News 2012

Title: Path assessment at Croagh Patrick
Date: 20/07/2012
Path assessment at Croagh Patrick

20 July 2012

Mountaineering Ireland recently facilitated an assessment of erosion on the pilgrim route up Croagh Patrick by Elfyn Jones, from the British Mountaineering Council. Elfyn previously worked with the National Trust and was involved in upland footpath management in Snowdonia for many years.

The visit was arranged in conjunction with Murrisk Development Association, following a request from Fáilte Ireland. To gain an understanding of Croagh Patrick’s cultural significance and current concerns about usage of the mountain, Elfyn first met with a large group of local stakeholders. While there is a lack of definite information, it is estimated that as many as 200,000 people climb Croagh Patrick each year, with up to 30,000 participating in the annual Reek Sunday pilgrimage at the end of July.

The site visit itself showed considerable erosion below the saddle and on the steepest section of the cone, but without baseline information it is difficult to know the rate at which erosion is progressing. Elfyn was accompanied on the mountain by Mary Walsh and Sarah Ingham from Mayo Mountain Rescue Team, Cathleen Fergus, Rural Recreation Officer with South Mayo Development Company, Orla Prendergast, GMIT and Helen Lawless from Mountaineering Ireland.

A short report will be prepared with recommendations which will concentrate on erosion management, but also consider some wider visitor management issues. Elfyn Jones will be one of the speakers at Mountaineering Ireland’s ‘Helping the Hills’ conference in September 2012.

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