May Bank Holiday Highpointeering

Patrick O’Brien tells us how he and his son Dillon continue their 10,000m Challenge climbing the High Points of the Junior and Minor Gribbon lists in the northeast over the May bank holiday weekend.


Over the May bank holiday we were visiting family in Dublin and decided to use Dublin as a base to continue our highpointeering, aiming to complete some climbs from our target lists for this year, The Junior, Minor and Essential Gribbons as well as adding metres to our Ten Thousand Metre Challenge for Barretstown. Looking at our to-do list, we aimed to complete the northeast of Ireland if the conditions were favourable. We planned to do Divis and Slieve Croob on the Sunday and hopefully Loughanleagh and Brougher Mountain on Monday.

Dillon and I set off for Divis on Sunday morning having arranged to meet Kieron Gribbon at the car park. Kieron led the way slightly left of Divis top and our first stop was in rough ground to log Divis West Slope. Some great views already from here, including Lough Neagh. The weather was lovely but a small bit of haze was a slight issue for the views. We took a few pictures and logged the high point on Peakhunter before taking the final short stroll to the top of Divis. A small heap of stones marked the high point while a trig pillar is located on slightly lower ground a short distance away as well as a large mast compound. Divis was another of our Junior Gribbons completed.

We continued in the direction of Belfast initially before turning right. Belfast was becoming clearer in the haze at this stage. Kieron led us on the Ridge Trail including a nice boardwalk section over to Black Mountain. We could now see the Harland & Wolff Cranes in the Belfast Shipyards and Slieve Donard was also becoming visible. Kieron pointed out Slieve Croob (our plan for the afternoon) in the distance to us.

The remainder of the loop back to the car park was easy going and time flew with plenty to talk about for all three of us. We spent over three hours in the area walking just over 10km. Thanks to Kieron for showing us around and telling us all about the area. We could see how popular as a family outing Divis was with people coming and going constantly while we ate our picnic.

Within an hour we were parking at the start point of Slieve Croob, our final Junior Gribbon and once again setting off on a nicely surfaced path towards the top.  Both sides of the path were grassy farmland even though it was quite hilly. The weather was ideal for the gentle climb and there were a good few people walking that day also. From the top the views were spectacular and Slieve Donard was visible behind a strip of low-lying cloud while on the other side Belfast was clear in the distance. We discussed Drumkeeragh Hill, another nearby Gribbon location, with Kieron earlier that day. He had advised about issues with accessability due to the thick forests on the hill. From the top of Croob we could pick out the highpoint using Peakhunter and could see exactly what Kieron was advising us about. We decided to give it a miss this time, returned to the car and set off back for Dublin happy that we had just completed “The Junior Gribbons”.

We set off on Monday morning towards County Cavan for the start point of Loughanleagh at a Picnic Area (Mohercrum) between Bailieborough and Kingscourt. There are good information signs at the picnic area describing the local heritage including a nearby stone that St. Patrick was said to have knelt on. The high point of Loughanleagh is a short trek on the other side of the road. There are nice forestry walks in this area along with the picnic site making it a very suitable spot for families.

Next we headed for Brougher Mountain almost two hours away, the journey ending with a road that almost reached the high point. A large compound of masts clutter the area but the views all around were amazing including, in the distance, Cuilcagh mountain. The high point and trig pillar are on the opposite side of the compound. We turned for Dublin happy with another two Minor Gribbons completed.

On Tuesday it was time to return home but not without a stop in Kildare Village for some shopping. A quick look at High Point Ireland and Dillon and I had an instant shopping escape! “Dunmurry Hill” another Minor Gribbon just a few miles outside Kildare and with an access road to the masts at the top. The gate on the access road is locked but it is only a short walk to the top where you leave the access road briefly to log the high point at a trig pillar in almost new condition. We took our time and were still back in Kildare Village well before the shopping expedition was complete.

We were delighted to pack so much into the couple of days and were so lucky with the weather for the walking. We completed our last two Junior Gribbons and a further three from the Minor list. Well over 1,000 Km travelled in the car again but some great areas visited for the first time and great to have the chance to meet up with Kieron Gribbon again.

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