Tag Archives: youtube

hike: baby bluestacks

On Sunday last week I was supposed to be walking with the Club but due to the yellow weather warning for thunderstorms the walk leader decided to cancel the evening before. I thought this was a bit over cautious but then I’ve never had to take responsibly for a group in the hills.

With a close eye on the forecast I was able to see on Sunday morning that the Bluestack Mountains weren’t going to be at any risk until late Sunday evening so I made the decision to head out, properly equipped in case the weather did turn nasty of course.

I followed a walk from Mountainviews.ie by Gerry McVeigh who has a great YouTube channel also. It was 11km (that somehow turned out to be 12.5km?) and took in 4 summits, all slightly over 400m, on the less trodden section of the range. It was an intensely warm and humid day with hard ground for walking that really took it out of me but it was also a lovely walk and very satisfying to complete. It’s also given me a real confidence boost for the higher Bluestacks.

Unsurprisingly there’s a video on my channel if you are interested in seeing how it went.

Header image by Pixabay from Pexels

cooking in the woods

With no plans and the start of a week long heat wave cranking up I was at a bit of a loose end on Sunday. Keen to get out and moving I decided to go for a long walk to the woods and cook my lunch.

To make things a little more interesting I decided to take my little twig stove, to light a real fire and cook over the flames.

The walk was along local country roads with hedgerows still in good colour but a real sense that autumn was coming with flowers past their best and berries starting to show.

The walk over was a very pleasant and warm 3k. Mostly downhill which obviously meant an uphill return! The woods were green and full of life but again some early adopters were starting to show signs of leaves turning.

I soon headed off track and into a heavily wooded area where I would have space to setup and be undisturbed. A lunch menu of smoked sausage, peppers, red onion and baked beans flavoured with a dash of sweet chilli sauce went down a treat with myself and Rosie also. A cup of tea to use the last of the coals before relaxing to enjoy the woods and let the fire burn out and cool down.

I went home a slightly different route which took me up the steep hill past Gleneely school before gradually descending and arriving home with 11k done and in a sweaty, sticky mess in the humid afternoon heat.

Having not done much walking since our holiday in June I definitely felt the hill in my glute muscles the following morning!

Video of my afternoon mini adventure at the YouTube link below

welcome break

With a big Sale event at work to launch the new store it’s been a pretty busy few weeks. Wednesday was my first day off after working nine straight through and nine very busy days at that. As you may imagine a day off was very welcome.

I’d been keeping an eye on the weather and with a dry and sunny forecast I decided it was a perfect day for a longer walk and wanting something different I decided to walk to a small wooded area approximately 6km from home and to cook some lunch while sitting and enjoying the woods.

I packed a bag with a frying pan, some bacon and eggs and my Trangia stove. Not preparing the evening before I ended up doing everything in a bit of a rush and managed to forget a few things. The biggest thing I forgot was my fuel bottle so I only had what was remaining from my last time out. This was only half what I needed so I had to make a choice between a full lunch or skipping a cup of tea. In the end the tea won out.

The frying pan was too big for the stove and with the ground being more uneven than expected it was quite unwieldy and cumbersome. The uneven ground also resulted in mishaps with my water boiling and I managed to spill it twice! Despite all the things that went wrong I still learned some valuable lessons, had a really good time and enjoyed a great day for a walk. I initially expected a 13km walk but coming home by a slightly different route it ended up as 16.5km.

click here to view on strava

I’ve recently upgraded my cheapo Akaso action camera to a fancy new GoPro Hero 10 and Wednesday was my first real opportunity to try that out too. I didn’t know what to expect so was very impressed with the quality of the video compared to the old one. The sound quality was also superb but this was more expected. I put together a video of the day and it’s live on YouTube if you want to have a look at the link below. I’m looking forward to seeing exactly what the GoPro is capable of on outings over the next few months.

Header image by Pixabay from Pexels

walk: the steeple (meenavally)

According to Mountainviews.ie my closest recorded summit is a small hill (219m) just 6.9km in a straight line from home. In fact I can see it from my front door. The hill is officially called Meenavally but locally it is known as The Steeple.

On the top of the hill there is a small, squat and pretty ugly tower built with stone and lime. There is a door in one wall and an internal winding staircase that brings you to a flat area with a low parapet. In the centre of the upper floor there is a round opening with a metal grate that allows vertical access from the ground floor, almost like a chimney.

Over the years there have been many gruesome rumours about the tower on the hill. Stories are told of satanic rites and devil worship including disappearing children and human sacrifice. None of these rumours are true but the origins of the tower are still interesting.

The townland is called Tircallen and from the 1600s the area was part of a larger estate of the same name created during the Plantation of Ulster. It was purchased by Sir Henry Stewart in 1789 and in the early 1800s he constructed the tower as an astronomical observatory which was very much in vogue with the gentry of Ireland at the time. Unfortunately, there are no surviving records of Sir Henry’s so it isn’t known what observations he made or what contribution this tower made to scientific research of the time.

The tower is also called The Steeple after the hill but is also known as Mullaghagarry Tower after the name of the forest woodland it is now located in. The forest is a commercial forest owned and operated by Coillte. It’s likely that the estate was acquired by the government’s Land Commission in the 1930s for redistribution to local tenant farmers which was the policy of the time. The tower, however has survived relatively unscathed.

I’ve been to the tower multiple times on foot and also by bike as we used to use the area for night time MTBing a few winters ago. I placed a geocache in the area in 2006 to mark the date of 06/06/06. In 2007 myself and a few other geocachers took part in a documentary on geocaching for RTE’s Nationwide programme. It’s the second location in the video below.

Although I’ve visited the tower many times I want to revisit all locations afresh for my Local 50 challenge so on Sunday I went back. I used a different access point than usual and my plan was to create a looped walk of approximately 9km. However, my maps are really out of date now and the hoped for track petered out on private farmland that I wasn’t happy venturing on to.

I attempted to work my way around through the trees on faint paths but not knowing the area too well I ended up back out on the main track and at that point decided to make it a simple there and back walk but still ended up with 6km. Rosie the dog was with me and despite some very heavy rain showers we had a very nice afternoon.

Not much photography on this walk but I did film and the results are linked below if you want to watch. Thankfully I seem to have solved the audio sync issue I had before.

Header image by Pixabay from Pexels