Two Essential High Points 

Patrick O’Brien tells us about recent visits to two Essential High Points: Brandon Mountain and Galtymore Mountain.

The Essential High Points sub-list comprises twenty “must visit” summits from the Gribbon list of Ireland’s major geographical High Points. We climbed two from the list last weekend: Dillon and Johnny’s first visit to Brandon Mountain on Friday and our local – Dillon’s favourite – Galtymore Mountain on Sunday.

Johnny picked us up at seven on Friday morning and we set off for the Saints Path outside Dingle. We selected that route as it is a safer option and visibility was poor with heavy mist falling. We were walking before ten and the mist continued but the route is well marked with short white poles and 14 timber crosses marking the Stations of the Cross. There were a number of others going up and down that day despite the mist. Reaching the summit we still had limited visibility and no views in any direction. We logged Brandon Mountain on Peakhunter and sat to eat some lunch. Every so often a brief window opened giving us some views towards Dingle but none to the other side. We took a few pictures when the opportunity arose before heading back down to the car.  We all enjoyed the walk and for Dillon and me it was our second last Essential High Point completed with just Hungry Hill in Cork left to complete. Before heading for home we took a short detour to Brandon Creek, a very scenic area close by, where it is said that St. Brendan set sail back in the 6th century. Our final stop was for dinner in The South Pole Inn in Annascaul, home of Antarctic explorer Tom Crean, where Dillon was delighted to open the “window out to the wilds” and look at all the memorabilia of the great explorer.

Saturday evening I got a text from a friend, “we are climbing Galtymore tomorrow”, a message I often get around this time of year, usually enquiring about the weather and walking conditions etc. Ciarán has made this a yearly event for a number of years now, bringing his daughter and friends out of the city, away from other distractions to what he now sees as a relatively safe, achievable adventure while still being a quiet rewarding mountain to have climbed. Starting when the group were in their teens they are now all college age with summer jobs and were delighted to get away from it all again for their day out in the hills.

We set off on the Black Road around half eleven in nice walking conditions, turning occasionally to see the views towards the Knockmealdowns, Fermoy and Mitchelstown with Galtymore wearing a hat of cloud for most of our trip to the summit. At the top we took a few pictures with Buddha and the Trig Pillar and made our way over to the cross for more pictures, taking shelter nearby to have our lunch. As we ate we could see Tipperary town, Aherlow, Keeper Hill and most of county Tipperary and Limerick. After the food we were delighted the views had opened up in all directions and we could now see the Ballyhouras, Slievenamon and the Comeraghs.

We took our time going down, with plenty of chat and catching up done by all. Reaching the cars, everyone was delighted with the achievement for another year and were already confirming their interest for 2019 and hoping that the “Trip to Tipp” will go on for many years to come.

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