Monday, August 2, 2010

Hiking in Ireland: Mount Brandon

Ireland offers something for everyone, here is a great hike for the expert climber and the tourist alike. Mount Brandon on Dingle Peninsula, in County Kerry takes its name from Saint Brendan, “The Navigator”, who legend suggests climbed to the summit around AD 530 to see the Americas, before setting sail for them.

Mount Brandon is the second highest mountain in Ireland. On a clear day, the summit commands spectacular views right across the west coast. Nevertheless, being on the Atlantic coast, clear days are few and far between. The western slope of Mount Brandon presents a huge contrast from its eastern side, as it largely escaped the gouging effect of the glaciers, with the result that it presents an almost unbroken grassy slope.

There are several main routes up the mountain. The main tourist route would be from the West from Ballyrack. This is a nice gentle slope to the summit, ideal for the average tourist, as it is a little more than a nice walk. For the serious hiker, the best route is from the East. Beginning in the village of Cloghan. This route includes quite a steep incline involving some hands and knees scrambling to reach the top and is not recommended for casual walkers. It involves walking along the knife-edge Ridge, with quite impressive drops away on both sides. Either way, Mount Brandon is quite a sight to see.

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