I’ve neglected my blog this past wee while, but I’ve been inspired to write something after catching up with my friend (amazing writer and Flash Fiction Armagh reader) Kerry Buchannan’s blog detailing her sailing/boating journey from Ireland to the Mediterranean via the waterways of France. It’s a highly entertaining and (as aforementioned) inspiring read. You can catch it at https://kerrybuchanan.com/blog-2/.
At the weekend, we decided to embark on a little adventure ourselves – to climb Camlough Mountain. Camlough is in South Armagh. Okay so it’s not quite in the same realm as an exciting sail across the IrishSea and nor as exotic as meandering through the rivers and canals of France, but one person’s exotic is another person’s backyard – or something like that …so Camlough Mountain it was…
This beautiful area has just recently been designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark and with good reason. To quote from one of the signs in the area explaining this, “A dramatic place shaped by fire and ice that is millions of years in the making and the foundation for many of our myths and legends.”
Indeed, the fire (volcanoes) gave rise to mountains and the ring of Gullion (as in the same Slieve Gullion that features in Rejuvenation Book 3) is the old caldera of a volcano. The ice wore down those great mountains into the more rounded nubs we see today during the various ice ages. The last ice age receded 10,000 years ago and since then our landscape has seen tundra, then temperate rainforests, which have sadly been depleted steadily since the rise of agriculture in Neolithic times leaving blanket bog on the higher elevations and the patchwork of green fields in the arable land.
I found the trail description online at https://www.10adventures.com/hikes/northern-ireland/camlough-mountain-walk/ and had all the information I needed to get us to the trailhead and for the easy navigation to the top of the mountain. The best bit about our walk was the sense that we had the place to ourselves. This area is firmly in the category of ‘Best Kept Secret.’ We parked at the trailhead – the only car there and headed up a tarmacked road. It got steep quickly and I’m a bit out of shape so there was that grouchy 10 minutes where the body doesn’t know what has hit it. My poor husband couldn’t walk slowly enough, and then he couldn’t walk fast enough. Finally, I admitted I was annoyed at myself for being out of shape and taking it out on him! But soon the endorphins kicked in and we were smiling again, enjoying the lovely weather and the spectacular views that accompanied us all the way up.
The blackberries were in full bloom.
Trees, both alive and dead were very photogenic.
When the radio masts seemed near, we wondered if that was the top. We took a gravel road to the left, bringing us to the masts. But there was a bit more to go –– what I called, “the Valley of the Ghost Trees’.
There were even gnarly gate posts at the start of this portion.
This last stretch was across quite boggy ground – though because of the recent dry spell it was dry but had that bog-bounce to it. I’d imagine it would be a mucky mire in wetter weather.
I love the fluffy bog cotton.
The views from the top were superb.
I wonder what the big star was about.
A lovely out and back in one hour thirty minutes made it a great kick-start to our hill walking summer plans while the endorphins and the sunshine left us glowing inside and out!