Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Best places for Snow in our mountains.

Year on year when there are snowfalls on our mountains the most common questions thrown about on local media are "Where are the best places to see the snow?"
The most common answer to this is Mahon Falls as a result large numbers of people make for this area only to be left increasingly but not always disappointed.                                                                            
 The Mahon Falls are south facing and also faces the warm Gulf stream of the sea.
Where are the best spots to see the snow so you may ask?
Well you can't drive up on to the Comeragh plateau where there is sometimes a scattering that can't be seen when down below because of the broad flat shape of its summit which pleasantly surprised me the first  time I climbed to the top.

                                                          Summit Knockanaffrin ridge.
The Knockanaffrin ridge is north facing and crucially away from the sea.This spot can be easily seen from Rathgormack and with the rugged peaks a scattering of snow can give the impression of an Alpine resort in all its glory.Also makes for great photographs.The good folk of the Clonmel area have known this for many a year and have introduced generations of their children to sledding on the northern foothills.
Comeragh plateau and Knockanaffrin ridge.
Incidentally it is often spoken among workers in the horticultural industry( the orchards,Kildalton College and Estates of South Tipp/Kilkenny) that a shower corridor exists along the Suir Valley bringing showers along Slievenamon and Knockanaffrin ridge.This was most in evidence in early April 2010 when over a foot of snow fell on Slievenamon through such shower activity.I have had experience of this in the past having been involved in the horticultural scene in the area for a year and a half and can certainly vouch that there is an increased shower activity given the right conditions.

                                             Playing on the slopes of Slievenamon April 2010.
A snowy Comeragh plateau and Knockanaffrin ridge from the slopes of Slievenamon on the other side of the Suir Valley.
Nire Valley.
Probably the best spots for holding snow are the north facing cliffs and Coums of the Nire valley via Ballymacarbry.3 years ago there was still snow on these cliff tops in early May.

Knockmealdowns between Knockmealdown and Knockmoylan. 
The Knockmealdown mountains can sometimes attract light snow from a westerly direction and being more inland it may not extend as far east as the Comeragh's.Snow on the Knockmealdowns on occasion forms deep drifts along the boundary wall especially between Knockmealdown and Knockmoylan.

On the rare occasions our mountains hold sufficient snow to lower levels the following slopes are worth a try for the more adventurous ski/snowboard enthusiast.
Comeragh skiing video.
Knockanaffrin south facing slope,
Coumfea West slope-Comeraghs
Seefin west facing slope-Monavullaghs
Knockmealdown west slope,
Knocknafallia south-facing-Knockmealdowns.
All listed as Ireland's skiing and snowsports destinations on;
So the next time the snow arrives on the mountains and it will, don't just automatically head for the Mahon falls area there's much more choice so get out there and enjoy our beautiful varied mountain ranges.Don't be afraid to drop in to the local shop or pub in the numerous mountain villages on your travels also talk to the locals as there are no greater sources of information  regarding the best locations and great knowledge of the miriad of roads leading to the best slopes.Enjoy!

Note in this view of the Comeragh/Monavullagh range from Ballygunner Waterford City,the marked difference in snow cover between the side facing the sea and the north facing inland Knockanaffrin ridge!
*Always be prepared for winter conditions when visiting the mountains drive safely,wear adequate clothing,always tell others where you are going and remember most mountain roads will "not" be gritted.

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