Scalp Mountain (and the threat to the eyes of man and beast)

Scalp Mountain is a long ridge in Inishowen, Co. Donegal, and features prominently on the skyline from Derry City.  It is 484m high, but I was able to avoid some unnecessary climbing due to the kind permission of the son of a farmer who owns the land and has constructed a private concrete road which goes a long way up the ridge.  I avoided the steepest part of the ascent by taking the car up the road, and parking just as the concrete ended, turning into a rougher track which I followed on foot, most of the way to the summit.  It was a sunny Spring afternnon, and the haze only partially obscured the magnificent views over Lough Foyle, Inishowen, Lough Swilly and Derry.

On the ascent, looking towards the high point of the ridge.



A glimpse of Lough Foyle.


Looking West to Inch Island in Lough Swilly.


The path to the masts near the summit, and the resident sheep.


A view Northwest to Mouldy Hill and Buncrana beyond.



West along the ridge, with Inch Island again prominent in the distance.


North to Slieve Snaght.


Almost at the summit.



The summit and trig pillar.


East to Eskaheen Mountain.


Looking down towards Derry.


The distant mountains in the North of Inishowen.


Descending again, and looking back to the summit, with the trig pillar just visible.


A look South.


Another view back to the top of the ridge.


More views futher into Inishowen.  Around this point, I met the same farmer’s son mentioned earlier, and his brother, who stopping for a chat, explained they were going up to check on their sheep.  This, they said was necessary as the sheep on warm days would sometimes lie down and roll on to their backs.  They would then be unable to get up again, and when they were immobilised, the ravens which were soaring prominently above, would pounce and take their eyes!  It was with some glee that they told me if a person was lying unconscious for whatever reason, they would suffer the same gory fate.   Other farmers I know have since confirmed the truth of this macabre but fascinating fact.  One more reason to be careful and avoid injury on the mountains.



One last shot on this easy, but worthwhile mountain walk.


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