Patrick O’Brien recounts the details of an exciting day logging six High Points with his son Dillon and his brother and sister Johnny and Josephine.
Josephine mentioned Blackstairs Mountain and Mount Leinster as possible High Points to complete together many times having completed them previously as part of the Blackstairs Challenge. Johnny was interested in completing Brandon Hill as part of the County High Point Challenge too so we set a plan to do all three when the opportunity arose. Finally the day was arriving and Josephine sent me another list of three extra High Points in the general area. Looking at them first I thought “no, that’s a bit of a stretch” but researching them a bit more online it looked like they weren’t too bad. The final ambitious list and the order we planned to complete them was:
- Carricktriss Gorse (314m)
- Brandon Hill (515m)
- Blackstairs Mountain (735m)
- Mount Leinster (794m)
- Knocknamuck (340m)
- Clomantagh Hill (349m)
We set off early on 23 September a lovely Sunday morning collecting Josephine and Johnny in Cahir and heading in the direction of Carrick on Suir to the start point of Carricktriss Gorse, our first for the day and one we thought would take an hour maximum. Initially the route was on a forestry road and then our notes said to enter the wood and then a field to go to the trig pillar. Since those notes were written the forest had matured but there were now fire breakss that allowed us to follow Peakhunter to the location of the High Point.
Fire escapes made access easier!
We got to the High Point location quite quickly but there was no sign of a trig pillar. Taking the notes out again, they referred to being able to identify an area of thriving Silver Birch trees when looking into the forest from the surrounding fields. Making my way to the fields I could see no such area. The others were all searching frantically in the wood also. I returned to the wood and followed a few of the fire breaks a bit more and finally found the large trig pillar. Turns out we were quite close to the trig pillar while we were on our way to the High Point initially. We quickly gathered for a picture before heading back to the car to head for Brandon Hill.
Hold on to that Trig Jo, it was hard enough to find it!
Look at the trail we left while looking for the Trig Pillar
We arrived at Brandon Hill where there was still a few parking places available. We set off pretty quickly as we had no issue with directions on this one. It was an easy enough walk to the top and the views were spectacular all the way. We took some pictures after logging on Peakhunter and returned to the car for some quick lunch before heading for Blackstairs mountain. As we drove away a sheep farmer questioned us about two cars that had blocked the barrier preventing him access to his fields. We had seen them leave while we ate and it looked like they were there to pick wild mushrooms. Obviously it is vital that we all observe a good code of practice and never block access anywhere when walking.
River Barrow from Brandon Hill
Blackstairs Mountain was new to all of us except Josephine so we all followed her up the really old path onto the open mountain.
The weather was still with us and the views were amazing from here too. It is a pretty straight route to the top but as Josephine had warned us, there were lots of “false tops” to encounter. Dillon thinks he counted 16 in all. At the top the wind was a bit cooler and there were a few heavy raindrops. We started our decent and the wind and rain disappeared. For some parts it was easier to run/jog with the descent feeling so steep.
Blackstairs Mountain Complete!
A quick snack and it was on to the nearby Nine Stones car park to climb Mount Leinster. Josephine wanted to take the mountain terrain rather than the tarred road and even though it was slightly longer it definitely was easier on the feet considering it was our fourth walk of the day. We got to the top with no issues and as usual on this one there were plenty of others out for the popular walk.
Mount Leinster Trig
Pictures and Peakhunter log completed we returned by the same route enjoying the antics of a hang glider on the way.
We entered Knocknamuck into the Sat Nav, an hour was the estimate for the journey but the last two we had planned were short walks with almost no climbing so we decided to go for it. On arrival there was a lot of recent wind turbine construction which wasn’t on the aging notes we had read about this High Point. Luckily Peakhunter was quickly able to lead us to the High point and we logged it without wasting any time as the sun was setting quite quickly at this stage.
It was very unusual to see the mast erected in a tractor trailer, probably a temporary measure during the construction.
Sun set from Knocknamuck
Sat nav was called on again to ensure we lost no time getting to Clomantagh Hill. Luckily this was a short stroll across a few fields and we had brilliant moonlight and our own lights as back up if required. There were a few stone ditches and electric fences to negotiate but other than that it was very straightforward. Peakhunter was a great assurance here to confirm that we had actually reached the High Point.
Stone Walls surround all the fields here
We were all delighted with the day having six more High Points completed. Well done to Johnny and Josephine for also completing their 25 High Points Challenge during the day. We stopped in Cashel for a bit of food before heading for home. More pictures and details on Dillon’s Blog.