Challenge yourself to climb every 700m+ summit in the Blackstairs Mountains. On this page you will find information about the Blackstairs 700s Challenge including its summit list, useful car parking locations, recommendations for guide books and maps, and links to local facilities.
The Blackstairs 700s Challenge requires participants to visit 2 summits in the Blackstairs Mountains. These are marked on the map below along with nearby car parking options. Click on a marker for more details. This challenge is intended only for experienced and well-equipped hillwalkers and mountaineers who can navigate themselves confidently through rugged and exposed terrain in any weather. Route choice is entirely up to the participant, therefore we have not included any route suggestions on the map. Route planning is part of this challenge.
This challenge is intended only for experienced and well-equipped hillwalkers and mountaineers who are physically fit and can navigate themselves confidently through rugged and exposed terrain in any weather. If you are planning to undertake this challenge, please be aware that hillwalking and mountaineering are risk activities. The Ireland Walking Guide and Donard Media (the websites' publisher) accept no responsibility for any injury, loss or inconvenience sustained by anyone undertaking this challenge. Personal safety is entirely the participant's own responsibility. We will not support any legal action taken against any third-party individual, group or organisation as a result of any injury, loss or inconvenience sustained by anyone undertaking this challenge. We encourage each participant to have adequate insurance to cover any injury, loss or inconvenience that may result from their hillwalking activities.
The inclusion of each summit in this challenge is based entirely on it being classified as a mountain (see 'What is an Irish mountain?') and it being at least 700m above sea level. It should not be assumed that access is permitted to any of the summits. The Ireland Walking Guide and Donard Media recommend that anyone planning to visit any of the summits as part of this challenge should check for potential access restrictions and to request permission from the relevant landowner(s) in advance.
Recommended guide books
Walking guide books are a great way to find the very best walks in Ireland which have been hand-picked by local experts. Recommended guide books for the Blackstairs 700s Challenge are listed below. These describe various ascents, descents and inter-summit link routes.
Ireland is covered by a good selection of quality maps produced by a variety of publishers. The most useful maps for walkers range in scale from 1:25,000 to 1:50,000. For the Blackstairs 700s Challenge, the recommended titles are listed below.
- EastWest Mapping 1:25,000 - Blackstairs, Mount Leinster & The Barrow Valley
- Ordnance Survey Ireland 1:50,000 Discovery Series - Sheet 68
A hardcopy map and compass are the preferred navigational tools used by all competent self-navigators in the mountains and hills. Relying exclusively on a GPS device or phone for navigation is strongly discouraged. The person who follows a dot, crosshairs or a GPX route on a tiny screen is not navigating. They are effectively being led by their device. This involves no skill whatsoever and will only increase that person's reliance on technology. We recommend using hardcopy maps and traditional magnetic compass because:
- their use requires and reinforces an elementary outdoor skill.
- the user is the navigator (this is not the case when using a GPS device, especially one with the day's route loaded in).
- they do not require a power source, therefore have less impact on the environment.
- hillwalking and mountaineering should be about having a digital detox in nature, not squinting at yet another screen.
- satellites, phones, GPS devices and their associated networks and systems are vulnerable to potential outages caused by external factors (e.g. hacking, ransomware, terrorism, solar fluctuations, space junk, etc).
In short, you should always have the relevant hardcopy map and a traditional magnetic compass in your pack when venturing off the beaten track. The convenience of a GPS is not a valid reason to go into the uplands or other wild areas without these two basic essentials.
If you require accommodation, food and drink, or other local facilities while undertaking the Blackstairs 700s Challenge, we recommend you check out what's available in the following nearby destinations.