Masatiompan is the most northerly mountain on the Brandon range of the Dingle Peninsula. The cone shaped mountain can be seen when driving from Tralee towards Dingle. North is the Atlantic Ocean which sets the scene for most of the route from Brandon Point. Some parts of the walk are steep and exposed.
Start/Finish: Brandon Point/ Srón Bhroin. Finish at Teer ( it is advisable to drop you car off here before starting)
Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes (14.5km)
This route is a mixture of bogland and track with some steep and exposed sections. The coastal traverse can be tricky in windy conditions, but on a clear day the scenery is marvellous.
Route: Starting at Brandon Point carpark, Follow the way-markers for ‘Siúlóid an tSáis/Sauce Creek’ initially, but shortly after crossing the stile, veer to the right of ‘An Buaicín’ along a narrow stony track with an old wall on the right. Traverse along the side of the hill and aim for the waterfall. Use the wall at the edge of the cliff as a handrail for most of the way up to Sauce Creek. Following the wall involves descents and ascents, in places on steep terrain, particularly the descent to the waterfall.
After Ascending 311m (keeping ‘Knockdelea’ to your left) the wall takes a sharp southerly direction, after crossing two remote streams. A steep uphill takes you up to ‘Slieveglass’ at 324m. Sauce Creek can be viewed 300m below.
Follow ‘Sauce Creek’ around until a stile is seen and head for the Dingle Way track into ‘Arraglen’. Follow the Dingle Way uphill for roughly a 700m distance, before turning in a northwesterly direction, up steeper ground, to join the ridge to the north leading into the summit of ‘Masatiompan’. Enjoy the panoramic view from the top which takes in Mount Brandon and beyond. In the distance you can view ‘The Blasket islands’ and ‘Tralee Bay’.
Turn south from the summit to reach the saddle which has an impressive ogham stone. This stone was discovered, part-buried in peat, in 1945 and re-erected in the 1980’s just a few metres from where it was found. The inscription translates as ‘of the priest Rónán son of Comgán’. Leaving the ogham stone, turn northeast following the Dingle Way, which is well marked , down to ‘Arraglen’ and all the way back to Teer.
Brandon Point is known as ‘Srón Bhroin’ when translated into Irish. This refers to the nose of the giant god Bran. His body is said to stretch to Mount Brandon (Cnóc Bréanainn). He is lying sideways and his hip is known as ‘Más an Tiompáin’.
‘An Sás’ translated means a trap or snare, referring to the wreckage that will be washed in and retrieved by locals. Three families lived near the bottom in the 19th century. The growing population pressured families into this extraordinary location. One of the families lived in Sauce until the early 20th century, when the death of a midwife going down to help with a birth led to a family leaving.
The cluster of ruined buildings in ‘Arraglen’ was once the home to 13 families who moved there after a dispute with neighbours at Brandon Point.
There is a good variety of flora to be seen on the way up the mountain, including the common butterwort, sea pink or thrift, St Patricks Cabbage, bluebells, stone crop, fox glove, bog cotton, sorrel and many more.
This information was contributed by Dingle Hillwalking Club and can be found in ‘Mountaineering Irelands’- ‘Irish Peaks, a celebration of Irelands Highest Mountains’. This walk is dedicated to the late David Chippendale who was an active member of the club.