It’s almost Christmas so it’s time for another ‘year in review’ post, partly to remind myself what I’ve been up to during 2017.
I had a quick look through my 2016 round-up and it was possibly a bit ‘showy’, featuring highlights from my voluntary redundancy-funded adventures in places like Austria, Macedonia, Jordan, Vietnam, China and various national parks in the US.
On top of that, I finally completed the challenge of reaching all of Ireland’s county high points last year.
2017 has been much more modest and grounded in comparison, largely due to a lack of cash, with only one trip outside Ireland (albeit it took in both Scotland and England). I still got to enjoy some great walks, hikes and cycles; some new and some familiar, and among great company. Here is a look back in images, many of which never made it as a far as a blog post.
Vinegar Hill Loop (County Tyrone)
A really enjoyable and scenic walk on tracks and quiet roads in the heart of the Sperrin Mountains, which happened to fall on my birthday. Read more.
The Caves of Kesh (County Sligo)
A brisk walk up to the intriguing Caves of Kesh and beyond to the summit of Keshcorran. I’d long wanted to see the view from the caves down over little Lough Feenagh, pictured, which looks quite a bit like Ireland. Read more.
Slieve Beagh Traverse (Counties Tyrone, Monaghan and Fermanagh)This north-south traverse of the bleak wilderness of Slieve Beagh is a route I’d wanted to hike for years. There were opportunities for practising navigation while avoiding stepping on mating frogs. Read more.
Mourne Mountains: Eagle, Shanlieve and Finlieve (County Down)
A visit to the boggy western Mournes ended in a stressful walk back to the car in the dark. There were some fantastic views though, including this one over Carlingford Lough at golden hour. Read more.
The Barrow Way: Athy to Carlow (Counties Kildare and Carlow)I really enjoyed my second day out on this mostly grassy towpath which follows Ireland’s second longest river, the Barrow. Read more.
Berwick-upon-Tweed and Berwickshire Coastal PathA memorable day trip during a long weekend in Edinburgh to the beautiful border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. We walked the Elizabethan defensive walls and out to England’s most northerly lighthouse before following the first section of the Berwickshire Coastal Path back to the Scottish border. Read more.
Blackford Hill, Edinburgh
My second time visiting this lesser known (to most tourists, anyway) viewpoint overlooking Edinburgh, the Firth of Forth and the surrounding hills. One of my favourite places in the city. Read more.
Slieve Gullion (County Armagh)
A tougher-than-I-remembered hike up to the passage tomb which marks the highest point in County Armagh. My third visit to a mountain I’ve always had a soft spot for.
Peatlands Park (County Armagh)
My favourite dog-walking spot was at its prettiest in springtime with swathes of bluebells to be found, especially in the park’s lesser trodden areas.
Slieve Gallion (County Derry)
My ‘local’ mountain has sadly been vandalised with the erection of a windfarm on one side, but I still enjoyed its view over the entirety of Lough Neagh.
Cuilcagh Mountain (County Fermanagh)
My first time walking the entirety of the exceptionally popular (but hated by purists and environmentalists) Cuilcagh boardwalk. Thankfully the summit itself was quiet and we were able to savour the views, which included Upper Lough Erne and its many islands.
Loughgall and Castle Dillon Obelisk (County Armagh)
My first decent-length cycle of 2017 took in pretty Loughgall village and nearby Castle Dillon Obelisk, which was erected to mark the freedoms won by the Irish Parliament in 1782. Read more.
Cairngaver (County Down)
A lowly north Down hill that outwitted me on a previous visit. The wooded summit area offers fantastic views which include the Belfast Hills, Mourne Mountains, Strangford Lough, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Read more.
Slieve League (County Donegal)
Another, but admittedly more challenging summit that I didn’t quite conquer on my first attempt, back in 2007. Our looped route took in the not-quite-as-intimidating-as-I-feared One Man’s Pass. I thoroughly enjoyed this hike, which is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s finest. Read more.
Part 2 of my 2017 review is now up.
You might also be interested in my 2016 year in review.