripper and a folding foon (fork/spoon combo). The whole set comes to a measly 172g/6oz and is big enough to accommodate a 100g gas canister and most folding stoves. In practice the minimalist is good for dehydrated meals – boil the water, pour it into the foil bag and then re-boil some more for a hot drink while you wait. The pot slips into a Neoprene sleeve and the sip-through lid sits on top so you won’t burn your mouth on the lip of the pot. Don’t expect any gourmet dishes – I gave up on that hope a long time ago – but it’s ideal for my current favourite camping dinner, couscous, instant soup/ stock cube and tuna. The hard anodised Aluminium pot resists scratches and burn circles; I’ve had to clean it with sprigs of heather on a few occasions without any ill effects. I particularly liked the little silicon pot gripper, it saves burnt fingers and has a built-in magnet – just stick it to the gas can and it won’t go astray. My only gripe is the foon; it folds down to fit inside the pot ok, but it isn’t long enough to reach the bottom of a dehydrated meal bag so inevitably things get a bit messy. No big deal though, just bring a longer handled eating iron! Apart from that the Minimalist is well thought out, packs away neatly and weighs very little so it’s just the job, once you aren’t in cordon bleu mode… www.gsioutdoors.com
Prices are for guidance only
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Beara Weekender Adrian Hendroff describes two superb walks within easy reach of Kenmare. Photos by Adrian Hendroff
Looking southwards across Barley Lake, with Sugarloaf Mountain poking out in the distant center
he Beara Peninsula, in the far southwest, can often be overlooked by walkers as many opt for the well-known mountain areas on the pointed finger of Dingle and the plump knuckle of Iveragh. However, this remote peninsula, whose name was said in legend to be derived from that of a Castilian king’s daughter, is a hillwalkers paradise. In my recent book From High Places, I describe it thus: The pointed peninsula, narrower at its end and wider inland, is wedged between the Kenmare River to the north and Bantry Bay to its south. Three rings of ribbon-like road weave along quiet villages and follow an intricately indented coastline, linking these corners by cutting its way through
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undisturbed valleys and mountain passes. A broad spine of sandstone mountains, gripping even from the road, adds to the complexity of the landscape. The mountain range extends its wings everywhere along the peninsula except for its fringes, rising as the Slieve Miskish from the abandoned copper mines and cliff fields of Allihies at its western tip to the trackless wilderness of the Caha Mountains farther inland. The eastern end of this peninsula is linked by a windy road connecting the little nest of Kenmare and the rough glen of Glengarriff via a series of tunnels. Two Beara routes are offered here, both not far from the ‘little nest’ of Kenmare, and which can be explored over a weekend or as part of a long summer’s day hiking in these silent, enchanting hills.
Route 1 Land of a hundred lakes One of the main attractions of this walk is its unique landscape pockmarked with lakes both large and small in a truly wild setting found nowhere else on the Beara Peninsula. Barley Lake is the largest, followed by two remote mountain lakes west of the Coomerkane valley. The walk meets the rerouted Beara Way briefly before climbing to a rugged summit ridge for glorious views of the peninsula. It then traverses the broad plateau of Glenlough Mountain with its minefield of lakes and tarns, to cap a memorable day.
Getting to the Start Approaching from Kenmare, take the N71
Munster â€œMen, women, children, porters and four hundred soldiers marched on a tragic journey northward over a bitterly cold winter.â€? toward Glengarriff and pass through the village of Bunane. Drive through a series of tunnels, leaving the N71 to take the minor road leading southwest (GR: V 904, 596) after the last tunnel. The narrow road leads down the valley through which the Kerry River flows. Take a sharp right at the fork after 700m (just under half a mile), and then a left at the next. Continue on the road as it winds down the valley until reaching a T-junction. Turn left and then take the next right shortly after, over the Kerry River and towards Barley Lake. Take a right at the next fork and drive uphill until reaching the culde-sac at the top of the road. There is a car-
park here at GR: V 879, 573, where the route starts and finishes. If approaching from Glengarriff, heads towards Kenmare and leave the N71 turning left at GR: V 920, 571. Continue on for about 2.5km (1.5 miles), taking the right fork then, a left soon after and finally a right to ascend the road leading to the cul-de-sac near Barley Lake.
Barley Lake Even the drive up the narrow, switchback lane to the start-point east of Crossterry Mountain fills one with the feeling of expectancy as wide-ranging views northwestwards toward Killane Mountain
and the valley below unfold. From the start point, walk southwestwards for about 300m, then veer southeastwards to gradually descend to the northeastern corner of Barley Lake at GR: V 880, 568. The idyllic lake is nearly 800m long and 650m at its widest, tucked in a green hollow gouged out of the mountainside. The rugged col you need to get to next at its southern corner can be seen from here. Walk near the lakeshore along grassy, bracken-covered ground and aim for this col at GR: V 875, 559. The ground is rough and trackless (and it will be for most of the day), but when once up on the col, you will be greeted with views of the valley on its
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Lough Eekenohoolikeaghaun and Lough Derreenadavodia sitting in the wild valley west of Coomerkane, with the Caha Mountains beyond, as seen from the nameless summit
other side: the whaleback profile of Sugarloaf Mountain in the far left and its ridge extending westwards. The two lakes west of the Coomerkane valley can also be just seen in the mid-ground; these have tongue-twisting names of Lough Derreenadavodia and Lough Eekenohoolikeaghaun respectively.
Cattle, two lakes and a chieftain From the col, descend southwestwards for a distance of about 450m along brackencovered slopes to near where two streams meet at GR: V 872, 556. Scores of thick green bracken and rhododendron thickets rampage above and a stream cascades down its slopes. Cross the stream on your right. With the main stream now on your left and steep ground on your right, descend southwestwards into the grassy valley. Contour along the valley floor for about 200m, cross a tiny stream and ascend to the northeastern edge of Lough Derreenadavodia at GR: V 865, 549. This is truly a great spot,
with the rippling blue waters of the lake, the savage backdrop of the cliffs at its western end and the brown sentinel of Sugarloaf Mountain rising beyond. Lough Derreenadavodia is the anglicised form of Loch Dhoirín an dhá bhó dhéag or ‘little derry lake of the twelve cows’. I didn’t see any cows that day, but in the 16th century there were many in these green pastures around Coomerkane, all the cattle belonging to a man by the name of Donal Cam. Donal was the chieftain of the ruling O’Sullivan Beare clan and the slopes here used to be covered with a dense oak forest at the time. A battle ensued in Coomerkane valley and the wooded slopes of Derrynafulla in the winter of 1602 between Donal Cam’s men and Sir Charles Wilmot’s army. This resulted in Donal losing his herd of a few thousand cattle and sheep, his horses stolen and crops set on fire. Driven to the brink of starvation, Donal and his followers had no option but to flee. Men, women, children, porters and four
Lough Eekenohoolikeaghaun and Lough Derreenadavodia sitting in the wild valley west of Coomerkane, with the Caha Mountains beyond, as seen from the nameless summit at V 86067 53286.
Looking northeast across Lough Nambrack and its lakes from a grassy knoll on the plateau of Glenlough Mountain
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hundred soldiers marched on a tragic journey northward over a bitterly cold winter, for hundreds of kilometres, to arrive at Leitrim Castle fifteen days later. Sadly, only as few as 34 men and one woman survived this epic flight for survival. Follow the lakeshore, cross a stream and contour to its southern end with high ground on your left (look out for traces of a faint path). Once beyond the lake’s southern end, ascend a gradual spur to its grassy end at GR: V 864, 543. From its edge, a second lake with the rather long name of Lough Eekenohoolikeaghaun (Loch Eisceanna Chorlaí Uí Cheocháin, ‘lake at Corlaí Ó Ceocháin’s esks/marshes’) comes into view below. Notice a large patch of reeds also that looks a lot like a mini golf course from high up on the plateau.
The nameless summit Next, ascend the trackless ground southeastwards, then later veering
The descent route with Crossterry Mountain and Barley Lake below
southwestwards to the obvious spur above. In the height of summer the ground is sprinkled liberally with colours of flora and fauna: yellow tormentil, pale-pink heathspotted orchid, blue-violet butterwort, white bog-cotton, red-purple bell heather and with damselflies - blue tail, common blue
damselflies and large red ones - gracing the air. Once on the spur, you will reach yellowwhite wooden signposts marking a section of the Beara Way at GR: V 864, 534. Ascend the spur, following the way-markers to a col just below a summit on your right. Here, leave the Beara Way and strike for the summit. A small pile of rocks marks this nameless summit above Toberavanaha Lough (GR: V 860, 532) on the OSi map. Note: Navigation from the summit ridge north of Toberavanaha Lough across the Glenlough Mountain plateau can be tricky, even in good weather. The plateau is broad and relatively featureless, except for a scattering of small tarns and lakes that are testing to differentiate in the mist.
Lakeland From the nameless summit, head westwards, negotiating some easy rock slabs, then descend into a rugged hollow at GR: V 857, 534. Scramble up a rock step, and then contour along some easy-angled rock slabs, keeping high ground on your left and the valley on your right, gradually swinging northwestwards. The ground drops slightly, and the terrain
is featureless. You will eventually reach a small tarn at GR: V 855, 537, and even on a clear day you may need to take a bearing. From here, head roughly northwards over featureless terrain. You may pass some tarns along the way, depending on the course you take. A good intermediate point to assess your location is a tarn at GR: V 857, 548 and a bearing may also be required to arrive. One location you should go to is the top of a grassy knoll overlooking some lakes, marked as Lough Nambrack on the OSi map at GR: V 859, 554. This is an amazing spot – remote and wild as it gets at close-quarters, and with wide-ranging views of Knockboy (706m/2,316ft) and the Shehy Mountains beyond. From here, walk for just over 1km on undulating ground, for a large extent between a string of lakes, and then followed by a gradual descend to the northern corner of a lake – the final one you will meet on the plateau, at GR: V 863, 565. Next, head northeastwards along the spur for about 550m to GR: V 867, 569. Here descend the grassy slopes to your right, then contour along its sides, with the spur above you on your left, to reach a broad grassy gap. A gradual ascend to point 339m follows, reaching a fence corner soon after. Now simply follow the fence-line as it leads back to the start point.
HUNDRED LAKES Distance: 11km/7miles Ascent: 520m (1,706ft) Time: 3¾ to 4½ hours Map: OSi 1:50,000 Sheet 85
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Munster Shafts of sunlight piercing through billowing clouds behind the dark silhouette of Knockatee and illuminating the waters of Kenmare River and the Iveragh hills in the distant, as seen from the summit of Knockanoughanish
Route 2 The Hill of Solitude I love exploring lesser known hills in Ireland that offer wide-ranging views. Knockanoughanish (386m/1,266ft) in the Beara Peninsula is one of them. Translated from the Irish, it means ‘the hill of solitude’, and it does not disappoint, especially at sunset, where one could sit alone at the summit and silently watch the golden sun dip beyond the Kenmare River and the western hills of the Iveragh Peninsula.
Getting to the Start Leave the Kenmare-Lauragh (R571) road at the junction for the R573 toward Tuosist. After about 600m (0.4 mile), take a left at the crossroads and head south just over 1.5km (1 mile) to park considerately on the grassy verge where there are spaces for two or three cars. The route starts and finishes here at GR: V 786, 610.
A birds-eye view of Beara Walk southwards along the road for a distance of about 300m and pass a stone cottage with a zinc roof on the right. Not far from this
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cottage there is a metal gate on the left of the road at GR: V 786, 606 giving access to a Green Road. Walk through a rusted metal gate and ascend steadily uphill until meeting a fence which can be surmounted (with care) around GR: V 789, 606. Once over this fence, walk on a broad track with young conifers on the left. The track soon bends left. Follow the bend and go uphill until meeting a line of fences. Cross this and then walk between fences to a metal gate at GR: V 791, 604. Beyond the gate there is a faint green path between clumps of bracken, which might be overgrown in the summer. Follow this faint path, with high ground now on your left. Ascend this high ground, weaving between grassy ledges and rock to arrive at the spot height (256m) marked as Drombohilly on the map. Here, a magnificent view of Beara suddenly greets you. The panorama southwest, looking directly across Lauragh into the Cummeengeera Glen, Glanmore and its surrounding mountains is the most enticing.
Solitude standing Not far from Drombohilly, fences intersect. Cross a fence running perpendicular to the
spur and then follow another fence-line running up the spur, keeping this on your left. The terrain is mostly grassy with ling and bell heather growing amongst the moorgrass, flowering pink in season, and dots of white bog-cotton. Splashes of yellow gorse and tormentil also decorate the mountainside, along with the dark-greens of hard-fern in places. At around GR: V 796, 601, the fence goes over some steep ground by a rocky outcrop. At this point, it is advisable to veer slightly to the right beyond the outcrop where the ground is less steep, picking your way through grass and rock ledges, then later rejoining the fence at GR: V 798, 600. When the fence turns a corner about 150m further, leave it and head directly for Knockanoughanish, graced by a summit cairn. For its modest height, the views from
HILL OF SOLITUDE Distance: 5km/3miles Ascent: 315m (1033ft) Time: 1¾ to 2½ hours Map: OSi 1:50,000 Sheet 84
Walking along the Drombohilly spur in late evening, with Knockanoughanish rising ahead
Adrian Hendroffâ€™s new book, The Dingle, Iveragh & Beara Peninsulas: A Walking Guide, published by The Collins Press (ISBN 978-1-84889103-6) features 28 walking routes in the southwest and is out now.
Knockanoughanish are stunning: to the northwest, beyond the bump of Knockatee (330m/1,083ft), the Kenmare River (more like a bay to me) can be seen flowing out into the Atlantic with a string of Iveragh hills beyond; to the southwest, south and southeast an uninterrupted vista of the Caha Mountains that rise above the valleys of Cummeengeera, Glanmore, Glanrastel and Glantrasna greets the eye. From the summit, having enjoyed the views and a moment of Beara solitude, retrace your steps back to the start point.
The enchanting view of the mountains that surround Cummeengeera Glen and Glanmore, looking southwest from the Drombohilly spur
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Dublin Mountains Way: Shankill to Kilternan Village Denis Gill begins his exploration of our newest long-distance path. Photos by Eoin Clarke
View from Carrickgollogan HillLake, with Sugarloaf Mountain poking out in the distant center. Looking southwards across Barley
he Dublin Mountain Way, Ireland’s newest and most ambitious long distance trail, was officially opened on 31st October 2010 by The Dublin Mountains Partnership. Its route from the old village of Shankill in South County Dublin climbs into the Dublin Mountains, presenting stunning vistas across Dublin City and the Irish Sea with the mountains of Mourne and Snowdonia visible on a clear day. The Way takes in 43km of trail and road, with an additional 11km loop to explore the Hellfire Club and Massy’s Wood. Along its route is a variety of terrain ranging from forests, lakes and the upland heath and
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rocky outcrops of the Dublin Mountains before it descends to the modern town of Tallaght, whose origins date back to early Christian Ireland. There are countless archaeological sites along its route, suggesting the presence of many earlier settlers. If you, dear reader will forgive my fertile imagination, I will use these to inspire a wondrous journey into Dublin’s history… …out of the early morning sea mist a Viking longboat emerged, the only sound was the gentle splash of its oars as the oarsmen pulled against the current. Standing at the ship’s prow was a Viking warrior, steadying himself he held onto the carved masthead, his other hand grasped the hilt of his sword, as he peered beneath the rim of his helmet into the mist
he suddenly cried out, “Land Ahoy!”It was in the early spring of 811 when the longboat crunched onto a shaly beach below tall cliffs of compressed clay. The Norsemen landed to no opposition and through a breach in the cliffs made their way inland along Lana na Coirre Baine ‘Lane by the White Edge’. An earlier expedition had returned from Ireland with tales of a great monastery founded by Saint Maelruain at Tallaght, and this raiding party had returned with plans of pillage and plunder as they began their epic trek along present-day… Corbawn Lane!
Getting to the Start From the east, take the M50/M11 to Exit 16 onto the N11 and follow signs to Shankill Village.
Park at Shankill Dart Station or take the Dart (Dublin Area Rapid Transport) to Shankill.
Route Exit south from the car park directly onto Corbawn Lane. 500m to the left is the Irish Sea and the sea cliffs, below which our first Norwegian tourists may have landed! Due to coastal erosion, the original cliffs have long disappeared; in 1915 the earlier railway line had to be moved inland as it was in danger of collapsing into the sea! Stroll along leafy Corbawn Lane before turning left at the second roundabout, over a bridge into Shankill Village, (sean chill, ‘old church’). This bridge once crossed the old Harcourt Street railway line that was shortsightedly closed in 1958; the government of the day did not foresee the impending arrival of the Celtic Tiger, just as the present government did not wake up to its departure half a century later; nothing changes! The village has much improved since it was bypassed by the motorway in 1991 and the official Dublin Mountain Way (henceforth the Way) begins at a signpost by Brady’s Pub on the Main Street, where in days long gone there was an hotel on the old Dublin/ Wexford coach road. Notice in the pub window, a lunch menu dated 14th April 1912, from the illfated Titanic that sank early the following morning on her maiden voyage! The Way, with its yellow walking man symbol, is exceptionally well waymarked along its route, except here at the very beginning! In
the pub car park, by the rear of the pub, follow a narrow lane that leads to the lower end of the village referred to in old maps as Tillystown, which leads via Hilltop to a footbridge over the busy junction of the M50 and M11 motorways. There had always been a right-of-way or mass path in a hollow here that the road builders had intended to build across, until local residents objected. We can now thankfully cross the motorway without risk to life and limb, via this long footbridge to follow a laneway and quickly leave the hurly-burly of the 21st century behind. After turning onto an old mass path leading towards the ancient ruined church of Rathmichael, at the bottom of the lane is a curious small 15th century granite cross showing a Crucifixion on each face, one in high and the other in low relief. At the top the lane where the Way turns left into Rathmichael Woods, off to the right but alas not accessible, are the seldom-visited ruins of Rathmichael church, graveyard and round tower; all built within a great hilltop Iron Age fort. The 9th century tower may never actually have been completed, as only the base remains, According to local tradition it was used as an ossuary or skull hole. Intriguing pre-Christian gravestones with symbolic markings known as leacs are to be seen among the ruins. Before the Way passes a pond, a path to the hillside above leads to Rathmichael Rath, an earthen ringfort that offers wonderful views across Bray Head and the Little Sugar Loaf Mountain, and is also a pleasant lunch stop. Stroll on tarmac along
“There are countless archaeological sites along its route, suggesting the presence of many earlier settlers.”
Heading into Rathmichael Wood
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Puck’s Castle Lane, which was a highway during medieval times, named after the castle in a field below which was actually a fortified house built in the late 16th century. Its name suggests it was haunted by a ‘púca’ or Celtic spirit. The castle provided refuge in 1690 for James II and his army fleeing the Battle of the Boyne. Leaving tarmac to climb into Carrickgollogan Wood; as the Way turns left, a short detour uphill brings us to the chimney of the Ballycorus Lead Works. The lead ore which was transported here from Glendalough and Glendasan during the 19th century was smelted nearly 2km away down in the valley and the poisonous fumes passed via a granite flue uphill to this chimney - very environmentally friendly! The granite chimney with its external spiral staircase was for many years shown on admiralty charts as a landmark for mariners, courtesy of the wonderful views from here across Dublin Bay and beyond. Further on, another short detour brings us to Carrickgollogan Hill, once known as Shankill Mountain but now corrupted to Katty Gollagher’s! From this knobby 278m quartzite hilltop there is an amazing vista to the Wicklow Mountains, where they begin climbing and plummeting all the
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way to the Carlow and Wexford borders. As the Way leaves Carrickgollogan Wood, Fairy Castle, Two Rock and Three Rock Mountains come into view; they really don’t merit all these titles as they are all part of the same mountain, once known simply as Slieve Rua, ‘red mountain’. The Way joins Murphy’s Lane leading to Barnaslingan Lane, which was the old coach road to Climbing Carrickgollogan Hill
Enniskerry and Powerscourt before the ‘new road’ was constructed through the Scalp around 1770. Entering Barnaslingan Wood, there is a very well-appointed car park that alas is never open! Following single-file trail through mature forest to a high point at 238m; Barr na Slinneán ‘Summit of the Shoulder Blades’ where the Way turns sharp right and begins to descend, a short detour straight ahead brings us to a spectacular viewing point on the very edge of The Scalp, An Scailp meaning ‘chasm or cleft’; an abyss requiring a good head for heights! Down on the narrow valley floor, the R117 road links the villages of Enniskerry in Co Wicklow with Kilternan in Co Dublin, while across the gorge are the forested heights of Killegar. This narrow glacial valley was formed some 12,000 years ago during the last Ice Age as the ice melted. Glacial lakes enclosed by the mountains were formed, and the pressure created by these lakes against the bedrock eventually found a weak point and gouged out this glacial spillway. Back on trail, the Way descends through enchanting deciduous woodland meeting the Enniskerry Road at the county boundary to pass the Scalp Service Station, which in the 1960s was a ballroom called ‘The New Era’!
View from The Scalp
Continue past a relic of the Celtic Tiger, the partly redeveloped Kilternan Hotel that is now in mythical NAMA Land! During the 1920s the now barely discernible original house was owned by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul; could this be why we are now descending Novice’s Hill? Pass the old millworkers cottages to Kilternan Bridge, once known as Boddie’s Bridge over the Loughlinstown River; inscriptions on either parapet of the bridge inform us it was built in 1852 and is 9½ miles to the G.P.O. in O’Connell Street. Notice the broad arrow to denote Crown Property! A short stroll brings us to Kilternan Village and the end of our first stage of the
Dublin Mountain Way. …as the Vikings trekked inland they attacked the church at Rathmichael but the monks and local farmers defended themselves from within the surrounding ringfort. With
greater plunder waiting, the Vikings, pressed on and camped that night by a stream at the bottom of a great chasm not knowing the monastic settlement of Killegar was on the heights above.
FACT FILE DUBLIN MOUNTAINS WAY Distance: 12km/8miles Ascent: 360m Time: 3 to 4 hours Map: EastWest Mapping: Dublin Mountains Way. The route is based on a linear trek which requires a second car parked in Kilternan or a return to Dublin on a 44, 63,118 bus. Alternatively the route can be backtracked or follow the R116 Ballycorus Road to Shankill.
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A Bencollaghduff Circuit
The Twelve Bens have always packed a mighty punch, as Gareth McCormack rediscovers on a short circuit from Gleninagh. Photos by Gareth McCormack
Descending the narrow ridge from Bencollaghduff to Maumina
t’s funny how over time the filters of memory shrink challenges and diminish mountains. I visited the Twelve Bens in March, having not walked in the range for several years. We were aiming for a ‘modest’ circuit that would suit the time restrictions of the group. Rather than complete the full Gleninagh Horseshoe over Benbaun, we’d aim for Bencollaghduff, the third highest
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summit of the range at 696m. However I’d forgotten the reality of walking in the Bens – those thousands of picky steps required to negotiate talus, boulder, rock steps and small crags. Unrelenting terrain only matched in Ireland in terms of ruggedness by the neighbouring Maumturks. The route only took us about four hours to complete, but we were thoroughly flogged by the time we reached the road in Gleninagh.
It’s a great circuit though, especially if you want to get into the heart of the Bens without committing to any of the three classic, nine-hour horseshoe routes. Bear in mind however that access to the Gleninagh valley is somewhat sensitive and this route is not suitable for large club or commercial outings. Parking is also an issue. You should avoid parking along the small tarmac road in Gleninagh, and instead use the R344. Even
Getting to the Start The start and finish point for this circuit is the bridge where the R344 crosses the Tooreenacoona River (GR: L 824555). If approaching from the north, the turn from the N59 along the R344 is signed to Recess and comes 8km east of Letterfrack and 10.5km west of Leenaun. The turn from the N59 to the south is signed to Letterfrack and comes 19km east of Clifden and 2km west of Recess.
here parking is at a premium, with only a few extended verges onto which you can squeeze a couple of cars.
The Walk Carefully cross the fence just to the north of the bridge over the Tooreenacoona River and follow the riverbank downstream towards Lough Inagh. After approximately five hundred metres you reach the confluence with the Gleninagh River, and the condition of this river will determine the rest of the dayâ€™s activity. In normal conditions it is possible to cross dry-shod with a good pair of gaiters. If water levels are higher it will be necessary to remove socks and boots and wade. If the river is in spate then trying to cross may be dangerous and an alternative route will need to be chosen. Once across the Gleninagh, pick your way south over wet ground towards the mountain that rears up in front of you. This is Bencorrbeg, and the rock-studded rise to the summit looks steep indeed from this angle.
Looking towards the Bens from Gleninagh
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Looking down the Gleninagh valley
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Connacht In fact the slope is quite negotiable and a direct ascent – skirting one or two small crags – offers little difficulty until the rocky crown of the last twenty metres or so. This final section to the summit involves some 45° rock slabs; good holds are plentiful but always worth testing before you commit your weight to them. If the thought of this last section worries you, then contour around the mountain as you climb and make the ascent of the final eighty metres or so over easier ground from the east. The view from the summit cairn is impressive, particularly with the adrenalin of the scramble still fresh in your veins. Below
As you head for Bencollaghduff the angle of ascent is less acute than previous terrain, and it’s not long before the summit is reached. The descent of the west ridge into Maumina is another story however, and presents the second navigational challenge of the walk. The ridge begins just southwest of the summit and quickly narrows, with several worn paths coming together. Clamber down through some small rock outcrops to a flat, boggy shoulder. A short distance beyond this, after the ground has become rocky and started to descend once more, drop off the ridge to the northwest. Contour carefully westwards as you descend and you will join
“The view from the summit cairn is impressive, particularly with the adrenalin of the scramble still fresh in your veins.” you to the east lies Lough Inagh, with the entire range of the Maumturk Mountains rising just beyond. The stark, rock-strewn peaks of the Twelve Bens massif stretch away to the south and west. It’s worth taking a moment here to look carefully at the head of the Gleninagh valley for the line of a path climbing diagonally up the eastern slopes of Benbaun towards Maumina. You’ll be using this path on your descent. Follow the narrow ridge that leads away to the southwest. The terrain here is typical of most of the high ground in the Bens: boulder strewn and frequently punctuated by slabs and crags. Where the ridges are particularly narrow a path has been worn by the passage of feet, but in other places there is little sign of the route to follow, and navigation can be a real problem in poor visibility. Descend steeply to the first col and climb again to a subsidiary cairn marking a top named as Binn an tSaighdiúra on the Harvey map. Keep to the highest ground as the ridge then crosses two shallow cols. At the second col – the last before the ridge swings southwards and climbs towards Bencorr – a wide, shallow gully drops away to the west. Leave the ridge at this point and descend through a rare grassy section and down across some bands of broken rock. Contour southwestwards as you lose height and drop down into Mám na bhFonsai, the col between Bencorr and Bencollaghduff. The descent is steep and even with good visibility the col is hidden from view until half way down, so finding your way presents the first major navigational challenge of the circuit. The col itself offers a brief, boggy interlude before the rock slabs of Bencollaghduff take over once again. Bear in mind that there is no safe descent from this col into Gleninagh.
a short scree-run. Slide down the stones or pick your way alongside them and you will be led directly down to the col. Now turn right (east) and descend into Gleninagh. The aim is to join the path you
spotted from Bencorrbeg earlier on the walk. Conspicuous as it was from there, it is not so easy to locate on the ground. Keep to the north side of the valley and pass a small holy well set into the steep hillside. Contour along the slope for a short distance, avoiding the temptation to drop too low. Within long you should pick up the narrow line of the path. This leads down to the valley floor, where you need to make your own way towards a conspicuous enclosure. Here you join a good track, which carries you for just over a kilometre to a collection of houses and farm buildings. Now follow a tarmac lane to the R344, and turn right. The bridge that marks the end of the walk is just a few hundred metres away.
BENCOLLAGHDUFF Distance: 12km/7miles Ascent: 918m Time: 5 to 6 hours Map: Harvey Superwalker Connemara 1:30,000; 1:50,000 sheet 37.
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The Newcastle Way:
A recent addition to Northern Ireland’s collection of waymarked ways, this two-day circuit is full of rural charm and diversity, says Helen Fairbairn. Photos by Gareth McCormack
Beach reflections of Newcastle and the Mourne Mountains
or many walkers, the main appeal of southern County Down is the Mourne Mountains. The attraction is understandable, because the range looms large over the region’s landscape. Yet the proximity of the summits detracts attention from the quiet, rural lowlands that would be celebrated in their own right anywhere else. This circuit follows forest trails, undulating country lanes and a long, sandy beach at the northern base of the mountains, exploring the countryside of the wider Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The route is signed throughout and is accessible to all fit walkers. It has been designed as a two-day circuit, though walkers looking for a one-day route can cherrypick various sections of the trail. But with summer approaching, why not set a weekend aside to complete the whole thing? Finding
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accommodation is a straightforward task; the towns of Newcastle and Castlewellan both have plenty of facilities and a long history of welcoming visitors. You might even conclude that the quiet charm and scenic variety of the lowlands are just as rewarding as the excitement of the high peaks.
Getting to the Start The route starts and finishes at the tourist office on Newcastle’s Central Promenade (GR: J 377,309). The closest car park is at Donard Park, 300m south of the tourist office. There’s plenty of space here for vehicles, but take care not to leave valuables on display. Newcastle is generally reached via the A2 Belfast-Newry road.
The Walk Day 1 – Newcastle to Castlewellan The first day starts by following the coastline for 7km. From Newcastle tourist office, head
north to the bridge over the Shimna River. Veer right here and cross a metal footbridge, then follow the promenade to the northern end of town. Descend a set of steps onto the sand and continue north along the beach. Depending on the state of the tide you may either have a wide space to roam or be confined to a narrow strip at the base of the dunes. After roughly 2km, the dunes to your left become part of Murlough Nature Reserve. This ancient ecosystem is 6000 years old, and became Ireland’s first nature reserve in 1967. Keep following the shoreline; after roughly 5km the coast sweeps left, and you find yourself walking alongside the narrow channel that drains Dundrum Inner Bay. Here you pass an old boat house, with slipway tracks still running towards the water. The village of Dundrum can now be seen across the estuary. Join a gravel track beside
now following a forest track above the shore of Castlewellan Lake. The magnificent beech trees that line the trail are thought to be 250 years old. At the northern tip of the lake, turn left onto a smaller path past Cypress Pond. Descend to the lake shore and turn right. Follow the wooded shoreline to the lake’s western tip, where there’s a fine view across the mile-long expanse of water. Now turn left and climb gradually to the southwest corner of the park. Here you turn right onto a grassy footpath that descends to the exit gate. Turn left at the main road, then left again at a roundabout to return to Castlewellan town centre.
the three stone arches of Downshire Bridge, then trace the final part of the bay to a junction with the A2 road. Cross the road and pass over Carrigs River, then turn left onto a lane distinguished by a standing stone extruding from the verge. At the end of the lane, turn left again. Follow a larger road into the village of Maghera, where a pub offers welcome refreshment. Swing left in the village and follow the road across a humpback bridge, then turn right onto a grassy track. This track is sometimes squeezed to a single-file footpath as it climbs between the fields, and the ground can be muddy underfoot. Sections of gravel track and paved lane now bring you to another stretch of footpath, which climbs over the brow of a hill, with fine coastal views to the south. On the far side of the rise, turn left onto a road and continue to a junction with the A25. Turn left here and climb to the top of the hill in the centre of Castlewellan. You may want to pause here for refreshment, or continue ahead on a scenic circuit of Castlewellan Forest Park. To continue, turn right at the top of the hill and pass through the entrance to the forest park. Follow the driveway towards the castle. Constructed from local granite in 1856, the castle is currently used as a private conference centre. Cross over a junction and climb around the back of the castle. You are
Day 2 – Castlewellan to Newcastle The second day begins with a mixture of footpaths and rural lanes. From the roundabout in the centre of Castlewellan, head along the A50 towards Newcastle. After 300m, turn right into a suburban housing estate. Keep straight ahead to the end of the road, where a grassy footpath known as ‘Cow Lane’ carries you downhill into a hollow. At the base of the hill, pass into a field and cross two metal footbridges. Now climb across two meadows and join a tarmac lane. Turn left and follow this road for roughly 800m, where a stone track heads off to the right. This is ‘Green Lane’. Climb steeply along the track, then turn left onto another lane. Follow this road for 2km, making
On On the the edge edge of of Tollymore Tollymore Forest Forest Park Park
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View of Slieve Bearnagh and the Mournes
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a gradual descent towards the village of Bryansford. You arrive at the B180 opposite Bryansford Gate, the ornate gothic entranceway to Tollymore Forest Park. Cross the road and follow the park driveway past 18th-century Clanbrassil Barn (where refreshments are available in the summer) to the main parking area. The route now embarks along a series of woodland trails around the forest park. Begin by following the black trail across a wooden footbridge. The first section of woodland contains mainly beech trees, though pine becomes dominant as you progress. Follow the track to the Shimna River and cross Parnell’s Bridge. Now turn right and follow a series of tracks around the park’s western corner. The route then climbs to the stone wall that marks Tollymore’s southern boundary, with the wild peaks of the Mournes rising directly on the other side. A series of switchbacks brings you to the Spinkwee River, where you cross Hore’s Bridge. Keep right at the next three junctions, climbing steadily through the trees. Eventually the track swings left and begins to descend. Where there are gaps in the vegetation, the panorama now extends east over Dundrum Bay and the town of Newcastle. Watch out for a final right turn onto a trail that winds down to a wooden gate, your exit point from Tollymore forest park. From here it’s downhill all the way to Newcastle. Follow a steep, narrow lane down to a larger road. Head right for 400m, then turn left onto a track known as Tipperary Lane. Descend through Tipperary Wood, an enclave of deciduous woodland on the banks of the Shimna, to arrive at Bryansford Road. Turn left here and cross the bridge over the Shimna. On the river’s northern bank, turn right and enter Islands Park. Follow a paved footpath through the park and cross the busy Shimna Road. Continue through Castle Park, an area that was reclaimed from marshland in the 1930s. This brings you back to Newcastle’s Central Promenade. The tourist office, where you started the route, is just 100m away to the right.
The Castle, Castlewellan Forest Park
View of the Mournes from the Forest Park
FACT FILE THE NEWCASTLE WAY Distance: 45km/28miles Ascent: 550m/1800ft Time: 2 days Map: OSNI 1:50,000 sheet 29 WWI 102 33
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Judy Armstrong walks a sublime section of the Brittany coastline. A pink gorilla features strongly. Photos by Judy Armstrong and Wendy Holden
Rocks at low tide, at Greve Blanche
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stared at the gorilla. The gorilla stared out to sea. I could only see his head, which was the size of three large bungalows stacked on top of each other. The gorilla didn’t blink, which wasn’t surprising as he was made of pink granite - enormous boulders of pink granite smoothed and shaped by weather and time. He wasn’t alone, either: his near neighbours were a frog, a massive mushroom and a whale balancing on its belly. They were pink granite too; honestly, I felt like I was on a tour of a sculpture park.In a way, I was. This section of La Cote de Granit Rose (the pink granite coast) in northern Brittany, is famed for its rock formations. The most spectacular sector, and home to my diverse menagerie, is between Trestraou and Ploumanac’h, on day one of a magnificent four-day walk around the coast. I’ve always had a hankering to explore the Bretagne shoreline. There’s something about the huge tidal range, the white-sand beaches, the bays bitten out of rock and cliff. Plus the fact that, flying in the face of most European countries, the fishing industry is selfregulating and therefore sustains its fisheries, to the extent that seafood in restaurants is cheap, fresh and deliciously diverse. Of course, as every Walking World Ireland reader knows, the best way to discover a place is on foot. So, I’d hunted around for a
hike of four to five days, easily accessible by ferry. Et voila! as they say in France. World Walks, who cover the globe from Australia to Turkey via Madeira and Slovakia, had a walk that fitted the bill perfectly. On a glorious May morning, my walking buddy Wendy and I left the luxury of Brittany Ferries at St Malo after a tranquil crossing from Portsmouth. We were heading for Lannion, a small town 150km to the west. That gave plenty of time for sightseeing around the coast, and taking coffee in ditsy villages overlooking the sea. We had lunch in Paimpol, a gorgeous harbour village with waterfront restaurants. A three-course menu, with local oysters, mussels and chips (moules et frites must be Brittany’s signature dish) and home-made sorbet cost less than €14. I know! Mad! Lannion welcomed us with bright Sunday sunshine. Our hotel was in the town centre, a few steps from the Léguer river, and opposite a boulangerie with sticky meringues the size of my face. Lannion’s claims to fame include a handful of half-timbered houses in the old centre, an industry based on hightech telecommunication and the Eglise de Brélévenez. This church, which dates from the 12th century and is thought to have links with the Templar Knights, is accessed via 142 granite steps. We climbed them slowly, past houses draped with scarlet roses and
“A three-course menu, with local oysters, mussels and chips and home-made sorbet cost less than €14. I know! Mad!”
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Brittany purple wisteria. The church was huge and austere, but with arms-wide views over the hilly town. Following instructions in our World Walks guide pack, we caught the bus next morning to the coast. Stepping off at the Perros-Guirec port, we were faced with an infinity pool: the tide was out, way out, but the harbour had a lock-gate system which contains enough water to float the boats. Our walk for the next four days was effectively following the GR34, a longdistance path which traces Brittany’s coastline. The key to navigation was to keep the sea on our right. Entranced by the shining sea, we took this rather too literally, dropping onto the tide-stripped rocks and neglecting to follow instructions to climb back onto a footpath. The rocks were grey and pale gold; we squelched happily over black seaweed and soaked up the sunshine. But when I belatedly checked the map, I realised we would have to swim if we rounded the next headland, so we hastily backtracked onto permanently dry ground. The footpath followed a series of low cliffs to a pristine sweep of sand. This was Trestrignel, a settlement wedged into a scoop of bay. School children scuttled on the sand, dipping into rock pools and shrieking with discovery. Out to sea, we could see the Sept Iles – seven islands – hulking on the horizon; if we reached the next bay, at Trestraou, in time, we could visit them by boat. Trestraou was a treat, an enormous half-
Coastal path between Coz Porz and Greve Blanche
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Rock formations, Goaz-Trez beach
The Father of Trebeurden, a famous rock formation near Tresmeur
moon of white sand matched with iridescent blue sea where dinghies bobbed At the far end was the little port, base for boat trips to the islands. A ticket was included in our walking pack, so we boarded and headed out. The Sept Iles archipelago, a nature reserve since 1912, actually only comprises five islands (the other two are mere outcrops), and shelters more than 20,000 pairs of birds from 27 species. First stop was Ile Rouzic, home to an impressive gannet colony. The birds are called Fou de Bassan – the Madmen of Bass Rock – because many came from Bass Rock off the English east coast. We trundled gently past Ile de Malban, to watch puffins,
guillemots and grey seals, and landed at Ile aux Moines. Welsh monks attempted a life out here in the wild 15th century, but they were bad sailors and kept crashing their boats. Pirates and hemp smugglers followed, until a fort was built in 1740. It’s the only island where landing is allowed, and we had just 45 minutes to explore. Sidetracked by the glorious sea colours and the black granite lighthouse, we were a little slow to reach the fort. I could have spent all day at this fantastic plinth of pink stone, designed by Vauban to withstand centuries of storms and attacks; instead, we sprinted the length of the island and just made the boat before it weighed anchor for the mainland. Back at the port, we discovered that the GR34 had been manicured for 5km to our destination of St Brieuc. Wriggling between exquisite rock formations, it was once used by smugglers and the customs officers who hunted them. Vast chunks of granite – pink with flecks of gold, black and precious white – could have sheltered no end of seafarers, hunkered down in the darkness… The path was busy with people marvelling at the weird shapes and clambering over rocks. I walked with my head swivelling, trying to take in the enormity of it. The sting in the tail, as we neared St Brieuc, was the Ploumanac’h lighthouse, a soaring pillar of pink, planted on an outcrop on the very edge of land. St Brieuc was a cute haven, a clutch of houses and restaurants settled around a
‘Kissing fish’, at Greve Blanche
white sand beach. From the balcony of our room in the Hotel de l’Europe, we looked down onto the sand and seeping tide… after nipping to a small supermarket, we sipped cider in the sunshine and congratulated ourselves on our choice of holiday. The rock formations continued next day, taking in the gorilla and sundry other beasties, on the path to Ploumanac’h port. Following the GR34, we walked over two sea walls, past tide mills used for grinding corn, and on to Tourony beach. Islands at high tide were now extensions of the beach; a fairytale chateau isolated by the sea was almost accessible on foot. With the tide so far out we could walk on the sea bed, cutting corners between headlands and giggling at the notion. Past the town of Trégastel we discovered the chaotic beach of Coz Porz, with boulders Balanced boulders, Tresmeur beach
bigger than imagination and sand whiter than angels. Boats bobbed beautifully in the blue bays; it was like sashaying through a brochure for the Caribbean. Round the coast we went, pausing under a sheltered sand dune for lunch, ticking off lighthouses on distant sea atolls. At the end of the day we moved inland, climbing a mighty 50m to a glossy hotel on a golf course, with a view along the coast. The evening meal was out of this world and we ate greedily while, next door, a group of musicians murdered Brittanys equivalent of the bagpipes. Next morning we followed sunken lanes and leafy paths, along streams and quiet lanes, to the standing stone of Saint Uzec. This beige monolith, nearly eight metres high, was erected between 4000
and 5000 BC. Carvings dating from the 17th century show the moon, a spiky sun, a woman in prayer and crossed swords; it is startling in its detail.Now we walked on water again, over tidal sands to Ile Grande, a fat nose of land joined by a bridge to the mainland. Little ports and empty beaches led to a quiet café, where we sipped coffee with the landlady. Fancying a climb after three days of level ground, we headed inland to a high point of 53m. It summited on a densely wooded plateau so we climbed down again to the seaside town of Trebeurden, and the bay of Porz Termen. Our hotel was another beauty, set above the arc of bay,
Brittany with views out to islands and across to a large marina. From our balcony we could almost touch the sea and, served fresh langoustine for dinner, we could certainly taste it. For once the tide was in next day, giving a completely different feel to the coast. Now the surf crashed and hissed rather than simpering far out beyond the sands. It was exhilarating walking the cliff-top path, ducking down to sandy beaches and climbing back up around headlands, on our way to the Léguer river mouth. It felt odd to turn our backs on the sea, as we headed east on the riverside path for the final kilometres to Lannion. Arriving in town, we found ourselves in a busy market . The noise and bustle, after the coastal tranquillity, was a shock, and we realised how much we had relaxed in four days of walking. But we couldn’t run back to the sea, so we armed ourselves with an ice-cream, found a bench by the river and soaked up the atmosphere of inland life. And that’s the joy of a circular route on foot: seeing a place from all sides: coast and inland, inland and coast. A week might only give a snapshot, but on our tour of la Cote de Granit Rose, we truly felt we had experienced the best of Brittany.
Coz Porz at low tide
Tresmeur beach from the GR34
The eight metre high menhir of ST Uzec
Walking: Gentle terrain, mostly level for the first three days, with short climbs and descents on the last leg. A total distance of 70km is split into easily managed chunks, with scope to shorten or lengthen. Guiding: World Walks provides maps and written instructions. I also bought the IGN 0714 OT (scale 1:25,000) from the book shop opposite the Hotel Ibis in Lannion. For general reading I highly recommend The Rough Guide To Brittany & Normandy (www.roughguides.com), which gives useful background and information for the Granite Coast as well as the greater area. Contact: World Walks, www.worldwalks. com, tel +44 (0)1242 254353, info@ worldwalks.com. This 5 night, 4 day selfguided walk is available from 1 April to 30 Sept. The 2011 price is just £495/€580 (based on two sharing) and includes half-board accommodation, boat trip, and luggage transfers (but not transport to and from the start). To find this walk on the website, click on France, then Brittany: The Coast of Pink Granite Getting there: We used Brittany Ferries (www.brittanyferries.com, tel UK 0871 244 1400 or Ireland 021 4277 801) overnight from Portsmouth to St Malo, returning Caen to Portsmouth. The ferries are immaculate and the French staff helpful and friendly, making the journey a holiday in itself.
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The weather may not change much, but summer has seen the return of some welcome airborne guests, says Dick Warner
Swallow – not endangered
ecause Ireland is a temperis a real lover of mountains and prefers high ate country at a high latitude altitude cliffs, precipices and scree slopes. It it is famous for its winter overwinters in southern Europe and north migrant birds. These are birds Africa and its decline is probably due to from further north which are pressure, including hunting, in these parts of driven down to us by ice and snow. Willow Warbler But our geographical position also means that we are an attractive destination for summer migrant birds. Most of these birds come from Africa and the main attraction of Ireland is the long day length in summer which gives the birds more hours to forage for food for their broods. Many summer migrant species will be familiar to walkers with any interest in birds. Others are more unusual and some of them are declining to the point of great rarity. To start with a couple of species of special interest to hillwalkers, the wheatear is usually the first summer migrant to arrive in Ireland, coming in as early as March. This little grey bird with distinctive black and white tail markings can be the most common bird on many Irish mountains during the summer. It likes the uplands but is not confined to them. It can also be seen in open countryside or exposed coastlines. The ring ouzel is a much rarer bird and seems to be declining. It Cuckoo – harbinger of summer
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the world. It looks very like a blackbird and is a close relation but it has a white crescent on its throat, more distinctive in the male than the female. If you see something that looks like a blackbird high in the mountains and if it gives a very distinctive ‘chak-chak’ alarm call, then you’ve spotted the rare ring ouzel. The cuckoo is probably our most popular harbinger of summer, the first ones giving rise to even more letters to the editor than the first swallows. They also seem to be declining, though they are not regarded as endangered. Everyone knows about the cuckoo’s rather low habit of laying eggs in other birds’ nests. They prefer the nest of the meadow pipit and these are still very abundant in Ireland. So it seems, once again, that the cuckoo’s decline has more to do with habitat problems in Africa than any factor in its Irish summer quarters. Everyone also knows that the corncrake is seriously endangered and that the few birds that spend the summer with us are regarded as an internationally important population. The bird is seldom seen but makes its presence known by the unmistakable night time mating call of the male. The only places where it is likely to
Sand Martin â€“ small but prompt
House Martin â€“ long journey
be heard in Ireland today are places like the Shannon callows and some offshore islands. Here very old-fashioned haymaking methods are used. This indicates that changes in Irish agriculture have contributed to the massive decline in corncrakes in the past fifty years. The nightjar is probably even rarer today in Ireland, though small numbers breed here in most years, more commonly in the southern part of the country. This odd bird is most likely to be spotted at dusk or heard during the night. It is another rarity which hillwalkers should look and listen for as its preferred habitat in Ireland seems to be felled conifer plantations with open moorland close by. Swallows, house martins and sand martins are similar birds and closely related. They still make an annual journey from southern Africa to Ireland in large numbers every summer. The sand martin is the smallest of the three and usually the first to arrive. It is
also the least common, though the colony in an old sand pit a few hundred metres from my house seems to be flourishing. Some ornithologists have expressed concern that sand martin numbers are declining but it seems more likely that it is subject to a natural cycle of population fluctuation. This would not be surprising for such a small bird that has to make a massive migration twice a year. Swifts are summer visitors that are superficially similar to swallows and martins and sometimes confused with them. In fact they belong to a completely different family of birds that are among the most highlyevolved of all creatures when it comes to an aerial lifestyle. They eat, sleep and even mate on the wing and only perch during the breeding season. They are very ungainly when they do land and can have difficulty taking off again from a level surface. There are even smaller birds that make massive migrations from Africa. Spotted
flycatchers are among the last of the summer migrants to arrive but a pair of them take up residence in my apple orchard every year and I can watch them catching flies from the kitchen window. They like trees so youâ€™re more likely to come across them on a woodland walk. The warblers are even smaller. There are seven or eight common or relatively common species that visit Ireland every summer and about another seven or eight rare species. If you want to tell them apart you need a good musical ear. They tend to be well-camouflaged and secretive birds and some of them are very similar in appearance. But they all warble and their songs are all distinctive and different. Even experienced bird watchers find it hard to tell a willow warbler from a chiffchaff in the field until the bird opens its beak and sings. So, as the summer progresses, our countryside will be augmented by an interesting collection of summer visitors from Africa.
This article first appeared in our May/June 2002 issue
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Squiggly Brown Lines Andy Callan continues his series on navigation skills with the ups and downs of contours
irst things first, “Contours are imaginary lines connecting points of equal height above sea level”. Quite a few years back I was running part of a Mountain Skills Course on Scarr, above Lough Dan in Wicklow. In the early part of the training a lot of time is spent asking people to describe how the contours are shown on the map and relating that to what’s happening on the ground. Things were going very well, or so I thought until one of my clients fell in alongside me and an eerie silence followed – the sort of quiet when you just know that somebody’s about to come out with a real beaut . “Andy, you know these contour lines we’ve been talking about?” “Yes” says I, half dreading what was coming. “Well, next time we cross one, can you point it out?” I didn’t have the heart to crush his enthusiastic innocence; any of you who are familiar with Scarr will know there’s an old field boundary running around the top of the hill. As luck would have it we were within 100m of it and it was on our line of travel. So, as we crossed it I pointed it out – at this point it actually follows the line of a contour – he was delighted and it helped get my point across. Only problem is there’s still someone out there who thinks some contours actually exist... Contours are a by-product of an experiment by Nevil Maskelyne to determine the mass of the earth which took place on Schiehallion in the Central Scottish Highlands in 1774. This involved taking hundreds of measurements of the deviation of a plumbline caused by the mass of the mountain, at differing heights all around the mountain. In order to compile these findings, the measurements were plotted on a map and lines connecting points of equal height were found to give a “bird’s eye” view of the mountain. (See figure explaining Perspective/Elevation Plan). The closer the gap between the contours, the greater the detail shown. On all Irish OS maps, contour lines are spaced at intervals of 10m with a heavier index contour every 50m. Other privately produced
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maps i.e. EastWest or Harveys may use a different contour interval (usually 15 or 20m), so always check the marginal information beforehand. These maps may also include form lines – a bit like “half contours”- to show significant details that fall between contours and would not otherwise be shown. Almost all maps use interval shading where the background colour changes as you gain height, this starts with green, changing to beige and becoming progressively darker to brown as you reach the highest tops. Obviously, well spaced contours show relatively flat or gently sloping areas, whereas densely packed contours indicate steeper slopes. Irish OS maps do not indicate cliffs with a separate symbol unlike their northern counterparts, so recognising contours that touch, or almost touch each other as areas to be avoided is vitally important. The great thing about contours is that they don’t change. Almost every other feature on your map rivers, roads, buildings, and especially forestry may shift or get knocked down, but barring meteor strikes or thermonuclear war, contours remain constant and ultimately define your location. Get into the habit of building a mental image of the ground between you and your intended target - are you going up or downhill, cutting straight across the contours or traversing them at an angle? Should the high ground be on your left or right? If you decide that you’ve reached point X on the map, then the contour detail should confirm it by matching the shape of the ground. You can’t pick and choose the things that back your choice of location and ignore those that just don’t fit. Either it all matches and you’re in the right spot, or it doesn’t. This leaves you two options (a) you misinterpreted the information in the first place or (b) you’re in the wrong spot! To help develop a 3D picture of the common contour patterns, I like to think of a feature having 4 slopes – front, rear, right and left. In all cases think of what they would look like if you were looking uphill.
Spur (Fig. C) A finger of high ground gradually sloping into lower, these are hillwalkers highways since they are drier and offer better views. Not only important for photos, this makes it much easier to figure out your location. If standing on a spur (looking uphill), you’ll have high ground to your front and lower ground to your rear, left and right.
Re-entrant (Fig. C) Also known as a valley (larger) or gully (steeper). These act as natural drains, so they usually have streams or boggy ground at their base. They may also be U – flat bottomed – or V – narrow bottomed – shaped, this should show on the contour pattern. Standing in a reentrant you should have high ground on 3 sides and low ground on the last.
Summit (Fig. C) Fairly obvious, if you’re on top of the hill, the ground should fall away on all sides. This is indicated by a “free standing” ring contour.
Col (Fig. A) Also known as a saddle or pass, this is the gap between 2 hills. The term saddle accurately describes its shape, higher at the front and rear (looking along the line of hills), with downhill slopes to both left and right.
Ridge (Fig. A) A stretch of higher ground between a series of summits, in this case both front and rear slopes would be fairly level while left and right would fall away. Look again at the example shown; note how the lower slopes bulge outwards below the summits. In a situation where the ground appears flat this would indicate mounds or hillocks that fail to reach the 10m mark so they don’t qualify for a separate contour of their own.
Convex/Concave Slopes These are important in that they indicate the presence of cliffs or areas of steep ground probably best avoided by hillwalkers. Convex slopes are steeper at the lower end and their bulging profile means that you usually can’t see how steep they are until you get there. Concave slopes on the other hand are steeper at the top and quite often they have scree slopes or boulder fields at their base, these can provide a bit of fun if you’re passing by but are hard work to travel over. Developing an eye for contours is something that takes lots of practice, some people find the initial concepts hard to grasp, so I hope these notes are of use. Just remember what I said earlier, all the other features on your map are subject to change, if the contours have changed something’s definitely up!
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By The Way
Selling the Family Trees
A guide to Irish forests adds perspective to politics. By Michael Fewer
must for walkers and strollers in particular is a new book, Stopping By Woods, by Donal Magner, a Corkman whose career since 1970 has been immersed in forestry and timber, and he has been at the centre of the development of forestry policy in Ireland for many years. Stopping By Woods: A Guide to the Forests and Woodlands of Ireland is a well-written, hugely informative book that provides information on 340 forests and woods in Ireland that are open to the public, covering aspects such as tree species, flora and fauna, and history, through walks that are clearly shown on maps in the text. His introduction has a succinct but well-told history, in a nutshell, of the landscape of Ireland from earliest times, with a really interesting description of the development of forestry over the last century. From Bottlehill to Dooney Rock and from Slish to Ummera, every decent piece of woodland in the country is dealt with. In addition to key maps showing the locations of woods, Donal includes maps of most of the woods with recommended walks indicated, providing a wealth of leisure opportunities in every corner of Ireland. Lavishly illustrated with excellent colour photography, this 530-page magnum opus, at â‚Ź25, is excellent value. Reading this book put in context for me the extent and value of our woodland resources, and brought to mind all the recent hullabaloo about the recession and the need to sell off Irelandâ€™s scarce assets to pay our national bills. You will recall that one of the recommendations floated was that we should sell Coillte lock, stock and barrel. It would be difficult for walkers in Ireland not to be very aware of our forestry: much of the land over which we walk either accessing the hills or just having a stroll is forestry land, and the vast majority of that belongs to Coillte. In spite of frequently walking over their lands, making use of their pathways and forestry roads, only a few walkers have any more than a vague idea of what Coillte is, and have little idea of what a vast national resource it oversees and manages.
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The Coillte website states that it is a commercial company and its ‘core purpose is to enrich lives locally, nationally and globally through the innovative and sustainable management of natural resources’. It operates forestry, land-based businesses, renewable energy and panel products. Established in 1988, it employs 1,100 people, and owns a spectacular 445,000 hectares of land, (over a million acres) or 7% of the landmass of the Republic of Ireland. It is not, as far as I can tell, (and I am no expert in these matters) a private company, but while it may be a commercial company, since 2009 it has had its own Bye Laws. Government of Ireland Statutory Instrument Number 151, signed into law in 2009, details the control Coillte can exercise on its lands and the people who use them: it has rulings on all kinds of activities within its boundaries from skateboarding to the consumption of alcohol, which is strictly banned. Actually bringing alcohol onto Coillte property is against their Bye Laws, a fact that some walkers I know would be surprised to learn! There is nothing, however, in the Bye Laws to suggest how these and the other laws are to be enforced. The recent controversy about the possibility of selling Coillte to a Chinese government company (even with an upstanding former Irish politician sitting on the board) resulted in a mass-ceili dance of knee jerk reactions, and brought the clarification that what is under consideration is the selling of the timber, rather than the land. But I ask myself, is this not what Coillte are doing all the time? The Coillte website, however, gives numbers that won’t go a long way towards paying off the national debt. With a gross turnover of nearly €207m in 2009, the total profit that year only came to just over 4 million euro, or under 2%. In recent decades Coillte have been keen to advertise the measures they have been taking to open up the forests for the amenity use of citizens and visitors, and we walkers and strollers have certainly being enjoying the results. We do live in times, however, that even we walkers have to reluctantly admit there are more important matters than simply getting out there on the hills. Four million acres of land, even if part of it is poor land, is a huge national resource after all, and it seems reasonable that we, the silent owners of these woodlands, might expect that careful and inspired management of such a resource would result in more substantial financial return. Would the Chinese do better?
“ In spite of frequently walking over their lands, making use of their pathways and forestry roads, only a few walkers have any more than a vague idea of what Coillte is.”
Stopping By Woods By Donal Magner Published by Lilliput Press 530pp €25.00 (paperback), €35.00 (hardback)
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Festivals Festivals Festivals Festivals Lee Valley Walking organises relaxed hill and low-level walks for small groups and the independent walker in the Lee Valley, Macroom and the Múscraí Gaeltacht and walking trips to West Cork and Kerry.
Mourne International Walking Festival 24-26 June 2011
Castlebar International 4 Days Walks June 30 – July 3
They say: Friday 24th June sees the return of the Mourne International Walking Festival. Taking place over 3 days, this internationally recognised walking festival is packed full of great opportunities for walkers to get out and enjoy the highlights of the Mourne Mountains. The base for this year’s festival is the village of Warrenpoint situated on the shores of Carlingford Lough. Located 50 miles south of Belfast and approximately 1 1/2 hours from Dublin by car, Warrenpoint is full of cosy bars and fine restaurants ideal for walkers after a long day in the Mourne Mountains. On each of the 3 days of the festival there are a variety of selfguided lowland walks with all routes fully waymarked. These walks will all be focused around the western Mournes with transport provided to and from the start and finish points for the walks. On Saturday 25th June there is a moderate 20km guided mountain ramble from Leitrim Lodge up Rocky Mountain to Yellow Water and Kilbroney, plus a more strenuous 20km guided hike up Hen Mountain, Cock Mountain and Pigeon Rock Mountain. On the Sunday there are another two 20km guided options. The social highlight of festival weekend is always the ‘Blister Ball’ on the Saturday evening and this year The Duke Bar and Restaurant in Warrenpoint is the location for this casual dinner/dance event.
Now in its 45th year, the 4 Days Walks is a genuinely international event, attracting walkers from as far afield as Japan. It’s unusual in that road walks of up to 40km are the core of the programme, though there’s a daily cross-country ‘ramble’ of up to six hours.
Find out more about this year’s festival on www.mournewalking. co.uk or by contacting Warrenpoint Tourist Office on + 44 (0)28 4175 2256. Visit www.walkni.com to find out information on other walking festivals and events taking place this year throughout Northern Ireland.
They say: 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. Tel:+353 (0)86 278 9147; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.slievebloom.ie
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They say: We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to our Four Day International Walking Festival where you can join walkers from more than 21 countries to walk, talk and to discover and share the bogs, rivers, mountains and unspoilt beauty of the west of Ireland. Since the beginning in 1967 the annual Castlebar International Four Days Walks have attracted walkers from every corner of the world to walk in the unique location that is the west of Ireland. Our walks offer a wide choice of routes to suit all levels of fitness. On each of the four days of the Festival we have a 10km, 20km and 40km road walk and a guided cross-country ‘Ramble’ that takes approximately six hours to complete. The Festival starts on the Wednesday evening with an informal get-together where walkers can register and attend the short, but important, briefing. The Welcome Inn Hotel on New Antrim Street, Castlebar is our headquarters for the duration of the Festival. All walks (including the Ramble) start and finish here.
Slieve Bloom Eco Walking Festival 15 July - 17 July
Catherine Ketch, a historical geographer, founded Lee Valley Walking in 1999 to provide a guided walking service in the West Cork region of the Lee Valley, Muscrai Gaeltacht and Macroom.She studied geography, archaelogy, Irish and English in foundation year at University College Cork, taking a BA in Geography and English and a Masters Degree in Historical Geography. Catherine draws on both her own expertise and that of other specialists in the locality to provide accurate, interesting and entertaining information those walking in the Macroom area. The aim of Lee Valley Walking is both to encourage an interest in walking in the Macroom area and to provide a quality service for visitors. Residents and visitors alike can choose from a year round programme of scheduled hill-walks, low-level walks and visits to sites of heritage interest. A programme of hill and low-level walks is available on alternate Sundays year round. During May, June, July and August shorter walks take place on Wednesday evenings in the Lee Valley, Macroom, Múscraí Gaeltacht and generally in the Cork/ Kerry border region. Monday morning walks are available from April to July.
July 5th to 8th, August 2nd to 5th Muscrai Gaeltacht Mid Week Walking Mid Week walking breaks Ballyvourney Co Cork Suitable for all levels of hill-walker Cost €295 includes 3B&B, 3D, 3 guided walks, 2 packed lunches and traditional music session.
August 12th to 14th, Sept 16th to 18th Walking Weekend Four Star Castle Hotel in Macroom Price 2B&B 1D, packed lunches, three guided walks and full use of leisure centre from €189 pp
Sept 3rd to 10th 2011 One week Guided Walking Holiday Seven days of relaxed walking in the Lee Valley region based at the Four Star Castle Hotel Macroom Co Cork. Suitable for all levels of hill-walker.
Féile Siúlóidí Na Lúnasa / August Walks Festival August 26th-29th, 2011 They say: Achill offers an ideal landscape for walking with its magnificent mountains, rolling hills and rugged coastline, there is something to suit all tastes. The island has an abundance of archaeological sites and a rich local history. Achill Tourism is in the process of organising the third walking festival of the year here on the island. The season opened with our Valentines Walking Festival, followed by our Féile Siúlóidí Acla and now we are concentrating on our August Walking Festival. During each of our festivals we organise a variety of walks, using local guides. Our festivals are an opportunity for old friends to meet up and those new to walking to make new friends. There is a lively social scene and a wide variety of restaurants where local produce can be sampled. 2011 welcomes the opening of The Great Western Greenway, which follows the Old Railway line from Westport to Achill. This route is accessible to both Walkers and Cyclists offering a route of 42km in total. The colour of the heather and wild flowers and the ever changing scenery are a sight to behold. The August Festival opens on Friday 26th with a Welcome Reception hosted by Achill Tourism for all walkers. This will give each participant a chance to meet the guides and fellow walkers alike. On Saturday 27th the walker will be offered the choice of a selfguided point to point walk, with two check in points.Pre-registration is essential, with each walker having to provide evidence of map reading and mountain skills upon submission of registration form. In celebrating Heritage Week our second walk will take place on Achill Beg, departing from Cloughmore Pier. We will enjoy a fully guided tour of the island taking in the beauty of one of Achill’s off shore islands. The island has a rich cultural heritage. On Sunday 28th both walks will incorporate the Great Western Greenway, with a trek on Polranny Hill an option. On Sunday afternoon we will have a presentation event where each walker will receive a commerative certificate and pin to celebrate their attendance at The August Walks Festival. A visit to Achill would not be complete without a visit to our great mountain, Slievemore .On Monday 29th there will be a trek to the summit of Slievemore. Achill Tourism are again looking forward to welcoming many old friends and making new ones. Bigí linn arís. Full Details are available on www.achilltourism.com or 098 20400. Preregistration is essential (forms will be available on the website from July)
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Inside the GREAT
Drop by, tune in, walk out. By Conor O’Hagan
If adventure has a Head Office in Ireland, it’s here. If Aladdin’s cave has a Dublin forwarding address, it’s surely here. If you’re planning to boldly go where the bus doesn’t stop and you’re feeling under-equipped, or simply want to swap notes with like-minded people who have probably been there and ordered in the T-shirt (in your size and choice of colour), you definitely need to come here. Fifty yards from Dublin’s Grafton Street isn’t perhaps the most likely of Meccas for rucksacks, sleeping bags, camping stoves and gaiters, but for 35 years Great Outdoors has been
lin brochure in
To launch the Tig
Early Doors “Great Outdoors was originally set up in 1976 by four partners – myself, Leslie Lawrence, Derek Martin and Peter Richardson,” says Gerry Collins. “Leslie and I had worked for Derek in a shop called Venture Sports before it went out of business. All of us came more or less from watersports backgrounds – in my case, I had represented Ireland in canoe slalom at the Munich Olympics. “The outdoor retail scene was tiny in those days, and the regular retailers didn’t cater for it at all. If you wanted hiking boots or a rain jacket, there really weren’t many places
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that and more; a place of pilgrimage for anyone planning an expedition, whether it’s a Sunday stroll in the Wicklow foothills or a full-on Himalayan assault. Surviving 35 years in specialist retailing – not to mention a competitive sporting career that took him to the 1972 Olympics in canoe slalom and over 40 Liffey Descents with 11 wins – speaks for a toughness that Gerry Collins wears lightly. Almost every aspect of the Great Outdoors story, when recalled, seems to evoke a smile.
, an instructor 1989, Niall Smyth
you could go, so we gained popularity pretty quickly and picked up knowledge – and brands – as we went. “We’ve been on the same site on Chatham Street right from the beginning. Originally we operated from the Ground Floor and Basement, then when business went well in the first few years we broke through the ceiling and moved into the First Floor. Since then, we’ve also moved further back, and kind of wormed our way into the building. When we moved in here, the main piece of technology we had was a Telex machine [if you’re under 40, ask an ancestor] Eventually
d off the roof of Gr
at Tiglin, abseile
we moved on to a fax, but I can remember that huge clanking machine clearly! “One of our longest and most successful relationships has been with Meindl. It came about when Jim Leonard, who worked for Great Outdoors in the early years, and who of course went on to design many of Lowe Alpine’s ground-breaking packs, called to tell us that a consignment of Meindl boots was being held at the docks in Dublin because the consignee, another Dublin store, had gone out of business. We took over the shipment and pretty much since that day Meindl has been one of our most important brands.
“Jim worked in Great Outdoors as our mountaineering guru. He was ‘poached’ in the late ‘70s by a guy from Lowe Alpine US, who was over looking at setting up a factory in Tullamore. He was very impressed with Jim’s knowledge and offered him a job. From there, Jim became their chief pack designer for over 20 years.
had in or source it at the best possible price.” One of those expeditions in particular marked a watershed in Irish mountain sports. The 1993 Irish Everest Expedition, which put Dawson Stelfox on top of the world as the first Irishman to summit and simultaneously the first Briton to complete the North Face route, was a high point (pun intended).
were hugely enthusiastic about what they were doing. We learned a lot from those guys; they had great knowledge and they could impart fantastic tips and experience. No fewer than four of the team here now are ‘lifers’, with over 25 years at Great Outdoors; Carol Masterson, Derek Moody, Ken Costigan and Tony O’Brian.
“We kept our heads down and kept growing through the ‘80s, even though the decade was pretty grim for Ireland as a whole. In fact, the outdoor trade steamed through the ‘80s. There were a lot of Outdoor Activity Centres opening, people were learning to rock climb, canoe, surf – there was a lot going on.
“The Irish Everest expedition in 1993 really kicked off something for us; we were very heavily involved in the logistics of the Expedition, and Leslie Lawrence went out as Base Camp Manager for five weeks. Great Outdoors became an unofficial information hub; all they had on the mountain was a
The Gear “Outdoor sports equipment has come on tremendously in terms of materials, designs and technology. And value too; in the late ‘80s, our best selling jacket was the Berghaus Mera Peak, which sold for £400. Today, the same thing is barely half the price!”
The shop has undergone almost constant transformation since the doors first opened. Here’s an early shot taken from the entrance circa 1978. Mysterious flares-wearer on the stairs has not been identified.
The basement of Great Outdoors housed the diving department from the seventies until the late 90s. Des Mulreany, a Great Outdoors legend, ruled the roost in The Dungeon (as it was affectionately known by the dive crowd) from the seventies until the late nineties. More of a hangout than a shop the dive department was the equivalent of a facebook group for the pre-internet generation. Here’s Des in 1979 sporting a speargun and an even sharper set of threads.
“Eventually we became Lowe’s biggest account in Ireland. In fact we were bigger than some national distributors. Lowe brought fleece to Ireland – everyone had one of their jackets. At the height of Lowe’s success 11 years ago we opened the Lowe Alpine shop in Temple Bar. Now it’s The North Face Store; we started with TNF in ‘95, when almost nobody wanted the brand. And of course we have the Watersports Store just round the corner from the main store on Clarendon Street. That’s in the context of a much bigger retail scene generally – sometimes it seems there’s an outdoor sports store in every major town in Ireland these days! “We were really closely involved with the growth of outdoor activities. Not just in terms of selling gear, either. We were sponsoring events, even running them ourselves, and advising and equipping expeditions. Every expedition came to us looking for help in the late ‘80s and ‘90s. We would give what we
dodgy satellite phone, so we became the de facto Press Centre. We lived on the glory for a couple of years. When they came home, they went first to a reception at the Mansion House then next stop was Chatham Street, where we pretty much held a street party! Of course Dawson, Frank and the guys were all over the media for a good while after that, and our association with the expedition did us no harm. Those were great times for adventure sports in Ireland.”
The People Business “The Great Outdoors family – people who have worked here at some time in the last 35 years – is literally worldwide. There are even groups of ex-employees who keep in touch and meet up in different parts of the world! In the early days all our staff were Irish, but that changed over the years, and we took on people from all over. Some of them might not have been so great at working in a shop, but they knew their sport inside out and
“Until Sprayway and Berghaus became the first two companies to introduce Gore-Tex to the market, breathability didn’t exist even as a concept, let alone something you could buy. Outdoor gear was either waterproof or it wasn’t. If it was, it was PVC-coated nylon.” Progress has been steady, but not always seamless; “In the early days of Gore-Tex, we must have taken back nine out of every ten Gore-Tex jackets we sold! That was partly because Gore offered an unconditional 3-year Guarantee, but the fact was that early versions could de-laminate virtually overnight. But barring hiccups like that, Gore-Tex was first-man-on-the-moon stuff in terms of outdoor clothing, and it opened the door to so much of what followed over the last three decades. “In those days there were no magazines and of course no internet, so it was largely left to
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rtunity to show on shoot provided the staff an oppo The annual Christmas card fashi the early nineties Great in Here ing. Cloth oor Outd in off the latest and greatest first 2 layer the far right is sporting one of the Outdoors Director Gerry Collins on Cap. Purple ntain Mou e Alpin Lowe dary and a legen Gore-Tex jackets from Sprayway was very, very in that year.
Great Outdoors staff hav e been known to harbou r modelling aspirations over the years. Here in the late seventies Gerry Collins shows off the late in waterproofs, boots, st camping gear and cro ssbows. If you ever me one looking like this on et someyour local walking trai l, be afraid...!
“We weren’t just selling it, we were doing it.”
us to educate customers about gear. Someone would come in looking to get equipped for the hills and we’d have to start from scratch, explaining what was important and how to use gear properly. We had to explain the differences in pricing, how the fabrics and designs worked, why some things were better. Of course if we need to we can still do that, but these days people are better informed; they’ve read all about it before they come in. “Prices of quality outdoor gear and equipment have plummeted. Wet suits in the ‘80s were several times the price they are now, and with no flexibility at all. “We like to think that we have always been at the leading edge, but we don’t always get it right. When Lowe Alpine launched the first internal-frame packs in the late 70s, I have to admit we laughed; we were sure nobody would go for the idea of a frame you couldn’t see!” One change that Collins regrets is the loss of Irish-based manufacturers. “Not so long ago there was a wide range of outdoor equipment being made here in Ireland. Now it’s down to Cascade Designs in Cork, who are still designing and producing highquality camping and trekking gear
down in Midleton. Cascade prove that it’s still viable to manufacture in Ireland, and it’s a shame that more companies haven’t stayed. Some of the world’s best snowshoes have ‘Made in Ireland’ stamped on them!”
The Future “The recession has hit the outdoor market just like every part of the economy. But I think the general outlook is healthy. Attitudes towards outdoor recreation and sport are changing, with more and more people taking advantage of what we have here in Ireland. Thousands of school students are introduced to the mountains and adventure sports every year, and inevitably, a proportion of them pursue these sports in later years.
Great Outdoors reside nt boot and footwear gur u Neil Smith won the prestigious Boot Fitter of the year award in 200 0. Here Leslie Lawrence, one of Great Ou tdoors original founde rs and Director till the mid 2000s, presents Ne il with his award. Neil’s passion for feet has never dimmed and afte r a spell working for Ana tom and Superfeet he returned to Great Ou tdoors, armed with eve n more knowledge.
“We’ve always tried to keep things at a certain level, concentrating on performance brands, even when the industry as a whole has been going for cheaper products with bigger margins. It’s about trust and credibility. We have always stuck to markets where we feel we have an edge, and that edge comes from the fact that all our people are participants. From the beginning, the important thing was that everyone in the store was active in adventure sports; we weren’t just selling it, we were doing it.” Gerry Collins (at the front) and Derek Martin (to the rear), two of the original founders of Great Outdoors, tackle a weir during the 1974 Liffey Descent.
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June/July issue Brasher Kiso/Kenai GTX Crossword Competition Results
KNOCKREE C AP ARD N T I R L R A O P T T OR Y MOU R N E C T I U O O A K ERRY GUR F I ONN B A A I S E O F I M A A L COOMB E Y N I V A C T Y P I N G D AWD L E R P E L U T I R I DGE EON C L I MB I R S N M O G S T OU K E BO AR EGO E W E R A T C DON ARD B EN L E AGH
www.brasher.co.uk Congratulations to: Noel McMahon, Mallow, Co Cork Michael Corry, Kilmainham, Dublin 8 Ann McManamon, Charlestown, Co Mayo Bernard Downes, Shankhill, Co Dublin Nigel Foley-Fisher, Athlone, Co. Westmeath Paul Brown, Moycullen, Co. Galway Norrie Coen, Tuam, Co Galway Majella Oâ€™Dea, Dublin 9
Our thanks to all who entered and to our sponsors, Brasher Boot Company
Hot Stuff ?
What to put on when summer kicks off. By Andy Callan NO, IT’S NOT A DONNA SUMMER flashback moment (thank God, I don’t think my dodgy knees would stand the pressure!), but rather a look at the sort of clothing recommended in warmer climes - or even an Irish summer, I hope [don’t be ridiculous – Ed.]. It’s important to point out from the start that it is possible to get sunburn through your clothing if the sun is strong enough. I can’t over-emphasise the need for a good sun cream that protects from both UV-A rays (often highlighted by a star system) and UV-B rays, denoted by the Sun Protection Factor (SPF). Secondly the SPF rating allows you stay out longer (i.e. an SPF 20 lets you stay 20 times longer than unprotected) before burning, but once you’ve reached this limit slapping on another layer of cream makes no difference whatsoever. Lastly, always try to stay out of direct sunlight between late morning and mid-afternoon when the sun is strongest. In normal Irish or even alpine summer conditions, synthetic T-shirts are more than adequate – most of the tops tested are of this type - but when travelling outside Europe you need to be a bit choosier as regards shirts/upper body cover. I’ve always been critical of wearing cotton in the mountains but it does have its place as a fabric for those travelling in hot dry climates where it can help keep you cool. In hot and humid conditions things get a bit more complicated; pure cotton can chafe the skin and may even rot if worn for extended periods, but conversely tight-fitting, fast-wicking lightweight fabrics can leave you feeling very uncomfortable indeed. Those who spend any length of time in jungle/monsoon conditions swear by polyester/cotton blend fabrics as the best compromise between comfort and durability. Generally speaking, a couple of loose-fitting shirts with high collars, long sleeves and a long body offer the best range of options as regards sun protection and venting. It’s important that they should dry out quickly after washing and allow air to circulate freely across the skin to keep you cool. The fabric should also have some form of sun protection built into it to help delay sunburn. There have been major developments in SPF fabrics in the last couple of years; most manufacturers now use the Australian UPF as a common standard, though the American ASTMD 6544 standard also measures the level of UV protection at the end of a fabric’s life cycle. The maximum level of protection is 50+, but even a UPF rating of 15 blocks 93.3% of UV.
The same fabric guidelines apply to legwarmers as to shirts. Your trousers will take much more abuse than a shirt however, so a Ripstop-type fabric (look for a pattern of small squares on the fabric) is ideal as this will stop small tears from migrating across the material. Additional panels in high wear areas like the knees and bum add reinforcement. Pant legs should be long enough to allow you secure them over your boot tops, this’ll help keep midges, ticks (or even leeches!) at bay. Again, fit is important and needs differ between travellers and hillwalkers. Travellers will look for a looser, airier fit but hillwalkers should choose a more fitted trouser, especially if wearing gaiters. “Zip-off” trousers are obviously more versatile than either standard trousers or shorts – just remember to wash both sections together to avoid a two-tone look.
Seeing that I’ve mentioned keeping creepy crawlies out of your boots and trousers it’s fairly obvious that you should protect the rest of your body from bites, stings and other possible sources of infection. There are a vast range of repellents available, many of which contain the chemical DEET. Prolonged use of DEET can be dangerous (I splashed some accidentally on my compass a few years back and watched the numbers melt away!) especially in high concentrations and there are other natural products such as citronella oil available. Interestingly, Avon’s Soft’n’Gentle moisturiser is an effective midge repellent and Craghoppers also make a range of sun creams that also contain a repellent. On top of all that, Craghoppers Nosi Life clothing is also impregnated with a durable anti-mosquito agent, so it would be ideal in malaria-prone areas. And lastly – always wear a hat to protect your head, face and neck from the sun!
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TESTS Pants - Walking
Montane Terra Pack Pants
Montane Ladies Terra Pant
Designed as a trek/travel trouser but also ideal for summer hillwalking Montane’s Terra Pack Pant is made from lightweight (270g,size L) Tactel fabric with a gusseted crotch area. They’re supplied with a belt and have 2 hip and 1 small thigh pocket. All pockets are zipped and mesh lined. The right hand hip pocket also holds a separate security pocket. You can adjust the ankles to suit whatever type of footwear you’ve on by means of a discrete set of poppers at the hem and the waistband is lined with a wicking fabric for comfort. I really liked these pants, finding them a great fit and the cut allows a full range of movement – probably more than I could ever hope to achieve! The Tactel fabric is light but durable and its water repellent treatment can be renewed every 6 months or so by applying Nikwak TX Direct.
These are the beefed-up, full mountain version of the Pack Pants, the major difference being the reinforced seat, knees and ankle areas plus the zipped and mesh-lines thigh vents. Our female tester’s comments were along the same lines as for the Pack Pant, they’re light, (330g, size 12) comfortable and a great fit. I’ve had a pair of men’s Terras for about 2 years now and have had no issues as regards their durability either. They have a UPF of 40+ making them ideal for hot climates. I’ve worn mine on all but the wintriest days and can’t fault them at all – that doesn’t happen very often….
Berghaus Pitztal Pant
Made from a stretchy fabric Berghaus’ Pitztal Pant has 3 zipped pockets (2 front, 1 rear), thigh vents, articulated knees and a gusseted crotch – in short all you’re looking for in a walking trouser. The waistband is nice and high your shirt won’t work its way upwards under either a rucksack or harness and it’s also lined with a wicking fabric for better comfort. One of the neater touches is how they’ve integrated the belt into the waistband for a much comfier fit without getting in the way. All the pockets are a decent size and the thigh vents were great in the hot spell over Easter. My only gripe is the leg width - why use a stretchy fabric if you’re not going to use its advantages. I reckon the legs could be an inch narrower without affecting your range of movement at all and it would avoid the “pantaloon” look when wearing gaiters. A competent seamstress can sort this out for you, but it’s an added expense all the same. Apart from that the Pitztals are a great walking/climbing pant and good value too.
Odlo Tension €105/£85
Odlo’s Tension pants are a fully featured walking trouser made from a double weave stretch fabric with a DWR treatment. The Tensions have a 3 zipped pockets (2 front, 1 rear), articulated knees and also have little vents at the back of the knee. I hadn’t come across this idea before; it didn’t seem to make much difference during the test period but may have proved useful if the weather was warmer especially if wearing gaiters. Unusually for a walking trouser the crotch doesn’t have a gusset panel and while the fabric is quite stretchy I found them a bit tight when sitting down. These pants have a nice neat fit in the leg – a definite plus but the waistband quite low on the hips which isn’t great under a rucksack – your baselayer tends to ride up leaving a bare patch across your lower back. This was disappointing because apart from that I really liked them, with a few tweaks the Tensions could otherwise be one of the best walking trousers around but the low-rise waistband is a major flaw in my opinion.
Pants - Travel
OR Equinox Pant
More of a trekking pant made for quick drying in hot, humid climates Outdoor Research’s (OR) Equinox pant has a loose fit and is made from lightweight Supplex Nylon with a UPF of 50+ and a DWR treatment. They feature an integrated belt 4 slash pockets (2 front, 2 rear) and a neat little GPS/mobile sized storage pocket on the right thigh with a concealed zipper. The ankles can be cinched to help repel insects or for wearing up in hot weather. Like I said not the pant I’d recommend for the hills but for trek/travel they’re pretty damn good.
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TNF Trivor Pant
Mammut Crag Pant
Another trekking pant with a relaxed fit, the Trivor has 5 pockets (2 front, 2 cargo, 1 rear) a wicking waistband and a cotton-like fabric that’s actually a hard-wearing Nylon. Apart from that their “relaxed” (baggy!) fit is very comfy - I find myself drawn to them as casual wear - way too loose as hillwalking pant, but would suit trek/travel use.
Designed to pack up small, Mammut’s Crag Pants are made of lightweight (250g, size L) Polyamide Nylon with a Ripstop pattern and water-repelling Teflon finish. Pockets are the fairly standard 2 front and 1 zipped at the back and the knees are articulated. Like the rest of the travel pants tested, the cut is fairly baggy and very comfortable. The shorts are basically a cut-down version of the pant with similar features, fit etc.
Montane Zoom Short
TNF Paramount Peak Cargo Short
OR Vantage Shorts
Regatta Geo Extol Mountain Short
Craghoppers NosiLife Cargo Short
Different to the rest of the shorts tested in that they’re more of a multi-activity garment than just a walking short, the zooms are made from Tactel fabric with an internal mesh brief. This design allows you use them for almost everything - swimming, running, gym wear, cycling (over Lycra shorts) or casually. They have a large rear zipped pocket which will hold an MP3 player and a small key pocket. The design won’t suit those looking for a “dressier” pair of shorts but they’re so useful that it took me a while to find them in with the rest of my training gear, obviously a good sign. Undoubtedly expensive in comparison to apparently similar sports shorts, the Zooms are very well made and their versatility somewhat offsets the price. These are hardwearing shorts made from abrasion-resistant nylon, supplied with a belt. The waistband is semi-elasticated and the gusseted crotch allows a full range of movement. Other notable features are the 4 large pockets, 2 at the waist and 1 on each thigh. Comfy, light and durable, they’re suitable for a range of summer activities and have a UPF 30 rating. The only niggle I have is that the thigh pockets won’t take an OS map, so what function do they actually fulfil? Other than that they’re very comfortable, fairly bombproof and should last for years. Made from a blend of Cotton and Spandex, these seem like your everyday cut-offs but the Spandex in the fabric really does add an element of stretch and comfort. On top of that, their relaxed fit makes them popular with climbers, without appearing too “out-there”. They’re also ideal for travel or lounging around. They have the standard 4 pockets – 2 front, 2 rear and they’re long enough to cover the knees. No belt supplied. When you give one of your products a name that includes “mountain” in its title you better be pretty sure it can live up to it. Regatta’s Geo Extol Mountain Shorts are a strange Bicoloured garment, the front part being made from Venture-Tech which is a Polyamide Nylon while the back half is made from Extol. This back panel is both stretchy and hard wearing, not just good for walking/climbing its ideal for cycling too. Apart from that the Mountain shorts have 5 pockets – 2 at the front, 1 rear, 1 thigh and 1 security pocket. None of these are overly large; the thigh pocket could definitely be much bigger. Apart from that though, they’re light comfy, stretchy, quick-drying and have a UPF of 40+. At this price they’re good value for money (check out the full length version) and they’re even supplied with a belt. Overall, they live up to their name, maybe Regatta will sort out the pockets next time around?
NosiLife – a permanent insect-repellent fabric, it feels like Cotton and is very comfortable. These cargo shorts have 4 pockets – 2 front, 1 rear and 1 thigh – all of which are decently sized. The waistband is partly-elasticated and a belt is supplied. Cut long to cover the knees these shorts are ideal for almost everything including going to the pub, I especially liked the cargo pocket which will easily take a laminated OS map, not true of the other cargo shorts tested. As for the fabric, it has a lovely feel and is quite stretchy but it was too early in the year to find out about its insect repelling properties. Reports elsewhere seem positive though. Well worth a look for a broad range of purposes whether travelling, walking or dossing, they also come in a full pant and zip off versions.
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Montane Bionic Tee €45/£35
Made from a blend of 77% Polyester/23% Merino Wool, the Bionic Tee uses the Merino on its inner face to trap moisture vapour from your skin whilst the Polyester transports the moisture in liquid form, spreading it out over a larger area so the shirt dries faster. I found the Bionic to be slightly warmer than the other garments tested, presumably due to the Merino Wool in its construction and while it isn’t itchy, every time I put it on I know by feel that it wasn’t just an ordinary synthetic tee. Having said that, it worked well as a baselayer and on its own, so I’ve no cribs at all
Odlo Jonny €45/£35 Peter €50/£40
Both of Odlo’s Tech Tees use the same effect fabric but are very different in style, the Jonny being a v-neck while Peter is a polo shirt. Effect fabric includes an element of silver in the yarn, this helps combat body odour and allows you get more wear from the shirt. These shirts are very comfy, have a UPF rating of 30+ and wick/dry rapidly. The Peter has the added advantage of the polo collar which helps keep the sun off your neck and looks a bit less casual than a standard t-shirt.
Outdoor Research Sequence Duo Tee
Made from quick dry/wicking Dri-release fabric which is a blend of polyester and cotton that feels remarkably cotton-like, this combination makes the Sequence ideal for humid weather where its wickability, temperature control and odour resistant properties really shine through. Also available in a zip-neck version if you’re looking for that extra bit of ventilation, these shirts are great for travel, hiking or casual wear.
Mammut Cotopaxi €75/£60
Different from the rest of the Tees tested in that it’s designed with keeping you warm rather than cool. The Cotopaxi is a short sleeved fitted Tee with a deep front zip. The fabric here is Polartec Power Dry with a grid-like pattern on the inner surface which wicks rapidly and dries just as quickly. Not recommended for summer wear, but ideal as a baselayer for the remainder of the year, I’ve worn it cycling on cold mornings and really appreciated its heat retaining properties.
Berghaus Argentium Cool L/S Tee
Regatta Ecosphere Tee
This was the only long sleeved top tested, short sleeves are great for keeping you cool but long sleeves help protect your forearms from the sun, keep you warm when it’s cooler and you can always push them up if needs be. As the name implies Argentium uses silver ion technology as a permanent odour treatment and this shirt also has mesh underarm panels for both increased ventilation and wicking. I’ve used this top running, cycling, walking and climbing, it has worked well right across the range of activities and doubles up as a year round base-layer too. Possibly a top for all seasons bar the depths of the winter, the Argentium LS is good value for money too. The Ecosphere Tee is made from a fabric that uses Bamboo fibre which has natural antibacterial (pong resistant!) properties and a UPF of 20+. This t-shirt wicks/dries well and has a nice, soft feel to it. Again it’s suitable for a range of activities and at this price is a real bargain.
Craghoppers Cortes S/S €53/£42 Atoll Polo €45/£36
Both of these shirts are made with Nosi-Life treated fabric – a permanent and effective method of anti-insect protection. The Cortes is a sporty – styled short sleeved tee with a deep front zip. It’s made of Polycotton with Spandex included in the weave for an element of stretch and feels both comfy and snug. I have to say that this was one of my favourite tops throughout this test; it’s not only functional but stylish too. I can’t as yet speak for its anti-midge performance but does very well at all the other things expected from a Tech Tee. Moving on to the Atoll Polo Shirt, which has the same Nosi-life treatment, this time the fabric is plain polyester with a looser cut and again wicking/drying very versatile shirts, the collar protects the back of the neck and they don’t have that uber-technical look while still delivering on performance . Craghoppers have moved almost exclusively into the travel clothing arena and this is where items like the Atoll really excel.
Prices are for guidance only
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Trailhead 37 Loop 37e
Millenium Stone Loop
Millennium Stone Loop Tipperary
Directions: Starting from Tipperary Town take the R664 following the signs for Glen of Aherlow. After approximately 6km you reach a substantial car park at a viewing point near the well known statue of Christ the King. The trailhead is located at a double mapboard in the green area below the car park. [Note: The trailhead is signposted from Tipperary.] The Glen of Aherlow stretches from the N24 south of Tipperary Town through unspoilt countryside affording some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable. The lush valley of the River Aherlow runs between the Galtee Mountains and the wooded ridge of Slievenamuck. Bounded by the picturesque villages of Galbally and Bansha, the Glen was historically an important pass between Limerick and Tipperary. There is a great variety of prehistoric, early Christian and medieval sites within the valley and its hinterland to excite the lovers of archaeology and the seasoned historian. The glen is renowned for the warmth of its welcome and the friendship of its people. This loop is one of a series developed at two trailheads in the glen (Christ the King Statue and Lisvarrinane). This loop travels along Slievenamuck – the Mountain of the Pigs. The ridge is mainly of old red sandstone and was formed over 300million years ago! The Millenium Stone was erected to celebrate the new millennium, and was a joint project between the parishes of Tipperary and Bansha Kilmoyler. The conglomerate stone, weighing in at 13.5 tons, was dug out of a hillside nearby. A mix of stone, sand and ferrous oxide causes it to have a pink hue in the evening sun. Designed by renowned sculptor Jarlath Daly, the stone depicts the Annunciation, Birth, Crucifixion and Resurrection from the life of Christ. A-B. From the mapboard in the green area climb onto the road and go to the Christ the King statue. Follow the blue arrow and enter the forestry at the barrier. Note that you are also following red arrows which are for the shorter Rock an Thorabh Loop. After 50m you reach a Y-junction where the red loop continues straight – but you veer right and downhill following the blue arrow. B-C. Continue to follow the red arrows along this forestry track for almost 4km to reach a surfaced road where you turn left. Shortly
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afterwards you reach the Millennium Stone on your right. C-D. After leaving the Millennium Stone travel for a short distance and watch closely as the loop turns left and enters forestry again. D-E. Fine views of County Tipperary (and Tipperary Town) open up along this section of the loop. After nearly 3km you will rejoin the red loop at a junction and turn right. E-F. Now you begin to ascend and near the highest point watch out for the substantial rock on your right – this is Rock an Thorabh (the rock of the boar!). F-G. Continue to follow the blue (and red) arrows along the forestry roadway to reach a surfaced road near Stafford O Brien Well. Joining the road, turn left. G-H. Cross the road and follow downhill for 500m to reach the left bend. Here you veer right onto a green track and into forestry again. H-A. Following woodland trails, you will rejoin other loops as you return to the trailhead through the Nature Park – a very pleasant experience to finish your walk! Ascent: 310m/290m Distance: 9km Estimated Time: 2hrs 30mins - 3hrs Grade: Moderate Minimum Gear: Walking boots, raingear, snack and fluid Services: Lisvarrinane (5km), Tipperary (6km) There are a number of hotels in the Glen of Aherlow Terrain: Forestry tracks and woodland trails Trailhead: Christ the King Statue, Glen of Aherlow, Co Tipperary OS Sheet 66, R886 308
Lough Arogher Loop Mayo
Directions: Start from the town of Newport – on the N59 between Westport and Achill. Follow the N59 in the direction of Achill for just 1km before turning right at a signpost indicating Treenlaur Youth Hostel and Lough Furnace. After 1km go straight at a signpost for Lough Furnace, and continue along this road past Lough Feeagh (on your left). Pass Treenlaur Youth Hostel and Shramore Lodge, and then cross a small bridge over the Srahrevagh River. Almost immediately after the bridge turn left onto a forestry roadway (following the signposts for the Bangor Trail and the Western Way). Follow the forestry roadway for approx 1km – the trailhead is located at the stone bothy. A-B. Starting from the Brogan Carroll Bothy follow the red (and blue and purple) arrows. Cross a metal footbridge and turn left onto the Altaconey River. Follow the riverbank for 1km to reach a footbridge. Cross the bridge and turn right. B-C. Continue to follow the red arrows along the old cattle road. After 1km the blue loop turns right onto a firebreak - you continue straight here. C-D. Continue to follow the old roadway for approx 2km - crossing a stream en-route. Near the end of a section of forestry (on your right) watch for the point where the loop turns into the forestry via wooden posts. The more challenging purple loop continues straight - but you turn right here. D-E. Now follow the track into forestry and join a sandy roadway which takes you along the side of Lough Aroher (on your right). Over 1km later, at a sharp right bend, the loop proceeds straight onto a green track. Follow the track as it ascends for 500m to rejoin the purple loop - then continue through Sheep’s Pass and descend to reach a forestry road where you turn right. E-A. Follow the forestry road for almost 2km to rejoin the blue loop as it comes in from your right. Veer left and follow the blue, red and purple arrows as the loop takes you onto and along the Altacroney River for 2km to regain the trailhead.
Ascent: 200m/240m Distance: 10km / 2hr30mins - 3hrs Grade: Moderate Services: Newport (12km) Minimum Gear: Hiking boots, raingear, snack, fluid, mobile phone Terrain: Riverbank, mountain tracks, sandy paths and forestry roads Trailhead: Bothy at Letterkeen, Newport, County Mayo.
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McSwyne’s Gun Loop
Directions: The town of Letterkenny is situated on the N13 in County Donegal. From Letterkenny take the N56 (signposted Dunfanaghy, Kilmacrennan) and continue to follow the signposts for approximately 34km to reach the village of Dunfanaghy. At the end of the village turn right. Grid Ref. : OS Sheet2, C008 375 A-B. Starting from the the car park at Horn Head Bridge, follow the blue arrow through the gateway and follow a well-trodden pathway between the river (on yur left) and forestry (on your right). The pathway takes you to the corner of forestry where you cross a stile and join a sandy path on the other side. Follow the edge of forestry for 50m before taking a left turn onto a clear sandy path. For the next 1km the pathway meanders it’s way to a small metal gate. Pass through the gate and turn sharp right and follow parallel to the wire fence on your right. It’s unlikely that you’ll miss it - but there’s a superb sandy beach on your left. B-C. Continue to follow the blue arrows as the sandy path ascends slightly, passes through a kissing gate and joins a sheep track. For 2km the sheep track treats you to some spectacular views of the coastline of Marfagh. As you pass Cloghernagh (hill on your right) the loop joins a stone wall and turns inland (right). C-D. Follow the right side of the stoe wall for 600m to reach a stile - cross to the other side of the wall and turn right. After 400m you join an old laneway at the ruins of a farmhouse. Follow the laneway for 600m to reach a surfaced roadway where you turn right. D-A. Continue to follow the blue arrows along the roadway for almost 1km to reach a T-junction where you turn right again and join a sandy laneway. This takes you downhill and into a forested section to exit at a surfaced road - the trailhead is 20m on your right.
Ascent: 50m/80m Distance: 9km/2hr 30mins - 3hrs Grade: Moderate - to suit all levels of fitness Minimum Gear: Hiking boots, raingear, fluid, snack, and mobile phone Services: Dunfanaghy (1km) Terrain: Sandy tracks, coastal paths, laneways Trailhead: Horn Head Bridge, Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal
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Barnavave Loop Louth
Directions: The M1 is the motorway connecting the cities of Dublin and Belfast. Leave the M1 at Junction 18 – and join the R173 in the direction of Ballymascanlan and Carlingford. After 15km watch as the R173 turns (signposted Carlingford) – a further 3km takes you to the village. The Tourist Office is in the main car park on your left. A-B. From the car park turn left and follow the red (and green and blue) arrows along the road to a T-junction where you turn left. The green and blue arrows are for the shorter Commons Loop and Barnavave Loop. Entering the village ‘square’ turn right and ascend to the main junction where you proceed staright on to the right of Savages Victuallers. Continue to follow the red, green and blue arrows (and the yellow arrows which are for the long-distance Tain Way) as the loop takes you to the top of River Road. The green loop goes straight ahead here - but you turn right onto a sandy roadway. B-C. Follow the red, blue and yellow arrows along the roadway past gates and into forestry. The loop travels through the forestry for more than 1km before reaching a forestry track (on the left) where both loops turn left and leave the Tain Way. Now you ascend gently to reach the edge of forestry and a 20m climb takes you to a stile over a wire fence. Cross the stile, turn left, and follow the wire fence for 1km to reach the end of the forestry. Veer right here. C-D. Continue to follow the red and blue arrows for 300m to reach a bend in a grassy roadway where you rejoin the Tain Way. The red loop turns right here - but you veer left and downhill. Follow the grassy roadway for 500m to reach a wooden gate - pass through it and follow the arrows to the left. The loop now sweeps downhill and right and, after 500m, joins a surfaced roadway. Here you rejoin the Barnavave Loop and turn left and downhill. D-A. The loop takes you down to the Parish Church on the outskirts of the village, and then turns left and back to the village square. It’s only 100m from there to the trailhead. Grid Ref. OS Sheet 79, W268 903
Ascent: 270m / 350m Distance: 14km / 3hr30min – 4hrs Grade: Moderate - Above average levels of fitness Minimum Gear: Hiking boots, raingear, snack, fluid and mobile phone Services: Carlingford Terrain: Minor roads, laneways, hillside tracks Trailhead: Tourist Office Carpark, Carlingford, Co Louth
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Directions: The trailhead is located at the old Butter House in the townland of Letter on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula. Starting from the town of Bantry (on the N71 in West Cork) follow the N71 in the direction of Cork. After a little more than 1km turn right onto the R591 (signposted Durrus). This coast road takes you through the village of Durrus (4km) and Ahakista (another 5km). Approximately 6km past Ahakista you reach the village of Kilcrohane – continue straight through it and travel a further 4km to reach the Butter House (old stone building) on your left. Grid Ref : OS Sheet 88, V782 361 A-B. Leaving the trailhead at the Butter House follow the blue (and green and orange) arrows and travel a short 30m before turning left onto a laneway. The green arrows are for the shorter Cahergal Loop, the orange arrows for the more difficult Peakeen Walk – a linear trail which crosses the mountains to Kilcrohane. Ascending quickly, the loop joins a green track and after crossing three stiles, enters an open field towards the mountains. Crossing a stile at the end of the field, the loops separate – the Ballynatra Loop and Peakeen Walk proceed straight uphill, but you turn left following the blue arrows. B-C. The loop now crosses a section of open hillside to reach a surfaced roadway in the townland of Cahergal. Here it crosses the road and joins the Sheeps Head Way (a long-distance trail marked with the familiar yellow arrows and walking man) for almost 3km along Gortavallig and the north coast of the peninsula. The loop and Way continue to overlap with each other to the end of a ‘green’ laneway in the townland of Reagh where the Way veers right – but you turn left onto a surfaced roadway. C-D. After a short distance the loop turns right and crosses a stile into farmlands. Note that you are also following the red arrows of the Poet’s Loop - one of two loops that start and finish at the top of the peninsula. Ascend to reach another surfaced roadway, where you turn left again and shortly afterwards turn right across another stile and ascend to a ridge where you rejoin the Sheep’s Head Way. Here you turn left (and leave the Poet’s Way) and make your way along an old green road for approx 1km. At the end of this section the loop and Way turn right and descend to join the ‘main’ road where you turn left. After 200m the shorter Ballynatra Loop joins you from a roadway on your right. Continue straight ahead – it’s only 100m back to the trailhead!
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Ascent: 220m/320m Distance: 10km/3hrs - 4hrs Grade: Hard - to suit average levels of fitness Minimum Gear: Hiking boots, raingear, snack, fluid and mobile phone Services: Kilcrohane (4km), Durrus (15km) Terrain: Laneways, tracks and mountain paths Trailhead: The Old Butter House, Black Gates, Sheeps Head, Co. Cork
Maulin Mountain Loop Wicklow Directions: Directions to Trailhead From the M11 (Dublin to Wexford road) take the turn-off (R117) for Enniskerry. From Enniskerry take the R760 following signposts for Powerscourt Waterfall. Pass the gates of the waterfall (on your left) and continue along this minor road to Crone Woods Car Park. Grid Ref: OS Sheet 56, O193 142 County Wicklow is known as the Garden of Ireland and Crone Woods is situated on the southern side of the Glencree Valley in the heart of the garden! The valley is one of a series of glaciated valleys that run in an east-west direction along the eastern side of the Wicklow Mountains. Records show that as early as 13th century the steep sides of Crone in the Glencree valley were set aside as a Royal Hunting Park. Documents from nearby Powerscourt Estate reveal that the name Crone was in use as far back as 1757 and may derive from ‘cruasdhne’ (Gaelic for ‘hard ground’). This area became a hideout following the 1798 rebellion for bands of rebels and insurgents. The British Military built the Military Road with a barracks at the top of the valley to open up the area following the 1798 rising. During the ensuing centuries the value of the oak in the area was recognised and the woodland exploited for timber. Today the forest is sustainably managed to produce quality saw log and tree species include Scots pine, Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, Larch and Corsican pine. The forest is home to a variety of animals including deer, foxes, badgers and red squirrels. The first section of this loop overlaps with the Wicklow Way – a long-distance waymarked route that extends from Dublin City, through County Wicklow and into County Carlow. The Way and Loop part company at a magnificent viewing point at Ride Rock - overlooking Powerscourt Waterfall. The loop is one of a national network of trails developed by Coillte (the Forestry Board) as part of the Coillte Outdoors Recreation Programme. A-B. Starting from the top of the car park, follow the arrows on the red disc (with footprints) to reach the mapboard where you turn left.
Follow the red arrows (and also the yellow arrows for the Wicklow Way) along forestry road for 1.5km to reach Ride Rock on a sharp right bend. From here enjoy the spectacular view of Powerscourt Waterfall before turning right onto a narrower trail and leaving the Wicklow Way. B-C. Follow this woodland trail as it makes its way gently uphill through new forestry. The final 200m of this section climbs steeply to reach a wider path and somewhat more level ground on the upper shoulder of Maulin Mountain. C-D. The loop continues for a further 1km along a path at the top edge of forestry to reach a sandy forestry road where it turns right and downhill. D-A. Now the loop uses some of the extensive network of forestry roads in this area to descend to the trailhead. Keep a close lookout for the directional arrows on the red discs – some of them are affixed to trees.
Ascent: 550m/350m Distance: 6km Estimated Time: 2hr - 2hrs 30mins Grade: Hard Minimum Gear: Hiking boots, raingear, snack and fluid Services: Enniskerry Terrain: Forestry roads and woodland trails Theme: Nature Trailhead: Crone Woods Car Park, Co Wicklow
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Crossword by Zodrick
8 PAIRS OF BRASHER KISO or KENAI GTX BOOTS TO BE WON! NEW lightweight fabric hiking boots, Kiso GTX for men and Kenai GTX for women, provide excellent comfort and performance whilst walking throughout the hills and valleys.
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CLUES ACROSS 1 5 9 10 11 13 15 16 18 20 24 27 29 32 33 34 35 36 37 38
Hostel and hill, on the Wicklow Way (8) See 29 Across (6) Choose or select (3) Donegal island found in a story about history? (4) Range of mountains in N.E. - sounds like early part of the day? (6) County of Purple, Mangerton and Torc mountains (5) Lough ___, Co Limerick’s horseshoe-shaped lake of archaeological importance (3) Legendary, mythical hunter-warrior ___ mac Cumhaill (5) See 26 Down (2,5) Deep, short valley or basin on a hillside (6) Writing done with a machine (6) Drone .. lagger .. one who trails behind (7) And 5 Across. ___ of ___ or Dromcheapard is at 483m in Laois (5, 6) One of the longest divisions of geological time (3) Ascent .. acclivity .. rise (5) Overlooking Rossbrin Harbour in Roaringwater Bay , ___ burial ground is close to Cappaghnacallee (6) Old world wild swine - sounds like a dullard! (4) Self-importance or the conscious mind (3) Slieve ___ at 850m overlooks the Glen River in the 11 Across mountains (6) It’s 689m and overlooks the Fraughan Rock Glen in Wicklow (8)
Name ......................................................................................................... Address ..................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................. .............................................................Tel: .............................................. Email ............................................................... Boot Size: ..................... Post your entry to: Brasher Boot Crossword Competition, Walking World Ireland, ‘Edelweiss’, Cushina, Portarlington, Co Laois.
A photocopy is acceptable. No faxed or emailed entries. One entry per family. Closing date: July 25. No cash substitute for prizes.
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1 2 3 4 6 7 8 12 14 17 19 21 22 23 25 26 27 28 30 31 33 36
Highest peak in the Shehy mountains, at 706m it’s a yellow hill! (8) At 524m high - this Mourne mountain’s not really ‘over the top’! (3) Pool or jackpot for a domestic pet? (5) Near Gweedore, highest of the ‘seven sisters’ in Co Donegal (7) Remote or distant in manner (5) In Leitrim’s Dartry mountains, its top is at 523m (5) Slieve ___ overlooks Loughs Lumman and Gill on the Sligo Way (6) Acid obtained from urine (4) Given to precipitation .. showery (5) A belief, doctrine or philosophy (3) Belonging to a specified person in Scotland (3) Female cells (3) British-style type of curry (5) There’s a birch cog on this, Snowdonia’s famous scrambling ridge (4,4) Small pin - often wooden - pushed into a surface (3) And 18. There’s a fallen amigo here below Camarahill in Co Wicklow (4,2,5) We mourned at this head near Coumeenole Bay in Kerry (7) Levered - a spider or prides of lions? (6) Submerge .. overwhelm (5) It reeks of post-glacial gravel (5) Hard stony pink skeleton used for jewellery (5) Terrorist organisation or when you’re due home? (1.1.1.)
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BRASHER, and LIVE TO WALK are registered trade marks of The Brasher Boot Company Limited. GORE-TEX and GTX are registered trade marks of W.L. Gore and Associates. GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY is a trade mark of W.L. Gore and Associates. ©The Brasher Boot Company Limited 2011