Monday, October 24, 2011

Under Galtee Skies

When Jimmy Barry sent out an invite to Bishopstown Hillwalking club to attend his book launch in the Aherlow House Hotel I gladly accepted. It was great to arrive there and see that there were stalls set up not only by the South Eastern Mountain Rescue but also the Glen of Aherlow walking club and members of Mountaineering Ireland.

There was a considerably large turn out for the launch and after talking to other walkers we were introduced to a slide show of photographs from the book.

The book titled Under Galtee Skies is a pictorial journay of photographs taken by Jimmy of the Galty mountains over the years.

As Bishopstown members have been walking this area for many years there are plenty of photographs of areas we are all familiar with and even though I have walked the Galtees many times myself I have never seen the head/face formation above Bally david wood.

Also it was great to read some folklore of the area none of which I knew previously and will now always include when leading walks in these areas.

The photographs are spectacular and you can see from the lighting within them that Jimmy definately has a rare eye for a picture, the skies above Galtymore in a picture taken from slievecushnabinnia are such a testiment, as is the lighting in the picture of Assaroola Glen.

Though I must admit my favourite picture is of snow on the northern side over lough Curra on page 20 of the book. At first glance it looks like just another photo of the area, but on closer inspection the browns in the grass are beautiful...

With a section on flora and fauna along with poems and place names this really is a magical book which I've no doubt all our members will enjoy.

The only problem................they sold out of all the hardbacks before I'd even managed to reach it!! This book is not meant as a guide book so don't expect routes and walks, you certainly wouldn't be taking it on the mountain for fear of it getting ruined.

If anybody is interested in attaining a copy please contact me at and we'll see if we can get some copies.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Wales Aug 11 (The Ryan Air Fanfare Tour)

No sooner had we arrived back from a full week of walking in June to Scotland then we started getting ready for our next venture, and one of the best scambling holidays you could possibly get..............Snowdonia national park.

After our trip here in 2008 we knew we were not going to be disappointed.

11 of us went over and we booked into the Swallow falls hostel which is just outside Betwys-y-Coed on the road to Capel Curig.

Saturday we left the hostel and drove across to Pen-y-pass, where we started our first walk the Snowdon Horseshoe. This walk includes a short scramble up to Crib Goch where you continue your way along the knife edge ridge across to the pinnacles, up onto Crib-y-Ddysgol and finally meeting the top of the Zig-zags, where we all follow the main route up onto Snowdon.

It was great to see the completion of the cafe, and the warmth inside along with the hot drink was most welcome!!

Sunday then saw us scramble the North ridge of Tryfan and Bristly ridge, this route contains some of the best scrambling in Britain. And once we attained the summit one of our brave walkers even jumped across from Adam to Eve attaining the title of free man of Tryfan! (Well done J.J. I could'nt think of a better man for it!)

Monday and our final walk was a short day were we climbed Pen yr Ole Wen.

Another successful trip away this year.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Scotland 2011 (The Munro Huggers Tour!!)

The club trip to Scotland this year saw 12 of us walking for a week in the central highlands of Glencoe and Glen Nevis.

This area of outstanding beauty is a walkers paradise with a selection of routes that would keep everybody happy for the week.

After flying into Edinburgh we sorted out our car hire and drove up to Fort William where we stayed at the Glen Nevis Lodges.

Day 1 saw us climb Ben Nevis via the Carn Mór Dearg Arete, the weather was beautiful and the views even better! There was huge congratulations when we summited our first munro Carn Mór Dearg at 1220m and the walk got even more exciting as we went over the arete with excellent views of the Aonachs and the Mamores, then onto the top of Ben Nevis 1344m. (17km 185om ascent 8hrs 18mins)

Day 2 we drove into Glencoe and though the weather was misty with low cloud cover we walked in through the coire na Tulaich and ascended Stob Dearg our third munro at 1022m, we then headed south to Stob Na Broige our fourth munro at 956m and completing the whole of the Buachaille Etive Mór range. (14.4km 1330m ascent 6hrs 38mins)

Day 3 saw us driving back to Glencoe for a walk of Bidean Nam Bian and with improved weather we all enjoyed this walk which saw us walk into the lost valley which we entered to the left of the three sisters. We reached munro number five Stob Coire Sgréam 1072m and then onto Bidean Nam Bian which was munro number six at 1150m. (12.5 km 1400m ascent 7hrs)
Day 4 saw the group divide and after three days of continuous walking some of us felt that we needed a day off. While the other half of the group decided to do their own walk in Glen Nevis.
Day 5 was the Aonach Eagach ridge which although a grade I scamble is considered by many to be the best ridge walk on mainland Britain and I think I speak for all members when I say we were not disappointed. We bagged munro number seven Meall Dearg 953m and munro eight Sgorr nam Fiannaidh 967m whilst walking the linear ridge.
Day 6 Our final day saw us walk up Glen Nevis to the beautiful Steall meadows and falls and entertain ourselves watching each member balance across the wire bridge over the river to Steall hut. The weeks walking had taken its toll and with windy weather and low cloud cover we decided not to chance the Devils ridge but to climb our nineth munro Sgurr á Mháim at 1099m and return to Glen Nevis. (9.5km 1316m ascent 6hrs 17mins)
Hopefully we will return again next year after all there are only another 275 munros to go!!!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Organised events in the mountains

I recently received an invitation from Beverley Pierson the project officer of leave no trace Ireland to attend a workshop on the management of outdoor events which was held at the new official centre for leave no trace Ireland, Kilfinane O.E.C. on the 4th May.

Many of you may have recently read the article in the spring issue of the mountain log by Helen Lawless the access and conservation officer regarding organised events in the mountains and the marked increase in the number of festivals, fundraising and challenge events.

Attendees included such groups as Mountain Meitheal, S.E.M.R.A and cycle Ireland.

The workshop started at 10:30am with tea and coffee and time to meet others. The first presentation was the Mountaineering Irelands running events policy which was given by Helen Lawless. Helen went over the current MI policy and explained why this policy is currently being reviewed.

This was followed Carol Ryan of Coillte / Dublin Mountains Partnerships discussing the process of holding events and the correct procedures to follow in getting these events up and running.

Then a presentation was given by Jim Flynn and Fergal Somers on the events which have been carried out by the Ballyhoura Development who run such organised events as the Ballyhoura walking festival and the Ballyhoura beast among many others.

Lastly Matthew Bushby from The Mournes Heritage Trust gave a talk regarding the Mournes Event Strategy.

Finally we all participated in a practical workshop to see how we could incorporate Leave no trace into organised events.

I came away from the workshop with a far greater knowledge of how large events and groups can have an effect on our environment and how it is up to all of us going into the mountains to do our part.

We all have a duty of care to the mountains. We all gain so much from the benefits of hillwalking that sometimes it is nice to put a little something back, whether it is picking up a plastic bottle passed along the way, educating new members that it is not alright to throw banana skins or teabags on the floor, or considering a leave no trace workshop!

Some ways in which we can do our part is to follow the seven principles of the Leave no trace ethic. Join a mountain meitheal group for the day and volunteer your services, plan and organise a clean up day with the club in an area used frequently.

For any information on the Leave no trace ethics, Mountain meitheal or if any members would even be interested in becoming Leave no trace trainers please contact myself at or for further information follow the links below.