Helen Shapiro had a big hit with ‘Walking Back to Happiness’.
Going for a walk with my better half is always a day well spent! Saturday was equally joyful walking the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ on Cuilcagh Mountain with my favourite son called Cian and then attending the Ulster SFC Preliminary Round of Fermanagh v Tyrone!
We had organised ourselves to be free today for a hike somewhere, destination weather dependent and we always like to do a new trail if at all possible when we have a few hours to complete it.
The bike is still under wraps and hill walking is back in vogue. we are fortunate that we have so many places on our doorstep – there are so may trails in the Blackstairs and across the county boundaries in Wicklow and Laois. It was a last minute decision – after checking the weather forecast to head to the Garden of Ireland for a ramble- with Lugnaquilla on the radar.
However squally showers were forecast and we decided instead to create our own loop walk. Our starting point was Drumgoff Gap.
It may only be the 136th highest peak in Ireland but Croaghanmoira is situated perfectly to gain a view of so much of the Wicklow mountains from Kaideen to Lugnaquilla to the Sugar Loaf, out into the Irish Sea, all the way down the Wexford coast, to the Blackstairs and much farther south to Sliabh na mBan – not forgetting iconic Eagle Hill towering above Hacketstown.
The views were breathtaking. I mean breathtaking. If you aren’t much into hill walking and you had only one hill to climb, I would say the 2kms to the top is the one to take!
As it was only 2kms from the road we decided to follow the route along the ridge of Fananierin and come across to the Wicklow Way to create our own loop back to our starting point. It was sublime. Underfoot conditions were very good along the ridge, bogland, nice and forgiving. This part of the walk is part of the Ballinacor Estate and is private land. Access is restricted as the area is preserved for the protection of the habitat of endangered grouse.
The loop was 11kms in length with 475 metres of climbing and took just under 2 hours. It is doable for anyone with a moderate level of fitness.
The Stairway to Heaven, Cuilcagh Mountain, County Fermanagh