Is Donagh Linn An Briseadh Seo …

 

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You may have noticed that TMC Members’ Blog has been offline for a couple of months. In the good old days of terrestrial television in Ireland, whenever service was interrupted, the following words were put up on screen: is donagh linn an briseadh seo. We are taking our cue from this. We regret the break but we have spent the past few months accompanying a family member on their way to the big summit in the sky.

 

Marie Ahern, Rose Switzer. Una Finn IMG_8237
L-R: Marie Ahern, Rose Switzer, and Una Finn. Photo: Tom Finn collection

 

The resumption of blogging is marked with a tribute to Una Finn  (nee Sullivan), a pioneering mountaineer and a lifelong member of Tralee Mountaineering Club.

Una left us on 7 August 2007. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam.

 

Next Post: Una Finn (1924-2018)

 

 

 

Mountain Log : Commeenageargh Gully April 29, 2018

 

COMMEENAGHEARAGH GULLY TO CARRANTOOHIL APRIL 29 2018 –  LEVEL 3

Nuala Finn, Bertie Hickey, Bairbre Hickey, Andrew Kelliher, and Ciarán Walsh

 

 

SUMMARY

This was a 12k  walk in the Magillicuddy Reeks (Map 78 OSI 1:50,000 map) by members of Tralee Mountaineering Club (TMC). Taking part were Nuala Finn, Bairbre Hickey,  Bertie Hickey, Andrew Kelliher, and Ciarán Walsh. Leadership was shared.

The forecast was for a cold bright day. Bertie and Bairbre could see snow on the reeks so we opted for one of hidden gems of the Magillicuddy Reeks, the Commeenageargh Gully, which is situated halfway between Skregmore and Beenkeragh .

The walk had many of the features of a Quality Mountain Day. Easy scrambling in the gully and on the Beenkeragh Ridged compensated for a relatively short route over familiar terrain. The snow did not present any difficulty but added a spectacular visual dimension to a walk two days before the official start of Summer in Ireland.

 

WEATHER

A High pressure area dominated, providing bright skies. Temperatures remained low and there was a light covering of snow on the upper reaches of the Magillicuddy Reeks

 

THE ROUTE / WALK

 

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We started from Liosleibane carpark, and headed to the foot of Knockbrinnea, picking up a trail that roughly follows the 500m contour. We crossed the Kealnafulla and Kealnamanagh streams before skirting around a spur and reaching the Commeenagearagh valley,  at the back of which is the gully.

There is a wet step at the bottom of the gully but this is easily climbed. The gully itself is straightforward, but some sections are loose. We encountered some patches of snow at the top of the gully. We headed Southeast, climbing a rocky spur to the summit of Beenkeragh and crossed the Beenkeragh Ridge.

 

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Tralee Mountaineering Club Members at the foot of the Commeenageargh Gully. L-R: Nuala Finn, Bairbre Hickey, Ciarán Walsh, and Andrew Kelliher. Photo: Bertie Hickey.

The snow increased after passing the top of Central Gully and there was a light covering at the summit. The weather was fine and the views from the summit were spectacular. We descended the spur running southeast towards the Devil’s Ladder before turning left for the start of the track leading to the Heavenly Gates.

We went down the Heavenly Gates and out under the Hags Tooth Ridge, more properly known as Stumpa an tSaimh (Stump of the Sorrel). We left the track and crossed the Gaddagh River where it leaves Lough Gouragh and headed back to the Lisleibane along the main track.

 

 

End

 

Mountain Log : Anascaul April 22, 2018 – TMC Level 3

 

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Members of Tralee Mountaineering Club ( TMC) Level 3 at the cairn on An Ré Mhór (Reamore), above Anascaul Lake L-R: Eileen Casey, Andrew Kelliher, Maeve Higgins (Leader), Patricia McGurk, Myra Griffin, Tom O’Sullivan,Connie Enright, Margaret Griffin, Patrick O’Connor (at the back), Nick Ring, and Noelle O’Connor. Photo: Ciarán Walsh.

Anascaul April 22 2018 | TMC Level 3

Leader: Maeve Higgins

 

This is a long overdue log entry, the first in a serious backlog of entries. But – HEY – keeping up to date is always A problem with log entries! So, Here goes.

 

SUMMARY

The TMC level 3 walk on Sunday April 22 2018 was led by Maeve Higgins. The walk took in a wide arc to the north of Anascaul Lake (Map 70 OSI Discovery Series), taking in Stradbally (798), Beenoskee (826), and Binn an Tuair (592). A total distance of 15.5K.

 

WEATHER

 

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The mean sea-level pressure and rainfall chart for 09.00 on April 22 2018. Source: MSW

 

A sunny day was forecast; a well established to the south west kept low pressure (rain and wind) to the Northwest. It turned out to be a perfect day for mountaineering.

 

THE ROUTE / WALK

 

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Maeve Higgins led and 11 other members of Tralee Mountaineering Club (TMC) took part (see photo). The walk started at the carpark at Anascaul Lake, crossed the river northwest of the lake and headed up the steep southern slope of An Ré Mhór (Reamore), before heading to  a cairn at the summit (500m).

From there we trekked to spot height 346 at the centre of the large plateau above Gleann Tí an Eassaig. Then straight up for 453m to the summit of Stradbally for lunch. On to Beenoskee, where three of us decided to descend.

The remainder (red line on the map) headed for An Com Ban and on to Binn a’ Tuair. They descended to the ford on the Macanabo trail and followed the trail back to the  carpark. The other three (green Line) descended the long spur to the col between Machanabo and Anascaul and headed south to a steep gully below An Com Dubh. We joined the trail about 500 metres from the carpark

 

STATS

Both walks walks covered roughly the same distance, 15.5 kilometres over 5hours approx. Total ascent to Beenoskee was 939m and 1,140 in total for the red route, 971 for the green route.

 

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End

 

 

 

NAVIGATION MADE EASY 2: FEATURES

 

 

NAVIGATION MADE EASY 2: RECOGNISING FEATURES ON A MAP

 

The last blog in this series dealt with grid references as an effective and safe way of  navigating from point to point. It stressed the importance of being able to read a map, identify potential hazards, and plot a safe route accordingly.  This blog looks at features as an essential part of  route planning.

The first part –Identifying Features looks at how features are represented on a map. The second part – Navigating using features –looks at we use features to plan a route and navigate “on the run.”

 

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The blog will look at features in and around Loch a’ Duin, an area that is used regularly by members of Tralee Mountaineering Club (TMC) to practice navigation skills.

 

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY A “FEATURE”?

A feature is a distinctive detail in a landscape that can be easily identified on a map and given a grid reference (plotted). Some features are easy to spot on the the Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI ) 1:50,000 maps because they are represented by a combination of symbols and colours –  a trail (—), a wall (––), a river  (––), elevated ground or spot height (•73),  a summit (brown circle, spot height, and name where relevant), Special features like archaeological sites () are also marked. Some maps (Harvey) have symbols for crags, cliffs, boulders, scree, and other features.

The full list of symbols is given at the bottom of the 1:50,000 map and it is important to be familiar with the key features that are used for navigation in the mountain – tracks and trails, walls, rivers/streams, lakes, spot heights, and summits and so on.

 

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This is the easy bit.

Most features in the mountains are described by contour lines on a map. Contour lines are the continuous lines that represent changes in height in the landscape. Being able to read and interpret contour lines is an essential part of safe navigation.

 

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Contours-and-relief (1)
Source: OS Great Britain
Topographic Maps
Source: Topographic Maps YouTube

 

The section of map above shows contours as they appear on OSI Map 70. The diagram below it shows how contours represent changes in the height and profile of mountains. The third image is a useful representation of the relation between contours and the landscape. Map reading involves using changes in height and profile on the map to identify features in the mountains and vice versa.

This video by Steve Blackhall of the Ordnance Survey office in Great Britain is a good introduction to the contours, just be aware that the maps used in the video are British maps.

 

 

 


 

NAVIGATING WITH CONTOURS PART 1: IDENTIFYING FEATURES

 

Navigating with contours involves thinking about the relation between contours and characteristic features in mountain landscapes. There are two aspects to this, knowing where you are and  avoiding hazards. The first has to do with being able to read a map  and the second has to do with planning and following a safe route (navigating).

Lets look at the first part –  using contours to identify features. To begin, how do you know whether you are

  • at sea level or on top of a mountain?
  • on level ground or a steep slope?
  • on the top of a hill or in the bottom of a hollow?
  • in a valley or on a spur?

The answers are fairly obvious: Just look around you.  What if

  1.  you are planning a recce and need to plot a route through unfamiliar terrain?
  2. you are in the mountains and the weather has changed, leaving you with little or no visibility?

Take the following scenario. You are heading into to Loch An Duin from Kilmore Cross (Q52294 08919), intending to climb to An Starraicín (Q52769 06407) at a height of 456 metres (see map below). Visibility is less than 20m and you have to navigate by map. You have reached the edge of a lake but the map shows two lakes, one on either side of  An Starraicín.

 

How do you know whether you have reached Loch an Dúin or Loch Chom Calláin?

 

Loch A Duin Contours

 

Loch an Dúin is approached along ground that lies between the the 100m and 120m contours, rising 20 metres over a distance of one kilometre approx. The contour formed by the edge of the lake is given as 116 metres; the height of every lake is indicated by the blue coloured number on the “surface” of the lake. To reach the lake you will climb 1m in height for every 50m in horizontal distance travelled,  a gradient of 1:50.

Loch Chom Calláin is approached along ground that rises from 100 metres to 230 metres over a distance of 1.3 kilometres approx. The contour formed by the edge of the lake is given as 231 metres. The key feature here is middle section of the route. The contours between 130 metres and 230 metres are closer and more or less evenly spaced over a distance of 600m approximately. This means that you will be climbing 1 metre in height for every 6 metres in distance travelled, a gradient of 1:6. This is a very different profile to the approach to Loch An Duin.

 

The question now is this:

Did you approach the lake by travelling along relatively flat ground or by climbing a moderately steep slope?

 

This scenario demonstrates how you can use information provided by contours to identify features and confirm your location. This is a fundamental part of navigation. Certain features have characteristic contour profiles that make them easy to identify,   incorporate into route planning, or use when navigating “on the run.”

 

Here are some examples:

 

Features

 

 

Here are some standard descriptions of each of the features shown above. All the features are on routes used regularly by members of Tralee Mountaineering Club (TMC). 

 

Summit / Peak

This is the top of the mountain. It is a point on a surface that is higher in elevation than all points immediately adjacent to it. It is usually marked with a brown circle, a spot height, and sometimes, a name – not all spot heights are summits and not all summits have names, Unnamed summits are usually referred to by the number (elevation) given as the spot height.

Ridge

a continuous elevated crest running for some distance between summits. The sides of the ridge drop away from a narrow top.

Spur

Ground that runs down from a hill to lower ground. A spur is an erosional feature that usually forms the side of a valley. Spurs provide access to and escape from the high ground for mountaineers.

An aréte is a narrow rocky spur which separates two valleys. It is typically formed when two glaciers erode parallel U-shaped valleys.

Cliff

A vertical, or nearly vertical, rock exposure. Cliffs are a real hazard but can be very useful as a “handrail,” a feature that you can follow, at a safe distance from the edge of course.

Col

The lowest point of a ridge or saddle between two peaks, typically providing a pass from one side of a mountain range to another.

Slope

This is the side of the mountain, running from the summit to the foot. Slopes can be convex or concave.

 

A convex slope is rounded like the outside of an upturned bowl, i.e. it goes from less steep at the top to more steep at the bottom; the space between contours gets narrower as the elevation reduces.

A concave slope is rounded inward like the inside of a bowl, i.e. it goes from more steep at the top to less steep at the bottom; the space between contours gets wider as as the elevation reduces.

Re-entrant

a small valley like formation formed by parallel spurs. The low ground between the spurs is sometimes called a draw and is usually associated with drainage or a rivers/stream.

Gully

gully is a long narrow valley with steep sides.

 

 

CONCLUSION

There are two types of features that can be used to navigate in the mountains. The first type is marked on the map using a combination of symbols, colours, and numbers and includes tracks/trails, rivers/streams, spot heights etc. The second type consist of formations that are characteristic to mountain landscapes and include summits, ridges, spurs, cols and so on. These features are described by changes in height and profile (shape) that are represented on the map by contour lines.

 

 

THE NEXT BLOG IN THIS SERIES LOOKS AT NAVIGATION USING FEATURES (JUNE)

 

PREVIOUS BLOGS IN THE SERIES:

 

NAVIGATION MADE EASY : WEB RESOURCES

 

NAVIGATION MADE EASY: GRID REFERENCES

 

 

END

 

 

 

 

 

NAVIGATION MADE EASY 1: GRID REFERENCES

 

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Catherine McMullin, Dáithí Ó Conaill, and Monica Dillane of TMC investigating a megalithic tomb in Loch a’Duin.

 

Q 52763 08134

 

The above photo shows members of Tralee Mountaineering Club (TMC) examining a megalithic tomb in Loch a’Duin on the Dingle Peninsula. The tomb was placed in the valley using an ancient navigational system that was, apparently, centred on the Spring Equinox.

It is located on a small plateau east of An Scoraid river, about 900 metres southeast of the Kilmore junction on the Conor Pass road. The location is marked by a red dot on the 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey map; red dots signify the location of archaeological features in the landscape.

 

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There is a more precise way of describing the location of the tomb. View Ranger gives its position as Q 52763 08134. This is called a grid reference, which is  an alpha-numerical set of geographic co-ordinates that is used to locate a feature on a map. Grid references are the basic unit of a navigational system that divides the country into twenty 100 X 100 kilometre zones. This is called the National Grid

Loch a’Duin is located in Q, one of two squares in the National Grid that cover the Southwest. This is the first element of every grid reference. It is followed by two set of numbers. The first is called the Easting (52763). The second is called the Northing (08134). These allow the navigator to zoom in on each zone, pinpoint the location of a feature on the map, and navigate towards it with confidence.

 

THE GRID

 

UTM and National Grid

 

This diagram shows the national grids of Ireland and Great Britain superimposed on a global grid, which is known as the Universal Transverse Mercator or UTM for short. It is named after Gerardus Mercator, a Flemish map maker who invented a system of world wide navigation in 1569.   The UTM was adapted to provide an agreed system of  geographical co-ordinates that could be used in global positioning systems ( GPS) like View Ranger.

The Ordnance Survey offices of Ireland and Northern Ireland adopted a modified version of the UTM in 2001. This was done to increase the accuracy of GPS measurements by minimising distortions in mapping across the island as a whole.  This is called the Irish Transverse Mercator (ITM) or, simply, the Irish Grid

The Irish Grid provides the organisational and geographical basis for navigation in Ireland but mountaineers usually use 1:50,000 maps. The ground covered by these maps is not the same as the area in each zone of the grid; each zone contains more than one map and many maps extend beyond the boundaries of individual zones.

 

Grid100km & Q
The Irish Grid (left) and a section of the grid superimposed on the corresponding 1:50,000 maps issued by Ordnance Survey Ireland (right).

 

Loch A’duin is positioned on Map 70 in zone Q of the national grid. Iveragh is located in zone V, the dividing line running along the southern shore of the Dingle Peninsula. Grid references for Iveragh – maps 78 and 83 – begin with the letter V. The zone is clearly identified on each map and the boundary between zones is clearly shown.

 

 

THE MAP

 

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Each map in the 1:50,000 series uses a grid made up of 30 by 40 squares measuring 2cm and representing one kilometer on the ground. Each square is defined by a vertical and horizontal blue line. The vertical lines are called Eastings and the horizontal lines are called Northings.

Eastings measure distance from west to east. The line dividing East and West is called the prime meridian.  This was  agreed in 1884 as the line of longitude running through the Greenwich Observatory, near London.  Anyone who has visited the Observatory will recall a metal strip in the ground that marks 0º Longitude; the line dividing East and West and the first of the Eastings. The prime meridian used in GPS is approximately 102 metres East of this line. This will read as 0º on satellite based systems.

 

Meridian
An aerial view of the Greenwich Observatory. The dotted white line represents 0º Longitude and the solid white line represents the line that divides East and West in modern global positioning systems. Source Why the Greenwich meridian moved.

 

Northings measure travel northwards from the equator.

 

Every Easting and Northing on a 1;50,000 map has a value between 00 and 99. On Map 70 the Eastings run from 20 to 60 while the Northings run from 88 to 99 and 00 to 18. Grid references contain two sets of numbers (co-ordinates) that define the position of a feature on a map in relation to Eastings and Northings, the Easting are always given first.

Q 52763  08134 is given as the grid reference for the tomb in Loch a’Duin.  52 refers to the Easting and 08 refers to the Northing.  These define a one kilometre square, which is read from the right (East) of the Easting and above (North) of the Northing. The point where these lines intersect –the bottom, left-hand corner – is called the origin and all travel eastwards and northwards within the square is measured from this point.

 

Easting Northing
The square formed by Easting 52 and Northing 08. Q 52000  08000 is the grid reference for the  origin, the point where the two lines intersect..

 

There is a problem with a grid reference that merely identifies a square on the map. It presents you with a square kilometre of ground to search for a feature that may only be three or four metres in size. The solution is simple. Each square is divided into a grid made up of 100m units. These are numbered 0-9 and are represented by the third number in the Easting and Northing component of a grid reference –  Q 52763  08134. This grid reference puts the position of the tomb in a 100m square that is 700m east of  line 52 and 100 metres north of line 08 on the map.

 

Grid 2&4

 

This still leaves us with a large area of featureless terrain to search but the last two digits of grid reference Q52763  08134 tell us that we have to walk 63m eastwards and 34m northwards from the origin of this square to locate the tomb. This coincides with the red dot that marks the location of an archaeological feature that is identified as a Tuama Meigiliteach.

 

CONCLUSION

Grid references are an essential part of your navigational skillset. They enable you to locate your position on a map, pinpoint features in the landscape, and navigate safely from feature to feature.

 

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

Grid 4

 

Use this system to generate grid references for the following features:

  1. The Gallán (Standing Stone) north of the tomb.
  2. The point at the edge of the forestry where a stream enters An Scoraid.
  3. Spot height 73.
  4. The start of the track leading into Loch a’Duin, from the Conor Pass road.
  5. The point where the track crosses the 100m contour.
  6. The point where the track meets An Scoraid.
  7. The point where An Scoraid crosses the 100m contour.

Handy hint:

You can use the 1:50,000 scale an your compass (Silva Expedition) to quickly and accurately establish a grid reference. Here’s how:

 

Romer IMG_8481

Q 52763 08134

Q (NATIONAL GRID) 52 (EASTING) 7.63 (100M GRID)  08 (NORTHING) 1.34 (100M GRID)

 

Here is another type of navigational problem.

There is another  way of navigating to the location of the tomb. Open View Ranger, place the red dot marking the position of the tomb at the centre of the crosshairs and mark with a Point of Interest (POI). Then activate the Navigate To function. View ranger will present you with an onscreen,  point-to-point route to your objective and will guide you along it in real time. Simple!

Here is the problem.

An Scoraid river lies between the track into the valley and the tomb. To reach the tomb by this route you will have to cross the river. River crossings are one of the most dangerous aspects of mountaineering.

Find the spot where the track is closest to the tomb and read the course of the river in relation to the contour lines. The river is flowing through a fairly narrow  re-entrant. Would you consider crossing the river at this point?

Have a look at the flat area north of this, where the river drops from the 100m contour to the 90m contour over a distance of approximately 200m. Does this look like a better option? Remember a 10m drop is equivalent to the combined height of 5 very tall people.

The river is a very dangerous feature between you and your objective, the tomb. You need to navigate to a safe river crossing first, then from the river to the tomb. If you can’t identify a potentially safe crossing, don’t go to the tomb by this route.

The point is this; grid references allow you to pinpoint the position of a feature but you still need to (1) understand the nature of the terrain in which that feature is located and (2) be capable of assessing the risks and the opportunities presented by it. That is where skilled map reading contributes to safe navigation.

 

Previous: Navigation Made Easy: WEB RESOURCES

Next: Navigation Made Easy: FEATURES (May 2018)

 

End.

 

 

Holy Moly, Mass on a Mountain

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Celebrating Mass on Mount Brandon in 2015. This mass was organised for Ang Wong Chhu, a Sherpa guide whose visit to Ireland’s “holy” mountain was filmed by Seán Mac An tSíthigh for TG4. Photo: Ciarán Walsh

 

Did you know that Tralee Mountaineering Club has its origins in the pilgrimage associated with Mount Brandon. The mountain was a major pilgrim site in medieval and early modern Ireland but the tradition of pilgrimage stretches back to pre-historic times; it is associated with Lugh, the Celtic god of light and his dark counterpart, Chrom Dubh.

The Christians exploited this but eventually abandoned the pilgrimage in the 19th century, mainly because of the chaos associated with the “moral holiday” that followed the arduous trek to the top.  Many attempts were made to revive the pilgrimage and organised ascents of the mountain in the 1950s indirectly led to the formation of  a mountaineering club in Tralee.

 

TMC Mass 1954 img20180418_09510112 copy
CYMS Pilgrimmage to Mount Brandon, May 23, 1954. The photograph was taken in Faha, on the site of the grotto that marks the start of the traditional pilgrim route to the summit. Photo Tom Finn Collection.

 

The first item on the agenda of the new club was the split. Some members of the club argued that it should remain focused on the pilgrimage while other’s argued that the club should concentrate on mountaineering. The club mass became a compromise solution. It was organised by Seán Kelly every January and continued until 2017, when it was dropped from the calendar of club events.

The decision was taken by the outgoing committee (Chairperson Simon Quinn) and was only noticed when the calendar was published. Some members approached the club’s President (Nuala Finn) and asked to have the mass reinstated. The current committee (Chairperson Shane Mulligan) agreed and the mass was re-scheduled for April 16, 2018. It was a little ironic that the 2018 club mass, which traditionally remembers deceased members of the club, recorded the passing of Seán Kelly in 2017 and his brother Pat in 2018.

There is a wider issue here. The tops of mountains are regarded as spiritual places by many people within and without the mountaineering community.  There is extensive archaeology associated with summits, most notably Queen Maeve’s tomb on Knocknarea in Sligo. Many peaks are also marked by crosses, many of which were erected in 1954 to mark the first Marian Year, which was ordered by Pope Pius to promote the cult of the Virgin Mary.  Mount Brandon has both pagan and Christian associations.

 

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Cross on summit of Carrauntoohil after it was cut down in November 2014. Photo: Cronin’s Yard/Twitter  published in The Irish Times

 

The cross on Corrán Tuathail was erected in 1976 and was cut down in 2014. This generated a debate about the association between mountaineering and spirituality and whether it was appropriate to mark the tops of mountains with symbols associated with one religious denomination. The consensus seems to be that there is room in the mountains for all believers and none and that the process of marking theses places as sacred is, in the end, a personal choice.

 

TMC Mass 2 IMG_4434 copy
A bonfire lit by a Lithuanian mountaineer on the summit of Corrán Tuathail to mark St John’s Eve or Bonfire Night (June 23). The new cross can be seen in the background. Photo Ciarán Walsh.

 

The tension between pagans and Christians is now part and part and parcel of the pilgrimage to the top of Brandon. The Christians climb the mountain on Lá tSin Seáin Beag (June 29th) and the pagans, who revived the Lughnasa festival in 1995,  climb the mountain on the last Sunday in July, which is known locally as Domhnach Chrom Dubh.

In 2015 nine of us attended a mass that was organised for Ang Wong Chhu, who was visiting Ireland’s scared mountain. Nuala Finn and I became sherpas for the day, acting as mountain guides and carrying filming equipment for Seán Mac An tSí­thigh of TG4.  We approached the mountain from the west. A month later over 150 pagans climbed the mountain from the east. To each his/her own.

 

TMC Mass_1040050 copy
Sacred Places: the mass that was organised for Ang Wong Chhu, Sherpa guide. Photo: Ciarán Walsh.

 

 

 

 

 

The Wettest Day … EVER: The Reeks, Sun 15 April 2018

 

 

AWASH in the Devils Ladder. Nuala Finn, Tralee Mountaineering (TMC) President taking a break in the waterfall that was the Devils Ladder last Sunday, April 15 2018.

 

The forecast was not good. A band of organised rain was moving across the Southwest on Saturday night and Sunday Morning but some sunny spells were promised and a run to Corran Tuathail was on the cards. It turned out to be the wettest day we had ever experienced in the Reeks.

There was one other car parked in Lisliebane. Nevertheless, we headed off at 13.00, in the rain. We met Martin Murphy in the Hags Glen and he had been in rain all day. We met a few other mountaineers on the track but by the time we reached the ford on the track we were all alone.

 

IMG_8431

 

The rain never stopped. The water was lapping over a few of the stepping stone and every stream in the valley was a roaring white torrent. The work done by the Reeks Forum on keeping water off the tracks has really paid off but the upper part of the  track leading to the Devil’s Ladder was completely flooded.

 

Tralee Mountaineering Club TMC photo showing maintenance work being carried out on a path in the Hags Glen,
Maintenance work being carried out on the track leading to the Devil’s Ladder. Photo by The Reeks Forum

The Devil’s Ladder was one big waterfall and we were soaked to the skin, the combination of  rain and floodwater  penetrated the best gear that we had, almost. We pulled out.  We didn’t miss anything. We met Joe Doran and Tim Long in Kate Kearneys. They had led a group up O’Sheas Gull and came out by the Devil’s Ladder. It was very wet and windy. Joe counted no less than ten (10) torrents in the valley.

When we got to back to the car my feet were dry even though I was wearing North Face runners and Salomon ankle gaiters rather than boots. The secret: Dexshell Waterproof socks from Landers. These worked far better than Sealskin socks, which tended to get waterlogged and leak.

Every wet day has a silver lining.