PMG Walk 10 – Wild Wild Wicklow!

PMG Walk 10 – Wild, Wild, Wicklow!

On Monday the 10th of February I walked my longest walk yet ofWalk 10 - Route Map 33.9kms - 8hrs 12mins PMG. 33.9kms in 8hrs 12mins, and probably, in the worst weather so far too! Wicklow was wild and stormy! Funny that I was sick the day before when I had planned to do this walk, and, you guess it, the weather was a lot nicer on Sunday as well! However, such is life!

I drove down to Laragh with blue skies on the coastline and clouds coming in over the mountains! Now keep in mind that I did check the weather and the forecast was the same as the day before. So I figured it would be ok walking weather. Ha, I was wrong! I started on the Wicklow way from a parking area beside the Glenmacnass river. I hear from my bother Philip that the river is a fast and wild river to kayak! I took the foot bridge over the river and had fast and easy access through the forest to my first summit of the day: Brockagh Mountain SE Top at 470m. It didn't count as an Arderin or Vandeleur-Lynam as it is too small! However it still has a pleasant summit with good views…or at least I would assume good views on a sunny day! 🙂

At this poinPMG Walk10 01t the cloud was sinking, and fast! Sleet and hail were coming down and by the time I reached Brockagh Mountain at 557m the weather had already closed in on me! (Summit #38/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin) From here on in I was heading into the unknown and it would be hours before I would come down out of the cloud. While up in the cloud I pondered: "Was I lucky that it was snowing and freezing making it easier to cross the bogs" or "was I unlucky in being sick the day before and thus missing the sunshine, but possibly making the bogs harder to cross due to the fact that they were not forzen"! I decided I was lucky! Sure, I would love to see the great views from the summits, but how often do you get snow frozen to your face and easy crossable bogs! 😉 Well maybe on a sunny summer’s day, but hey it was an adventure!

So after Brockagh Mountain at 557m I continued along my wayPMG Walk10 02 using the spot points T106998 (548m) and O099004 (546m) to help me in my navigating. Tonelagee NE Top 668m (Summit #39/454 – Mtn Class: Vandeleur-Lynam), Tonelagee 817m (Summit #40/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam) and Stoney Top 714m (Summit #41/454 – Mtn Class: Vandeleur-Lynam) were all easy enough walking. The spot point "Barnacullian" O074049 – 714m I used to help me on my way to Mullaghcleevaun 849m (Summit #42/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam). By this stage I was getting tired from the strong wind, snow and hail. At times the visibility was only 50 meters! Taking photos was very hard with the gusts of wind and the camera was constantly getting wet and on the summit of Mullaghcleevaun East Top 795m (Summit #43/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam) I took my gloves off to clean the lens… Well let me tell you, that was not a good idea! I had my gloves off for 1 minute and my hands froze and felt on fire! Ah fun times! However luck was on my side right 😉 I was now on the way to lower summits and I arrived at Carrigshouk at 571m (Summit #44/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin) way faster thaPMG Walk10 03n I thought I would…I guess the cold and wind were good motivators: P

On the way to Scarr I stopped off at Kanturk/Bown Mtn 523m which is not a part of PMG. Next my route took me to Scarr at 641m (Summit #44/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam). As I stood on the summit of Scarr I felt tired…but happy. The route was big, with 9 summits 8 of which count towards PGM! It was a rewarding day! I had worked hard for those summits! All that was left was to follow the track back down to the car. While on the way back to the car the sun made an appearance! The clouds were dark but blue skies were appearing fast. Yet another storm was coming to an end. They say we have now had 5 big storms in the last 4 weeks. However the blue skies gave me hope that someday soon I would have better walking weather! I left the wild wild Wicklow Mountains behind and drove home. Safe, sound and thinking of the walks that lay ahead!

PMG Walk10 04
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Project Mountain Goat – Month 1 Stats!

Project Mountain Goat – Month 1 Stats!

Well today Sunday the 9th of February marks one month of Project Mountain Goat! The final walk of month one was on Thursday the 6th of February. I had planned another walk today…a walk of 30kms and 8 summits but sadly I woke up sick this morning and my grand plans were thwarted! However I am still on target in spite of this terrible weather we have been having! The average number of summits I must do per month is 37.8, so I consider myself on target! So a big thanks to all the readers and for all the support and encouragement people have been giving me on this madness. It is always great to see that others think the project is as awesome as I do. For all the likes, shares and comments, cheers guys!

The “Stats” – Month 1!

10/01/2014 – 09/02/2014
Number of walks: 9
Total PMG summits: 37
Total non PMG summits: 4 (Not a Vandeleur-Lynam or Arderin)
Total summits: 41 (PMG and non PMG summits)
Total distance walked: 189.60kms
Total time walking: 45hrs 52mins

Here’s to month 2! The search for summits continues! Wish me luck!

PMG Walk4 01
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PMG Walk 9 – Fun on Lug; A trip to Prison!

PMG Walk 9 – Fun on Lug; A trip to Prison!

Walk 9 - Route Map 23.9kms - 6hrs 5minsOn Thursday the 6th of February I headed down to Lugnaquilla! I wanted to try the main gully on the South Prison! I had never been up that way so I was very excited! I figured with all the rain that we had had the snow would all be gone and the stream in the gully would be full on! I took the forest track and joined up with the trail that follows the river Ow. I know there is another way through the forest that brings you out closer to the South Prison but after all the rain I wanted to follow the river Ow and see what it was like! Following the river took a little longer than I thought butPMG Walk9 01 I ended up at the gully on the South Prison as planned. The gully itself was steep, wet and of course loads of fun. About mid-way up the gully there was a 1.5m section of waterfall/stream that you have to climb up. Obviously in dry weather this would be easier. After that section it got easier and I topped out of the gully on the left side. Kicking steps up the steep snow was great fun…sadly only for about 2 to 3 meters. I reached the summit of Lugnaquilla at 925m in great spirits (Summit #34/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam).PMG Walk9 02

I then continued around to Corrigasleggaun at 794m (Summit #35/454 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam). From here I had great views of the South Prison of Lugnaquilla and the gully I had climbed up. After a snack I backtracked a little and then went on to Cloghernagh at 800m (Summit #36/454 – Mtn Class: Vandeleur-Lynam). On the map the summit is about 100m west of the Cairn that is found on top of CloghernaghPMG Walk9 03. There is no real summit marker here but most just take the Cairn to be the summit. I know I have read that other people have noted on this on MountainViews.ie too.

Kelly’s Lough was my next port of call and finally Slieve Maan. Slieve Maan has a North and South summit that are nearly the same height. The higher summit is the South summit. I followed the forest tracks as much as I could but like most adventures, I had to leave the tracks behind and find my own way through thick forest and boggy underfoot conditions to the North summit. The North summit is in a forest clearing and for the best part you remain in a forest clearing all the way to the South summit. The small summit marker on Slieve Maan at 547.8m was found with a little bit of difficulty I must admit! (Summit #37/454 – Mtn ClaPMG Walk9 04ss: Arderin). From the summit I followed some forest tracks and self-made short cuts through the forest to join up with the last forest track that would take me back to my car! Over all it was a lovely day out in the hills with rather good weather….underfoot conditions were not as pleasant and crossing the mountain streams were at times “interesting” 😉 With another 4 summits done this brought me up to a total of 37!!! The walk length was average at 23.9kms in 6hrs and 5mins.

Just as an after note guys: There is an artillery range on the North-West side of Lugnaquilla so be aware of where you are and where you are planning to go! Better safe than sorry!

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Project Mountain Goat – 1 Arderin more!

Project Mountain Goat – 1 Arderin more!

So I just found out today that the mountain "Ott Mountain" in the Mourne Mountains has been re-measured and now is classified as an Arderin! As if the project of climbing 453 summits was not enough I now have one more to the list! 454 summits in 1 year! What else can I say but bring it on!!!

In other news I noticed that in the MountainViews.ie newsletter my profile caught some attention. In particular were the following routes, here is what was written:

"EAST: Nice vantage point
Good to see that people are now doing some night walking. Hopefully the visibility was good when simoburn did this circuit to the top of the Sugar Loaf. The view from the summit on a clear night out to the north east towards Bray and east to Greystones is wonderful with all the lights twinkling below and the cars sweeping along the motorway.
simoburn on Great Sugar Loaf Loop Walk
Did the normal loop route at night. 2 hrs – 5kms. walk, Length:5.3km, Climb: 379m, Area: Great Sugar Loaf, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) Great Sugar Loaf Click here"

"EAST: All at Sea/See
A five top round in one of the most popular areas of the mountains south of Dublin has been uploaded by simoburn, snaking from Seahan around to Kippure with a divergence to Seefin along the way. This provides a logical day's hillwalking; sufficiently logical that it cannot be sensibly linked to any adjacent summits.
simoburn on Seahan to Kippure Loop Walk
A loop walk of 21.8kms – 5hrs 8mins. Went up Seahan 647m, ac walk, Length:21.8km, Climb: 921m, Area: Seahan, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) Seahan, Corrig Click here"

"EAST: Have map – will travel!
The way simoburn is burning up the miles it seems to be a singular mission of some sort. This December the Wicklow mountains have been traversed in all directions and this track is no exception. Except for what looks like a little error in direction after Ballycurragh Hill this is a well executed butterfly circuit of the south Wicklow mountains.
simoburn on Ballinacor to Ballycurragh Hill – Too much forest!
32.2kms in 7hrs 53mins. Ballinacor Mtn 531m, Croaghanmoira 6 walk, Length:32.2km, Climb: 1335m, Area: Ballinacor Mountain, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) B Click here"

I would like to use this opportunity to say cheers to the guys over at MountainViews.ie for putting together such a great website that aids in finding, logging and researching mountains and walks around Ireland!

Right…back to work!

PMG Walk 8 – A dash to the hills between storms!

PMG Walk 8 – A dash to the hills between storms!

Walk 8 - Route Map 26.9kms - 6hrs 41minsOn Sunday the 2nd of February walk number 8 happened. Friday and Saturday saw some “unsettled” weather, and the forecast for Monday and Tuesday was not very desirable! So on Sunday I had a “dash to the hills between storms”!  For those of us that took to the hills in the Glendalough area on Sunday, we were blessed with rather good weather!! The clouds were there but visibility was still good and bar a passing snow shower or two it stayed dry. The wind was very strong and bitter cold at times, however there was definitely a break in the stormy weather, and I for one took full advantage of it!

PMG Walk8 01I had “intended” on an extra early started but i found the snooze button on my phone too many times! What should have been an 8am start turned into a 9.30am start (see I’m human after all)! I started from the lower Glendalough car park. The famous round tower of Glendalough looked impressive as usual and this alone puts Glendalough on the map for a visit! However for me, I was there for summit searching! The first peak of the day was Derrybawn Mountain at 474m. It doesn’t fall under the Arderin or Vandeleur-Lynam categories but worth the hike for the views alone! It was an easy track to the top and the view was great! From the summit you can see Glendalough lake and its steep valley! I was rather lucky as I was able to snap a photo of all this with a hint of a rainbow! It’s all about being in the right place at the right time, right? Note to self: Get a better camera Simon!!!

PMG Walk8 02From Derrybawn Mountain I took the ridge to Mullacor at 657m (Peak #28/453 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam), then to Lugduff SE Top at 637m (Peak #29/453 – Mtn Class: Vandeleur-Lynam) and Lugduff summit at 652m (Peak #30/453 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam). There’s not a whole lot to say about these mountains, you just follow the obvious ridge line from summit to summit. The wind was blowing hard and cold and I could see Lugnaquilla with snow and cloud cover across the Glenmalure valley to my left! The walking was good and the view equally so! My fifth summit of the day was Conavalla at 734m. There was some snow left on the summit but not as much as I thought there might have been. On the summit there are a few different Cairns but there is one that stands above the rest; It is found on top of a peat hag, and so, Conavalla at 734m was done, (Peak #31/453 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam).

PMG Walk8 03From the summit of Conavalla to Lough Firrib was “peat hag hell”! A network of peak hags half covered in melting snow, ice and water! Cross country skis or snow shoes may have saved my a lot of zigzagging around and over the peat hags but hey all in the name of adventure! I arrived at Lough Firrib to see a build up of ice of the lake, so it was worth the trip through the peat hag hell! From here I went through, over, around, in and out of a few more peat hags which brought me too the summit of Tomaneena (Turlough Hill) at 681m (Peak #32/453 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam). The summit is flat with boulders scattered around it. There is no summit marker here but on top of one of the boulders I felt was the highest spot!

PMG Walk8 04After Tomaneena one must skirt around the power plant (really attractive build on the mountain, hard to miss) and in this case take the track to Camaderry Mountain 698m (Peak #33/453 – Mtn Class: Arderin & Vandeleur-Lynam). The summit gives some lovely views. From here it was all tracks back to the car, I merely had to walk it! With my final summit done, sore feet and a body screaming “stop already” I headed down the spur of Camaderry Mountain towards the car! The cloud was slowly sinking down, covering the mountain tops meter by meter. With the summits behind me I enjoyed the view and took my time. All in all it was a great and enjoyable walk; maybe with the gap in the bad weather it made it that bit more enjoyable! It was like sneaking off to a mini adventure before the next spate of bad weather hit us! Oh how I cannot wait for spring to come!

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PMG Walk 7 – A long walk…

PMG Walk 7 – A long walk…

Walk 7 - Route Map 32.2kms - 7hrs 53minsAs the name would suggest, it was rather; a “long walk”! Walk number 7 felt like it would never happen. It was 7 days since the last walk and I was well rested and ready to go! The weather was not playing ball for me, walk number 7 should have happened days ago! With one weather warning after another I simply don’t appear to be getting a break from the winter storms. Frustration was settling in, the pent-up energy and excitement was getting to me! However, on Thursday the 30/01/2014 walk 7 was a go go go!!! With Philip joining me on this walk it was a welcomed change from the solitude of my previous walks. There were 5 summits, 4 of which would count towards the project. The route in the end would be 32.2kms and 7hrs 53mins. We would be, at the end of the day, safely back in the car sipping hot juice and wolfing down on small snacks! But first….the walking had to be done!

PMG Walk7 01It’s Ireland right?!?! So why would i expect sun, or even nice conditions this time of year? Instead, cloud, mist, and possible rain showers were forecasted for the day…ah, “so a nice dry balmy Irish day” i thought to myself 😉 The mist rising from the surrounding forests set an amazing scene as we started the walk on the mountain road towards our first summit. Ballinacor Mountain at 531m (24/453) was our first summit of the day. It was easy walking and with the company of Philip the walking flew by! After reaching the summit we continued along the track to Croaghanamoira at 664m (25/453) (how in the name of god do i pronounce PMG Walk7 02that?) our second summit of the day! It was so cold on the summit the “possible showers” forecasted came down as hail…which was a damn sight better than rain in my opinion! After Croaghanamoira we hauled ass over to the North West spot point of Croaghanamoira before heading into the “charming” forest/deforested section of the route to Carrickasane Mountain.

Carrickashane Mountain was fun; it was only fun because we were in the mood for it! The “small” summit Cairn can be found in a “small” opening in the forest. The forest is…dense! ThPMG Walk7 03e trees are small enough in places. The trees are close enough in places…the trees are not your friends here!!! However squeezing through the trees with GPS in hand was actually great fun! It truly was a “search for summits” moment. With map and compass (which we had too) this would also be possible but i got to test out the Garmin eTrek 20 and it is impressive! Carrickashane Mountain at 508m (26/453) was our third summit and certainly the most fun summit of the day! On another note; the amount of trees blown over from the Christmas and New Year’s storms are shocking. Navigating through the forest from Croaghanamoira to Carrickashane Mountain was fun and if you were to follow my GPS track you would see why 🙂

PMG Walk7 04From Carrickashane Mountain “short cuts” through the forest were taken for better and at times for worse :/ We followed forest tracks, walking trails, the Wicklow way and mountain roads to bring us over the valley and river of Ow. The next summit Ballyteige 447m was a summit of deforestation and looked like a bomb had hit it! The summit is not an Arderin or Vandeleur-Lynam; it was just a summit on our route! The finally summit of the day was Ballycurragh Hill at 536m (27/453). Reaching this summit was not a lot of fun! I was tired, and sick of forest tracks that didn’t link up or that took you all around the mountain in zigzags! We took a few “short cuts” and finally reached the summit of Ballycurragh Hill, our last summit of the day!PMG Walk7 05

The walk back to the car was…”character building”…it was in fact “a long walk”! 😉 We checked out the river Ow on the way back! I thought that maybe we would be able to cross it. We could not, but it looked like a fun river to kayak down someday, so we will be going back to check that out! Thanks for reading guys! Look out for walk 8, coming soon! Until then, i will be in my back garden doing naked sun dances…I hear it helps!

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PMG – Walk 5 & 6! From Summer to Winter!

PMG – Walk 5 & 6! From summer to winter!

Walk 5 - Route Map 23.9kms - 5hrsMonday mornings are normally never fun! Those Monday Morning Blues! Well my Monday morning was all set for a walk! I had it all planned. The weather looked good and i was itching to get back out and do some more summits! Of course, that was before Sunday night happened! Old friends of mine, Toine and Kris, were back in town for the night! As any good friend would do, I welcomed them in to my home; opened some beers, vodka (I hate vodka) and the shindig began! At some point in the early hours of the morning i sought refuge in bed and i succumbed to a deep sleep!

PMG Walk5 01Monday morning… it was not a bright or early start. It was more a blurry eyed wobbliness sort of start to the day! With climbing and walking plans discussed for 2014 I saw off Toine and Kris, wished them fair well and I had decided to call the walk off. It was already 12pm. However, while standing in the sun waving goodbye I thought; “ah to hell with it, to the hills”! I packed fast and drove equally so, and found myself at the Sally Gap at 1pm!PMG Walk5 02

Walk 5 was on (20/01/2014)! At 1.15pm I started to jogged down the road to the entrance of Lough Tay. I continued to jog right down to the valley floor and found myself heading up Luggala the normal way! The cliffs of Luggala looked great and I dreamt of rock climbing as I hiked! I went hard and fast and my lord was I paying for the night before! I reached thePMG Walk5 03 summit of Luggala at 595m (15/453), snapped some photos and started on a steady and straight march across to Carrigvore. It was wet in the bog but it was like summer out there! Winter was gone…for today at least! Carrigvore at 682m (16/453) was reached with no difficulty and I drove on along the ridge to reach Gravale at 718m (17/453), then Duff Hill at 720m (18/453). There was a trace of snow still along the ridge and Mullaghcleevaun was capped with snow and looked grPMG Walk5 04eat! The easy work was now done. The last hard leg of the walk was to begin. The slog across the bog from Duff Hill to Knocknacloghoge, but as I said in my head; “nut up or shut up!”

The sunset was beautiful! What more can one say! What was not so beautiful was this long slog to Knocknacloghoge. The head torch was out and I reached the summit just as it was dark. 5 summits done but the long walk back to the car was still to be finished. I soldiered on, happy to have had such a glorious day for walking; a day I nearly didn’t seize!

 

Walk 6! WintWalk 6 - Route Map 16kms - 4hrs 10minsers back! Wednesday the 22nd of January saw winter return! Gone were the blue skies and gone was the sun; well in the mountains where I was anyways! Walk 6 of Project Mountain goat took me to the Blessington area. I would start on a small hill called “Carrigleitrim” which stood at 408m and would not come under the Arderin or Vandeleur-Lynam categories. I should warn people at this stage that my route here took me through some bush whacking / forestry which was rather dense in places. However I managed to find the summit and continue aloPMG Walk6 01ng my way to Sorrel Hill (20/453) which stood at 599m and became my second summit of the day and the first summit to “count” as a Arderin.

I found this walk somehow boring. Maybe it was the cloud, maybe it was the road like track up Black Hill 603m (21/453), but the walk seemed the least fun or interesting walk so far! Maybe I was just tired!?!? Maybe it was the lack of sun which I had been graced with on the previous walk! After reaching Black Hill and after a slightPMG Walk6 03 downhill section I had a long contour around to a place called “Billy Byrne’s Gap.” On reaching this and seeing it written on the map I could not help but grin to myself. With the surname “Byrne”, and the aptly named Project Mountain “Goat”, it seemed like a place destined to be visited by moi! PMG Walk6 02

Throughout the day, the cloud level did rise every now and then to reveal its views of the reservoir below! Moanbane 703m (22/453) and Silsean 698m (22/453) were easily achieved, but sadly with no great views 🙁  The summits for the day where done. On reaching the forest track near Ballyknockan I sadly came across a dumping site. This made me sad but equally mad! I cannot understand how people can do this, and, we unfortunately see this all too often in the WickloPMG Walk6 04w mountains! We shall, however, not end on a sad note! The walk was done, but as this was my first walk that was not a loop walk I had to hitch back to the car! All in all it took 1 hour and 3 lovely people that stopped and picked me up. Some hope in humanity after all! With 16kms of hill walking and 4 more summits done, the day was still a good one!

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PMG Walk 4 – Megalithic Tombs, Bog Labyrinths & 5 Summits!

PMG Walk 4 – Megalithic Tombs, Bog Labyrinths & 5 Summits!

PMG Walk 4 - Route Map 21.8kms - 5hrs 8minsWalk 4 (Friday 17/01/2014) of Project Mountain Goat was graced with better weather than the previous walk. The walk known as “The Kilbride Loop” of 4 summits was to be the base of my walk however i would add one extra summit; Kippure 757m. I would also start and finish in the Dodder valley (I think it’s called that anyways) by the lake/reservoir.

PMG Walk4 01The day started like any other…me, struggling to get out of bed, wolfing down some cereal and tea and then out the door! The drive woke me up but the rain dampened my spirits a little. When i finally got parking the walk was off to a good start. The rain had stopped and the clouds looked as if they were going to lift! The first summit of the day was Seahan at 647m (10/453) which was cloud covered and apparently also had a Megalithic Tomb. I forgot to look out for this Tomb and of course saw no sign of it with my head buPMG Walk4 02ried in the clouds rather than in ancient history scouting.

Summit two was Corrig Mountain at 617m (11/453). Here the cloud was still down and the eerie gunshot sounds from the military base below echoed through the cloud with a foreboding of “don’t walk off the wrong side of the mountain today Simon”. Seefingan at 723m (12/453) finally loomed out of the clouds and was the third summit of the day. This summit had a huge Cairn on it also! Summit four won the summit of the day for me today. Seefin, at 621m (13/453) has at its summit, a Megalithic Tomb with a passage chamber that you can actually squeeze through! I honestly mean sqPMG Walk4 03ueeze through which of course I did, after my lunch of brown bread and butter…maybe I should have saved it for after the Tomb exploring!

Finally, after what seemed like hours of bog slogging through what can only be described as “Bog Labyrinths” (check out the full photo album, link below) I arrived at the summit of Kippure at 757m (14/453). Now in all fairness they do have warning signs of falling iPMG Walk4 04ce from the huge mast overhead, however, being a bit of a perfectionist I needed to take a summit photo. While doing so I was narrowly missed by falling ice! Yikes ;/ After this, more bog slogging down the slopes of Kippure towards the car where walk number 4 ended and I went home with 5 more summits climbed!

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PMG – Summit Searching – Walk 1, 2 & 3!

PMG – Summit Searching – Walk 1, 2 & 3!

PMG Walk 1 - Route MapAnd so it all began on the night of Friday the 10th of January 2014! The project of climbing all 453 summits in the Vandeleur-Lynam and Arderin mountain categories in 1 year! Walk one was to an all-time favourite summit of mine that i often hike up after work, or when looking for a quiet moment with grePMG Walk1 01at views. The Great Sugar Loaf, standing at 501m it just makes it into the Arderins category. I decided to do this at night as i was busy during the day and there would be a 3/4 moon with clear skies. Plus my sister Megan and her friend Zeb had never been up a mountain in the dark. So we had to remedy that, right? My broheim Philip would join in also. After all this was the first mountain of the project and one of many more to go.

The routPMG Walk1 02e, as you will be able to see in the map, was a loop walk of 5.3kms and would in the end take us 2hrs and 4mins to complete (we went clockwise along the route). The moon was so bright that we hardly needed to use the head torches, which of course was lovely! The weather was prefect, bar the fact that it was dark 😉 On reaching the summit the view of the lights of Dublin and the surrounding area was an amazing sight. Once we were safe and sound back at the car, summit 1/453 was done…and i started to realise the enormity of this project! :/

 

PMG Walk 2 - Route MapWalk 2 of PMG was on Saturday the 11/01/2014. On this route i was going solo, just me and the mountains, yeah baby! This route would be 22.9kms and take me 5hrs 6mins to complete. The mountains in order would be Prince William’s Seat 555m, Knocknagun 555m, Glendoo Mountain 586m, Tibradden Mountain 467m (doesn’t count as a Vandeleur-Lynam or Arderin) and Two Rock Mountain 536m. See the map for the route!

The day itself was as good as it gets for this PMG Walk2 01time of year; Sun, light winds and a little cold but not too cold. The first summit of the day was Prince William’s Seat at 555m (2/453). I got to watch the sun rise up behind the Great Sugar Loaf that i had climbed the night before. Spectacular! From here i headed on to Knocknagun at 5PMG Walk2 0255m (3/453) and Glendoo Mountain at 586m (4/453). There is nothing really to “write home about” here, except, the view! However as i walked i came to realise two things. One; 453 summits are a lot of summits. And two; I’m going to be alone for a lot of these walks. I mean alone, disconnected, isolated from friends and family, and that made me think “why on gods earth am i doing this”…answers to be found i guess, or maybe i just love a challenge!

PMG Walk2 03As the day went on i reached the summits of Tibradden Mountain at 467m (doesn’t count as a Vandeleur-Lynam or Arderin as it is too small. It felt big enough while i was climbing it I’ll have you know :p) and Two Rock Mountain at 536m (5/453). What stood out the most here to me was the monument on the summit of Tibradden Mountain. It was an “open cairn with pseudo-passage leading to the centre.” Inside this was a “StonPMG Walk2 04e with spiral patterns.” (Thanks Wikipedia) Afterwards, at Two Rock Mountain i got to see the view of Dublin, which was kind of special in its own way! The long hike back to the car parked at the base of the Prince William’s Seat took what felt like an age. I followed the Wicklow Way with my switched off brain, store feet, but with 4 more summits off the list! 🙂

 

PMG Walk 3 - Route MapWalk 3 of PMG was today, Wednesday the 15/01/2014. Again i was alone, solo, braving the elements. The route was 16.7kms which would take me 3hrs 45mins to complete. It took the summits (in order) of Maulin 570m, Tonduff 642m, War Hill 686m & Djouce Mountain 725m. The weather….hmmm, the weather was positively Irish. That is probably the best way of describing it without the use of the words; wet, mist, rain, very wet, wall of water… I’mPMG Walk3 01 sure you get the point. Visibility was also rather poor but not quite “bad”!

As you can see in the map, this was another loop walk starting at Djouce woods. I took the track to Djouce, followed by the Wicklow way up towards Maulin (6/453). A walking track continued to the summit of Maulin and as i reached the summit the rain finally caught up with me. The cloud covered Tonduff (7/453); South and North Summits were found with horizontal rain and strong gusts of wind. The flat summit of Tonduff appePMG Walk3 02ars to have 3 different sets of cairns that mark the summit. However one did in my humble option stand above the rest. Of course i popped up to all three to have a look.

After horizontal rain at Tonduff i headed towards War Hill, which in spite of its name is no hill but a mountain of 686m. The bog between these two peaks was wet and boggy. Did i mention it was a little wet and boggy? 😉 As i crossed the bog i had this image in my mind that i would disappear in to some watery boggy hole and not be found for 1000 years. My mummified body would surely be a PMG Walk3 03great find in the future though, right?!?! War Hill (8/453), tick, done, nothing else to say. Couldn’t see much with the cloud anyways! The next and last summit of the day was Djouce Mountain at 725m, which was the highest summit i have been atop of since i started PMG. On the summit the wind was so strong it kept knocking me off my Elven like balance (that’s for you Megan & Tara). And so summit (9/453) was completed anPMG Walk3 04d i marched promptly back to the car!

As an after note: After i got home, showered and got myself nice and dry again, i look out the window….and the bloody sun was shining its bright sunny arse off! Ah yes, Murphy’s Law! Until the next outing folks…go climb a mountain or a cliff or something! Slán! :p

See the complete photo album here or on Facebook here:

 

Project Mountain Goat – A Search for Summits

Project Mountain Goat – A Search for Summits

Well it's 2014!!! A new year, new goals, resolutions and projects. This year i found myself in need of a new project. Not that in previous years I didn't have any projects. For the last couple of years my main goal each year was to climb (rock climb) more new rock routes than the previous year. Being a climber this of course was an enjoyable goal which took me to many different areas near and far, climbing hundreds of routes. Sadly in 2013 i failed my goal of climbing more routes than in 2012. Not because i was lazy par-say. Not that the best Irish summer in many years prevented me from climbing..no no no! It was a loss of interest in the goal itself. After chasing this goal each year since 2006 i thought a new goal or project was needed this year! And so i found myself cast into a new year without a project or big goal to drive towards..until now 🙂

In the early hours in the morning at the start of January 2014 i was sitting at my computer. A mess of excel sheets and emails open before me…ok i won't lie, Facebook was open in a tab too. Either way, while looking through old files i found an excel sheet of all the Irish mountains above 600 metres, with a tick beside those summits i had climbed. I thought to myself, "my god i remember this list". The list was started way back in 2003 in my early hill walking days but somewhere along the way i totally forgot about it. An idea then started to form.

To understand this idea that was forming rather too fast for my liking, you must first understand a few things about mountains, Irish mountains. Not that they're often cloud covered, wet, bog riddled and plentifully, but that there are "class" or "categories" of hills and mountains. The two main categories that we seem to use here are the "Vandeleur-Lynams" and the "Arderins". The Vandeleur-Lynams are hills or mountains that are 600 metres or over with a drop of at least 15 metres on all sides. An Arderin is a hill or mountain of 500 metres or over with a drop of at least 30 metres on all sides. There are 269 Vandeleur-Lynams and 404 Arderins. A summit of course could actually fall under both categories also. Have I lost anyone yet? Are you all keeping up? I'm pretty sure you see where this is going!

So long story short, after counting the summits, they are in total 453 (correct me if i am wrong please) summits in Ireland (North & South) that are a Vandeleur-Lynam, an Arderin or both. 453 summits! Hmmm. "2 years", i thought to myself. "I could climb all 453 summits over 2 years." Then with a little thought i figured that was "too doable!" "1 year", i said! 1 year, as in 12 months, as in 365 days. "Now that's a challenge my good man, a project!" The start date was yet to be determined. The idea simply kept swirling around my head. "1 year – 453 summits"…"oh lord what am I about to do?"

Now maybe I'm having an early mid-life crisis or something. After all i am turning 30 this year, yikes! Or maybe I'm simply mad, lost my marbles, whatever the reason, the project appeals to me to no end. It's a throw back to my hill walking days, the reason i got into all this climbing nonsense in the first place :p It all started with hill walking. I honestly do think it's possible though and so "Project Mountain Goat" is a go as of today, 10/01/2014. Now i do realise there is a considerable chance of failure when you think about a few factors like: Work commitments, social commitments, sitting on my mighty fine backside commitments. Or even the cost of this project. I, like most on our fine Isle, am broke. Then there is the weather, or possible injury that may slow me down. So with all these considerations, 1 year or 12 months or 356 days suddenly got shorter.

On so, without further ado, further chit chat, further bending the ear off anyone that will listen… This evening i will start with the "Great Sugar Loaf". An Arderin of 501 metres will be my first summit in the Project. It will be an ascent in the dark with some friends to kick it all off! Long days are ahead; this evening will be an easy stroll in the park compared to some of the routes that i have planned. I will GPS track all the routes, take a photo of my big beautiful face on each summit and hopefully by 09/01/2015 i will have completed Project Mountain Goat. I will also be updating my progress on two different websites used to track peak bagging: www.hill-bagging.co.uk and www.mountainviews.ie

Wish me luck and watch out for the next blog post!

Simon

aka Mountain Goat
aka Log-Boy (that's for you John)