No summits achieved this morning, but I had a fantastic walk through the Bluestack Mountains in their Winter garb. The weather forecast was promising for the early part of today, and knowing there had been heavy snowfall in the mountains, I set off with the camera. I had a notion of making the summit of Croaghanirwore via Croaghnageer, although I knew there was a good chance I might not make it. Previously I had climbed Croaghnageer via Brown’s Hill, but today I decided to go for a direct route up the Southern side and cross the saddle from the top to Croaghanirwore. However, I only managed to make it about two thirds of the way up, after a difficult time even getting to the foot of the mountain across the snow covered bog. On Croaghnageer itself, the snow became too deep to proceed. Every step saw me dropping through the crusted surface, sometimes up to my waist. It was exhausing and not having managed to get a good pair of boots yet, my wellies were soon full of snow, with soaked socks and frozen feet. Even if I had made the summit, it was likely that my feet would be blistered and maybe even frostbitten before I returned! I decided to be sensible and head down again, which in itself proved difficult. Even though no new summits were “bagged”, it was an exhilerating walk in the stunning scenery and well worth the excursion. Croaghanirwore will still be there another day.
A common viewpoint in my photos, as the Bluestacks come into view on my usual route to the South of the range, from Castlederg via Corgary. This one shows Croaghconnellagh on the right, and Croaghonagh on the left.
Croaghconnellagh on the left this time, with Croaghnageer on the right.
On foot now, and looking at Croaghconnellagh through the trees.
Brown’s Hill and Croaghnageer.
The Northeast face of Croaghconnellagh.
I had now started up the slopes of Croaghnageer and the difficulties started. I was rewarded however, with these views down on the Lowerymore River and Barnes Lough.
A look up at the summit.
With height, more and more was revealed of Barnes Lough in its spectacular setting.
Looking over to Brown’s Hill from Croaghnageer’s craggy face.
East to lower ground.
My eye was constantly drawn back to the view of narrow Barnes Lough.
The saddle between Brown’s Hill and Croaghnageer.
At this point I could hardly feel my wet, cold feet, and I knew that I would not be going to the summit of Croaghnageer, and on to Croaghanirwore today. Time for a few last shots before descending.
On lower ground, my feet began to feel (relatively) warmer, and reaching the forestry track which would take me back to the main road, there was no more wading through deep snow. With the promise of a warm car, the camera came out again for a last shot of Croaghconnellagh across a frozen pool.