Author Archives: charlie

Errigal Glen and the Gortnamoyah Inauguration Stone

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TYPECircular walk through deciduous glen and gorge, then road walking, with ancient church, souterrain and conifer plantation with Clan Inauguration Stone
DISTANCE2.3 miles / 3.7 km
SURFACESUndulating natural woodland paths, asphalt roads and forest tracks. Can be muddy in places.
HEIGHT GAIN / LOSS230 feet climb
HAZARDS
  • Unguarded drops along gorge
  • away from path
  • section walking on ‘B’ road with one blind hill requiring extra care

This short walk features a great diversity of attractions. The deciduous glen and gorge woodland is a beautiful mix of mature planted beech on the level ground and native species populating the steep sides. The glen is part of the grounds of the Grade II listed Ballintemple House (once described as a ‘Thatched Hunting Lodge’ when owned by the Bishop of Derry) which dates from the late 1700’s. An ancient graveyard and church ruin associated with St Adamnon (of Iona fame) is visited. Adjacent to this is a Souterrain and further along the route, in the section through Gortnamoyagh forest, you visit a low hill with a clan Inauguration Stone .

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Why wild walking may grow your brain

The sea squirt starts life as a free swimming animal with a tail, an eye, a spine and a primitive brain. However, after a time it attaches itself permanently to a rock and undergoes ‘retrogressive metamorphosis’ losing its eye, spine and brain to become a water-pumping filter-feeding ‘blob’. Free movement requires brain power, static existence does not!

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Ely and Carrickreagh Woods

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TYPELakeside and deciduous woodland walk with views over Lough Erne and Green Turlogh
DISTANCE6.1 miles / 9.8 km
SURFACESMostly well made woodland tracks with some less defined path walking
HEIGHT GAIN / LOSS530 feet climb
HAZARDSMajor road crossing, proximity to water and disused quarry

Walking in lakeland sounds attractive, but is actually very difficult. Lower Lough Erne alone has well over 125 miles of shoreline – but only a minute fraction of this is available to walkers. Also the best ‘lakeland’ walking is often on hills with views over the water – think of the English Lake District. So a good lakeland walk needs actual lakeside paths and hills with lake views. Ely and Carrickreagh Woods have both! In addition, this walk passes through some glorious semi-mature beech and larch wood and visits a beautiful hidden valley with Turloughs (vanishing limestone based lakes!)

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Blackslee Waterfall and Glimpses of Erne

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TYPELargely circular forest track walk through conifer plantations with some excellent views, vistas and a short path section to visit a waterfall.
DISTANCE3.9 miles / 6.2 km
SURFACESMainly well made forest tracks with short section on good quality path with some climb and steps
HEIGHT GAIN / LOSS820 feet climb
HAZARDS

This is a fully waymarked walk which already has a description and map available on the Marble Arch Geopark website. Like many of the Geopark walks it is contained within conifer plantation and largely confined to forestry vehicle tracks. However, it features great panoramic views and framed glimpses of the loughs and hills of Fermanagh. There is also a short forest path section which leads through an intriguing rock valley to to Blackslee waterfall – an abrupt hidden drop almost totally shrouded by encroaching woodland.

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