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Rock heaven in the Sierra de Aitana
WHAT’S IT FOR? The Future of Ireland’s Countryside
A PASSAGE THROUGH INDIA Trekking in Uttarakhand
IS S N 0791-8801 98
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Lough Acoose, Kerry
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Inspiration IT’S SOMETHING we all need. Not just for all the obvious topical reasons, but as part of our regular lives. And yes, in these ‘difficult times’, perhaps more than ever we need inspiration on a national level. In this issue, I’m delighted to report, there’s more inspiration than you could shake a stick at. From Diana Gleadhill’s account of Uttarakhand and the welcome she and her fellow-travellers received from strangers, to Tom Hutton’s unashamedly gushing praise for the Coomloughra Horseshoe. The Coomloughra Horseshoe. If you haven’t walked this classic route, start making plans; I tried it for the first time immediately after receiving Tom’s piece. Having let my fitness slide somewhat over the past year I was, shall we say, challenged by the pace of my two companions. And oh, dear reader, did my quadruceps protest on the long descent from Caher. But a fortnight later, as I write this, I am still aglow with something that can only be described as inspiration. It’s a priceless commodity (I nearly said gift, but nothing that hard-earned could be called a gift!) but it’s free from a hillside near you and everyone else in this country.
Editor: Conor O’Hagan Consultant Editor: Martin Joyce Design: Grand Designs Technical Consultant: Andy Callan Environmental Consultant: Dick Warner Maps: EastWest Mapping Contributors: Judy Armstrong, Gavin Bate, Andy Callan, Keith Collie, Zoe Devlin, Damien Enright, Helen Fairbairn, Michael Fewer, Denis Gill, Tom Hutton, Gareth McCormack, Dick Warner Photographers: Judy Armstrong, Eoin Clarke, Damien Enright, 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 Distributed by: EM News Distribution and Mailbag Cover photo: Scrambling in Spain’s Sierra de Aitana. Photo by Eugene Mulholland
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Issue 98, September/October 2010
On The Cover 14
The Homes of Uttarakhand
Placenames of the Wicklow Uplands
Diana Gleadhill describes the walk of a lifetime through the villages of Uttarakhand, in India’s mountainous northwest
The legacy of the past in the names of the present. By Barry Dalby, EastWest Mapping
A League Apart?
Our Countryside - What’s it For?
Just Dropping By
One of Ireland’s most celebrated natural wonders is being seriously mismanaged, argues walking guide Tony Birtill
Dick Warner challenges traditional assumptions about land usage in Ireland and offers some alternatives
Foreign visitors will be flying in all shapes and sizes this winter. By Dick Warner
CROWS walking club spent five days in Spain’s Sierra De Aitana. Hills were climbed, fun was had, as Eugene Mulholland reports.
Between Two Lakes
Maumtrasna’s Eastern Corries
Denis Gill describes an historic walk between Loughs Dan and Tay
Helen Fairbairn recommends a trip around two glacial corries in a remote corner of south County Mayo.
Along the Port Path
Gareth McCormack explores a scenic coastal path linking Portstewart and Portrush on the Causeway Coast.
Some walks are so good that you find yourself wanting to complete them time and time again. For Tom Hutton, it’s the magnificent Coomaloughra Horseshoe
A Craghoppers Fusioneer fleece worth €50 See Page 60
The Best of Ireland and the World On Foot
The warm and fuzzy world of polypropylene gets the Andy Callan treatment
Looped Walks South East Special A selection of 10 looped walks in the South East, from easy strolls to challenging treks.
Ballinacourty Loop Devil’s Bit Loop Greenane Loop Glenpatrick Loop Askamore Loop Slieveboy Loop Windfarm Loop Clogrennan Loop Fraughan Loop Pheasant Loop
62 62 63 63 64 64 65 65 65 66
By The Way
Crossword by Zodrick
A sprinkling of events, announcements, people and places from around the walking world.
Michael Fewer on a tragic history etched on Ireland’s hills.
Subscribe to Ireland’s No.1 Outdoor Magazine at 22% off the normal price!
20 Craghoppers fleeces to be won! 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.
‘Biggest Ever’ National Trails Day Launched With hundreds of events planned for Sunday 3rd October, the third National Trails Day is set to be bigger than ever, celebrating the variety of trails, paths andtracks available for walkers in some of Ireland’s most beautiful countryside, including forests, mountains and lakes. Tens of thousands of people are expected to take part, with more than 60 woodland, lakeshore, hillside and mountain walks arranged as part of the programme to increase public awareness of the recreational facilities in their areas. Now in its third year the cross-community National Trails Day has grown from strength to strength. In 2009 more than 10,000 people from across Ireland got out into the countryside and enjoyed trails in a variety of ways. Events for National Trails Day 2010, which will all be offered free of charge, include bat walks, fun cycles, family orienteering, horse riding, canoeing and nature trail walks to name just a few!
National Trails Day is an all-Ireland event organised by the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, Coillte, the National Trails Office of the Irish Sports Council and Fáilte Ireland and is aimed at increasing awareness about the fantastic recreation opportunities in the Irish countryside and encourage people to experience a trail in their locality. At the launch of National Trails Day, Minister for Community Affairs Pat Carey said the purpose of the event was to get people to go
out and see what was in their own areas. He said Ireland had some of the best tracks and trails in the European countryside. The Minister, who claims to have climbed Carrauntoohil three times in one week in his youth, said Ireland was one of the best places in the world to walk. “We are blessed in this country and my department has carried out major walk schemes over the last few years, and the sports council and Coillte and Fáilte Ireland have put in place an impressive network of high-quality trails.” This year the Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN) will be leading the organisation and marketing of National Trails Day in Northern Ireland and will be offering a range of activities on trails throughout the country. “Northern Ireland offers a wide range of unique trails both on land and water, everything from ‘have a go’ paddling sessions on the Strangford Lough Canoe Trail to venturing through the foothills of the Mourne Mountains along the Mourne Way. For the slightly less adventurous, National Trails Day is also offering events such as a family fun cycle through Gosford Forest Park and an autumn wildlife walk through the National Trust grounds of Crom Estate in County Fermanagh” said Chris Armstrong from CAAN. “The main aim of the day is to celebrate the trails we all have on offer and encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to get outdoors. However, National Trails Day is also about promoting the idea that we need to protect and maintain these trails and October 3rd will also hopefully raise awareness of the
great work of the key agencies who strive to do this.” National Trails Day events in Northern Ireland include the Lagan Canal Boat Rally and Towpath Walk, a woodland and lakeside walk through Hillsborough Forest and a cycle along the Newry Canal. There will also be a short ramble along a section of the Mourne Way from Rostrevor to Kilbroney Park. The Canoe Association of Northern Ireland (CANI), in partnership with Clearsky Adventure Centre, are running a canoeing taster session on Strangford Lough with the National Trust offering a ‘walk on the wild side’ through Murlough National Nature Reserve. A listing can be obtained on www.nationaltrailsday.ie and www.nationaltrailsday.co.uk
WWI Going Digital!
October 11th will be a landmark in the 17-year history of Walking World Ireland, with the launch of our first ever Digital Edition. Not before time, admittedly; WWI has been less than quick off the line in joining the online community, but we hope to make up in quality what we have lacked in speed. WWI Digital will provide access to a sample of articles from the current print edition, plus articles from the archive including routes at home and abroad. Gear tips, comment, an events calendar and a lot more will also feature. This will be the start of what we hope will become a valuable online community for walkers in Ireland and far beyond. Join us at www.walkingworldireland.com and let us know what you think!
The gremlins made a few successful attacks on our last issue; the most serious came at the end of Denis Gill’s Lugnaquilla from the East; a fine piece which was marred by the loss of its final paragraph. As far as we know, no WWI readers were left stranded on Corrigasleggaun, but we do apologise for the omission. For the record, we’ll be publishing the lost paragraph in our digital edition, which goes live on October 11. Apologies also to Denis for any embarrassment caused.
For Art’s Sake
One of walking’s most daunting challenges will return in 2011, when the Art O’Neill Challenge, the 55km night hike from Dublin Castle which celebrates he escape of Red Hugh O’Donnell and Art and Henry O’Neill in 1592, is held on January 7. The 2009 hike was organised to raise funds and awareness for the Stuart Mangan Appeal and proved to be a huge hit with many challengers vowing to return. The hike starts at midnight and is fully supported with hot drinks and food and guides for the navigationally challenged! Transport will also be provided out of glenmalure valley and back to civilisation for all those tired but elated challengers! Check www.artoneillchallenge.com for full information and entry details. There will also be a gps navigation training night in early December for those who would like to do the challenge unguided. Full details of this are also on the site. The organisers promise a challenge not to be missed and the perfect post Christmas kickstarter!
BInt-WalkIre 210x135 Sept2010_Layout 1 06/04/2010 9:56 am Page 1
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TRAILTREKKER brings out the numbers
OXfam’s epiC trailtrekker challenge saw more than 400 participants set off early on Saturday 4th September. The gruelling 100km route ran from Donard Park in Newcastle to Carlingford Sailing Club, with a target time inside 36 hours. After walking night and day through the Mournes, the Ring of Gullion and the Cooley Peninsula, the first team of four to
cross the line in a time of 17 hours and 43 minutes were ‘Timmehh’, from UK and Ireland. The team members, who met while at university, were captain Nick Dillon, Tom Blackmore, Gordon Baird and Colin Caunter. Team captain Nick Dillon said: “This has been one of the toughest challenges any of us have done yet also the most rewarding.
Guided winter walking in wonderful La Gomera A walkers paradise The hidden gem of the Canary Islands 7 day value package €699 per person including food, accommodation, bus/ferry transfers and 5 guided walks More details, availability & booking: Tel: +353 (0)86 3839234 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The scale of the 100km challenge, the boat crossing over Carlingord Lough, and walking through the night… it’s certainly different to anything we’ve attempted before! We’re exhausted right now, with blisters and muscle pains, yet exhilarated at the same time. The joy at what we’ve achieved both for ourselves and for Oxfam will no doubt only start to sink in over the coming days.”
LETTERS Car Park Clogging
EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR THE XTREME OUTDOORS
I enjoyed Denis Gill’s piece asking walkers not to clog up the car park at Glenmalure Lodge. Here’s another angle on this though: Recently we left our car at Crone car park to walk part of the Wicklow Way. In our absence someone cut the central locking cables in our car in an unsuccessful attempt to break into it. Since then, every second person we have meet tells us this is a big problem for people parking at remote car parks in Wicklow. For that reason we, as relatively new walkers, are on the lookout for car parks attached to places where it isn’t as easy to go in and do harm. That may explain, at least partly, why the car park at Glenmalure Lodge gets clogged up. We have never been there but we will probably go now and we will make it our business to buy something there at the beginning and end of our walk which, in any case, never takes the whole day. We noticed that in the Peak District in England even the most remote car park has a pay and display machine about £4.50 for a day if I remember correctly - and a man in a box to supervise it all. The man in the box hopefully deters thieves and I would be happy to see such a system in operation here. In the absence of that system, though, do experienced walkers have any tips on how to minimise the chances of a (in our case, though covered by insurance on this occasion - not on the next) €2,500 break-in attempt? Padraig O’Morain
Eco Grid Following on from reading the excellent article by Denis Gill in your magazine issue number 97, I decided to have a look at the walk and in particular check out the observations regarding the Eco Grid trail. I found the trail to be quite useful; admittedly not ideal but certainly better than the wet firebreak that I previously used to access Slieve Maan / Carrawaystick. In addition, the unsteady nature of the trail, while demanding careful footwork might also reduce the chances of meeting groups of mountain bikers, something which I’ve experienced on the boardwalk on Djouce and even on the Spinc in Glendalough. Tony Seale
Dog’s Life My name is Juno and I am a Wicklow Collie, last Saturday my owners took me for a lovely walk which they had discovered in Walking World Ireland this month. It was up Lugnaquilla via Carrawaystick. The walk started very well and then we met the black plastic ‘stuff’ and I found it very difficult to walk on and it hurt my paws very much, I tried to avoid it but that was not always possible. However, can I say that the rest of the walk was lovely and I did enjoy the view from the top of Lugnaquilla - my owners enjoyed the day as well - but I heard them say that they were not impressed by the black plastic “stuff” either. Juno
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News Portable Health
Trek West Walking Festival a neW Mayo-based company specialising in outdoor activity breaks in the West of Ireland is organising a weekend Walking Festival, taking place on the 2nd and 3rd of October to coincide with National Trails Day on the 3rd Oct. The first day of the festival will challenge walkers to the 20km Bonniconlon Loop taking in the Ox Mountains and surrounding lakes. By Saturday evening participants will have earned their place at the Festival Banquet, followed by ‘craic agus ceol’ at an award winning restaurant and bar in Ballina, then on Sunday the itinerary will be split between a morning and afternoon session at Lough Muck and Lough Callow near Foxford. More information on Trek West and the Walking Festival can be found at www.trekwesttours.ie
immediate aCCess to personal medical details and records are among the features of 999 Medical ID™ a new USB card that stores health information. The credit-card sized, portable database plugs into any PC to bring up all important health records and personal information including: • Health conditions • Health insurance policies • Doctor, specialist and pharmacy contact information • Family health history • Allergies and reactions • Power of attorney • X-rays & CT scans. 999MedicalID comprises a slim USB key, integrated into a plastic wallet sized card, that enables the holder to carry medical records at all times. Preloaded software opens automatically when plugged into a PC and the bearer simply
inputs details which can be instantly updated at any time. Details of the card can also be uploaded onto a safe password-protected online service Medical ID Access™ that acts as a personal Online Medical Record Depository and accessible via a secure internet link. The 999MedicalID card is available to purchase for €34.99 on www.999medicalid.com or through ticketmaster outlets in Jervis Centre, Stephens Green and Tallaght.
Connemara Geographic Walking-Based business initiatives and local tourism projects continue to multiply across Ireland. A new local walking guide service ‘Connemara Geographic’ is now available to walkers in Letterfrack, Connemara. Local landowners and tourism providers have trained as walking guides and can offer various guided walks in the Twelve Bens (right), the national park and more. Phone: 087 222 8538 or see www.connemarawalking.com
• Hiking and Walking in Frigiliana and Nerja • Discover dramatic gorges, canyons, caves and waterfalls • Experience steep mountain climbs, stunning ridge walks and river bed trecks • Explore the history of the Spanish Civil War and the Moors • Walk down to the Mediterranean Sea and the coastal resort of Nerja Find out more at
Club Cualann organises hill walks every Sundays mainly in the Wicklow area and occasionally in the Mournes or Cooley mountains. In addition the club organizes away trips to other parts of Ireland and abroad. The club is affiliated to Mountaineering Ireland and next year will be celebrating its 30th anniversary. In addition to hill walking there is also an active rock climbing group within the club. New members are not required to have any prior knowledge of navigation or mountain skills as experienced members are always on hand. On the second Sunday of every month the club organises an introductory walk aimed in particular at new members with little previous hill walking experience. In addition we run an annual navigation training day for new members. Full details of all Club Cualann’s activities can be obtained from www.clubcualann.ie or the Club Secretary David Pollard (email@example.com or 087 6892427).
The Wayfarers Association is celebrating 40 years this year, and to mark the occasion the club is organising a Rafﬂe and Monster Sale in aid of the Dublin and Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team and The Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue Team. Wayfarers’ members and friends will be selling tickets for the rafﬂe on Saturday 25th September and 26th September at as many of the car parks in the Dublin and Wicklow uplands area as possible. Tickets will cost €2.00 each. Your support for this worthy cause would be greatly appreciated! On Sunday 10th October the Club will host a Monster Sale in the Glendalough Hotel, Glendalough Co. Wicklow from 12 noon until 7pm in aid of the Rescue Teams. If you would like to help out on the day or donate a gift please contact Frances Hannon, Wayfarers Association (E:firstname.lastname@example.org; M 086 8385101 (after 6pm).
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Annascaul Walks Festival
The popular Annascaul Walks Festival opens its 2010 programme with a night walk of Meelin Hill on Friday October 22. On Saturday walkers can choose from Mount Brandon (tough), Breacanna (moderate) or the Tom Crean Trail (easy). Sunday offers Beenoskee (difficult), Cú Chulainn’s Bed (moderate) and Keeldubh Valley (easy). On Monday, the final day of the festival, there will be a walk to Bull’s Head and a Horror Trail. Soup and sandwiches will be available after walks in Hanafin’s Bar. Transport provided for some walks. For any enquiries contact John: 066 9157947 or Tom: 086 1207193
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For generations of Dubliners, a walk on Howth Head has been as much a part of family tradition as the Sunday roast. Now Dubliner Ciaran Gahan has set up Howth Guided Tours to encourage people to see more of what the Howth Peninsula has to offer. His route around Howth is designed to be fully accessible to all abilities and ages and can be shortened or lengthened to suit group requirements. The tour begins in Howth village, with a short walk to the entrance of Deerpark estate and on to Howth Castle. Ciaran explains local history from the Viking past right up until the present day, with a walk through the world-renowned Rhododendron gardens boasting over 400 recorded species. The tour continues to a 2500 BC Megalithic Tomb known locally as Aideens grave. The climb to the top of Muck Rock will give spectacular 270 degrees views of the surrounding areas, including the islands of Irelands Eye and Lambay, along with views of Dublin city and the Wicklow mountains. After a fragrant walk across heather and gorse meadows, the popular cliff walk, the tour finishes back at Howth Village. Ciaran can be contacted at 086 896 7035 for details, or see: www.howthguidedtours.com
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The Homes of
Diana Gleadhill describes the walk of a lifetime through the villages of Uttarakhand, in Indiaâ€™s mountainous northwest
thousand shining steps stretched before us, zig-zagging upwards between ancient oaks, pines and crimson-flowered rhododendrons. The sun behind us glittered on the mica in the rock in this corner of northern India – Uttarakhand - lying between Nepal to the east and Tibet (China) to the north. Above us, against a blue sky, two Mountain Hawk-Eagles circled effortlessly on warm thermals, while dozens of lizards toasted themselves into action on the hot rocks. We were en route to the village of Jhuni, the highest place we would stay at 2,500m overlooked by the snowy Himalayan peaks of Nanda Devi, Trisul and Panchachuli. It was a thousand feet a tough enough climb - to be followed the next day by an even harder climb up to where the snow still lingered at somewhere around 2,700m. Our party of seven from County Down had left Delhi by train to the railhead at Kathgodam 10 days earlier for a trekking holiday with Village Ways - a remarkable four-year-old, award-winning responsible tourism initiative, offering an opportunity to meet the local people and experience their culture. Designed in partnership with local communities, Village Ways builds on local resources to provide practical and sustainable benefits for the local rural communities, which, in remote places such as northern India, often struggle to survive – and as they lose economic viability and their young people head for the cities, so too they lose traditional knowledge, culture and skills. So as active partners in the business of tourism, the communities share in the work – as guides, porters, house-keepers, and of course cooks, utilizing the local farmers’ produce. Because these communities live well off the beaten track, the idea is that the tourist walks accompanied by a guide and using porters to carry the larger luggage - using age-old pathways - from one village to the next, thus discovering at first hand, the traditions, local architecture, flora and fauna, not to mention the physical effort involved in simply existing in this very beautiful but tough part of the world. Village Ways offers several different itineraries; we chose to go to the Binsar Sanctuary and then on to Super Supi. We flew Jet Airways from Heathrow to Delhi at the end of February for a two-week holiday.
Binsar It was, to put it mildly, a hair-raising drive from Kathgodam, in the dark, up and around hairpin bends to where we spent the first night at the small town of Bhimtal. When driving in this part of India, the horn is as important as the accelerator. Passing on blind corners is the
norm, and indeed they may be the only place wide enough to pass. The following morning we set off again and after a few hours nerve-rattling drive arrived safe and reasonably sound at Khali Estate, an incredibly serene and beautiful 26 acres of land set in the Binsar Sanctuary. Binsar was originally the summer capital of the Chand Kings, who ruled over Kumaon from the 11th to 18th centuries, before becoming the home of Sir Henry Ramsay, the commisioner of Kumaon from 1856 to 1884. The ‘King of Kumaon’ as
“If you had a freezing shower the previous night, you got first choice the next night. Who needs a shower every night anyway?” he was popularly known amongst the British literati, built this beautiful colonial bungalow which was later purchased from Sir Henry’s family for Mahatma Ghandi. The Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1988, for the conservation and protection of the shrinking broad-leaf oak forests of the Central Himalayan region and the wildlife associated with the forest. On the afternoon we arrived, we met Raju, our delightful and knowledgeable guide for the next few days who, determined to discover how fit these seven elderly Irish were, (apologies to one of our team who hadn’t yet even attained her sixtieth birthday!) took us for a ‘short’ walk to a high place at 2,500m called ‘Zero Point’, from where we marvelled at the panoramic view of this area of the Himalayas, encompassing Kedarnath Peak, Shivling, Trisul and the majestic peaks of Nanda Devi, and Annapurna to the east in Nepal.
our daysacks. It was sunshine all the way - such a treat from the grim February weather in Ireland. We encountered some black-faced monkeys and many different birds on our trek. On arriving at Gonap, we were introduced to the ‘Holi Festival’ or ‘Festival of Colours’. Holi is a spring festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and others. The festival is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month which usually falls in the later part of February or early March, and, as we were soon to discover, is exuberantly celebrated by men throwing coloured dyes over each other – and anyone else who came within their range. The Holi Festival continued for most of our time at Binsar. We thoroughly enjoyed the singing and dancing by the local ladies in their jewel-coloured saris, although when encouraged to join in, I can’t say that our dress, especially footwear, was quite as elegant as theirs.
Kathdara and Risal Kathdara was our next village where we spent two nights. One morning we walked to explore a huge landslide which we could see from our little house, en route excitingly finding leopard tracks and hearing Barking Deer. There was a
Gonap Our first day’s four hour walk was mostly downhill to the village of Gonap at 1,900m. I say ‘downhill’ advisedley, as there were also little ‘uphill’ passages. Our larger bags were carried by girl porters – easily lifting on to their heads what we would deem pretty heavy, while all we had to carry were
tiny museum in the village, displaying old farming and household tools, interestingly to our guides, many of them exactly the same as one would find in Ireland. On to Risal – a longer walk, 350m over a pass, past a 13th century temple with a cricket pitch on a near-by flat area, and down to the village, passing women in dresses of bright pink, orange and torquoise, carrying enormous loads of both sticks and hay on their heads. Then a perilously steep descent through trees, slipping and sliding on dry pine needles, down to Risal village. The long-established paths we were walking mostly wound around the contours of the hills, often with steep drops of maybe 300m falling away beside our track, into impenetrable forest. Often we crossed little streams, sometimes bridged, sometimes not. Terraced fields cut their way down the steep hillsides, holding very young wheat and barley. It was still too early to sow the potato crop. Indian hemp (cannabis) is also grown providing three products; fibre from the stems, oil from the seeds and narcotic from the leaves and flowers. Near the
villages, cultivated fruit trees were in blossom, their pink and white flowers so pretty against the bright blue sky. To my surprise, there were quite a lot of banana trees. They are covered up during winter, and set free from their wrappings as soon as the frosts are over. Hay is stacked up around either a tree or a handy pole which helps to keep it secure and encourage drying. Our accommodation in each village was in a local house – one which had either been deserted or had been purpose-built. In either case, they were immaculate. Our two married couples had rooms upstairs, as with the locals, while the three ladies shared a downstairs room, normally reserved for livestock! The food was totally Indian vegetarian. Occasionally we had
eggs, but disastrously, all the local hens had been slaughtered during the Bird Flu fright which was a huge loss to these people, so all the eggs had to be brought in from Almora, the local market town, some distance away. The bedding was fine with surprisingly comfortable mattresses and pillows. However, the solarpowered hot water system was somewhat erratic - mostly working, but sometimes not. Naturally enough, there never was enough hot water for seven showers in the evenings. So we had to establish a rota system – if you had a freezing shower the previous night, you got first choice the next night. Who needs a shower every night anyway? ‘Namaste’ Dalar, at 1,835m, was Raju’s home town. Our walk there was initially down through a pretty valley where we lounged around on the grass bird-watching, but, as the old credo goes – ‘never give away high ground!’ and so we had to make it up again with a very steep climb through ancient woodland, but accompanied by lots of birdsong. Raju’s family lived in a house with the most wonderful view over a valley. His mother, very much the matriarch, ordered her daughter-in-law to bring us tea, while his father, a tall, proud man sat, caressing my walking stick, fingering the crook handle which he
loved, to the extent that I gave the stick to him. Here we regretfully said goodbye to Raju and met our new guide, Khim, who took us the following day, via lunch at Bageshwar, up more tortuous bends, to Supi where we decanted from our vehicles for a very steep climb up a flight of steps to Super Supi. We stayed here one night, taking a brilliant walk the following morning steeply up to the tiny village of Gullutave offering superb views. As we climbed, we watched monkeys cavorting in the trees and local girls sipping nectar from the rhododendron flowers. Each little house we passed kept buffalo and we watched as they pulled the ancient wooden plough planting the first potatoes of the season. And, as everywhere else, friendly neighbours welcoming us with the local ‘namaste’ greeting. We left Supi for Jhuni early in the morning, walking via Givaradar, arriving at the school in time to meet the delightful children who sang for us. Then it was the serious thousand steps up to our destination. But what a destination. Superb views. Glorious rhododendrons, now pink as well as red. And, amazingly, as we sat on our little balcony – a huge dish of chips! Yummy. The stars that night, with no other light interference, were supreme, the Milky Way stretching above us in all its shining glory. The following day we managed to get to 2700m – we were so euphoric, you’d have thought we’d conquered Everest - here and there wading through remains of the winter snow and experiencing some small snow flurries. From Jhuni, it was downhill all the way. Back to Supi for a night and thence by car down the hair-raising switchbacks to Kathgodam and the train to Delhi. We had all enjoyed a really wonderful trip, not least because it was helping bring much needed revenue to these delightful and hospitable people of Uttarakhand. Diana Gleadhill is the author of Kamchatka – A Journal & Guide to Russia’s Land of Ice & Fire Odyssey Publications.
Between Two Lakes
Between Two Lakes Denis Gill describes an historic walk between Loughs Dan and Tay Photos by Eoin Clarke
View down to Cloghoge Valley including luggala or Fancy Mountain above lough tay from the slopes of Sleamaine
ecreted in the heart of a heathery wilderness and surrounded on all sides by stunning mountain scenery are two of Wicklow’s most picturesque lakes: Lough Dan and Lough Tay, awaiting your discovery and exploration. The glacial valley of Luggala was excavated over millennia by trundling ice, leaving behind water borne boulders and debris to restrict the escape of its cold waters. Deep within were formed these two mountain tarns, linked by the Cloghoge River valley in an amazing area of outstanding natural beauty that rivals the better known Glendalough as the ‘glen of the two lakes’. Due to the not inconsiderable area of mountains, moorland, forest and valley there to explore, it is necessary, nay essential, to have at least three separate and distinct walks to appreciate and discover a picturesque terrain that is entirely the domain of the walker. Our first walk in this trilogy is a gentle trek which is quite literally an overview from the heights of Sleamaine across all of the immediate area and is suitable for a long summers evening or half day trek as it explores the history of the surrounding locale with truly outstanding mountain scenery.
Getting to the Start
looking towards lough Dan and Scarr Mountain
From east of the mountains follow the M50/M11 to Kilmacanogue to turn at the flyover onto the R755. Drive up the Long Hill to Calary Bog, then after nearly 11km turn right at a filter-lane onto the R759 signposted to Sally Gap. Continue uphill for nearly 3km to park just before the forest ends at a forest entrance on the left by a Wicklow Way signpost. GR: O174.063 From west of the mountains take the N81 to Hollywood and turn onto the R756 to enjoy the drive across the Wicklow Gap via Glendalough to Laragh. From Laragh follow the R755 via Annamoe into Roundwood. Just beyond the village fork left for 2km to an offset crossroads, turn left and follow as above.
The Vartry Water System By the middle of the 19th century, the population of Dublin had increased to 300,000 and the city had suffered outbreaks of cholera, typhus and other diseases associated with contaminated and untreated canal water then being used, being totally unsuited for the cities needs. After much debate it was decided to build the Vartry Water System. Between 1862 and 1868 an earthen dam was built across the Vartry River to construct the Lower Reservoir which holds 11.3 billion litres of water to a depth of 18.3 metres with the smaller Upper Reservoir added in 1923 holding 5.6 billion litres of water.
“Clumps of daffodils growing outside an abandoned cottage doorway are a poignant reminder of the families that once lived here.” claims [Hotly disputed – Ed.] the highest pub in Ireland. Beyond the village are the tranquil waters of Vartry Reservoir while to the north from the distinctive outline of the Great Sugar Loaf Mountain a ribbon of hills run south to the Devils Glen forming a barrier between the uplands plateau and the coastal plain. Continue to follow the Wicklow Way; beyond a gate begin a descent below Ballinafunshoge Hill before leaving the track at a marker to turn hard right onto an uphill trail. Crest the ridge to reveal the dark waters of Wicklow’s largest natural lake, Lough Dan as it nestles below a panorama of previously unseen summits. Directly ahead is the long ridge climbing from Paddock Hill onto Scarr Mountain, with an isolated and sparsely populated glen in the hollow below Carrigeenshinnagh separating Scarr from Kanturk (also known as Brown Mountain), which in turn is separated from Knocknacloghoge Mountain by the delta of the Inchavore River.
From the forest entrance, follow the Wicklow Way markers into the trees along an undulating forest track bearing south onto the townland of Sleamaine with an enticing glimpse to the north of the rocky summit of Knocknacloghoge Mountain framed between two hills. As height is gained, wonderful views open up to the east, panning down across the fields to Roundwood, one of the highest villages in Ireland where the top of the town
on the slopes of Ballinafunshoge
Walking through second abandoned settlement with views of Knocknacloghoge
Between Two Lakes
Walking towards Cloghoge Valley with views of luggala
Notice in the hollow below the summit of Scarr Mountain the remnants of Barton’s Wood, originally planted by the Barton family of Glendalough House. Alas, the wood is now so devastated by fire and storm that only a scattering of mature trees remains. Carry on downhill to meet a forest track, leave the Wicklow Way and turn right following the track as it contours north above the devastation of a clear-felled forest area that serves to improve the views across Lough Dan to the Scouts Adventure Centre along the western shore near Old Bridge. After nearly a kilometre, when the track comes to an abrupt end in the hollow below and surrounded on three sides by forest, are the ruins of an abandoned village known locally as the Scotch Village. Records show that during the 19th century there were as many as 20 homesteads down by the Cloghoge Brook and nearly as many again up here on the slopes of Sleamaine. They must have been a fairly lawless population, as there was even a police barracks down in the valley! Sadly, these village settlements were decimated and depopulated during the great famine of the 1840s and the Scottish community emigrated en masse to Canada. After exploring the village, behind the largest house with a tiny attic window on
Robert Barton (1881-1975) In 1918 Robert Barton was elected as Sinn Fein MP for West Wicklow. After being arrested in 1919 for making rebellious speeches against the Crown, he was imprisoned in Mountjoy Jail. With the aid of Michael Collins he escaped, leaving a note to the governor explaining that owing to the discomfort of his cell, the occupant felt compelled to leave and requested the governor to keep his luggage until he sent for it! In 1921 Barton was a reluctant signatory of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, describing the decision to sign “…as the lesser of two outrages forced upon me and between which I had to choose!”
the gable end, follow a dry stone wall that leads to a pleasant trail descending northeastwards into the forest. Emerge from the trees for a spectacular vista of the Cloghoge Valley with Lough Tay nestling beneath the dramatic crags of Fancy Mountain. Follow the trail from the trees until clear of a patch of gorse bushes. Here turn left to cross another stone wall and descend across once-fertile fields that have succumbed to the encroaching heather. A second
View down to Cloghoge Valley
abandoned settlement, with a breathtaking location on the edge of a steep fall-off into the glen, has views across the Cloghoge River valley to neglected field systems rising high onto Knocknacloghoge Mountain. To the west the eye is drawn up the Inchavore basin to the crags on Carrigshouk, with the
Wicklow Way marker post on the slopes of Ballinafunshoge Hill
long ridge of Barncullian beyond leading to Mullaghcleevaun Mountain. When I explored this village in the spring, there were clumps of daffodils growing outside a cottage doorway; a poignant reminder of the families that once lived here. If the day is fair, the village is an excellent lunch stop as the
cottage walls provide shelter from the prevailing winds. Leave the village on a pleasant green road heading eastwards and uphill until the track turns marshy and disappears into the heather; carry on climbing alongside a gully overgrown with gorse bushes. Cross a track to the other side of the gully, continuing uphill following deep ruts that lead to a track by a large boulder. With the forest on the left the track leads to a gate, beyond this fork right into a plantation of pine trees along a pleasant track by an old boundary ditch to emerge from the trees for views south across the Vartry Reservoir to Wicklow Head and the Irish Sea beyond. Directly below in the townland of Mullinaveige, Joseph Holt lived and farmed with his wife and
family, until in 1798 a local squireen and a troop of yeomanry burnt down his home as a suspected member of the rebel United Irishmen. From May 1798, Joe Holt was active in Wexford during the Great Rebellion of â€™98. The now General Holt led the Wicklow United Irishmen in guerrilla warfare against the forces of the Crown here in the mountains. After his surrender, he and his family were transported to Botany Bay in Australia, where he farmed until in 1809 he received a free pardon. Then in 1812, with an achievement that epitomises the sheer tenacity of Joseph Holt, he and his family made the long sea voyage back home to Ireland. He opened a public house in the Liberties in Dublin and later retired to Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire). He died aged 70 on 16th May 1826 after an eventful life and is buried in the old Carrickbrennan graveyard near Dun Laoghaire. Turning left, once again follow the Wicklow Way markers heading north along the forest track, for the return journey to the cars.
FACT FILE tWo MoUNtaIN laKES FIlE Distance: 10km Ascent: 230m Time: 3-3.30 hours Maps: EastWest Mapping Wicklow Mountains West Harveyâ€™s Wicklow Mountains
Maumtrasna’s Eastern Corries
Maumtrasna’s Eastern Corries
Helen Fairbairn recommends a trip around two glacial corries in a remote corner of south County Mayo. Photos by Gareth McCormack
Walker passing lough Nambrackkeagh at the base of Binnaw.
aumtrasna is the highest point in Mayo’s Partry Mountains - a great, hulking massif that impresses more with its girth than its height. In fact its 682m-high summit is lost amid a plateau that features more than 8 sq km of terrain above the 600m contour. Though remarkable as a landform, it is not generally the plateau itself that appeals to most walkers. The mountain’s most exciting terrain can be found along its numerous spurs, which radiate out from the central massif like spider’s legs reaching around a bulbous abdomen. Between them these spurs enclose at least ten separate corries, the most dramatic of which are explored on this walk. Like most mountains in the region, Maumtrasna owes its current topography to a series of events that began around two million years ago. This is when the European climate began to deteriorate, entering the Pleistocene period, popularly known as the Ice Age. The climate began to alternate between severe cold snaps interspersed with warmer spells. During the cold stages the entire massif was covered by ice, but as each rise in temperature melted the main ice sheet, active glaciers persisted longest on the colder northern and
eastern slopes. This explains why, in common with many other Irish mountains, Maumtrasna’s deepest, most spectacular glacial corries can now be found facing north and east. This route circumnavigates two of Maumtrasna’s most dramatic eastern corries: the deeply-carved basins that now contain Lough Nadirkmore and Dirkbeg Lough. Each corrie is bound by sharp ridges, which provide convenient access routes to and from the high ground. The tips of these ridges are steep however, and while not dangerous, the angle of slope means that the route is restricted to only those walkers who are confident on steep ground. Note also that much of the walk follows the edge of precipitous cliffs, so the route is best avoided in poor visibility. The circuit concentrates on Maumtrasna’s corries and ridges, and does not visit the 682m-high summit of Maumtrasna itself. This ‘summit’ rises only a metre or two above many surrounding hummocks, and is notoriously difficult to find. However determined summit-baggers can make an optional side-trip to find it from the top of the Binnaw ridge. It is located just over a kilometre southwest of Maumtrasna’s 673m-high trig point.
Getting to the Start The route starts and finishes along a narrow lane around 2km east of Lough Nadirkmore (GR: M 022,647). The area is generally accessed via the N84 Castlebar-Galway road. Turn west off this road at Partry, at the northeastern end of Lough Mask. Follow a minor road around the northwestern side of the lough, passing through Toormakeady (Tuar Mhic Éadaigh). Around 5km south of Toormakeady, turn right towards Killateenaun. Roughly 700m past Killateenaun school, turn right again, then keep left at a junction and follow a lane along the Owenbrin River. Keep left again at a final junction and continue until you reach a metal gate across the lane (the purpose of this gate is to stop sheep wandering rather than to bar access). There is adequate space to park around five vehicles without obstructing the road.
The Walk Pass through the gate and walk northwest along the lane for roughly 100m. Here the road crosses a stream. Turn left off the tarmac and begin to follow the northern bank of the stream, crossing open, hummocky ground. Within long you come to a confluence where the stream separates in two, with each branch heading to a
different lough in the corrie above. Continue along the bank of the southern-most watercourse. When the fence falls away on the left, veer south and begin heading directly towards the base of Binnaw. You’ll need to cross a gravel track before beginning the ascent in earnest. The easiest angle is up the ridge’s northeastern tip, though even here the climb is steep and sustained. As you gain height the views improve over Lough Nambrackkeagh and Lough Nadirkmore, encased within the steep cliffs of the corrie to your right. Scattered rocks also become increasingly frequent amid the grass as you near the top of the ridge. Once you’ve gained the shoulder’s highpoint, turn right and begin to trace the lip of the corrie west. A mixture of cropped grass and rocks cover the hummocky ground, while occasional gullies allow thrilling views into the basin far below. A small cairn marks the point where the ridge merges into the main Maumtrasna plateau. Here, for the first time, there are views of the surrounding ranges: the clustered summits of the Maumturk Mountains can be seen to the southwest, while Croagh Patrick and Nephin lie on the northern skyline. If you want to make the 4km detour to Maumtrasna’s trig point, head northwest from
“Numerous spurs radiate out from the central massif like spider’s legs reaching around a bulbous abdomen.”
Cairn at the top of Buckaun, overlooking lough Mask.
Walker looking over lough Nadirkmore from the Binnaw ridge.
Maumtrasna’s Eastern Corries
Walker looking over Dirkbeg lough from the back of the corrie
the cairn, using the rim of the Srahnalong corrie to aid navigation. To continue directly along this circuit, arc northwards at the cairn and trace the back of the Nadirkmore corrie towards Buckaun. The ground here is softer underfoot, with scattered bog pools and marshy patches amongst the peaty terrain. A short climb brings you to the large cairn that marks the ridge of Buckaun. The most arresting view from here is the aerial panorama over Lough Mask to the east. Care is needed in this area however, because just a few metres north of the cairn the precipitous cliffs of the Dirkbeg corrie drop away suddenly. The route around this second corrie largely mimics the first; an anticlockwise trip around the lip of the basin. This section necessitates a deeper descent around the western rim however, and the terrain is craggy rather than peaty underfoot. Make your way down between rocky outcrops to the back of the corrie, then climb onto the Dirkbeg ridge that forms its northern wall.
FACT FILE MaUMtraSNa Distance: 11.5km/7miles Ascent: 600m / 1970ft Time: 5-5 hours Maps: OSi Sheet 38 1:50000
Follow the Dirkbeg ridge eastward to its tip, then descend slightly south of east, heading towards a turf-cutting area at the eastern end of Dirkbeg Lough. The descent is steep throughout – take particular care in wet conditions when the grass may be slippery underfoot. Also note that steep crags bound the northern tip of the ridge, so be sure to avoid veering onto this side of the shoulder.
At the base of the slope, cross flat, peaty ground to reach the area of turbary. Here you’ll find two branches of a gravel track; they join up within long so either one can be followed initially. The gravel merges into tarmac after 1.5km, and a paved lane continues ahead. Follow the lane for a further kilometre to return to the metal gate where you started the circuit.
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Subscribe NOW for our BEST EVER VALUE OFFER and Glenveagh National Park. Three kilometres north of Kilmacrennan take a left turn onto the R251, signposted for the national park. Follow this road for about twenty kilometres until you see the cones of Aghla Beg South and Aghla More rising above a forestry plantation on the right. Go slow as you sweep down onto a long stretch of straight road with Sand Lough down on the left. Look out for a track entrance on the right where there is parking for two cars (GR: B 953 205). The route starts and finishes here. If there is no room to park, drive on for 800m to the formal car park at the foot of Errigal, and return to the track on foot.
The Walk Set off along the track, which heads straight across the bog towards the eastern shoulder of Mackoght. Follow it around a large hairpin and then up to a shallow col. Soon the track begins to descend steeply along the west side of a small valley, and
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situated just northeast of
Photos by Gareth McCormack
12 GREAT WALKS
This approach from the south is the hardest route on the Aghlas, but with
of character and variety, despite the Hubba 2full is light and spacious but itand does have a poles are recommended. few problems. theofTitanium theFirstly modestditch height the peaksnail pegs I’ve taken the liberty of renaming the provided, too hard on the they’ll pullof themselves, stillhands packs and in over 900m highest summit in the Aghlas as Aghla through soft ground. It’s also quite hard to get the guylines to stay on the pegs and they’re easy to miss of those storms where the rain is when you’re breaking camp. The other issue is also a almost horizontal. This an ideal tent if weight-saving one in that the flysheet only has a travelling light is your major worry, but I have a few Hydrostatic head of 1000m, less than the other tents concerns regarding just how 3-season ready it is in tested, even if it is silicone coated its likely not to last Irish conditions, plus all those weight saving features as long. Lastly the flysheet doesn’t come as close to are expensive. the ground as others tested, not great it you’re in one
Beg South. On the OS map it is unnamed, and the name Aghla Beg is given to a slightly lower summit to the north. Aghla More is itself 19m lower than Aghla Beg South. One explanation offered for the apparent mislabelling of summits using ‘beag’ and ‘mór’ is that those applying the original names were more interested in acreage than in height.
Getting to the Start
Wild Country Aspect 2
?180 / £150.00 Most people will be approaching the Aghlas from Letterkenny. Take the N56, A 2 person Tunnel tent weighing a respectable 2.2kg, the Aspect 2 pitches fly-first and has 2 sidesignposted for Kilmacrennan, Dunfanaghy
facing doors. One door has no porch and is purely Altan access Farm, with Aghlahaving More behind to allow without to climb across the other occupant. The main full length door can also be turned into an awning if you buy the separate poles. Out on the hills, I found the Aspect 2 a bit strange, there was plenty of space inside but it still felt cramped – a bit like a tarids in reverse! Maybe I’d been spoiled by some of the other tents on test, but I thought whoever ended up away from the
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MSR Carbon Reflex 2 ?480 / £350
Similar to the Hubba in its floor plan etc, but with some more weight saving changes, the Carbon Reflex 2 shaves its packaged weight to 1490g. The main differences are its Carbon Fibre poles and only having 1 door, meaning a “3am crawl-over” if you’re furthest from the door! My other comments re the Hubba Hubba still stand and it’s hard to justify the extra expense when you’re sharing the weight between 2. Makes you wonder how light tents could possibly get in the not too distant future though…..
Why We Love Landscapes and (some) creatures
Perfection at Britain’s northwest tip
porch side was getting the rough end of the stick. The porch itself runs the length of the tent but is quite shallow so room for both of your sacks is at a premium. Ventilation is good through the wide roof vents and half mesh doors, unusually the inner is made if fabric rather than mesh so it’s quite warm inside. Given a 3-4 season backpacking rating by Wild Country, the flysheet has a Hydrostatic head of 3000mm while the groundsheet is 5000m. I see 23 it more aimed at the cycle touring market than as a mountain tent, there are only 2 guylines fitted so it’s not meant for exposed sites. Outer-first pitching allows you to get your gear out of the weather while you clip up the inner, the use of fastex buckles or clips at the corners of the inner would have made this easier. My major gripe was the number and type of pegs given 10 are needed but only 7 supplied and while the spec says they’re alloy v-channels mine were all skewers. Despite that the Aspect 2 is well made and decent value at this price, just remember to bring extra pegs.
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It’s Only Natural
The track peters out on the southern bank of a small river that feeds in to Altan Lough. Altan Farm is on the opposite bank with the imposing southern flanks of behind. Aghla More rising steeply There are some good stepping stones in place,
That clunk you just heard was your jaw hitting off the coffee table when you saw the Asgards’ price. But hold on, before “Angry from Crossmolina” sends something suitably vitriolic to the editor enquiring as to my mental state, this is not a run-of-the –mill back packers portable shelter. The Asgard is a 2 man expedition tent suitable for the worst conditions a remote location can throw at you. When I say 2 man, in truth it’s spacious enough for 3, making the cost a bit more justifiable and allowing plenty of space for tons of gear, games of fullcontact snap and delaying the onset of cabin fever. With a supported porch and doors at each end, there are acres of elbow room and the steep sides mean that it’s not just in the centre of the tent either. All this has a downside of course – price obviously, but weight also increases to a sizeable 3.36kg. Pitching is reasonably easy (it would be simpler if the shorter middle pole was colour coded), just fit the poles into the continuous, closed-ended sleeves and then fit the Asgard’s secret weapon the Bow frame, a pole which runs around the upper part of the tent supporting the porches and making the tent much more rigid. The rest is easy enough to make 1 person pitching possible with a bit of practice, when erect you can sit a 45 pound rucksack on top according to one review I read and yes; I’ve tried it and its true! Once inside there’s ample storage and the groundsheet feels almost bullet-proof with a Hydrostatic head of 10000mm. This negates the need to carry a separate “footprint” or groundsheet protector again to help justify the cost and weight. One of the things that really grabbed me were the groundhog stakes supplied, ideal for anchoring the Asgard in any soil conditions. Did I like the Asgard? It’s fairly obvious that I’m more than impressed, I wouldn’t be recommending it for a quick 1 night camping trip but for serious stuff or as a fixed base option it’s up there with the best. Might have to make MSR an offer on this one methinks…..
View across Altan Lough, with Altan Farm on the far left
“There is a small river crossing at Altan Farm that can be tricky after heavy rain, so gaiters and walking poles are recommended.”
packaged, but still provides enough headroom for its Gareth McCormack Errigal inthe County the shorter northern approach from 2 occupants to sit up inside. Again inner is Donegal. Their almost all mesh so it can be used as a proximity Procklis currently complicated by poor samples a freestandingtoinsect shelter shouldmountain such aproof justifiably popular access, the Altan route is now preferable. challenging outing conditions permit. Pitching means that they is arestraightforward, often ignored and Although there is a defined track all the stake out the inner,visited securebythe spider-like seldom walkers. However they way to Altan Farm, it can be very wet in across three poles in their grommets, clip the inner to are certainly worth the considerable places. There is also a small river the poles and then drape the fly over the often-overlooked Donegal required to of make round crossing at Altan Farm that can be tricky top. Simply effort peg out the rest the the outer and of all tops good from Altan a route after heavy rain, so gaiters and walking you’re done.three Sounds so farFarm. and inIt’s fairness summits.
then swings north, crossing a stream and descending through a series of switchbacks towards Altan Farm and the eastern shore of Altan Lough. It is tempting to shortcut the hairpins, however the ground is so rough that you probably save energy by sticking to the track.
Helen Fairbairn visited three countries and tackled numerous alpine passes to complete the most popular long-distance walk in Europe. Photos by Gareth McCormack
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Along the Port Path
Along the Port Path Gareth McCormack explores a scenic coastal path linking Portstewart and Portrush on the Causeway Coast. Photos by Gareth McCormack
Dunluce Castle from Whiterocks Beach.
Portstewart harbour and promenade
he Causeway Coast of County Antrim is home to some of the finest sections of coastal walking in Ireland. Most of this walking has been linked together to form the 33-mile long Causeway Coast Way, and perhaps the most celebrated stretch of this walk is the magnificent cliff path between the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Beyond these famous landmarks, the next runner up would probably be the Port Path, which runs between the twin seaside resorts of Portstewart and Portrush. This is a much more urbanised walk than its cousin further along the coast. The route spends much of its time in or close to built up areas. However this should not be seen in a negative light, and is offset by the relatively isolated two kilometre beach walk along Curran Strand. Besides, the two ‘Ports’, although not to everyone’s taste in their outward appearance, have great character and plenty of historical interest.
A set of concrete steps at the east end of Portstewart Strand marks the start of the Port Path. Climb these and follow a wide pavement around the shoreline towards the crenellated outline of Rock Castle, set imposingly on the cliff edge about a kilometre to the north. The ‘castle’ was built in 1834 by Henry O’Hara and was home to the O’Hara and Montagu families until it was sold to the Dominican Order in 1917. It is now the co-educational Dominican College.
Continue north along the promenade and past the picturesque little harbour. Just past the harbour, as the road bends to the east, look out for Causeway Coast Way and Ulster Way signs directing you up a flight of steps between two houses. The steps take you up onto a cliff-ringed headland from where there is a fine view back south across Portstewart. Landmarks to the east include Eagle Hill, the conspicuous outline of the Mussenden Temple, and in the far distance the hills of Inishowen. Follow tarmac around Portstewart Point, from where the northern end of Portrush can just be made out in the far distance. The route continues along a promenade and past some new apartments. You then walk alongside the A2 Portrush-Portstewart road for a short distance as you begin to make your way out of Portstewart. At a golf course look out for wooden marker posts on the left. These lead along the low-lying coast, fringing the greens and fairways. There are often different paths to choose from, but in the absence of marker posts just keep as close to the shore as possible. As you near Rinagree Point, the path climbs steeply to a headland with good views along the coast in both directions. There is a
The walk starts at the eastern end of Portstewart Strand (GR: C 812,367), which is now managed by the National Trust. The only parking at the beach itself is on the sand, and between March and October a hefty parking charge applies. At other times it is free, but it is best not to leave your car unattended on the beach unless you are very sure of the prevailing on the Port Path near rinagree Point tidal conditions, you could return to find There appears to be little room for the Port your car has become a hazard to shipping. path to navigate the castle on its seaward Instead you should aim to use a public side, but that’s exactly what it does, climbing parking area approximately one kilometre onto a balcony built into the cliff and towards Portstewart promenade along Strand Road. From here you can either drop straight adjoining wall, and guarded only by a metal down a flight of steps and onto the Port Path, handrail. In windy conditions and high seas it is a thrilling few hundred metres of or you can walk back to Portstewart Strand walking until a flight of steps leads down and pick it up from the very start. The official Port Path route finishes at East onto the more civilised environs of Portstewart Promenade. Strand in Portrush, but our description
public parking area here and an interpretive board for the walk. The coastline now becomes cliff-bound and the path follows close to the edge, occasionally descending into a cove before climbing back up onto the clifftop again. The site of Ballyreagh Castle is marked prominently on the OS map and is also afforded an interpretive panel, but there is little to see on the promontory on which it once stood, except for the suggestion of some
extends the route all the way to Dunluce Castle (GR: C 905,413). There is a small car park here, but it is probably better to use either of the two much larger public parking areas, one of which is just a few hundred metres back to the west along the A2 (GR: C 901,412) and the other at Whiterocks Beach (GR: C 884,407). Ulsterbus service 177 stops on the promenade at Portstewart near the start of the walk, and also at Dunluce Castle. With several services every day, year round, there is no need to organise cars at both ends of the walk. Check the translink website (www. translink.co.uk) for timetable information.
Getting to the Start
Along the Port Path
View west from Portstewart Point towards Eagle Hill and Inishowen
grassy foundations. Just past the site of Ballyreagh Castle the path joins a wide footpath along the A2. Follow this for a few hundred metres until you crest the brow of a hill and are greeted by a sudden view across West Strand to Portrush. A wide footpath leads away from the road and directly across grassy slopes to a promenade that runs the length of the beach
and into the heart of the town. Continue past Portrush harbour and onto a path running around Ramore Head. You now have a view along the remainder of the route, with the crumbling remains of Dunluce Castle visible on the clifftop about four kilometres to the east. Follow the path around to Curran Strand, or East Strand as it is known locally. Set out onto the beach,
following the sand for more than two kilometres to the parking area at Whiterocks, which derives its name from the beautiful white limestone cliffs above the beach. On a low tide it is possible to walk further east along the beach under these cliffs, but to reach Dunluce you need to head up the access road for Whiterocks Beach and follow a footpath along the A2. Although the next two kilometres involves walking alongside a busy road, fantastic coastal views compensate for the terrain. Dunluce Castle provides a fitting end to such a varied route. Owned and maintained by the National Trust, this is one of Ireland’s most spectacular medieval castles, perched on a crumbling basalt outcrop above the pounding surf. There has been a castle here since the 13th century, and it was the seat of power for the MacDonnell clan who dominated this part of Ulster during the 16th and 17th centuries. It’s well worth setting aside some time at the end of your walk to take a look around the castle.
FACT FILE Port Path File Distance: 15km/9 miles Ascent: 150m/429ft Time: 3 – 4 hours Maps: OSNI 1:50.000 sheet 4
The Challenge of Charity For thousands of Irish walkers, charity trekking is an enjoyable, rewarding and companionable way to see the world on foot. But where does the money go? Concern’s Zoe Holyoake explains how the Irish charity’s Kilimanjaro Challenge makes everyone a winner.
t Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, is a magnet for trekkers and climbers the world over. This 10 day challenging trek takes place between the 23rd June and the 2nd July and takes us along the beautiful Machame route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the south, through dense tropical rainforest all the way up to the mighty snow capped summit at 5896m for simply breathtaking views. This is a tough but spectacularly rewarding route. On reaching the summit you will feel a sense of overwhelming achievement, a truly unforgettable challenge. Concern operates in 28 of the world’s poorest countries, helping people to achieve major and long-lasting improvements in their lives. Your fundraising will support our Tanzania office and despite economic growth of approximately 7% in the early part of last year, Tanzania remains one of the world’s forty poorest countries. More than one-third of the population lives below the poverty line. We have continued to focus our efforts on: improving incomes and access to food; water and environmental health; HIV and AIDS and good governance. This challenge is achievable to all ages and fitness levels and with the support of Concern staff you can raise the fundraising target. By taking part in our training days you will not only improve your fitness levels
but also it will also help you to get to know your fellow trekkers. We could not continue without your support and by taking part in the Climb Mt Kilimanjaro challenge you will be making a real and direct impact on communities affected by poverty and hunger Your concern lets us go that extra mile. Take part in our Climb Mt Kilimanjaro Challenge 2011 To find out how to sign up and support those to this amazing event just living in absolute speak to Zoë 01 4178028 poverty. or visit www.concernchallenge.org
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Coomloughra Horseshoe Some walks are so good that you find yourself wanting to complete them time and time again. For Tom Hutton, itâ€™s the magnificent Coomloughra Horseshoe
Easy scrambling up to the summit of Skregmore adds to the fun.
Photo: Tom Hutton
and a good excuse for a rest. From here, it’s down for a few minutes before a high-level walkway guides you around the head of the glen, offering easy walking and incredible views in every direction. Caher’s three summits don’t disappoint either, even amongst such illustrious company. But the thought of descent might this is the kind of walk that you wish would never end.
Getting to the start From Killarney, follow the Gap of Dunloe Road to Beaufort, and then continue west, beneath the foot of the Reeks towards Lough Acoose. Keep ahead at the junction with the Killorglin Road, and continue for another 3km to a large car park, in old quarry on the left (V763863). From Killorglin, head south to join the Beaufort to Glencar road and bear right to reach the same point.
The Walk Turn right onto the road and follow it north for a few minutes to a gate on the right. Cross this to gain a well-surfaced track, known as the Hydro Road, which you now follow left and then right to climb mercilessly upwards towards the shores of Lough Eighter. This is probably the hardest part of the whole day as the gradient is cruel and surface hard and unforgiving. The rewards at the top are worth it though and from the lough you get your first view of the magnificent glen and of course the ridges above that the route follows.
Lough Eighter gives a magnificent view of what's ahead
Catch your breath and then turn left to cross the outflow, where you need to bear left again to follow a faint path almost back on yourself through the heather. This leads around the hillside and out onto the blunt west ridge of Skregmore, where a few different paths weave a winding line up towards the foot of the rocky spine. The main path continues left of the rocky fins, but there’s more interest on the crest if you’re feeling adventurous. The gradient eventually eases and it’s just a short walk to the 747m top. The hardest work is behind you now so continue along the broad crest of the ridge, dropping into a shallow col and then climbing again to the mountain’s true summit, which is marked with a cairn.
n these days of ‘essential’ this, and ‘best-ever’ that, the word ‘classic’ has become a worn-out cliché. But there are still places that it does apply, and when it comes to Irish hill-walking, no-one can deny that the Coomloughra Horseshoe is one of them. This is a mountain walk to end all mountain walks. In just 12 wonderful kilometres it clambers from less than 200m above sea level to cross the three tallest and most impressive summits in the land. Along the way it offers everything from easy cruising along airy whaleback ridges, through daring yet easy scrambling along knife-edge arêtes to steep and gruelling climbs on rough rocky paths. And the whole act is played out among some of the most impressive scenery most of us will ever see. It’s a long way up onto Beenkeragh, but the panorama is breathtaking the whole way, and the anticipation builds and builds the closer you get to the top, with the path eventually relenting to easy scrambling that leads straight on to the tiny summit. The views that greet you here have few equals, with Carauntoohil just a stone’s throw away, and the towering cliffs of Caher just a short distance beyond that. The walking that links the three peaks is as good as any on these shores, perhaps anywhere. The infamous Beenkeragh to Carrauntoohil ridge is like a low-slung bridge spanning a huge chasm, and although it’s narrow in places and exposed in others, the going is never too difficult. And then a steep and rather relentless pull gains the summit cross – the highest point in all Ireland -
“In just 12 wonderful kilometres it clambers from less than 200m above sea level to cross the three tallest and most impressive summits in the land.” Continue along the ridge top now, dropping and climbing a few more times before you reach the foot of the final steep ascent of Beenkeragh. Easy scrambling and a clear path lead to a small cairn perched precariously on the tiny summit. The views across to Carrauntoohil are absolutely magnificent from here, as they are across the head of the glen to Caher. The ridges
Photo: Kris O'Brien
A classic ridge walk
also look very inviting so leave the summit to the south west, making sure you follow wellworn rock, and you’ll soon locate a steep path that weaves its way down to the crest of the arête, now with Carrauntoohil towering directly overhead. Follow the ridge south, hugging the crest as much as possible, but taking well-worn diversions on the more awkward sections, and eventually, after a particularly exposed section, you’ll find yourself at the foot of the steep, rocky path that climbs above Collins Gulley to the summit cross. There’s plenty of shelter on the highest point in the land if you need it. Care is needed to get off Carrauntoohil, especially in poor visibility. The easiest way is to follow the clearly cairned Hag’s Glen path for around 100m or so, and then, as this levels off for a short section, and bears around to the left, you need to keep straight ahead (south-west), onto a less well-defined path that leads out to the escarpment edge, high above the Coomloughra Glen, which will now be down to your right. Now follow the cliff tops along - fabulous skyline walking – and ahead you get a close up of the imposing crags of Caher. After crossing the broad, shallow col, a short, sharp climb leads onto the first of the three summits, where
FACT FILE COOMLOUGHRA GLEN FILE Distance: 12km/8 miles Ascent: 1100m Time: 6/7 hours Maps: OSi Sheet 78 1:50,000
Photo: Tom Hutton
another shallow notch then separates you from the true top. The views from here are to the south, over the Black Valley, to the rugged looking peak of Broaghnabinnia. To descend, cross the western top, and then keep ahead on a clear but steep path that descends the north-west flank before eventually
levelling above Coomloughra Lough. Drop steeply down to the outflow of the higher lake and cross this to take a boggy path that then leads along the northern shore of Lough Eighter. Now continue back to the top of the Hydro Road, where you can retrace your earlier steps back to the car park.
Fall in love with walking
AC T IVIT Y BRE AK S
Dive on into a great adventure break You’ll be out of breath before you take your
P26356 FI ADVENTURE WALK A4 BG.indd 1
ﬁrst step – we guarantee it. Because when you trek in Ireland you journey through some of the most beautiful scenery on our planet. From the wilds of Connemara to the dizzying peaks of Co. Kerry. From the haven of tranquility that is Co. Wicklow to the unique unspoiled botanical wonder that is The Burren in Co. Clare. Choose from week-long guided walking safaris or simply walk your own route at your own pace.
By the Way
Mountain Misfortunes Ireland’s mountains bear testimony to many aviation tragedies. By Michael Fewer
he occasional accidents that passing aircraft, collecting four large wrecks occur in the mountains remind during the war, three British and one German. us that the very altitude that The remains of two of them are easily located. provides us with so much The first aircraft to be claimed by the exhilaration when climbing can mountain was a Luftwaffe four-engined Fockeoften be hazardous. It is not only climbers, Wulf Condor which was on a weather flight however, that can have problems in high from Abbeville in France, out over the places: the hazard of altitude, combined with Atlantic, during the height of the Battle of the poor visibility that is not uncommon on mountains, has left many of our uplands scattered with the remains of aircraft that have come to ground and to grief, abruptly, against unforgiving rock. I know more than a few hill walkers who use such crash sites as unusual if slightly macabre goals for their mountain outings. Most of the mountain crash sites in Ireland date from WW2, when the skies over these islands were at times teeming with German, British and American military aircraft, and during what was called here ‘The Emergency’, almost two hundred aircraft crashed or crash landed Engine from Douglas C-47A, Cummeenapeasta, Kerry in Irish territory. While the Irish Air Corps were kept busy retrieving what was salvageable after crashes, in mountain Britain in August 1940. Flying too low and in terrain, much of the heavier components had poor visibility, it made a miraculous crashto be left where they lay, and in many cases, landing on the Faha Ridge, not far below these remains still lie there today, noticed only Cinn Tire, an Iron Age fort that occupies the by passing hill walkers. pointed top of the ridge, 822 metres above sea I have come across rusted remains of planes level. The only casualty was the pilot, in many locations in the west of Ireland, but it Oberleutnant Kurt Mollenhauer, who broke seems that the holy mountain of Brandon on his ankle, and all the crew succeeded in the Dingle peninsula was the most lethal to making their escape from the aircraft when
Wing section and undercarriage parts from B17, Tievebaun, Sligo
one of the engines caught fire. The first local to reach the scene of the crash was a local shepherd who addressed them in Gaelic, and showed them the way down off the mountain. When the limping group reached the village of Faha, they were offered a jug of milk by Mrs O’Connor, and as they arrived at the local Garda Station, the villagers gathered to applaud them. It was early in the war, long before the atrocities of the Nazis came to light, and the inhabitants of Faha at the time were Gaelic speakers and staunch republicans, and would have been no friends of Britain. The members of the crew were interned for the duration of the war, and in 1988 Kurt Mollenhauer returned to Kerry and the scene of the crash with his wife and was again greeted by the villagers, including the daughter of Mrs O’Connor who had provided the jug of milk. Some of the tubular fuselage framing of the Condor and two of the engines can still be found to the right of the path leading towards Brandon, on the southern flanks of the Faha ridge. One of the engines was brought down from the mountain in 1988 and brought back to Germany to be displayed in a museum in Hamburg and another stands, surrounded by roses, outside the pub in Cloghane. Of the Brandon crashes the most poignant must be that of a BOAC Sunderland which
came down in July 1943. It was on a routine flight from neutral Lisbon to Britain, and was heading for a refuelling stop at the seaplane base at Foynes in County Limerick, when it flew into the mountain, again in conditions of poor visibility. Ten of the twenty-five persons on board were killed, and the cargo of mail which had originated in the Far East was destroyed, including many sacks filled with letters and postcards sent by prisoners-of-war under the Japanese. A high percentage of such prisoners died later in captivity, and their letters, if they had been delivered, would have probably been the only communication between them and their families in Britain since their capture. Some of the mail survived to be found on the mountainside, such as the card found by local man George Kennedy two months after the crash and forwarded to Bletchley in Buckinghamshire. It bore the sad message, ‘Dear Emily, prisoner of war in good health don’t worry love to all George Drury.’ I wonder if George Drury ever returned from whatever prison camp hellhole he found himself? In the Owenafeena valley, 300 metres below the northern side of the Faha ridge, are some remains of the ill-fated Sunderland, clearly alien pieces of aluminium that gleam strangely and contrast with their bog resting place.
“During what was called here ‘The Emergency’, almost two hundred aircraft crashed or crash landed in Irish territory.” Fuselage section from Short Sunderland, Bluestack Mountains
Memorial to Catalina crew, Glenade, Leitrim Radial engine from Focke-Wulf Condor, Faha Ridge, Kerry
Remains of Liberator engine, Caha Mountains, Cork
For a comprehensive account of aircraft crash sites on the hills and moors of Britain and Ireland, Aircraft Wrecks – The Walkers’ Guide by Nick Wotherspoon, Allan Clark and Mark Sheldon is available from Pen and Sword Aviation (www.pen-and-sword.co.uk) at stg. £25. Nearly 500 crash sites are covered, with details of the circumstances behind each wreck, the names of those involved and accurate map references for each site, plus notes to finding and interpreting the remaining wreckage.
of the Wicklow Uplands By Barry Dalby, EastWest Mapping
s some readers will be aware, I recently published some new mapping for the Dublin & Wicklow Mountains. My initial objective was to produce up-to-date topographic mapping as I knew many features were poorly mapped, if at all, on the OSi Discovery material. (this, by the way, is largely due to a lack of survey fieldwork). Like other readers here, I learnt many placenames over the years from OS maps but through following many of J.B. Malone’s walking routes, I was also aware of ‘unmapped’ names that he mentioned here and there. This quickly led to Liam Price’s work and once I started to research these matters in greater depth, I quickly realised that there was a treasure trove of such placenames and that it be would of considerable benefit to the wider public to locate these names and place them on a map. Thus I hoped to create a better record and a more complete picture of the cultural fabric of the Wicklow hills. Many issues arise when you start down this road - a stream, track or forest exists in a certain space and can be logically measured and portrayed but placenames are part of the human condition - they can have both permanence and variability. Some names are widely known to the community at large whilst others may be restricted to just a family or two. There can be multiple names for the same feature and variations in spelling are very common. It’s frequently not possible to say which is the ‘correct’ version but where possible I have given the different forms but emphasised the version known to the local people - the hill farmers of Wicklow.
The 19th Century legacy
Let’s consider briefly the published Ordnance Survey names. They say history is written by the victors and in this context the OS conducted the great six inch survey of Ireland in the 1830s. In the
process, it systematically recorded many The Barr Mhór then could be the encircling Corrigasleggaun from sliogán, small flat stones. placenames. In relation to the uplands though, cliffs of Benleagh or Bendoo but could also be To local hill farmers nowadays, it is simply we may cast a questioning eye on this record, the ‘great height’ of Lugnaquilla which hangs known as The Lough Mountain. The name principally because the primary areas of above this valley. So perhaps an old name for Corrigasleggaun does not seem to have been interest to the survey were urban areas and Lugnaquilla is An Barr Mhór – simply the collected by OSi but was documented by Liam rural arable land. The survey was for the great height. Price who clearly identified it as the south purposes of public administration, taxation etc. Leohard The ridge east of Lugnaquilla eastern end of the mountain. He notes having Mountain land then, as now, was regarded as towards the zig zags terminates at a high point lunch on Corrigasleggaun and says that the somewhat worthless by the prevailing powers. known to most walkers as Clohernagh from next hill to the west is Corriganarrig, after that A glance at any six inch sheet abutting the hills the OS. However the hill farmers of the area the ridge to Clohernagh (Leohard). He got this will show considerable detail in the valleys but would know this as Leohard - for them from ‘a young man at the bridge’ great blank spaces on the open mountain land, Clohernagh (pronounced something like (Aughavannagh) on 28th May 1939. generally that above 1,000 feet in altitude. Clort-nagh) is the land SE of the Carawaystick Hillwalkers seem to have picked up Little work was done up high, except for the waterfall and now mostly in forest. Leoh is Corrigasleggaun as the name of the hill as a purposes of triangulation measurements. It is aninteresting word - when you start looking whole, given this to OSI for recent editions of therefore reasonable to assume that little effort for it pops up in a quite a few names in the Sheet 56 but forgotten about Corriganarrig! was made to collect names in the uplands. “Placenames are part of the human condition - they can have This is borne out both by the paucity of names both permanence and variability.” and also the fact that a proportion of the names printed are completely unknown to local people. This doesn’t just apply to Wicklow of course, but to all mountain areas in the country. Lugnaquilla thought to come from either Log na Coille – the hollow of the wood or Log na gCoileach – the hollow of the cock (grouse). The former is thought more likely nowadays, but either way the hollow referred to is most likely the great gash of the North Prison. There are three hollows or coums on area. It has been tentatively given the meaning Interestingly, Price also collected the names Lugnaquilla and the North Prison is the most of a ‘place of marsh mallow plants’ in the past Corriganarrig & Corrigasleggaun in 1933 in striking, particularly from the Imaal side, but it may well be related to the word ‘lagh’. Farbreaga and adds that there is a which was settled in ancient times. The other It’s not pronounced as in Leo the lion but ‘Corrigahahny’, east of Corrigasleggaun and a coums appear to be Lugcoolmeen for the more as in Lee as in River Lee followed by yoh ‘Corrigagoppul’, further east again. These South Prison and Lugueer for the hollow above as in ‘Yoh there!’ - so lee-yoh, rolled around names are not known now, but they possibly the Fraughan Rock Glen. This mountain name the mouth. Lagh is associated in Scotland with refer to individual rocks or specific rocky areas is known since the 1600s, but how and why meaning a hill, usually a lowland hill I think, it on the mountains here. I did get the name The did the highest piece of land outside of Kerry may also be of Scandavian (Viking) origin and Horrigh for the spur leading down east to come to be named after a hollow? It is visible we have Viking names in Wicklow. Looking at Clornagh - ..hahny may be another or older from a great distance around and appears on the context in which Leoh or Lagh appears, I form of this. the horizon as a high plateau. There is a think it reasonable in Wicklow to postulate possibility that an older name may be that it means a hill or hillside. So Leohard is preserved in the name, Baravore of the high hill; Logar is the rough hill(side), Here are a couple of puzzles for you to ponder Glenmalure. This is recorded as Bollyvorrevore Leolasia (Brook) is the stream of the hill. on, over your lunchbreak on the hills! in 1639, likely coming from Buaile an Bhairr Luggala is hollow of the hill and Glenealo is Glendalough is easily translated as Gleann Dá Mhóir – the booley of the great height. The likely to be a contraction of Glanaslagh, the Loch – the glen of the two lakes but what are booley was most likely in what we call the glen of the waterfall of the hill. the names of the two lakes? Given that Fraughaun Rock glen now, probably below the Corrigasleggaun The hill to the west above virtually every other lake in Wicklow has a waterfall as that’s where the better grazing is. Kelly’s Lough is known to walkers as specific name, how is it that the two lakes that
Food for Thought
are the best known and most visited over many centuries are only known as Upper Lake and Lower Lake, surely 19th century survey conventions rather than genuine local names? There is a name recorded for the lower lake Loch na Péiste – the lake of the worm or water serpent. This is related to one of the legends
recorded concerning St.Kevin in the Irish Lives of the Saints where Kevin banishes a monster which is torturing him from one lake to the other. The document is in an old form of Irish though and two forms appear to contradict themselves in terms of which lake he drove the monster from and to. The phrase ‘Loch lágh’ is
used, see Leoh above, and it’s possible that this is an old name for the Upper Lake – the lake of the hill. A similar query arises for Wicklow Gap. This pass between West Wicklow and East Wicklow has been used since early times and carries three roads, two disused. It is most unlikely that travellers in early centuries called this the Wicklow Gap, which name again has a nineteenth century ring to it. They most certainly had a name for it, for means of giving directions but what was it? Maybe the answers to these lie buried in old manuscripts - they’ve certainly gone beyond local recall. Which raises the interesting question of whether old names have any relevance when taken out of the context of their times. Given that hill farming is in decline and the hills are more likely to be visited now by people seeking recreation, should walkers and the like invent a whole series of new names to suit their sensibilities? I note a move in this direction on websites like MountainViews. Personally, I think one should have respect for the names that have gone before, and been used by the people that trod this ground over the years. In that regard, I would be most interested to hear from anyone who can throw further light on placenames in Wicklow in particular. I suspect that there may well be various lists compiled privately over the years. If you can think of any relatives or friends interested in this area, please enquire - you never know what could be lying in old attics! But also, do not neglect to ‘seize the day’ and enquire even now after placenames - next time you stop for a wee chat with a local farmer (as I hope you do!), ask after local placenames if time allows. Then note them down when you get home paying attention to capturing the pronunciation. This of course usefully applies countrywide - the hill farmers have many names but sadly, their breed is steadily fading.
Barry Dalby is a surveyor and cartographer who has spent many years wandering the hills and countryside of Ireland. His maps of the Dublin and Wicklow mountain are available nationwide from mapsellers or at www. eastwestmapping.ie
In the course of my research I drew placenames from many sources; Liam Price’s Placenames of County Wicklow and his notebooks, the writings of JB Malone, Weston St. John Joyce and others, the collection of maps relating to Wicklow and Leinster in the National Library, lists compiled by individuals like Fr.Pádraig McCarthy. Of these, Liam Price was the richest source - Liam was a district justice in Co.Wicklow in the early days of the new state. His career spanned from 1920 to 1950 and his job required him to be an early motorist as he travelled around the various courts in Baltinglass, Blessington, Wicklow and Arklow and so on. That was the day job but Liam’s ‘real work’ was in the collection of information on history, antiquities and placenames. Liam was a man for going to original sources and sought out hill farmers and rural country people, enquiring after sites and names. I haven’t published a name on this mapping without consideration of the main factors a) what form of the name to choose and b) where can I locate the name and (c) to what type of feature. One does not exist properly without the other and one of the weaknesses of previous collections of placenames is that often we just have a list of names which whilst interesting, are somewhat lifeless without location. After distilling and plotting many names from my sources, I was left with long lists of names for various areas that I could not locate. With the help of the Wicklow Uplands Council and various individuals, I set about meeting hill farmers and local residents in the various Wicklow valleys with a view to reviewing both the names I’d plotted and also the lists of unidentified names. This proved a fruitful exercise; we confirmed names that are still known, established some obsolete names and collecting c.160 ‘new’ names for various features. My enquiries were received with interest and a desire to have the local names recorded and kept in use. Of course, I was often told – “You should have come 5,10,15 years ago – so and so had all those names” but even in 2010, I am glad to report that there are still people with a working knowledge of many hill names. There are many puzzles though; varying versions and locations, names recorded by Price and others now forgotten, etc. The area around Lugnaquilla, Glendalough and Glenmalure is rich in placenames and here are a few examples to illustrate various points. More detail can be found at www.eastwestmapping/placenames.html
A League Apart? One of Ireland’s most celebrated natural wonders is being seriously mismanaged, argues walking guide Tony Birtill
first climbed Sliabh Liag in 1973 as a teenager with my elder brother, then climbed it again a number of times in the mid 1980s when a student at Oideas Gael College, Gleann Cholm Cille. Since 1990 I have worked for Oideas Gael as a hillwalking leader and have escorted groups several times each year from Bunglas to Malin Beg via Sliabh Liag summit in all weathers, including snow, rain, hailstones and fog. From hundreds and hundreds of visitors I have heard nothing but the highest praise and admiration for what many of them, and I myself, regard as the most beautiful walk in Ireland. So I am deeply saddened that the authorities appear to be in the process of ruining it. The walk from Bunglas to Malin Beg via the summit of Sliabh Liag is described by Joss Lynam in his book Best Irish Walks as ”The classic and most popular route which traverses the whole exhilarating crest of the mountain, and the one which draws most walkers time and time again.” Not surprisingly, the sea cliffs at Sliabh Liag are listed as number 18 in the Lonely Planet top 25 Irish experiences for tourists. The walking holidays I lead for Oideas Gael last for 6 days, with participants staying in the local area. Local people often sign up as well. Oideas Gael walking holidays make a major contribution to the local economy through sustainable tourism and provide a model for the way forward. Long distance coastal footpaths are a huge visitor attraction in Britain. The Pembroke Coastal Footpath, Cornwall Coast path, Cleveland Way, amongst others, involve a number of overnight stops and are a huge boost to local economies. They grow in popularity year on year. In my view, the coastline from Bunglas to Maghera is more beautiful than any of these paths and
if marketed as The Donegal Coastal Path (DCP) from Teelin to Ardara would be hugely popular and a major boost to the local economy. That is, Sliabh Liag should not be seen in isolation, but as part of something much bigger that could benefit the whole area. Walkers could be encouraged to spend the night in Carrick or Teelin, before walking to Malin Beg via Sliabh Liag summit. This would take in the One Man’s Pass marked on the OS map sheet 10 at 550 780. Despite its name, this section of the path is not as difficult as say Striding Edge (Hellvellyn, Lake District, England) or Sharp Edge (Blencathra, Lake District) or Crib Goch (Snowdon, Wales). Such places are a magnet for modern day hill walkers who are increasingly looking for more exciting/challenging walks. The name One Man’s Pass conjures up visions of daring and excitement and it would be a great marketing feature for a Donegal Coastal Path. Currently, large numbers of day trippers come to the area to look at the cliffs of Sliabh Liag from Bunglas. This does generate some income for local bus operators, the Tí Linn visitor centre, local shops etc. Some of these people like to wander up the paved section of the footpath from Bunglas, returning to the car park. Day-trippers like these are also to be found in centres like the Lake District, and in my view, the important thing is not to ruin the visitor attraction by trying to cater for them with unnecesary ‘improvements.’ The target market, in terms of people
“A lot of money has been wasted on consultants who appear to know or understand little about Sliabh Liag.” staying several nights in the area, should be hillwalkers. We have proved that at Oideas Gael by successfully running 6 day walking courses for 20 years. There is considerable erosion on some parts of the classic Bunglas to Malin Beg route, particularly at Cnoc Ramhar (Crock Rawer 564 768). Any money available should be used to repair as much of the footpath as possible. The classic route follows the cliff edge to the summit. In places people have diverted away from this and so alternative routes have been created, causing further erosion. Repair work to the classic route would also indicate to walkers that it is the correct way to go and so discourage diversions. Such ‘wear and tear’ is routine for popular hillwalking routes in the Lake District, Scotland etc and is dealt with by laying footpath (similar to that near Bunglas), and regular maintenance carried out in order to keep the path open. Much of the current work appears to be based on a 2008 report prepared by Scott Wilson for Imeall Trá Teoranta. The report quotes says “The Pilgrims Path should be promoted as the main route to the summit and as a walk in its own right.” The Pilgrim Path is regarded by many local people for historical/spiritual reasons as the way up Sliabh Liag. However, hillwalkers find it boring and uninspiring. Current attempts to try and direct people to it (based on the Scott Wilson report) and away from the classic coastal path are merely causing anger and confusion; the cliffs and the classic cliff top path are famous and walkers come to see the views and experience the excitement. I met a small group of German tourists near the summit recently who had just walked up the Pilgrim Track. “Where is the cliff path?” they asked me, clearly annoyed that they had been directed up the boring inland route by a sign as they entered Teelin. They said that was the way they wanted to go, and decided to descend that way, so at least they could see the views on the way down. The Scott Wilson report recommends the building of a new car park approximately 1 km before the Bunglas carpark and a charge of ?2 made. Visitors will then have to walk to Bunglas to view the cliffs. This will create problems for the elderly and disabled and will annoy walkers aiming to start from Bunglas. More importantly, it is completely unnecessary. There are now three designated Sliabh Liag Car parks in existence and so there is no need to spend money building another one. Similarly, a new visitor centre is not
needed. The existing Tí Linn visitor centre is perfectly adequate for people who want to visit such places. The Scott Wilson report also recommends building a hideous perspex viewing platform, which looks like something from Disneyworld, at Bunglas. As a mountain leader, I regularly visit mountain tops and viewing places in various countries. Current best practice is to construct a discreet platform of local stone, surrounded by a low, unobtrusive wall of local stone. There is an example of this at Glengesh Pass, near Ardara. A stone structure like this be built to replace the exisitng ugly wooden platform, which looks completely out of place. The authors of the Scott Wilson report appear to have no understanding of the needs and interests of hillwalkers. For example, they state that “In terms of general tourism promotion the path to the summit of Slieve League should not be promoted as it is beyond the competence and equipment of the majority of visitors. Both of the mountain paths should be promoted to specialist walking visitors as excellent days out.” The classic route is in fact well within the competence of modern-day hill walkers, who should be the target market for promoting Sliabh Liag as a visitor attraction, as they are the people most likely to stay overnight in the area, particularly if they are walking Sliabh Liag as part of the Donegal Coast Path. Surely the aim of the project is to get more people to stay in the area and not to promote one-off ‘days out’? With regard to some of the developments currently taking place, particularly the line of yellow painted rocks which now scars the hillside, current best practice is to avoid the introduction of man-made artefacts to the hills and mountains, as these detract from the remoteness and natural beauty of the landscape. Bizarrely, the line of yellow rocks leading to the cliff edge at Sliabh Liag stops at a sign, which urges: ‘leave no trace of your visit.’ But these rocks are themselves a massive, ugly trace of the visit of someone with no appreciation of the natural beauty of Sliabh Liag. The rocks appear to be part of the policy to encourage people to use the Pilgrim Track. The sign says: ‘Warning- the agreed access route ends here. If you go beyond this point you are entering a mountainous area with an open cliff face. Be extremely mindful of your own safety and that of others. The yellow markings on stones and boulders going north east from here will guide you back onto the Pilgrim Track access route.’
As I stated earlier, the whole point of most walker’s visit to Slaibh Liag is to see the cliffs and to enjoy the classic route to the summit, and beyond if they have transport from Malin Beg. No amount of silly signs and painted rocks will deter people from this, and why would you want to deter them from it? If you have a winning visitor attraction then it should be maintained and promoted, not closed down. The sign lies approximately 700m SE of the summit trig point (595m). The aim of the majority of hill walkers is to get to the top, so what on earth is the point of this sign? I have been walking up Sliabh Liag for nearly 40 years and have never experienced any problems over access. Could it be that these much-publicised ‘development’ plans are creating access problems?
Conclusion The main reason that places like Sliabh Liag are attractive to visitors is because they are wild and unspoilt, so nothing should be done to detract from this. There is a problem with erosion in places on the classic route and any funds available should be used for repairs. All other developments such as painted rocks, unnecessary signs, visitor centres and new car parks should be abandoned. In order to maximize nights spent by visitors in the area, Sliabh Liag should be promoted as part of a Donegal Coastal Path. Hillwalking is growing in popularity each year and the 60 million people in the UK are an obvious target market. A lot of money has been wasted on consultants who appear to know or understand little about Sliabh Liag. Some years ago, a misleading sign appeared at the Bunglas carpark. This sign, in the form of two engraved brown tiles in English and Irish, stated that One Man’s Pass was a short 15 minute walk up the path. In fact it takes two hours to walk there. The sign encouraged people to get lost on Sliabh Liag, as anyone timing their walk from Bunglas in the expectation of finding the pass would be confused when unable to locate it. Last year the English version of the mis-information was obliterated, but the Irish version remains. Public money was wasted erecting a sign which misleads people, and the current project is continuing this tradition. Tony Birtill is a qualified mountain leader and teacher and hold a BA degree in Economics. He regularly works in national parks in Scotland, Wales, England, Spain, Norway etc for companies including Ramblers Holidays Ltd., World Challenge and Merseyventure.
“In the space of just twenty years farming has changed from being a full time to a part time occupation in vast swathes of our countryside.”
Our Countryside – What’s it For? Dick Warner challenges traditional assumptions about land usage in Ireland - and offers some alternatives
f you asked this kind of question twenty years ago there would have been easy and obvious answers. Our upland areas were for growing coniferous trees to supply our need for timber, our boglands were for supplying peat to help meet our energy requirements and the so-called ‘good’ land was for food production. But things have changed over twenty years and new economic and social realities make the answers rather less obvious. Take forestry, for example. Increasing global trade has made the market for timber products much more competitive. The bulk of the timber our plantations produce is of low quality. It can be used for the fabrication of man-made boards but is generally unsuitable for structural uses such as roof construction. In addition, because decisions were made many years ago to site most plantations in inaccessible hilly areas, the cost of felling, extraction and re-planting is very high. The end result of all this is that much, perhaps most, of our forestry plantations are now uneconomic white elephants. The value of the timber in them is less than the costs involved in delivering that timber to the market-place. There have also been significant changes in the market for peat. International competition is not a factor here but international
environmental pressures are. Burning the stuff, whether it’s in your own fireplace or in a power station, contributes to man-made climate change. Turf smoke may smell delightful but it contains a cocktail of chemicals that is quite polluting. There is also an international view that peat bogs are rare habitats that should be preserved. This affects the market for horticultural peat as well as peat fuel. Finally a large percentage of our reserves of peat have already been used up. We’re beginning to run out of material that can be harvested easily and cheaply. Bord na Mona is diversifying, developing other uses for its land-bank and using cutaway bogs for landfill sites, reservoirs, wind farms and for amenity areas. Privately owned bogs are subject to increasing restrictions and regulations. But farming has probably undergone the greatest change of all in the past twenty years. The progressive dismantling of international tariffs and trade restrictions has catapulted the Irish farmer into open competition with farmers from countries with much lower standards of living. It seems inevitable that this process will continue and accelerate. The result is that Irish farmers with small to medium sized holdings, and that’s the vast majority of them, can no longer generate the income required to raise a family. In the space of just twenty years farming
has changed from being a full time to a part time occupation in vast swathes of our countryside. So the question of how we use our countryside is far less obvious than it used to be and we probably need to come up with some new answers. Actually these answers are emerging, slowly and gradually. Coillte is opening more of its forests as forest parks, and in some cases making more money by charging for car parking than it could possibly make from selling timber. Bord na Mona has created a wetland amenity area at Boora in Co Offaly and is planning another around the new reservoir outside Portarlington. An increasing number of farmers are developing equestrian centres, quad bike tracks or trout fishing ponds. The focus of countryside use is beginning to change from the primary production of raw materials towards various recreational uses. The rural landscape is increasingly seen as an amenity. Walkers have always been in the forefront of people who use and value the amenity aspects of the countryside. We should welcome these changes and lobby loudly in favour of them. We should make sure that our recreation is catered for properly as the rural landscape changes. But it seems to me that, up to now, we have been rather too subdued where these issues are concerned.
Foreign visitors will be flying in all shapes and sizes this winter. By Dick Warner
hen the last of the summer migrant birds leave the country in September there is a short pause. It’s strangely quiet for a few weeks because we only have the resident species. Then, in October, the winter visitors start arriving. They stream down the Eastern Atlantic Flyway, an invisible thoroughfare in the sky along the western coasts of Europe. At the top end of the Flyway it divides into many branches, like the tributaries of a river. Some of the tributaries feed in birds from the west, from Iceland, Greenland and even as far away as northern Canada. Others lead eastwards, to Scotland, Scandinavia and northern Russia. Ireland is bang in the middle of the Flyway, just below the confluence of all the tributaries. We also have a very mild winter climate considering our latitude. So we get a wealth of winter migrant birds. The new arrivals to look out for over the next few weeks while you’re out walking include a great variety of bird types with different habitat preferences. Fieldfares and redwings are members of the thrush family and are most likely to be seen in farmland with berry-rich hedgerows in eastern counties. Their arrival time is unpredictable because it depends on when they exhaust the rowan-berry crop in Norway. Typically, a few arrive in early October but the bulk of the migration is in November. They tend to go around in flocks and the two species often mix with each other. Although the bulk of Irish winter visitors come from Norway and Sweden, we also get some Icelandic redwings. Snipe and woodcock are both classified as wading birds although they’re seldom seen on the mudflats or shorelines preferred by most waders. They normally visit the coast only when there’s a prolonged frost inland. The rest of the time snipe are found in bogs or wet, rushy fields and woodcock, not surprisingly, in woodland. Both species are nocturnal, so these habitats are where they sleep during the day. They fly out of them to feed at night, probing soft soil in fields with their long beaks to find invertebrates. Small and declining numbers of both snipe and woodcock breed in Ireland and are resident here all the year round. The
massive influx of winter visitors is triggered by harsh weather in Europe and usually arrives on a moonlit night. Most snipe reach Ireland in October and most woodcock in November. The majority of the snipe come to us from the Baltic states, along with some Icelandic birds. Woodcock come mainly from Europe east of the Urals, along with some British-bred birds. The fact that we’re the most northerly country in the world where fresh water seldom freezes over for any length of time in the winter attracts huge amounts of wild ducks from harsher climates. Around 100,000 wigeon will be arriving shortly from Iceland, Scandinavia, north-east Russia and south-west Siberia. They’ll hang about in flocks, some in estuaries and sea-loughs, other inland in lakes, turloughs and flooded callows. They’ll be joined by other duck species. The little teal still breeds in small and declining numbers in Ireland, but these resident birds will be joined by 50,000 continental visitors in the nest few weeks. Pochard also breed here in very small numbers, only 30 to 50 pairs, but around 40,000 more arrive for the winter. About the same number of tufted ducks will join the 2000 resident birds that breed on our larger lakes. And the ducks will be joined by flocks of geese and swans. The Greenland white-fronted goose is the most important of these because Ireland is winter host to approximately half of the entire world population of around 27,000 - the other half spends the winter in the Hebrides. They are one of the grey geese and historically they used to spend from October to March on the raised bogs of the midlands. The exploitation of the bogs means that now the largest concentration is on the Wexford slobs, with some flocks on western blanket bogs and flooded callows in the midlands. The brent goose is a small member of the black goose group and over 20,000 of the ‘light-bellied’ race of this species fly all the way from arctic Canada to Ireland every winter. They are a coastal bird and commonest along the east coast, though flocks can also be seen
in Kerry, Sligo and Donegal. This is the goose that people who live in the capital see grazing around Dublin Bay. Our Barnacle geese come from Greenland and are also coastal birds. About 9,000 of them visit the west coast. They have a marked preference for offshore islands but there are some mainland sites, including a substantial flock around Lissadell in Co Sligo. Our resident mute swans will be joined by two northern species this winter. The whooper swan is slightly smaller than the mute swan and its beak is yellow and black rather than orange and black. But perhaps the best way of identifying it is from the
“To see my first waxwings many years ago I had to drive from the country into St Stephen’s Green in the heart of Dublin.”
marvellous bugle call which it gets its name from. Twelve to thirteen thousand of them will fly from Iceland to Ireland in the next few weeks and take up residence on shallow lakes, callows and turloughs from which they venture on to land to graze on grass and winter cereals. Small numbers have recently started to breed in this country. The Bewick's swan is smaller again and breeds in western Siberia. The two species can be hard to tell apart, though they have different patterns of yellow and black on their beaks. Bewicks swans are normally quite rare winter visitors, a total of less than 500, but this number can increase dramatically if there is hard weather in western Europe. There are other bird species that can irrupt like this (an irruption is the opposite to an eruption, though why one is spelt with a double ’r’ and the other with a single one is beyond me). The trigger may be harsh weather or it may be a successful breeding season leading to food shortages. A shortage of berries, in particular rowan berries, in
Scandinavia, the Baltic states or Russia can cause a winter irruption of waxwings into Ireland. These extraordinary little birds with crests on their heads and brightly coloured, waxy appendages on their wings are most likely to be spotted in urban and suburban areas feeding on berries. To see my first waxwings many years ago I had to drive from the country into St Stephen’s Green in the heart of Dublin. Crossbills can be irruptive as well. But these colourful little finches with distinctive beaks are often reluctant to return home in the spring and some tend to stay on and breed. They will only be seen in and around conifer plantations, particularly stands of pine trees. Bramblings are superficially similar to rather orange chaffinches and often mix with other finch species in winter. They are most likely to be seen around beech trees because they like eating the nuts. There are many other bird species which are resident all the year round in Ireland but whose numbers are increased dramatically by an invasion of foreign relative in the autumn. Starlings are a good example. There are probably around 300,000 breeding pairs in the country, although this number appears to be declining. They seem to be able to exist in every conceivable habitat type from the extremely urban to the extremely rural. And in winter after hard weather they are joined by huge numbers of birds from across northern Europe. When these flocks take to the air they tend to perform aerial manoeuvres that are one of the most impressive bird spectacles in this country. Golden plover breed in tiny numbers in this country but large flocks of European birds arrive in the autumn and their aerial manoeuvres come close to rivalling the performance of starlings. The lapwing is another plover species and breeds here in slightly larger numbers. Large wintering flocks can be seen on farmland or along the seashore. There is also a large autumn influx of curlews and they tend to spend the winter in coastal areas. Our largest owl species, the short-eared owl, breeds here very occasionally but is principally a bird of the arctic tundra that visits in the winter. It is nothing like as nocturnal as most owls so it’s quite likely to be spotted during a daytime walk. It likes open, uncluttered countryside such as moor-land, bog or sand dunes. This is only a selection of the wealth of birds that is about to descend on us. So winter walkers with an interest in wildlife are in for a treat.
Scr a m b
CROWS walking club spent five days in the mountain village of Sella, just 45 minutes from Alicante Airport in the Sierra De Aitana area. Eugene Mulholland reports.
he urbanized sprawl of Spain’s Costa Blanca is well known to generations of Irish travellers, but behind the coastal strip, just a short trip from the beaches and bars, is an adrenaline-filled mountain heaven of ridges, trails and canyons. In April this year, 18 members of the CROWS walking club spent five days in the mountain village of Sella, just 45 minutes from Alicante Airport in the Sierra De Aitana area. At the end of the trip, delayed by the dreaded ash cloud from an unpronounceable volcano in Iceland, a small group decided to seize the moment and head for a canyon classic called Barranc de l’Infern situated an hours drive further north. The rest of the club opted for a local selfguided walk with an opportunity to view a Pilota match (a form of traditional handball played in the Valencia region) between Sella and a rival village later in the day. Barranc de l’Infern or ‘Hells Gorge’ is a 1.5km limestone canyon on a section of the Val de Ebo between the villages of Benimaurell and Fleix. The start of the route is reached from Benimaurell via a Mozarabic Trail. It is a ‘mostly’ dry limestone gorge. Some of the sumps can occasionally contain water, so you need to be prepared for a little wading or even a short swim and to check conditions and weather forecast before you go. It would not be the best place to be caught in a flash flood! The trail from Benimaurell provides an interesting and relaxing route in to the canyon and another section of the same trail, marked PRVI 47, provides the exit path to Fleix at the end of the day. The networks of ancient trails is just one of the most striking aspects of these mountains. Constructed by the Moors in the 16th and 17th century they provided access from the small isolated mountain villages to the coast for trade purposes. The Moors’ expertise is also evident in the abundant terraces on the hill sides now occupied by orange, almond or lemon trees although originally designed to grow wheat. Their skills are also evident in the intricate network of water management canals that even today continue to function as lifelines in this hostile but beautiful region. The Mozarabic trails are well maintained by the local mountaineering and walking groups and provide a delightful way to traverse this dramatic limestone terrain Beside the fruit trees, botanists will enjoy wild asparagus,
Laslo in classic pose
Roisin leads the way
chamomile, thyme, rosemary and many wild flowers and cacti that make the trail interesting, colorful and fragrant especially in spring. After trekking for about an hour and a half towards the towering cliffs of the canyon the dry, white river bed of the Rio Ebo came into view. A quick descent on the zigzag trail and a short walk down-river revealed the start of the route and the first of many abseils. Route finding is not a problem and all the abseil points are bolted and very safe. The canyon can be shaded, but even when it is not, it is still much cooler than the open trail so this is a possible option for a hot day. From this point on there is an engrossing four-hour scrambling extravaganza on perfect ice cream coloured, marble-smooth rock. Drops, walls, swirl holes and slides, scooped and polished by flash floods over the millennia reveal a climbing puzzle around every twist and turn. This is a very special place indeed, and even though it was the weekend we had it all to ourselves. In between sections, or while rigging an abseil the quietness of the place would suddenly become apparent. Only a burst of birdsong and the occasional drone of a beehive high above in the vegetation broke through the stillness. Halfway through, with smiles on our faces, we had lunch sitting on a sand and pebble island and again took some time to marvel at the location. Barranc de l’Infern is just one of a number of easy scrambles in the region, although it is a particularly special one. We took our time with our lunch and enjoyed the craic. This was the fifth day in a row for many, but with so much to see and do we decided to rest when we got home; whenever that might be! Soon we were moving fast together through the second part of the route, which provided as much entertainment as the first. But all good things must end, and the last traverse and abseil proved a fitting end to a great adventure. We began to move out into the evening sunshine as the walls on one side and then the other started to reduce in height and spread further from each other. Continuing downstream on the carpet of white rock for 40 minutes enabled us to pick up another part of the Mozarabic trail for a slow, steady climb up and through a natural rock window to the Catalan village of Fleix. The trail finished by an impressive fuente (spring), walled in and decorated, where we took the opportunity to top up our water bottles for the next day. A local bar was where we joined Jose Miguel Garcia for a celebratory drink before returning to the village of Sella for dinner with the rest of the group. Jose Miguel was our guide for the week and he is the local ‘King of the Mountains’. Jose will tailor the activities to the needs and wishes of your group and is also happy to provide the information required for self-guiding. The village of Sella is a typical Spanish mountain village and Jose is the lynch pin for a group of local businesses. This is a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to tourism that contrasts sharply with the impersonal, homogenous tourism of the coast. There is a commitment here to the local people and to the natural environment of the region. The CROWS felt very welcome in the village. A bit of a home from home experience! Nothing was too much trouble for Jose, who provided the transport for all the walks or trips to the beach as well as the pick-up and return to the airport. He helped us to sort out the rebooking of flights when the dreaded ash struck and looked after the group as we trickled back to the airport and home over the following days. Most important of all, during the guided walks and scrambles he was a fountain of knowledge on the history, landscape and culture and this added greatly to our enjoyment of this interesting and historical area. Another absolute classic in the area is the Bernia Ridge and Jose and his friend Laslo provided the guiding for six very keen club members while the remainder of the group took a day off and headed for the beach. For those in the know, the Bernia Ridge can be compared to a slice of the Cullin Ridge but with Mediterranean sunshine and views. This is a
Paddy hangs above a flood sink hole
No way back!
Spanish Scramble Group on a ridge
3.5km traverse that gives amazing views towards the sea, but also insights into the thinly populated mountainous interior. Start at Cases de Bernia with a 1? hour approach walk to El Forat where a muddy squirm through a cave and a 20 minute scramble will bring you to the starting point. Once on the ridge proper, the route follows red dots and arrows around, over and through a series of limestone towers that saw their way along the sun-scorched skyline. The ridge is most easily followed from East to West and is well equipped with bolts and chains. For some in the group it was a first experience of scrambling and the exposure was considerable in places, so there was a certain amount of trepidation, but our guides were very capable and safe, so everyone quickly felt at ease. Long abseils turned many of the more serious difficulties and the overall scrambling is given as grade three. However, it is still a considerable undertaking and should not be attempted in mist or rain when the rock would become very treacherous and the route-finding challenging. The group also completed walks in the Pena de An abseil on Bernie Roc area, on Aitana (1558m) and on Puig Campana (1410m) in a mix of guided and self-guided walks. Jose has produced a considerable amount of mapping from his own resources to fill an information gap for outdoor enthusiasts. The maps reveal a wealth of rock climbing, mountain biking, paragliding, via ferrata, walking, and scrambling and walk descriptions can be soon be sourced from his new website. The Pena de Roc region is just one of a huge number of rock climbing areas that are worth visiting while walking in the area, even if only to watch the climbers doing their thing. We spent a day on the area’s highest mountain, Aitana, and passed by huge cracks, up to 90m deep, in the limestone surface caused by earthquake activity. Nobody could resist crawling over to the edge to peer down. Our journey also involved a couple of short challenging rock sections including ‘Fat Mans Agony’. This is famous tight squeeze that requires a little care if it is to be negotiated successfully. Our descent from Aitana finished at a mountain restaurant for lots of fine wine and excellent local food. Our self-guided circular walk was to the summit of the beautiful Puig Campana and was another highlight for the group. The day was crystal clear and the scenery exceptional. Frequent stops for photos and a sneaky breather were essential as some of the group had over-indulged the night before! On the way we could appreciate the spectacular rock towers of Pena Roc and the even more spectacular views of the knife-edged Monte Castellets ridge sweeping in a large curve away into the distance. The later is the sole preserve of hardcore mountaineers. We negotiated a tricky descent from a rocky col before picking up a fine track that led to a long, hot series of switchbacks on to the shoulder of Puig Campana. From there a mere 30 minutes saw the group celebrating on the summit. Puig Campana is not as high as Aitana but it is a beautiful mountain proving that form is everything. The characteristic Roldan Notch makes this an easily identified mountain and it should not be missed if you are visiting the area. This region of adventure and mountain beauty is a quick hop away and well serviced from Dublin, Belfast and Derry. Now you know about it, what are you waiting for?
Long way down.....
Information and Contacts Jose Miguel Garcia offers environmentally sensitive guiding, walking and scrambling. He can also provide excellent information to the area and its activities along with information on accommodation and transport. He is contactable at email@example.com Photos of the Bernia Ridge and 360 degree views are available at www. panoramicas360.net
Scrambling Jargon Buster
Guidebooks: Mountain Walks on the Costa Blanca by Bob Stansfield (Cicerone Press) www.cicerone.co.uk Volume 1: West and Volume 2:East (this volume gives a detailed description of the route in Barranc de l’Infern). The CROWS are established just over 4 years and are based in Dundalk. Their main stomping ground is the Cooley, Slieve Gullion and Mournes area. The membership of the club is around 36 and the trip to Spain was their 3rd overseas walking holiday.
By Andy Callan
Canyon – A valley with steep, rocky sides, as in “there’s injuns in that thar canyon”. A narrower example would be called a gorge. Sump – Part of a watercourse that holds water even when the remainder of the streambed is completely dry. If you can’t traverse around the side of the sump then you’ll have to wade or swim through it.
Abseil – A German term literally meaning ‘down rope’, the French call it rappelling. It involves securing the rope to an anchor and sliding down it by means of a braking device or alternatively, using your body to create friction against the rope to achieve the same end.
Bolt – A fixed anchor usually placed above an abseil on popular routes. Generally bombproof, but always check before using and if in doubt back it up with your own anchor. Drop – A steep section which requires downclimbing or an abseil. Wall – The opposite of a drop! Technically refers to a section of rock with an angle of 70 degrees or greater. May need to be safeguarded with a rope.
Slide – A long water-worn runnel. If you don’t mind getting wet and there’s sufficient water, you can do just that and treat such sections as a waterslide, once there’s a safe stop at the far end.
Traverse – Involves climbing horizontally rather than upwards, can be difficult to protect both leaders and seconds.
– The airy feeling of having the terra firma far below your feet. Can be very off-putting and may distract the climber on what’s an otherwise easy route.
Via Ferrata – Literally ‘Iron Ways’, these steel cables, fixed ladders and staples first appeared in the Dolomites during World War 1 when the Italians and Austrians were knocking seven bells out of each other. The network of cables etc. allowed mountain infantry access key vantage points in relative safety (once you don’t consider the other side lobbing high explosive at you to be an objective hazard). After the war they continued to be used for recreation, becoming increasingly popular throughout the Alps, allowing selfguided parties access to otherwise technical peaks. They obviously require some experience and know-how and should be avoided during summer storms – lightning, summits and steel cables aren’t a great combination.
Spanish Scramble techniques such as selection of anchors, belaying; placing running belays i.e. nuts and spikes, and abseiling. These scrambles are not to be scoffed at and present a real test of competence considering that you’ll have to navigate to the base of the route, follow guide book direction (an art in itself!) and then navigate off when you’ve topped out. Lastly, a few thoughts on rope skills. Anybody can learn to tie a couple of basic knots, set up an anchor, how to belay etc. The problems arise when it comes to putting these skills into a live situation. A friend at work approached me a while back and explained that his retired father was an active hillwalker who was starting to travel further afield to places where he felt he could benefit from “having a rope in his bag – just in case….” I rang his father and we discussed the situation, I explained that the skills needed were simple but their application was the problem, skills seldom used could be more dangerous than blissful ignorance, whereas ‘sensible cowardice’ can be a real lifesaver. Having thought about it the man decided to leave well enough alone and still enjoys the mountains, without any major epics or becoming an accident statistic. It was never my intention to refuse to teach him, I simply felt that he would know what best suited his needs and left that decision to him. I’d urge all hillwalkers to do the same; should you decide that you need to acquire the relevant skill set then check out mountaineering.ie/trainingandsafety for a list of training providers. Any trainer holding a Mountaineering Instructor Award or higher qualification will be competent to teach the skills you need. Andy Callan
Scrambling What’s a scramble? Simply put, anytime you need to use your hands to maintain upward progress, well then you’re scrambling. Taking this definition further, a scramble will cover mostly bare rock rather than steep vegetation and follow a fairly obvious line such as a ridge or gully. Scrambles in Ireland and Britain are normally graded from 1 – 3. Grade 1 routes require no special mountaineering skills and would be within the capabilities of an average hillwalker, for example following a narrow ridge free from other objective dangers that would require a rope. A Grade 1 scramble could also be reversed if the weather turns nasty. Grades 2s are more serious outings which may need roped protection on some sections and optimum weather conditions. A good background in scrambling or mountaineering is a must since you may have to choose/set up anchors and belay (secure the rope) for another climber. Being steeper than Grade 1s, these routes are rarely suitable for descent unless by abseil. This grade is a big step up, requiring confidence, technical know-how and sound decision-making. Due to the fact that you may not be using a rope at all times, your biggest decision may be to realise when something’s ‘not on’ and act accordingly. Lastly, a Grade 3 route makes the bridge to ‘real’ rockclimbing, where you have a Grade 2 with the added frisson of 1 or more sections or ‘pitches’ of simple rockclimbing where rope protection is deemed normal. The average hillwalker will have to learn the basic rope
Odds 'n' Ends Beal Joker 9.1mm Rope €215 / £160 To paraphrase the immortal question, “How long should a piece of string be?” Depends on what you’re using it for, of course. The “piece of string” in this case is Beal’s Joker, a 9.1mm diameter single rope (can be used on its own for climbing purposes), available in lengths from 35-70m, depending on your intentions. A normal climbing rope’s length is 50m on average; longer ropes are often preferred for sport (bolted) climbing or on some alpine routes. At the other end of the scale, scramblers only need enough rope to cover the short pitches they’ll encounter; on a graded scramble 35m is more than enough for their needs. Up until recently scramblers were faced with the dilemma of not really needing a full weight 11mm rope, but a 9mm half-rope (has to be paired with another of similar diameter) wasn’t rated as being strong enough to hold a leader fall. The “skinny singles” changed all that, ropes of 8-10mm diameters rated the same as the full weight version. These were originally developed for those climbers pushing their limits whether on steep rock or at altitude in the greater ranges, but everybody soon copped on to their merits. I’ve used both the 35 and 60m versions of the Joker and it’s great to work and climb with. The shorter length is perfect for scrambling and Mountain Leader Ropework training. These sessions are typically very hard on ropes since there tends to be a lot of muck, sharp edges and learners who literally don’t know one end of a rope from another! The Joker has withstood the roughness of Mourne and Arran granite along with the sharp edges of Burren limestone with no noticeable ill effects. I’ve used it for almost every type of belay – friction devices when climbing, body belays, Italian Hitch and direct belays around convenient spikes/blocks when scrambling and it still handles well. Some skinnies are so thin they need extra vigilance when belaying, but the Joker’s 9.1mm diameter is just thick enough to be used with bare hands and still feel secure. Its Golden Dry treatment stops it from absorbing water and surface water soon dries off, the Beal Joker is truly a rope for all seasons!
Lifesystems Adventurer First Aid €399 / £21
1 x Crepe Bandage 2 x Woven Bandages 1 x Triangular Bandage 2 Pairs of Gloves Burn Gel Assorted Plasters, Blister Plasters and Gauze Swabs Scissors and Tweezers Safety Pins Antiseptic Wipes Microporous Tape Instructional Booklet
Source Wrap Tank €38 / £29 I’m certain it’s happened to all of us. You’re gasping for a slug of refreshing water from your hydration bladder; you put the tube to your lips and suck – yuck! The water in the tubes’ gone tepid in the summer heat or even worse it’s frozen in the icy winter conditions. The former is merely unpleasant, but the latter’s a complete disaster unless you can thaw the iced-up drinking tube. Well, here’s a solution. Source’s Wrap Tank is a standard 2ltr bladder with a 5mm closed cell foam insulated outer cover (3ltr version also available), which keeps out both heat and cold so it’s suitable all year round. The Wrap Tank has an integrated refill handle and a wide filler cap, allowing you to add ice cubes to your beverage of choice. Its low profile means it’s compatible with existing rucksack bladder sleeves, but if you want to attach it externally then 4 ladderlock buckles mean you can thread it onto compression straps or other webbing. The woven cover on the drinking tube blocks light and heat/cold so not only is your liquid at the right temperature the tube stays bacteria free for longer. I can’t see any drawbacks to this system for either winter or summer - a handy solution to the problem without any major increase in weight carried.
“Any fool can criticise and most frequently do”. Nowhere is that more relevant than when it comes to First Aid Kits. No matter what’s included, some bright spark will demand that x, y, or z is absolutely vital in case of thermonuclear war. The purpose of a kit is to treat common accidents and occasional emergencies, the best first aid kit lives in the bottom of your sack and never sees the light of day.
The list below is fairly comprehensive and any competent first aider will know what to add to suit his own needs. Just from a quick scan of the contents I’m already thinking large wound pad, paracetemol/ibuprofen, CPR Barrier Shield and duck tape. If this particular kit isn’t what you need the Lifesystems have a range from pocket size to expedition kits; I see my suggestions are included in other versions. A word of advice, any kit is only as good as the user’s knowledge; always keep your first aid skills up to date. This is where the little instruction booklet is handy; it’s simple and direct, covers common accidents and also includes advice on how to use the kit’s contents. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but best to be covered in any case.
Fleeced! Andy Callan shows his warm and fuzzy side and gets his teeth into technical fleece
andwiched between your base (wicking) and outer (weatherproof) layers, the mid layer lies at the heart of your clothing system. Its function is to trap body heat while still moving moisture away from the baselayer onwards to where it can evaporate on the surface. The main midlayer option is still synthetic fleece woven into a light, durable, wicking fabric. Produced in a variety of weights it’s very adaptable, allowing you to fine tune what you’re wearing depending on the weather. Fleece fabrics are naturally durable, maintain their insulation over a long lifespan, are easily cared for and dry rapidly (A point to note – never use fabric conditioner when washing fleece or any other outdoor clothing fabric, it will have a major affect on its performance). While not as weatherproof as trendy softshell fabrics, fleece is a much cheaper alternative and can be worn casually. It’s always a good idea to have a spare fleece in your rucksack for a bit of extra warmth when required.
An earlier attempt to provide an exhaustive list of fleece fabrics proved way too complicated so I’ve grouped them under three main categories which I’ll refer to in our tests.
The lightest fleece fabric, Microfleece is all about wicking so it provides a relatively low level of insulation. Generally speaking, these are close fitting, stretchy tops which makes them ideal winter baselayers or summer fleeces.
Probably the standard and most easily recognised of all fleece fabrics, midweight is supremely versatile providing plenty of insulation with good breathability, continuing the process of moving moisture away from the baselayer towards the outer layer.
The original windproof fleece fabrics sandwiched a windproof membrane between two fleece layers. They were certainly effective but also heavy, relatively stiff and usually way too warm in all but the coldest weather. Their triple layer construction also added a fair bit of weight as well, so I personally thought they were a waste of time and effort. Things have improved considerably with the development of wind resistant fleece which blocks most of the breeze due to its tightly woven fabric. This keeps you warmer but stops you from overheating and without the added weight penalty.
What to look for Pockets
Sounds simple but its where a lot of fleece jackets fall down. Pockets should be placed away from the hip/ waistline where your rucksack’s belt will interfere with access. Chest pockets are brilliant and also act as vents if they’re mesh-lined. A smaller mobile phone/ GPS pocket is useful too.
Fit and Cut
An ongoing gripe of mine, to be fair this is usually down to the buyer rather than the maker. Women especially seem to like big floppy garments, grand if you’re lounging about at home but outdoor clothing should have a neat but unrestrictive fit. The looser the garment, the longer and more effort it takes to heat the air inside, the more likely it is to “spill” out at waist, cuffs and neck. When wet it also takes longer to dry out on the move. Unnecessary fabric means surplus weight so go for the size that fits you best. Clothing should also be cut to allow for plenty of movement; a scooped back will stop a top from riding up under your rucksack and exposing your waist and lower back. Arms are particularly important; sleeves that shoot up a raised arm are a real no-no.
This works in tandem with a well-fitting fleece, allowing you to fine-tune the jacket’s insulation/venting depending on your needs at any given time. If your jacket doesn’t have a drawcord see if you can fit one with some elastic and a toggle. Cuffs should also be lightly elasticated or “self-fabric” cuffs to stop draughts getting up the sleeves.
s t s e T
Columbia Ballistic Jacket 99 £90
A windproof fleece with 3 pockets (2hip, 1 chest), zipped side vents and hidden Lycra cuffs. The 2 hip pockets are obscured by a hipbelt and the chest pocket extends up towards your shoulder. This is a bit pointless since that’s where your sack’s shoulder strap sits; the zip’s fairly small for a pocket of this size too. As with other windproof fleeces, the Ballistic jacket is quite heavy and probably a bit too warm for normal Irish conditions.
Columbia Bluepoint III 89 £80
Made from smooth-faced Microfleece the Bluepoint III has the standard 1 chest and 2 hip pockets, again there’s the usual issue regarding hipbelts but the chest pocket is well placed and of the right size. Other than that the Bluepoint’s a decent jacket, it’s nicely cut, a good length, reasonably light and very comfy. Very good value at the price, it stands up well against the competition.
Rab Shadow Hoodie 150 £120
Columbia Heat Elite 169 £150
A bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing here, the Heat Elite isn’t really a fleece at all, save for the lower half of its outer, which is made of Microfleece. The jacket’s shiny inner is a heat-reflective waterproof membrane that has the appearance of a space blanket. This sits over a layer of insulation, all of this without the weight penalty of some of the other windproof fleeces tested. Should you start to overheat, just unzip the underarm vents and loosen the cuffs. I’m quite surprised at how warm this jacket is without any penalty in terms of weight or bulk, it would be a great addition to anyone’s winter kit, ideal for pulling on you’ve stopped or for carrying in the rucksack “just in case. I’ve a few suggestions however, firstly the pockets should be placed away from the hipbelt zone and a hood would be a useful addition. Lastly, the price is quite steep but you get a lot of jacket for the money.
One of the more technical fleeces tested and the only one with a real hood, the Shadow Hoodie is made from tightly woven wind-resistant Polartec Wind Pro fleece. Its cut very neatly and fairly close fitting with a scooped tail, 2 large chest and 1 inner zipped pockets. The merits of these higher positioned pockets are obvious, they’re OS map sized, completely unobscured by rucksack straps and because they’re mesh lined they can act as vents when you need to blow off steam. The hood is good but I think it could be cut a bit neater, it’s quite loose around the face and there’s no way to adjust it, this is a real nuisance wearing it under a helmet or a waterproof shell’s hood. Apart from that minor niggle the Shadow Hoodie is almost perfect and should suit a wide range of users.
Lowe Alpine Attu 125
A classically styled (2 hip pockets) Polartec 300 jacket, the Attu is very definitely at the warmer end of the fleece scale. Not only are the pockets right in the hipbelt area they’re not too much bigger than a gloved hand. This combination puts this Attu into the casual fleece category, plus it’s probably a bit too warm for most hillwalkers or anyone doing anything strenuous.
Lowe Alpine Lhasa
Made from the same Polartec Thermal Pro fleece as mentioned elsewhere in these tests, but this time with a much smoother face, the Lhasa again has the standard 2 hip and 1 chest pockets. So far I’ve been impressed by the Thermal Pro fabric in all its guises, here it’s light, warm and very comfy. Again the 2 hip pockets are a bit of a nuisance and detract from what’s otherwise a very good fleece.
Sprayway Crux 120
I’ve railed long and loud in the past about windproof fleece and how suitable it is or isn’t for mountain activities, well Sprayway’s Crux has gone some of the way to change my mind. Made from Gore’s Windstopper – a light Microfleece outer bonded to a Windproof breathable membrane – the Crux doesn’t have the stiff, rubbery feel of some previous versions of the model. It has 4 pockets – 2 hip, 1 chest, 1 inner - and though the hip pockets are quite low, their zips are just above the hipbelt line so you can access them easily. These pockets extend well up the chest which means they’ll take a folded OS map too. There’s a roll-away wind resistant hood tucked into the collar, too light for serious use but a handy addition all the same. The Crux is quite long for a fleece so check that it suits your waterproof before buying. Other features included are Velcro cuffs and hem and waist drawcords, the waist on being cleverly hidden inside the pockets. I was pleasantly surprised by how light the Crux is considering it’s such a well featured windproof but I still have concerns as to how quickly it starts to breathe given it’s a Gore membrane, plus do you really need Windstopper panels on a back that’s going to be carrying a rucksack? An impressive jacket but if Sprayway included a non-Gore back panel then it would really be something to rave about.
Sprayway Aspen Micro 55
A simple but versatile fleece made from Polartec 100, Sprayway’s Aspen has the usual single chest and 2 hip pockets, and these again are awkward in terms of a hipbelt. This is a really useful jacket; it packs down neatly, weighs very little and is extremely comfy. If a bit baggy in the sleeves. It’s longer than normal so make sure it doesn’t extend beyond the hem of your waterproof jacket – you can easily gather it up with the hem drawcord if needs be. Other than that the Aspen is the sort of jacket that everyone should have at least one of in their wardrobe.
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Rab Boulder Pull-On 80
Rab sent the pullover variant if the Boulder rather than the standard jacket version, they must have known of my long held fondness for such tops. A pullon tends to be neater, more comfy and doesn’t bunch up under a hipbelt like a jacket tends to and because there are no pockets you don’t get annoyed about not being able to get at 'em! The simple cut and only one chest pocket also cuts down on weight. The Boulder is made of Polartec Thermal Pro fabric, which is available in a variety of finishes. Rab have opted for a double sided fleece that feels like old fashioned fibre pile. This delivers heaps of warmth for such a light fabric due to its high loft. A deep chest zip and snug collar lets you ring the changes depending on conditions, making it an excellent layering piece and it looks good worn casually too.
Berghaus Kantishna half zip 60
A casually styled pullover made of 200 weight fleece, the Kantishna looks like a knitted top at first glance. Its cut is casual without being baggy and it has 1 chest pocket; this relaxed fit allows you slip it on/off without the struggle you sometimes get with more fitted tops. This is another brilliantly simple top but I always had this feeling that it needed to be an inch longer – this may have been down to the looser cut. Good value nonetheless and another excellent layering piece even if it’s more of a casual than a technical top.
Berghaus Spectrum IA 60
Just in case you’re wondering the IA in the name stands for Inter Active, i.e. the facility to combine this 200 weight fleece with a Berghaus Inter Active outer jacket with complimentary zips and attachment points on the sleeves. It has the standard 2 hip pocket layout so the standard comment re hipbelt again applies. This jacket has been part of Berghaus’ range since time began it seems and no doubt will continue to sell because it’s good value and great for a wide range of uses.
GoLite Stone Ranch 125
Another environmentally responsible jacket made from recycled fleece, Golite also pride themselves on measuring their products on an index which takes materials, fair-trade production and end of life take back into account – an impressive and holistic view of a garment's life cycle and one to be encouraged. The Stone Ranch is made of high-loft 200 weight fabric with a smooth outer face and pile-like interior and has just 2 non-hipbelt friendly pockets. I was disappointed to find there’s no hem drawcord – fitting one at home would be easy but you really shouldn’t have to go to the trouble in the first place. This is a very comfy jacket but probably more designed for casual rather than hill use; Golite's Stelvio fleece looks like a better option.
July/August issue Target Dry Crossword Competition Results
DUGOR T GE ARH AN E E L O A S UTD S MEE L BEG K AN TURK I N I R E F D G I V E N E ARMU F F U O E E R F D I AMON D H I L L G P D F G R E A I AGH B AUR T R EG AUM H E W R A E KON T I K I CHART R E N S H S T L E V E R E D T R I UMPH O I A I S N O E W I N D Y G A P B A R R OW Congratulations to: Gerrard Dorrian, Medisize, Co Donegal Raymond Ward, Kilcloon, Co. Meath Astrid Butler, Westport, Co. Mayo James McBride, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone Sheila Oâ€™Brien, Bray, Co. Wicklow Roisin Pierce, Fenagh, Co Carlow Anne Byrne, Roundwood, Co Wicklow Paul Meagle, Marino, Dublin 3 Our thanks to all who entered and to our sponsors, Target Dry
The North Face Quartz 79 £65
Another fleece designed to be zip-in compatible with the makers’ shell jackets, TNF’s Quartz follows the bog-standard 2 hip pocket approach. Mercifully though, these are raised slightly above the hemline so they’re just clear of the hipbelt zone - a major plus in my book. Added to that the Quartz is made from 100% recycled fleece in 100 weight fabric so it’s not only green (even though the test jacket was blue) it’s nice ‘n’ light as well.
The North Face Glacier 55
So simple it doesn’t have a single pocket, TNF’s Glacier is a pullover made from Polartec 100 Microfleece with a half zip slightly shorter than that on other pullovers tested. Its fit best described as “snug”, about half way between relaxed and close if you get day drift, so you could also wear this as a baselayer if necessary. Because it’s so simple it’s hard to knock it without missing its whole basic concept, so I’ll leave well enough alone.
Montane Jaguar (mens) 135 Vixen (womens) 105 £85
Cut long enough to ensure it stays under a harness or hipbelt. Montanes’ Jaguar has 2 large chest pockets and a 2-way no snag zipper. The 2 pockets are mesh lined so they’ll also act as vents. The blurb says they’re map sized – which is just about right if your maps aren’t laminated otherwise it’s a bit of a squeeze. The Jaguar is made mainly of Polartec’s Wind Pro fabric piled on the inside so it’s not only warm but also wind resistant; it also has stretchy Dryactiv panels under the arms and along the inner sleeve and cuffs. This not only allows plenty of movement but it’s also highly breathable and quick to dry. In its women’s version, the Vixen, the fabric is slightly different – piled on both inner and outer faces with a broadly similar performance. Both Jaguar and Vixen are top notch fleeces which are well able to take plenty of abuse whilst keeping you toasty warm.
Regatta Baxter/Yasmine 35
Billed as a ‘classic Microﬂeece’, i.e. 2 hip pockets in 100 weight ﬂeece the Baxter and Yasmine jackets are light and cosy and will zip in to some of Regatta’s waterproofs. It’s a standard design, the usual moan regarding the pockets still applies but I thought the Lycra bound cuffs could be a bit tighter too. Having said that, these jackets are very good value and perform as well as most of the other comparable 100 weight ﬂeeces tested.
Regatta Tectonic II 60 £45
The Tectonic II is Regatta’s own take on windproof ﬂeece using their own 250 weight fabric. Rather than a bonded membrane sandwiched between 2 layers of ﬂeece, the Tectonic has a free hanging “drop liner” in Isotex 5000, a waterproof and breathable fabric. Like other windproof ﬂeeces this makes the jacket noticeably heavier than a normal ﬂeece but it’s quite comfy all the same. The major problem with the Tectonic II though is its pockets, the usual 2 hips and 1 inner map pocket. The hip pockets sit right in the way of a hipbelt and are only just hand-sized, while the ‘map pocket’ is placed too low down at the hem so you have to unzip the whole way to get at it. Oddly, it’s also placed on the right side of the jacket, making life awkward for right handers. The Tectonic II is a nice idea but needs more thought put into the details.
Craghoppers Fusioneer 50
A no-nonsense half zip pullover in ﬂat-faced ﬂeece, the Fusioneer has stretchy underarm panels for better movement and durability. Proportions and fit suited my Mr Average frame, and on a very mixed weather late summer weekend in the Reeks it doubled as a simple, lightweight outer layer when the sun was shining, or a snug baselayer when it wasn’t. My only reservation is the collar, which when zipped up felt a little too constricting, so if you’re of a bull-necked persuasion, try before you buy. Conor O’Hagan
Craghoppers Corey 40
Just the two zipped hip pockets means in effect no pockets at all when wearing a pack with the Corey, and for most hillwalkers that means pretty much all the time. Without wanting to sound like Andy Callan’s chorus, I have to wonder aloud why this continues to be such a common failing. On the plus side, relatively sleek cut and hem drawcord make this versatile and smart, which is what I want from a midweight ﬂeece, and Craghoppers claim to be carbon neutral in their operations, which is what the world wants from just about everything. Conor O’Hagan All prices quoted in this article are approximate and for guidance only
Crossword by Zodrick
20 CRAGHOPPERS FUSIONEER MICROFLEECES TO BE WON! €1000 WORTH OF PRIZES Craghoppers have teamed up with Walking World Ireland to give twenty lucky crossword winners the chance to win the new Craghoppers Fusioneer Microﬂeece, worth €50. The Fusioneer is a warm yet lightweight contemporary microﬂeece, which features a mock fused MP3-compatible chest pocket with earphone exit and a zip. Available in three colourways, the Fusioneer is a quick drying and easy care ﬂeece with hidden security pockets to store your valuables. The ﬂat-faced ﬂeece insert underarms offers increased movement and it also comes with a lifetime guarantee for added peace of mind. Sizes: S – XXL Colours: Lead, Blue Rock
ACROSS 1 8 9 10 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 21 22 24 25 27 28 29
Rivals careen on this 327m hill in N.E. Burren (6,6) It’s 4,840 sq. yds or 40% of a hectare (4) Fossil fuel used for cooking or just great fun! (3) In the Ionian Sea where Mount Pantokrator rises to 906m. (5) Would a hotelier use one to keep warm? (3,6) Fruits of this tree are known as ‘mast’ (5) It follows on 31.12 (3,4) Constellation in S hemisphere near Scorpius (3) Was he Abbott or Costello? (3) There’s Bantry, Dunmanus or Roaringwater (3) Inflated feeling of pride - found in negotiators? (3) Tall marsh plant - sounds like Pamplona at July festival time? (7) Berkshire racecourse where coats are posh! (5) Walk such as Owenglin, Mweelrea or Gearhameen (9) Lived or inhabited (5) Garland - beloved of crossword compilers! (3) ___ Head, dolerite and chalk headland on N Antrim coast (4) Can an ill ghoul hurt one on this flat-topped Wicklow hill? (8,4)
Name ................................................................................................. Address ............................................................................................. ..................................................................................Size................... Tel: ....................................... Email ................................................ Post your entry to: Craghoppers 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: 22 October. No cash substitute for prizes.
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Waymarked route in Co Down, in St Patrick’s footsteps (6,3) Lough ___ in the Coomloughta Glen in Kerry (7) Grossglockner 3,798m. is this European country’s highest mountain (7) Cor! Stone the crows - it’s only a mythical bird! (3) Does this Scandinavian Señor snore? (5) There’s a huge rough lot at this Co Cavan lake (5,7) Kerry hill of the saintly ‘Navigator’ is 952m. (5,7) Severest weather occurs on this Himalayan mountain (7) System of writing with raised dots for letters (7) On Sligo’s Garavogue river where Yeats felt at home (5,4) Different sort of moor, this one was a tragic hero (7) Process of combustion (7) Fissure or crevice (5) Prominent rock as on Slieve Bearnagh in the Mournes (3)
Devilâ€™s Bit Loop
A selection of 10 looped walks in the South East
Ranging from easy, level strolls to more challenging mountain trails.
Glenpatrick Bridge Loop
Go to www.discoverireland.ie/walking (www.discoverireland.com from outside Ireland) for over 100 walks, including downloadable maps, useful links and details of walking events in Ireland.
Trailhead 37 Loop 37c
tipperarY Ballinacourty Loop 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. This loop is one of a series developed at two trailheads in the glen (Christ the King Statue and Lisvarrinane). A-B. From the mapboard in the green area at Christ the King statue follow downhill to enter the Nature Park. This loop is marked with purple arrows – but overlaps with two other loops (green and light blue arrows) and the long-distance Ballyhoura Way which is marked with the familiar yellow walking man and arrows. Descend wooden steps and over a footbridge and shortly afterwards you reach a Y-junction. Veer left here and follow the woodland trail for approximately 1km to reach a wooden stile. Exiting the stile the green loop turns right – you turn left. B-C. You are now on a more substantial forestry track. Descend for 300m to reach a four-track junction where you turn right and follow a forestry track for 800m to exit at a surfaced road just uphill from the Aherlow House Hotel. Here you leave the light blue loop and turn downhill following the yellow Ballyhoura Way. C-D. Pass the hotel and follow the tarred surface downhill to reach a sharp left bend where Trailhead 37 you turn right and enter Loop 37c forestry again. Ballinacourty Loop D-E. Continue to follow the Ballyhoura Way along forestry tracks for a flat section before turning right and ascending through Ballynacourty Woods. After 1.5km you reach a T-junction where the Ballyhoura Way turns left and you overlap with other loops that start and finish in the village of Lisvarrinane. You turn right here to begin the homeward journey.
E-F. For over 2km the loop traverses the southern shoulder of Slievenamuck Mountain and rejoins the light blue loop above the Aherlow House Hotel before joining a tarred roadway. Here you veer left. F-A. Follow the tarred roadway for a short distance before turning right into forestry again. Following woodland trails, you pick up the green loop at a small stile, and after 1km reach a 3-way junction where you rejoin the outward route. Veer left and retrace your steps for 300m to regain the trailhead. Ascent : 240m Distance : 10km Estimated Time : 2hrs 30mins - 3hrs Grade : Moderate Minimum Gear : Walking boots, raingear, snack and fluid Services : Lisvarrinane (5km) Tipperary (6km) Terrain : Forestry tracks and woodlands trails Theme : Nature Trailhead : Christ the King Statue, Glen of Aherlow, Co Tipperary OS Sheet 66, R886 308
Devil’s Bit Loop Directions The town of Templemore is situated on the N62 which joins Athlone with Thurles and the N8. From the town follow the R501 in the direction of Borrisoleigh and Nenagh for almost 3km. Watch for a signpost for Devil’s Bit which directs you onto a minor road on your right. Continue to follow the signposts for Devil’s Bit to reach a substantial car park which is the official trailhead. A-B. Starting from the car park follow the purple arrow through the kissing gate and onto a sandy laneway. Continue uphill to reach forestry where you turn left at a kissing gate and, almost immediately, turn right into forestry. Follow the ‘green track’ uphill to reach the Rock Tower (on your left) and join a forestry road. This is the point from where the loop ‘proper’ begins - you will return to here later.
Ahead of you is a Mass Rock and shrine, and uphill the white cross that marks the summit of Little Rock. You will get to it later - for now, turn left. B-C. Continue to follow the purple arrows along the forestry road, and enjoy the views south to the Galtee Mountains. As it ascends gently it sweeps right to give you fine views northward into Counties Laois and Galway. Pass two green tracks and a forestry road (all on your left) before reaching a 3-way junction where you turn right. C-B. This section of tree-shaded forestry road takes you uphill before turning left and, after 400m joining a narrow track which swings around Little Rock. There is a short spur up to the cross - the views from it are well worth the trip up. The narrow track joins a ‘green’ roadway near a shrine and Mass rock. Turn right and downhill - and after 60m you rejoin the forestry road at Rock Tower where you started the loop. This time go straight across.
B-C. The loop levels off as it follows the forestry road for 2km to descend and reach a 3-way junction at the picnic area from close to where you started. The shorter Greenane Loop turns left here but you swing right and begin the second section of the loop. C-D. The loop now travels along the right bank of the Colligan River for more than 1km to exit at a surfaced road where it turns left and crosses Colligan Bridge. After only 50m reach a T-junction where you turn right. D-A. After only 200m on the road watch a marker which directs you left (be careful crossing the road) and through wooden rails to re-enter forestry. The loop now ascends a woodland track for 400m to rejoin a forestry roadway. Enjoy the last 1km of the loop as it sweeps around Greenane Hill before descending to the carpark.
B-A. Continue to follow the purple arrows downhill through forestry, turn left at the exit and, almost immediately, turn right onto the sandy farm laneway which takes you back to the trailhead. Ascent : 430m / 200m Distance : 5km / 1hr30mins – 2hrs Grade : Moderate Minimum Gear : Hiking boots, raingear, fluid and mobile phone Services : Templemore (4km) Terrain : Sandy laneways, forestry tracks and hillside paths Trailhead : Devil’s Bit car park, Templemore, Co Tipperary
WATERFORD Greenane Loop Directions From Dungarvan, take the R672 in the direction of Clonmel. After approx 4km the R672 briefly joins the N25 at a service station. After 200m watch for the junction as the R672 veers right. Take this turn and follow the road for 2km to next junction where you turn right onto Kilbrien road. Travel a further 2km to reach the substantial car park on your left. The trailhead is located on the other side of the road – and can be reached by crossing the wooden bridge A-B. Starting from the mapboard at the trailhead, follow the purple (and green) arrow as the loop starts away from the wooden bridge over Colligan River. The green arrows are for the shorter Inchadrisla Loop. Travel along the left bank of the river for 500m before swinging left and uphill through Inchadrisla Wood. Stay on the forestry roadway for almost 2km as it climbs gradually to reach a 3-way junction where both loops swing left.
Ascent : 100m / 140m Distance : 8km / 2hrs - 2hr30mins Grade : Moderate Minimum Gear : Trekking shoes, raingear, fluid, snack, mobile phone Services : Dungarvan (8km) Terrain : Forestry roads and woodland tracks Trailhead : Colligan Woods, Dungarvan, Co Waterford
Glenpatrick Bridge Loop Directions From the village of Rathgormack on the R678, follow the R678 in the direction of Clonmel. After a 5km straight stretch, the road swing left and reaches a downhill roadway on your right. Turn right and travel for 500m to reach a large car parking area on your right. A-B. Starting from the car park area turn right on the surfaced road and follow the green arrow for 100m to reach Glenpatrick Bridge over the Glasha River. Immediately after the bridge, turn left into forestry - pass through the barrier and veer left at the Y-junction. Continue along the forestry road as it ascends alongside the river and after nearly 1km, veer left at the next Y-junction. After 500m the forestry road approaches an exit onto the R678 near Boola Bridge. Do not exit - instead swing sharp right, staying on forestry road. B-C. Continue to ascend - turning left at the next junction and, shortly afterwards, left again. Now you are travelling parallel to (but well above) the R678 - continue to do so for almost 1km to reach a marker post which directs you left and onto a sandy track into forestry. This short track exits onto the surfaced road - take care crossing it to join an old Coach/Drover Road which starts your homeward journey. C-D. Continue to follow the green arrows along the old road - with wonderful views of the Comeragh Mountains opening in front of you. After more than 1km the road begins the descent towards Glenpatrick.
Trailhead 54 Loop 54
Glenpatrick Bridge Loop
The last section of the old road changes to a tarred surface before you join the R678. Turn left here. D-A. Follow the R678 for 200m to reach a laneway on your right. Turn right and enjoy this magical tree-lined laneway as it descends to reach a surfaced road at the ruins of a Slate Mine. Turn left - the trailhead is only 50m away.
Ascent : 310m/160m Distance : 8km C Estimated Time : 2hrs 2hrs 30mins Grade : Moderate Minimum Gear : Trekking shoes, raingear, snack and fluid Services : Rathgormack 6km, Clonmel 12km Terrain : Forestry roads, green tracks and laneways. Theme : Nature Trailhead : Glenpatrick Picnic Area, Co. Waterford OS Sheet 75, S289 195
WEXFORD Askamore Loop Directions The town of Gorey lies just off the N11 – the main Dublin to Wexford roadway. From Gorey, take the R725 and travel the 15km to the town of Carnew. In Carnew, turn left onto Mill Lane (signposted Askamore) and continue to follow the signposts for 6km to reach the village. The trailhead is located at the car park opposite the parish church. A-B. From the trailhead cross the road and follow the green (and blue and purple) arrows onto the sandy lane between the church and Doran’s pub. The blue and purple arrows are for longer loops. Continue along the sandy lane for more than 1km to a junction with a forestry road on your left. The loop proper begins here - you will return to this point from the opposite direction later - for now, turn left. B-C. Continue to follow the green (and blue and purple) arrows along the forestry road for 3km - and enjoy some fine views of the surrounding countryside - before rejoining the sandy lane at what is known locally as the ‘hairpin’. The blue and purple loops veer left here - but you veer right. C-A. After 300m you pass a crossroads of forestry roads where the blue and purple loops rejoin from your left - another 200m takes you to the junction at B above from where you egan the loop. This time proceed straight ahead and enjoy the 1km back to the trailhead. Ascent : 280m / 160m Distance : 6km / 1hr30mins – 2hrs Grade : Moderate Minimum Gear : Trekking shoes, raingear, fluid and mobile phone Services : Carnew (10km) Terrain : Minor roadways, forestry tracks Trailhead : Parish Church, Askamore, Co Wexford
Slieveboy Loop Directions The town of Gorey lies just off the N11 – the main Dublin to Wexford roadway. From Gorey, take the R725 and travel the 15km to the town of Carnew. In Carnew, turn left onto Mill Lane (signposted Askamore) and continue to follow the signposts for 6km to reach the village. The trailhead is located at the car park opposite the parish church.
A-B. From the trailhead cross the road and follow the purple (and green and blue) arrows onto the sandy lane between the church and Doran’s pub. The green and blue arrows are for shorter loops. Continue along the sandy lane for more than 1km to a junction with a forestry road on your left. The loop proper begins here - you will return to this point from the opposite direction later - for now, turn left. B-C. Continue to follow the purple (and green and blue) arrows along the forestry road for 3km - enjoying some fine views of the surrounding countryside on the way - before rejoining the sandy lane at what is known locally as the ‘hairpin’. The green loop veers right here - you veer left following the purple (and blue) arrows. C-D. Follow the surfaced roadway downhill for 200m to a sharp left bend - and veer right onto a narrow forestry track. Continue to follow this track as it ascends over the next 500m to reach a 3-way junction where the blue loop goes straight - but you turn left. Descend past a sharp left bend and sharp right bend before a straight stretch of almost 1.5km takes you to a 3-way junction where you turn sharp right. Over the next 1km you ascend to reach the highest point of the loop (360m) at a 3-way junction on the shoulder of Slieveboy. Shortly afterwards, you rejoin the blue loop and descend for 300m to exit the forestry and rejoin the sandy lane you started out on. Turn left and downhill. D-A. After only 200m you reach the junction at B above from where you began the loop. This time proceed straight ahead and enjoy the 1km back to the trailhead. Ascent : 360m / 300m Distance : 12km / 3hr30mins – 4hrs Grade : Moderate Minimum Gear : Hiking boots, raingear, fluid and mobile phone Services : Carnew (10km) Terrain : Minor roadways, forestry tracks Trailhead : Parish Church, Askamore, Co Wexford
CARLOW Windfarm Loop Directions The town of Bunclody is located on the N80 between Carlow and Enniscorthy. From Bunclody, take the N80 in the direction of Carlow. On the outskirts of the town turn l;eft onto a minor road (opposite the Wexford Farmers Co-Op). Follow this winding road as it ascends onto the shoulder of the Blackstair Mountains. After approximately 5km watch for a substantial car park on your right. A-B. Starting from trailhead, follow the green (and purple) arrows out the back of the car park and uphill to join a forestry road at a metal barrier. The purple arrows are for the longer Kilbrannish Loop. Turn right here and travel 100m to reach a 3-way junction. This is the point from which the loop proper begins - proceed straight on. [Note that, for now, you are also following the yellow arrows of the South Leinster Way - a long distance route. You will leave it at the next junction.] B-C. Follow the forestry road for almost 1km to reach another 3-way junction. Note that the South Leinster Way goes straight here - but you turn left following the green and purple arrows.
C-D. Continue to follow the forestry road as it ascends through the forestry on the shoulder of Kilbrannish Hill. After 500m you reach a T-junction where the longer Kilbrannish Loop turns right - but you turn left and begin to descend toward the trailhead. D-E. The loop descends for 600m more to reach another 3-way junction where it rejoins the purple loop on it’s way back. Turn sharp left here. E-B-A. Levelling off now, you reach the 3-way junction mentioned at A-B above. This time turn right and enjoy the last 100m back to the trailhead. Ascent : 370m / 90m Distance : 3km / 1hr-1hr15mins Grade : Easy Minimum Gear : Trekking shoes, raingear, fluid and mobile phone Services : Myshall (7km), Bunclody (7km) Terrain : Forestry roads and tracks Trailhead : Kilbrannish Woods, Co Carlow
Clogrennan Loop Directions Leighlinbridge is a village on the N9, the main road from Dublin to Waterford. At the Arboretum Garden Centre in Leighlinbridge, turn right onto a minor road signposted for Milford and Ballinabrannagh. After 4.7km turn left at the road to Ballinabrannagh and Bilboa. In just 1km
you enter the village of Ballinabrannagh – turn right at the Primary School (opposite the church) following the sign for Clogrenane Lime. After 800m turn left at the sign for Clogrenane Lime – the trailhead is at the entrance to Clogrennan Wood, 1km on your right. A-B. Starting from the car park, follow the purple arrow along the forestry roadway for 500m to reach a Y-junction. This is the point from which the loop proper begins - you will be returning to this point from the left on the return section. For now – proceed straight. B-C. Continue to follow the forestry roadway for 200m to cross a stream at a concrete bridge and another 300m takes you to a woodland track on your left where you turn left. Follow the track as it zig-zags uphill. At the top of the climb, the loop joins a sandy forestry track and turns left. C-A. Over the next 500m the terrain changes from a sandy track path to forestry roadway - and fine views of Carlow Town and the River Barrow open up on your left. Cross a stream at a concrete ‘ford’ at a sharp left bend and continue for another 300m to regain the junction from where you started the loop at B above. This time turn right and enjoy the last 500m back to the trailhead. Ascent : 180m / 50m Distance : 4km / 1hr-1hr30mins Grade : Easy Minimum Gear : Trekking shoes, raingear, fluid and mobile phone Services : Leighlinbridge (6km), Carlow (8km) Terrain : Forestry roadways, woodland tracks Trailhead : Clogrennan Woods, Co Carlow
KILKENNY Fraughan Loop Directions Start from the village of Mullinavat on the N9 between Kilkenny and Waterford. Coming from Kilkenny take the second left turn past the church. After 1.5m take the right turn and after 500m follow the left fork in the road. After 1.5km take the right turn T junction and park at the trail head. This loop is the longer of two developed on the hill through the TrailKilkenny Programme.
A-B. Starting from the car park, enter Carrickinane Woods through a metal barrier. Follow the purple (and green) arrows along the forestry track for 500m to reach an uphill track on your left. This is the point from which the loop ‘proper’ begins and to which you will return on your homeward journey. Continue straight ahead. B-C. Continue to follow the purple (and green)
arrows – ascending gently along the forest roadway for a further 1.5km to reach a left bend near the top of Tory Hill. The easier green loop continues straight here – you turn left following the purple arrows along a grassy path heading to the summit.
Castlemorris Woods as part of the Trail Kilkenny Programme. A-B. Starting from the car park opposite the Grand Gates, enter Castlemorris Woods and pass the Gate Lodge to reach a metal stile. Cross the stile to join a forestry road and follow the purple (and green and red) arrows. The green and red arrows are for shorter loops. Follow the forest road for over 1km reach an archway through which stone outbuildings (which were part of the courtyard of Castlemorris House) are visible. The green loop turns left here – you turn right following the purple and red arrows. B-C. The loop now sets off to further explore the expansive estate of 200 acres and after approximately 1km joins a minor public road where the red turns left. You turn right here.
C-D. The loop ascends quite steeply now to reach the large cross which marks the summit. From here take the narrow track which leads downhill to reach the end of a forestry road and concrete foundations (these were for masts that were previously proposed at this site). You rejoin the green loop here and continue straight onto a grassy downhill track.
C-D. Now you start a long ascent through the townland of Coalpitparks (passing some large houses on your left) before entering woodland again. After 500m you reach a T-junction where the loop turns left for the return part of the journey. D-E. A downhill trek of approximately 1km takes you to a junction with a surfaced roadway where you turn right. After 300m at a right bend you rejoin the red loop as it emerges from the forestry on the left. Turn right her – staying on the surfaced roadway.
D-A. Follow the grassy track downhill and turn left when it joins a forestry track. After another 200m you rejoin the forestry road you left on your outward journey (see B above). Turn right here – it’s only 500m to the trailhead. Distance : 4km Estimated Time : 1hr - 1hr 30mins Grade : Moderate Minimum Gear : Hiking boots, raingear and fluid Services : Mullinavat (3km) Terrain : Forestry roads and woodland tracks Theme : Nature Trailhead : Car park at Tory Hill, Mullinavat, Co Kilkenny OS Sheet 76, S586 227
Pheasant Loop Directions Start from the village of Knocktopher on the N10 between the cities of Kilkenny and Trailhead 33 Waterford. Take the Loop 33c R699 in the direction of Pheasant Loop Kilmaganny and Dunnamaggan. After 6km turn right onto the R701 signposted Kilmaganny – after 1km the trailhead is located on your right opposite the Grand Gates. [Note: The trailhead is signposted from Knocktopher.] This loop (marked with purple arrows) is the longest of three loops (the others are marked with green and red arrows) developed in
E-F. After approximately 200m both loops (red and purple) turn left and enter Castlemorris Wood by way of a metal barrier. At this point you are just short of Aghaviller Church and Round Tower – 200m along the surfaced road. If you decide to visit the site, remember to return to this junction. F-A. Only 500m along this final section of the loop you rejoin the green loop as it comes in from the left. Another 500m takes you to a crossroads of forest tracks where you turn left onto a narrow winding track to emerge on a forestry road only 200m from the trailhead. Turn right and enjoy the short trek! Ascent : 30m Distance : 7km Estimated Time : 2hrs - 2hrs 30mins Grade : Easy Minimum Gear : Trekking shoes, raingear and fluid Services : Knocktopher Terrain : Forestry roads, grassy paths and minor roads Theme : Nature Trailhead : Grand Gates to Castlemorris Woods, Aghaviller, Co Kilkenny OS Sheet 687, S491 356
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