At the lowest point between Croaghgorm and Lavagh More. Time for another ascent.
I have reached the final part of the account of my walk along the central ridge of the Bluestack Mountains. In the previous posts I covered the walk over Ardnageer, Ardnageer SW Top, and Croaghgorm – the highest mountain in the Bluestacks. I’d had good weather for most of the walk, but the sky was getting dark and stormy looking as I stood on the col between Croaghgorm and Lavagh More. In addition, the miles travelled and metres ascended were catching up on my knees, which were now very painful. As a result, it looked increasingly like I would forget about Lavagh Beg, and that Lavagh More would be the last peak on this walk. Lavagh More is the second highest mountain in the Bluestack range at 671m, and it looked extremely steep in my present condition. It took a bit of will to force my legs to begin the climb. It was indeed steep, (not just an optical illusion unfortunately) and it was a slow ascent, with plenty of stops to look back at Croaghgorm and along the surrounding valleys.
Looking back to Croaghgorm.
As I neared the summit, despite the gloom, there were good views over Donegal Bay.
Eventually, the steep slope began to level out, and I emerged on to the broad, rounded summit. Nearby was a small cairn, but it was not the actual summit. I could see that, a short distance away on top of another rise.
A small cairn, but not the summit yet!
As I reached the slightly larger cairn marking the true summit I couldn’t help feeling pleased at standing on the fourth summit of the day.
The summit cairn on Lavagh More.
It was now decision time – cut down directly from Lavagh More across the bog to the road that led back out along the Reelan Valley to my car, or continue to Lavagh Beg before doing so. As I gazed across to Lavagh Beg in the failing light, looking perhaps more formidable than it really was, I knew that although I’d had a brilliant walk, I’d had enough. My knees were done, and the descent of Lavagh More and walk out was going to be testing enough as it was, without adding another mountain. I also realised that if I went on to Lavagh Beg, my walk back to the starting point would very likely be across difficult boggy terrain in the dark.
Lavagh Beg – a step too far for me after a long day.
I decided to leave Lavagh Beg for another day. It was a long drop down from the summit of Lavagh More to the bog below, my knees complaining each time I bent them to step down. Then it was a trudge across the bog alongside a small stream, until I went up a little rise to reach the narrow, rough road along the Reelan Valley. At this point the storm that had been threatening for a while, was upon me, and the heavens opened. The last mile or two along the road was done in driving rain, each step causing a little more pain, but perversely, I was deeply contented. It had been a magnificent walk in outstanding surroundings, and I knew that when I reached the warmth and comfort of the car, I would have earned my rest. This hill walking is an oddly addictive pastime!