In February 2015 we commissioned The MacGillycuddy Reeks Upland Path Audit, supported by South Kerry Development Partnership through the Rural Alliances Interreg IVB Programme and the Rural Recreation Section of the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government. The audit was carried out by international expert in upland trail management Mr. Dougie Baird, from the Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust.
The audit captured objective baseline data on the condition of the all the paths in the Reeks, recommended prioritised paths and sections of paths where management is required, and obtained indicative costings and made recommendations on repair and maintenance works needed. Conditions were tough when Dougie took to the mountain with snow still lying in the higher sections.
The Devils Ladder was given the highest priority for repair works- ‘The MR4 Devil’s Ladder was clearly the highest priority, and certainly the one that everyone was talking about in terms of erosion. It has been suggested in some places that the path is dangerous, and should be avoided with use being moved onto ZigZag. The level of danger has been overstated in the surveyor’s opinion, and avoiding the issue by spreading the problem elsewhere does not seem a sensible solution. The path is fixable and good similarities can be seen elsewhere, particularly in Glencoe and Torridon in the Scottish Highlands where solutions have been found that work without detracting from the landscape’.
‘The MR3 Hag’s Glen path is almost opposite to the Devil’s Ladder, in that the erosion is spread over a wide area on robust but worn terrain. The damage zone is well over 10 m wide in places and continuing to widen. The overall priority was 2, which is still very high, as the path is prominent, the damage is already high, and the dynamism is also high’.