For many years I've stood at Carrowkeel (County Sligo) and looked across at this cairn and wanted to climb up to it. Today was my opportunity and I'd planned on approaching from either the south or the north. Instead I ended up coming from the west via Kesh Caves (County Sligo). This was probably a mistake as this route is tortuous! It's very steep to start with and some of the paths are no wider than a shoe. Then, once you get past the steep bit, the hillside becomes a series of high steps - seeming hundreds of them - that give you a false summit every 20m or so. As you walk up you keep thinking, "This next one must be the top!", but it's not. Then, once you're past these, you reach a lovely little valley and then there's another climb to the top.
The cairn itself is much greener than I'd expected. I was expecting a grey pile of rocks, but much of it is covered in vegetation. This is in stark contrast to the cairns at Carrowkeel across the way. It rises over 5m high and is about 30m in diameter. It's an impressive cairn that probably contains a passage tomb.
The views are simply amazing in all directions, but east has to be the best. From here Carrowkeel cairns F, G, H & K (I think) sit on the near horizon, with the lough beyond. You are looking down on Cairn B (where Ken Williams was taking photographs at the time of my visit here.) To the north and northwest the Ox Mountains form a false horizon and Benbulben and Knocknarea can be seen.
Being so exposed to the west, the hilltop can get very windy. It was like that on my visit. Luckily the rain showers passed by to the southwest.
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This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.
Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.
Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.
The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.
UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.
ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.