A Profile of Ireland’s Uplands: essential reading for mountaineers # 1

profile-uplands.jpg

 

The Irish Uplands Forum (Fórum Cnoch na hÉireann) commissioned Dr Brendan O’Keeffe and Dr Caroline Crowley to write this study of the Irish uplands. The Heritage Council published it in October 2019. Michael Viney had an interesting review of the study in The  Irish Times over the weekend, under a headline that says it all: These hills are made for walking. Viney, however, highlights access as a key issue for the 13,000 plus mountaineers and hillwalkers who make up the membership of 186 clubs in Ireland.

He identifies two factors that will have influence on access in the future. The first is a shift from sheep farming to off-farm employment and a parallel rise in (a) the number of “large sheep ranches” and (b) hillside houses occupied by “commuters, retirees and holiday homeowners.” We have seen the problems this has created in places like Glanteenassig in County Kerry.

 

1568-Glanteenassig-Forest_glanteenassig-forest-park-9076
Off limits: access to this hill in Gelanteenassig was blocked after the land was inherited from the original owner. Before that it was a popular walking/mountaineering route located next to a recreational area developed by Coillte. Photo: Walking Routes Ireland.

 

The second is that government action on the roll out of access programmes stalled since 2009, when voluntary agreement between mountaineering interests and landowners created pilot projects in two areas, Mount Gable near Clonbur, Co Galway and Carrauntoohil in the MacGillycuddy Reeks, Co Kerry; just two of the 57 mountain ranges identified in the report. However, O’Keeffe and Crowley note that “key stakeholder groups remain committed to its vision.”

 

Sheep Farmers
©Valerie O’Sullivan, The MacGillycuddy’s Reeks.

 

As Viney points out, most of Ireland’s uplands are farmlands but adds that “sheep, significantly, get a mention on only four of the study’s 140-odd pages.” That is worrying, given the traditional partnership between mountaineers and sheep farmers, people like Martin (RIP) and Nóirín Griffin in Derrymore Glen (Slieve Mish), Mick Murphy in Knocknagantee (Iveragh) and, of course, John and Esther Cronin of Cronin’s Yard in the Reeks. That partnership is captured by mountaineer and photographer Valerie O’Sullivan in The MacGillycuddy’s Reeks: People and Places of Ireland’s Highest Mountain Range , which Frank Miller, former Picture Editor of The Irish Times, described as ‘An intimate and beautiful portrait of the people and landscape of Ireland’s loftiest place.’

This aspect of the Irish uplands deserved more attention in the study. Nevertheless, A Profile of Ireland’s Uplands is essential reading for mountaineers and hillwalkers. To obtain an Executive Summary click HERE. To obtain the full report click HERE.

 

The Mountaineering Collective | December 2019

 

 

Log: Kerry |Mangerton – 04/11/2018

PHOTO-2018-11-04-19-10-58
Tim Murphy, Bertie Hickey, Nuala Finn, Lisbeth Lynch, Lorna Browne, Eileen Casey, Noelle O’Mahony, Myra Griffin, and Connie Enright. Photo: Ciarán Walsh.

November 4, 2018

Mangerton (Barnacurrane Route)

Leader: Myra Griffin

Map 78

 

Weather

Forecast was for settled weather. There was a little rain at the beginning but it remained clear for the rest of the walk. Conditions underfoot were good, especially on the bog between Barnacurrane and the Devil’s Punchbowl.

 

TMC-MANGERTON-GIF

A panorama taken from a spot height on the ridge south of Barnacurrane.

 

Route 

We assembled in the carpark above Torc Waterfall, reached by a side road to the left about 300m metres from the main entrance to Muckross House on the N71. We left the carpark and headed south, climbing through the forest on deer and mountain bike trails – watch out for bikers hurtling through the forest –  until we reached the end of the forestry track.

 

IMG_0030

 

We climbed the final section of forestry to reach Barnacurrane, a gap in a rocky outcrop that marks the boundary between the lowland and the mountain.  The trail is well worn and there is a steep section just below Barnacurrane.  There used to be a stepped path here but that has mostly disappeared and good footwear is essential.

 

PHOTO-2018-11-04-17-18-16.jpg

Nuala Finn and Bertie Hickey heading towards Barnacurrane.

 

At Barnacurrane one of the group pulled out and Ciarán returned to the carpark with the member before making the return trip to Barnacurrane. His route on the day is marked in blue on the map above.

The red route shows the line taken by the rest of the group. It climbs across the bog, following the line of a wall and the dry ground alongside the stream to reach the track leading to the  Devil’s Punchbowl. From, it follows the track/trail  to the summit (843). From there it crosses the plateau to the aréte descending northwards  to the ridge formed by the Devil’s Punch Bowl and the back wall of Glangappul.

Careful navigation is needed here in poor visibility. Sean O’Suilleabháin warned mountaineers, in his classic guidebook on climbs in the southwest, that Mangerton means the “deceiving one.”

The route continues up to the unnamed summit known as  Mangerton “North,”  heads East on the southern ridge of Glangappul  before descending to the trail that leads into the valley. It follows this trail until it turns northwest from the lake shore, crosses the Owgarrif River –caution – and continues across bog close to the foot of the mountainside until it reaches the track for the Devil’s Punch Bowl.

 

 

Keith wodoard
Keith Woodard, Mangerton Mountain | An Ancient Battle Ground

 

 

It follows the Finoulagh River downstream for about 300m and heads west into Tooreencormick, the site of a battle between McCarthy of the Glens (Old Kenmare Rd) and the Normans in 1262, during which Cormac Mac Carthy died. The place name marks his burial on the site of the battle. Keith Woodard, a photographer based in Killarney, gives a really good account of events leading up to the battle.

From Tooreencormick the route continues west, into the forest and back the caprpark.

 

 

Badge-Telly-TX-LOOP
This blog is published by members of TMC. It is not an official blog of the club.

 

 

END

 

 

Log: 07 | 10 | 2018 – The Bone with Thomas O’Sullivan

img_9584.jpg
TMC members gather for Thomas O’Sullivan climb in the Magillicuddy Reeks  on October 7, 2018. The planned route was the Bone, a spur on the eastern side of  the Hags Glen, to Carrauntoohil.

 

TMC members met in the carpark at Lisleibane and headed in the Hags Glen, crossing the Gaddagh just south of the bridge and headed south to the start of the spur called the Bone. As soon as we gained height it became clear that the wind was too strong to stick to the planned along the spine of the spur.

 

Weather 750

 

The route was changed and we went up the side of the spur to a small coum. We contoured across to the spur on the southern side of Cumeenapeasta Lake, on ground that we would’t normally be on, so we did a bit of exploring and identified some interesting routes for future outings. We descended along the stream running from the lake to the Gaddagh and headed to Cronin’s Yard for a cup of tea. Thomas treated us to apple tart.

 

Thomas-Kestrel-Loop

Kestrrel

 

An interesting thing happened on the way to the Bone. A Kestrel hovered above for about 5 Minutes.

 

Route / Stats

 

Thomas Track

 

 

Badge-Telly-TX-LOOP


Tralee Mountaineering Club Members’ Blog

Is Donagh Linn An Briseadh Seo …

 

TV_animated.189125412_std-1

 

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

 

IMG_8824

 

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.

 

494e9dca-741e-4671-9c47-0b9678c98f00
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

 

IMG_8465
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

 

IMG_8461
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

 

IMG_8822

 

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.

 

IMG_8462

 

 

End