mountains, Northern Ireland, photography, walking

Clambering Eagle’s Rock

Saturday 7th April 2018

Eagle’s Rock Trail – 4.6 miles

After a very cold and rather wet Easter it was lovely to get up and going on a dry, and almost spring-like, Saturday morning. We were heading towards Moydamlaght Forest and the small village of Moneyneany, 5 miles north-west of Draperstown in County Londonderry, just off the B41 Moydamlaght Road. Moneyneany is derived from the Irish Moin na nIonadh meaning “bog of wonders”.

Moydamlaght Forest is a 300 hectare coniferous forest, sitting on the slopes of Mullaghmore (an Mullach Mor) “the big summit” within the Sperrins, which peaks at 550m (1,800ft). There are 3 waymarked trails through Moydamlaght Forest – the Short, Medium and Eagle’s Rock Trails (1.0, 1.3 and 4.0 miles) – all detailed at WalkNI website. The Ulster Way and Hudy’s Way also wind their way through parts of the forest.

Road signs for Hudy's Way and Ulster Way
Road signs near parking bay

Eagle’s Rock Trail started as it meant to go on … on a good wide track straight uphill through the forest!

The conifer trees were spectacular, standing tall & upright along the way.

Can you believe the height of those trees?

After about 1.5 miles the forest opened out and we were met with amazing views of the surrounding countryside below and Eagle’s Rock above.

Initial views of surrounding countryside
Views opening out
Impressive Eagle’s Rock above

We paused to take in the enormity of the cliff before continuing on to the information board at the end of the trail. Eagle’s Rock, or to give it its proper name ‘Craig-na-Shoke’, means “rock of the falcon or hawks”. It’s a very imposing cliff face well worth the 2 mile walk up to stand and admire its formation, catch ones breath, and take in the rewarding views across the Sperrins!

Craig-na-Shoke cliff face
Leaving the forest behind

However, feeling a little more adventurous, we decided to explore a little further and ventured on to the Ulster Way, towards a wooden stile which leaves the forest. The basalt cliff face was even more impressive close up as we walked along the base of it, and the views below just kept getting better and better as we made our way up to the top of Eagle’s Rock. We couldn’t have picked a better location for lunch as we relaxed and drank in the views below.

Up close & personal
Wooden stile, with Mullaghmore in distance
Lunch spot

Soon it was time to come down from our vantage point, making our way back to the car along some different forest tracks and via a woodland of beautiful beech trees.

Tall beech trees

An early finish to a short but memorable walk, and we’re planning to return very soon to tackle some of the other trails in this little ‘hidden gem of the Sperrins’!

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