News 2012

Title: Spring Gathering 2012 & AGM Round-up
Date: 11/03/2012
Spring Gathering 2012 & AGM Round-up

11 March 2012

The Peaks Mountaineering Club hosted a fantastic MI Spring Gathering this weekend, 09-11 March. An extensive programme commenced on Friday evening with Declan Cunningham and Rowan Kavanagh presenting on their recent expedition to Greenland, the challenges encountered and offering valuable lessons learned to those who will go there in the future.

Saturday saw participants take to the Comeragh's in balmy summer conditions! A variety of hillwalks, climbing on Coumshingaun and in Ballykeefe Quarry, workshops on GPS, Leadership and a workshop for Club Environmental Officers took place.

This was followed by the Annual General Meeting of MI at which the audited accounts (2011) were adopted by the membership and the board of MI was elected;

President:Ursula MacPherson

Honorary Secretary:Sandra Kennedy

Honorary Treasurer:David Batt

Paul Barron

Bridget Conway

Susan Jago

Ronan Lenihan

Stephen McMullan

Ross Millar

Patrick O' Sullivan

The new Events Policy was adopted following very robust debate, where despite all in favour of the policy some members suggested some of the wording in the accompanying guidelines was too perscribed. Following an almost unanimous show of hands in favour of the motion the Events Policy was adopted. A number of members spoke on the importance of the policy and the need for MI to now influence other organisations and funding bodies to adopt or formulate similar policies.

A Members’ Forum followed;.

  1. The future of Coillte
  2. Memorials on the Irish Mountains.
  3. The state of the path on Camarahill, Co. Wicklow.
  4. Rubbish on the summit of Mount Leinster.
  5. Dealing with quad bikes on the Blackstairs Mountains.
  6. AOB

Debate on the future of Coillte was unanimous against any sale of the State's forests and against any other form of sale which would endanger open access. Members spoke on the need to educate our elected representatives on the huge importance of Coillte to the hundreds of thousands of outdoor recreation enthusiasts and, in particular, the access it provides through informal routes in virtually all of it's estate to Ireland's uplands. Members also called for MI to forge alliances with other adventure sports on this issue and agree a single clear message demanding no change to open access in this estate.

An emotive debate followed on the presence of 'Memorials on the mountains'. Members spoke of the importance of some memorials, how some had become part of the landscape such as the Galtymore cross but agreed that many were wrongly placed. In summary, it was agreed that MI should draft a position statement against the future placement of memorials on Ireland's mountains.

All agreed that the path on Camarahill had eroded significantly in recent times. Some suggested that this highlighted the importance of the new Events Policy as this is a favoured route for many large scale events.

Item 4 was deferred as the proposing Club was unable to attend and a meeting has been planned to address this and other matters (including items 3 and 5). Details of this meeting's venue and time will be available shortly.

The issue of quad bikes is a very serious problemin the Blackstairs and on many other mountains. It was reflected that currently the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is inadequately resourced to deal with this. However, any illegal off road vehicle activity should be reported to local Garda stations who have and will deal with such reports.

Under any other business it was proposed that the bridge at Glenmacnass should be reinstated. A member of a mountain rescue team suggested that facilitating access in this type of scenario could simply add to the work of rescue teams by tempting people who may not have the skills to deal with certain terrain or be prepared for difficult conditions. It was agreed that this should be considered and an analysis of its appropriateness, discussion with the landowner and consideration of its positioning, should it be found to be appropriate and acceptable to the landowner.

Volume 3 of the Journal of the Irish Mountaineering and Exploration Historical Society was launched on Saturday night. Declan O' Keefe, the journal's editor introduced volume 3 and in particular its dedication to Joss Lynam and the sterling work of long time volunteer Gay Needham and the guidance of Kevin Higgins, Tyndall Mountain Club. The Journal is available from MI for €10. This was followed by dinner (and a late late night - for some at least!).

The first Sunday morning session included a discussion on Training in Clubs and another on the new Mountain Forums in the Comeragh Mountains and the Knockmealdown and Galtee Mountains. This was followed by a presentation by Mountain Meitheal which has sown a seed for a Munster Meitheal, which will see it's first activity take place as part of Limerick Climbing Club's planned Galtee Mountain Clean-up later this month. In parrallel Peter Britton of Rathgormack Climbing Club gave an inspiring presentation on climbing in the Comeragh's, the Tatras, in Scotland and the Alps and some big wall climbing they are doing in Spain.

Overall a wonderful weekend!

Mountaineering Ireland would like to thank all members who were in attendance and;

  • Peaks Mountaineering Club, those who helped organise and support the gathering, all the walk leaders, Chair Michael Tobin and Helen Shanahan who was a huge driving force behind the event
  • Local historian Michael Desmond
  • Martha Beardmore, Local Tourism and PMC member
  • Robert Grandon, Mountain Meitheal
  • Peter Britton, Rathgormack Climbing Club
  • Frank Nugent, Irish Upland's Forum
  • Declan Cunningham and Rowan Kavanagh, IMC
  • Botanist Éanna Ní Lamhna
  • Kevin O' Callaghan, GMIT and MS provider
  • All the Comeragh Mountain landowners
  • Don Touhy, Waterford Co. Co.
  • Deirdre Lewis, SLR Consulting
  • KBK Community Group
  • Condon Bus Hire, Clonmel
  • Hotel Minella, Clonmel
  • For Folks Sake (Band)

More details will be available in the Irish Mountain Log, issue 101. Photographs have been posted on