Unfinished Business Part 1: Cairngaver

Each of my two most recent hikes brought a sense of closure, as both involved a hill that had defeated me on a previous visit. These were Cairngaver, a lowly transmitter-topped hill near Belfast, and the much more famous Slieve League in County Donegal, home to some of Europe's highest sea cliffs. Top image: Looking beyond the town … Continue reading Unfinished Business Part 1: Cairngaver

Sunday Cycle: Loughgall and Castle Dillion Obelisk

It's niggled at me slightly that, despite the name of this blog, only one of my posts so far has focused on cycling, even though it tends to be my main source of exercise. That's probably because most of my cycles these days take place relatively close to home. This weekend I ventured a little bit further, deep(ish) into … Continue reading Sunday Cycle: Loughgall and Castle Dillion Obelisk

The Barrow Way: Athy to Carlow

I got to visit Counties Kildare and Carlow last week to walk a new section of a trail that has enchanted me for some time. The Barrow Way follows Ireland's second longest river and various side canals for a total distance of 120km. It runs southwards from the Grand Canal to the point where the river becomes tidal, at … Continue reading The Barrow Way: Athy to Carlow

Mournes Hike: Eagle, Shanlieve and Finlieve

I paid a rare visit to the Mourne Mountains in County Down at the weekend for a hike that ended up being a lot longer and more challenging than expected. We opted for the lesser visited, and boggier, western Mournes with the aim of tackling three mountains in a loop. Top image: Finlieve summit cairn overlooking Carlingford Lough … Continue reading Mournes Hike: Eagle, Shanlieve and Finlieve

Slieve Beagh: Three Counties and Countless Frogs

Slieve Beagh is often maligned by hillwalkers for being bleak, featureless and generally hard work, but I've had a soft spot for it since my first visit back in 2009. I returned to this extensive area of blanket bog, gentle peaks and hidden loughs at the weekend, to walk a route I'd wanted to try for a long time: … Continue reading Slieve Beagh: Three Counties and Countless Frogs

Sligo: The Caves of Kesh / Keshcorran

I visited beautiful County Sligo at the weekend for a catch-up with friends and got to  do a hike that had been on my list for years. The intriguing Caves of Kesh (or Keash) are a series of gaping holes set in limestone cliffs part way up Keshcorran hill near Ballymote. I'd first seen them during … Continue reading Sligo: The Caves of Kesh / Keshcorran

Sperrins Photo Blog: Vinegar Hill Loop

Once again I stayed relatively close to home for this hike, which happened to fall on my birthday. The Vinegar Hill Loop in County Tyrone is one of a small number of waymarked routes in the heart of the Sperrin Mountains. It's largely on farm tracks with sections on public but quiet roads. I hadn't walked it before but had … Continue reading Sperrins Photo Blog: Vinegar Hill Loop

Sperrins: Lough Ouske to Lough Lark

I stayed close(ish) to home for my final hike of 2016, with another visit to the Sperrins in my native Tyrone. We chose a linear route on the southern side of the Glenelly Valley, starting with a visit to Lough Ouske, one of the biggest bodies of water in the range.  Top image: Canice enjoying the view … Continue reading Sperrins: Lough Ouske to Lough Lark

2016 Hikes & Cycles in Review: Part 2

Part 1 of my year in review included hikes (some in the loosest sense of the word) from Scotland, mainland Europe and Jordan. This second part will cover the rest of my 2016 voluntary redundancy-funded travels in Asia and the US plus my favourite Irish hikes after returning home. Top image: A view of Half Dome … Continue reading 2016 Hikes & Cycles in Review: Part 2

Donegal: Aghla Mountain

This outlier of Donegal's Bluestack range had vaguely been on my radar for years. I finally climbed it at the weekend as part of an annual pre-Christmas hike and get together with some of my hiking buddies. Aghla's rugged bulk rises from the southern shore of the 5km-long Lough Finn, source of the River Finn, … Continue reading Donegal: Aghla Mountain