Cuilcagh, Fermanagh, mountains, Northern Ireland, photography, walking

Climbing Cuilcagh 

Saturday 17th June 2017

Cuilcagh Mountain Walk, 12 miles

After a 2.5 hour car journey to reach Co.Fermanagh it was great to get the legs stretched and start out on our walk from Cladagh Glen.

Cuilcagh Way
Cuilcagh mountain in cloud

On reaching the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark we could see Cuilcagh Mountain ahead of us. There was a cool air and Cuilcagh was shrouded in cloud.

Cuilcagh Way
Heading up into the clouds

The gravel trail and boardwalk stretched out ahead of us as we headed up into the clouds.

The peat coloured water of the Owenbrean River constrasted beautifully against the green lowland.

It was a gradual ascent of 3 km before we reached the start of the boardwalk.  By then we were ready for lunch, refueling before more uphill walking!

Nearly there

After our lunch break the cloud had lifted from over Cuilcagh and we were excited about our next stage getting to the start of the ‘stairway to heaven’ over the protected blanket bog.

Blanket Bog at Cuilcagh Mountain

The 1.6 km of boardwalk makes for easy walking to the base of the mountain, although it’s a deceptive climb and it was very welcome to stop every so often to have a rest and take in the amazing views behind us!

One of many stops to look back

Thankfully before long the steps were in sight and it was here we met numerous people on their way back down again.

Steps ahead

Time for more photos and to catch one’s breath before the step aerobics began!

Start of the steps

I lost count of the number of steps but took plenty of photos as I paced my way up … and up … and up!  Apparently there are 450 steps over 36 flights, and at times they did seem endless!

After reaching the end of the boardwalk we made our way towards the trig point, another 1km over the bog.

Conditions weren’t too boggy and we were able to pick our steps carefully to the very windy summit.

Photo at top of Cuilcagh @ 666m

The views from the top were amazing but before long we had to start making our way down again.

Time to descend again

Downhill was manoeuvred at a steady pace, almost bouncing along the boardwalk.

Views on the way down
Looking back
Cuilcagh showing off in the sunshine

The day was getting warmer and we didn’t envy those who were just starting their ascent in the heat.

Cuilcagh Waymarker

After about an hour and a half we’d almost reached the car park and we were glad of some shade from the strong sunshine.

Thorn tree with stone circle
Common Spotted Orchid

As we left Cuilcagh behind it was showing off in the evening sunlight. A real contrast to earlier in the day! A challenging but enjoyable days walk made even more memorable by the fantastic weather and great company!

Cuilcagh Mountain in the evening light

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