15 Apr 2022: An action packed day: A 5am start, a 10pm finish, 450 Km of driving, 10 High Point Ireland Sport Hillwalking Locations visited, 63 points gained in the All Ireland Hillwalking Championships. Walking boots, wellingtons, wet gear and bikes were all used on road, trails and mud. Here's how it went!
The weather wasn't promising for the day, especially for the morning. It was misting as we set off, however as we approached the start of the Knockfeerina trail as dawn was breaking, all rainfall had come to a halt. Even though it is a beautiful walk with great views, today's plan was to use the bikes, get our points and head for the next location on our list. It didn't look like the sunrise was going to be visible with low cloud surrounding the peak but to the west the almost full moon was setting nicely so we set up the GoPro in the hope that we could capture a nice sunrise. The cross on top of Knockfeerina was nicely lit and looked amazing in the dawn’s light and we wasted no time logging on Peakhunter and returned to the car with just over 30 minutes having passed. Unfortunately the timelapse wasn't successful as the moon also decided to hide away soon after we set the camera recording. With our first three points of the day in the bag, we set off towards Limerick for the next location, Woodcock Hill.
Woodcock Hill is easily logged, parking at the entrance to the Irish Aviation Authority radar site with a short walk to the trig. This earned us another 4 points and we were soon on our way heading for Ballycuggaran Forest to tackle Moylussa, the highest point of Clare.
I awoke from a nice nap in the car to misty rain as Dad parked up in our third County since leaving home (Cork, Limerick and now Clare) and it was still only half past eight in the morning! Both bikes and wet gear were used here now that rain had arrived but we had a secret weapon to use at the top: Wellingtons! Those would come in handy as the extra 4 points gained by visiting the NW top required the traversal of extremely boggy ground. All was going well taking into account the misty conditions, we were passing many walkers as we proceeded upwards and suddenly I noticed Dad had come to a standstill, so I doubled back for a look. It turned out that the chain had jumped and pulled the rear derailleur into the wheel spokes causing some damage to the derailleur, but luckily the wheel escaped without damage. After a rough fix which limited the bike to one gear we were off again, hoping that the makeshift fix would last. The steepest part of this walk is at the end and is suitable for walking only so we hopped off the bikes and pulled on our wellingtons, setting off for the final ascent. We logged the SE point first, before trudging through the muddy bog to the NW top. While the SE point is clearly marked by a plaque on a large boulder, the NW top is unmarked so Peakhunter was critical here to provide evidence of our visit. Once we had it logged we didn't delay getting back to the bikes and back to the car as fast as possible, passing many devoted walkers climbing in the poor conditions on our way. Thankfully the bike held out and we were quickly back at the car with 8 more points secured!
With the bikes loaded and wet gear off we headed to Tountinna, on the other side of Killaloe. Walking is an option here if you set off from the Graves of The Leinster Men but that's not what we were interested in today so instead we drove up the mast road in the car. As it was now raining quite heavily we were happy to be able to log it without venturing far from the car. Five more easy points attained and after a spot of lunch in the car we were on the road again with the satnav set for Keeper Hill.
We arrived to the entrance of Keeper Hill’s walks at Doonane Forest Car Park and surprisingly found the road into the car park is in very poor condition. It is a nice family walk of about 16Km but our plan again was to cycle as much as possible but as it was still raining quite heavily we just decided to keep driving and see how far we could get. With every corner and turn we just kept going and soon enough we were parked within 3km from the peak. We decided not to use the bikes, but the big decision was what to wear, as the weather was constantly fluctuating from dry to rain. A fellow walker passed by and I couldn't but agree with his comment; “Are we mad?”! Eventually we decided to go with the wets and we were soon logging at the top before making our way back towards the car, happy as Larry with another twelve points.
Next up was Cullaun, an easy enough one. We were able to bring the car to within 2km of the top, allowing us to be back on the road again with five more points within 45 minutes.
The Devil's Bit was our next target offering up 6 more points. The weather was now dry and sunny so with our walking boots on we set off to reach the trig point and logged it using Peakhunter. There were some great views from the top and as we descended we met plenty others out for the afternoon sunshine and fresh air.
We decided to break slightly from our original plans to include Arderin, the county High Point of Laois and Offaly, which would boost our points by another eleven. Having frequently climbed this one it was smooth sailing all the way to the top but experience told us to use the wellingtons once again and that was definitely the right decision. Usually our visits here are surrounded by fog but today we had clear conditions. Eventhough we were fast enough up and down we were certain it was nothing like the pace of Carolyn McKinney, who, five days previous had set a blistering time during her County High Point Challenge. Well done Carolyn and team.
The evening was moving on now and we still had a few more in mind. Clomantagh Hill is always a nice walk through old stone walled fields with whitethorn trees and limestone rocks speckled amoung the grass. A quick walk as the sun started to set meant another five points before we were on the road heading south once again.
The sunset was amazing, setting the sky on fire.
With the sun now setting quickly as we drove, we decided on just one more short log for four final points at Knocknamuck. Again no bother here with a very quick walk to the High Point from the car.
With just over an hour to drive home we fueled up at McDonald's on route, delighted with our tally of sixty three points from the day long adventure.
03 Apr 2022: Lured in by the attractive double points awarded by completing a Mountain Challenge within 24 hours, we set off at 9am on Sunday morning for Knocknafallia East, one of the 8 locations that we had to log on Peakhunter to claim the bonus points. The 8 Sport hillwalking locations in The Knockmealdown Mountains Challenge are:
After logging both Knocknafallia East & West, we followed the stone wall which stretches along the Waterford/Tipperary Border. A slight detour of about 10m over the wall was Knocknagnauv and after logging that we continued to follow the wall up the severely steep slopes of Knockmealdown, the highest point in the county of Waterford.
We sat down to eat our lunch there, admiring the stunning views visible thanks to the clear, sunny weather. A few lads on dirt bikes joined us at the top as well, which was a surprise for sure.
Next we followed the well-worn path from Knockmealdown over to Sugarloaf Hill (Which like Temple Hill, is most definitely not a hill), detouring slightly to log Knockmoylan on our way.
Still following the border wall, we descended down to Baylough Car Park before ascending up the other side of the valley to Knocknalougha. From there, it was a straightfoward walk (now no longer following the wall) to our last log of the day, Knockshanahullion before our final descent to the car we parked earlier above Clogheen.
02 Apr 2022: We were up at the crack of dawn (4:30 to be precise) and walking up the Black Road towards Galtymore by 5:10, supporting the Climb With Charlie cause. It was a chilly morning, and as we climbed higher the winds started to pick up and a thick fog surrounded us, blocking out all views. Due to these conditions, when we reached the top we quickly logged on Peakhunter and took a picture at the cross before returning to the much calmer lowlands, where we caught a glimpse of the sunrise. We met a lot of others out to support the cause on our way down.
R.I.P Cora O’Grady and condolences to her family and friends.
01 Apr 2022: A beautiful climb up Seefin offered us some simply stunning views, including the Galtees, Kilcruig, and the Knockmealdowns. I timelapsed the sunset, but it turned out a bit shaky due the gusty winds. We earned another 6 points for the The All-Ireland Hillwalking Championships, helping us to claw our way a bit further up the leaderboard.
25 Mar 2022: A quick evening cycle up Slievenamuck under quickly darkening skies, racking up a few extra points for The All-Ireland Hillwalking Championships.
13 Mar 2022: Having already climbed all of the mountains on the western side of the Galtees that had points in the The All-Ireland Hillwalking Championships, we decided to give the Eastern Galtees a go. The weather was the only issue, a lot of rain and wintery conditions in the forecast for the weekend. However, the weather app gave some hope on Sunday morning and only showed an odd shower throughout the day so we decided to give it a try.
We planned to visit the following locations:
We set off up the forestry road before veering off onto the open mountain. We followed a small stream up the gradual climb to Laghtshanaquila. There was a slight drizzle as we walked with plenty water underfoot from all the recent rain. On reaching the top we logged it and headed in the direction of Greenane and on route we stopped at Fearbreaga and made use of the stone cairn as shelter for our lunch. It looked bright and clear as we looked over the cairn wall but a fair wind seemed to be coming up from Lake Muskry.
Onwards towards Greenane, passing a few blotches of snow on our way, we were caught in our first passing shower of the day, strong pelting hail stones hitting us from the side with the small balls of ice stinging our faces. Luckily it passed away quickly and the blue skies were back with the breeze drying us off very quickly. We could see a long line of snow along the ridge of Galtybeg in the distance.
Next we made our way over to Grenane West and by the time we had reached Lachlan’s Castle the sun was beaming down on us once again. This section was quite boggy so we took care when crossing even though our boots were already saturated at this stage!
After logging Greenane West, we headed over to our second last peak of the day, Galtybeg. We endured another mighty hail shower as we made our way over to the base of galtybeg which offered some shelter from the elements. We made short work of the steep climb and by the time we were logging Galtybeg all of the rain and hail had blown off, leaving us once again with clear skies.
After Galtybeg we had only one destination left to tick off of our list, Cush. The jarring descent from Galtybeg towards Cush was followed by a steep but manageable climb to reach the top. From there we could see the remainder of snow all across the Galtee range, which had mainly collected in a few pockets. We took our time on the descent and enjoyed a refreshing can of Coke on the drive home happy with our well earned 40 points.
06 Mar 2022: It's only been six days since High Point Ireland's "The All-Ireland Hillwalking Championships" kicked off. The competition takes place over 8 months and challenges participants to visit as many Sport Hillwalking Locations to rack up the most points within the 8 month window. So, if we have a whole 8 months to nab some points, what are we doing here in Anglesboro before 7am on a Sunday morning ready to head towards Temple Hill and beyond? Well, since Tuesday almost 20 walkers have scored points. And it’s not just one or two points either, some are almost at 100 already! So, we decided it's time to claw our way some bit up the leaderboard again.
There are 10 peaks in the Galtee range where points can be earned. If all 10 are climbed within a 24hr period, you get double points. However, I think we’ll settle for four peaks today and leave the ambition of doing all ten together for a longer summer day maybe. The four we are tackling today are;
Johnny joined us and we set off out of the village walking against a backdrop of pinky-orange morning skies. First up was Temple Hill, which most definitely is not a hill! It’s steep slopes are true lung-busters, so we decided to skirt around the peak and log it on the return leg of our journey instead.
The weather was spectacular; Bright blue skies dotted with fluffy clouds. After skirting Temple Hill, we headed over to Knockaterriff, which involved lots of descent followed by a short ascent to the Peak.
Next, Monabrack! Standing at 630m tall, this was our lowest mountain of the day but by no means the easiest to access. To get there, we had to descend 300m into a valley, and then climb back out again! We stopped for food admiring the peaceful valley and Blackrock river as it meandered around the stone walls of what looked like an old farm enclosure.
After our picturesque break, it was back to the climbing, using some of a zig zag track to help us out of the valley and then leaving it to reach the top of Monabrack.
From there we headed towards Cornabinnia before veering left for Lyracappul, following the Galty wall.
Finally, we set out eyes yet again on Temple Hill, this time aiming directly for the trig point to log our last mountain for today and claim our well deserved 32 points.
All that was left from there was to make our way back down to Anglesboro, the reverse of what we did in the morning.
04 Mar 2022: Started off the Weekend by nabbing 5 more points for The All-Ireland Hillwalking Championships on Slievereagh. A nice evening climb in the fading light offering brilliant views of the Galtees & beyond.
01 Mar 2022: After a massive feed of pancakes, Dad and I logged knocknascagh our first High Point for the The All-Ireland Hillwalking Championship. A quick walk under the dark skies, dry, not too cold, ideal for walking off the pancakes.
26 Feb 2022: Some patchy rain and strong winds during our 80km over and back trip on the Limerick Greenway. A lovely smooth surface, brilliant for some cycling!