Leinster 2002 - Wicklow

17th - 19th May 2002-04-06


The Wicklow Mountain range was formed through volcanic activity and is the largest single mass of granite anywhere in the British Isles. The mountain range itself is a long backbone stretching from Tallaght to Aughrum, with numerous spurs and subsidiary peaks stretching to the east, whilst the western slopes quickly merge into the planes of Kildare and Carlow. Glacierisation has played a major part in the shaping of the landscape and many classic features are visible such as U-Shaped Valleys - Hanging Valleys and Corries.

The route itself starts and finishes in the Glenmalur Valley, home of the O'Byrne Clan, and for many centuries the centre of Irish Rebellion and resistance against British rule. Michael Dwyer took refuge in the Valley from the British, as did Eamon De Valera in the war of independence.

Map & Directions to Start

The Map to use is the Discovery Series Sheet 56 (1:50,000), however there is a private orienteering map of 1,25000 scale available which also covers the route in a little more detail.

Coming from Glendalough take the Rathdrum road, about a mile outside the town there is a turn off to the right onto the old military road. Follow this road along past the Shay Elliot Monument and down to Drumgoff Crossroads. Take a right at the Cross Roads and follow the road up into the Glenmalur Valley. There is a carpark just before the Baravore Ford and this will be the Check-in Point.

Route Overview

Friday This is a good walk but it is along forest tracks (not all marked on Sheet 56) with a short climb at the end to reach low camp at the top of the Fraughan Rock Glen Waterfall.

Saturday The route takes in Lugnaquillia Mountain the highest outside Kerry and then along the edge of the Military range to Table Mountain. From here we will head north and descend out of the wind to our High Camp. There is an extension available time and weather permitting.

Sunday Sunday is a easy route although it does cover some distance, we head from high camp to pick up the table track which is then followed to the Carpark / Finish.

Route Outline

Friday Night

Please note that sheet 56 does not show the full distance nor the correct start point of the forest track that runs from Glenmalur hostel to the base of the Fraughan Rock Waterfall. The Track starts aprox 100m beyond the hostel and runs to the forestry at the base of the waterfall.

Car Park /Start (T 066 941) to Forest Track Turnoff (T 060 945)

After you gear is inspected and you are checked out by a member of staff, you can cross the Ford (Water Level Permitting) or follow a path to the right of the ford, which leads to a forestry bridge. Follow the road up past the hostel to a large turning area. The track up the Fraughan rock glen is the one to the left with the barrier.

Forest Track Turnoff (T 060 945) to Base of Fraughan Rock Waterfall (T 048 934)

This path runs back towards Baravore ford at a slightly higher level before making a right angle turn into the Fraughan Rock Glen. Continue along the track until you come to point where the track peters out and the ground starts to rise sharply on front of you

Base of Fraughan Rock Waterfall (T 048 934) to Low Camp (T 045 932)

At this point you should go to your left and cross the river. The route takes us to the top of the waterfall. There is no quick route up through the boulders but don't stay to close to the waterfall as the ground is steeper there. Take care picking your route up through the steep ground as it can be slippy and there is the odd hole to catch a foot. When you reach the rim of the waterfall cross the stream and head into base camp. Check in with the staff and have a good nights sleep.


Low Camp (T 045 932) to Top of Gully (T 040 927)

From low camp head toward the notch in the back wall of the basin at T 041 929. From here you go left and up towards a large pile of Scree (large boulders). Once you reach the Scree you will be able to see a very clearly defined gully leading upwards. The top of the gully is on a spur that leads off the main Lugnaquillia - Clohernagh ridge

Top of Gully (T 040 927) to Lugnaquillia Plateau Checkpoint (T 035 921)

From the top of the Gully follow the spur upwards to the main Lugnaquillia - Clohernagh ridge, aiming to hit it around point T 041 920. Once you have reached the main ridge turn right up towards the summit plateau and Checkpoint.

The summit of Lugnaquillia is broad and quite featureless apart from the Carne and Trig Point at the Summit itself. It is also boarded by cliffs called the North and South Prisons. Extreme care and attention should be paid when navigating in this area. The area is known to cloud over in less than five minutes from full visibility so always have the bearings at the ready.

Lugnaquillia Plateau Checkpoint (T 035 921) to Summit Lugnaquillia (T 032 9180) and return.

If you wish you may drop you bags the Plateau Checkpoint and head up to the summit of the Lug. On a clear day (once every 10 years) you can see as far as Wales to the East, Mount Leinster and the Black stairs to the South, and the Mournes and Coolies to the north.

Lugnaquillia Plateau Checkpoint (T 035 921) to Spot 712 (T 032 939)

Heading northwest from the Checkpoint you heady towards Cannow Mountain. You will need to calculate you distances carefully as not to overshoot the spur of 712. As you descend the spur a trail starts to become visible.

Spot 712 (T 032 939) to Camenabologue (T 034 960)

Whilst paying attention not to stray into the Military Range follow the trail across the col and up onto Camenabologue.

Camenabologue (T 034 960) to Table Track (T 021 967)

Leave the Summit and head down to the Top of the Table Track

Table Track (T 021 967) to Spot 648 (T 020 982)

From Table Track head to the summit of table mountain (very difficult to distinguish, so do not rely on in navigation) and on to Spot Height 648. At this point the views change as the Kings River Valley opens up before you along with views across to the Blessington Lakes.

Spot 648 (T 020 982) to Carrig (T 017 990) and High Camp (T 025 985)

Descent down the spur to the Broad Flat Area at Carrig and Traverse across to High Camp. Check in, pitch the tent and get the dinner on.

Saturday Extension

Spot 648 (T 020 982) to Three Lakes (T 031 982)

Three Lakes (T 031 982) to Conavalla (T 040 972)

Conavalla (T 040 972) to Spot 702 (T 044 980)

Spot 702 (T 044 980) to High Camp (T 025 985)


High Camp (T 025 985) to Three Lakes (T 031 982)

After cleaning you site and checking out with the staff head back up the slope to three lakes.

Three Lakes (T 031 982) Forest Corner (T 0320 98)

From three lakes head directly across the col and down to the forest corner.

Forest Corner (T 0320 98) to Table Track (T 033 963)

Leaving the forest corner head on a bearing to the table track, the ground is quite rough along the forest edge so it may be better to take a more direct route.

Table Track to Finish (T 066 941)

Follow the table track down into the valley, past the hostel and back to the carpark

Congratulations and well done