On the concrete access road, watching a shaft of sunlight breaking through the stormclouds.
My last post was on Curraghchosaly Mountain, and on the same day, it was my intention to climb a few of the smaller hills in the west of counties Tyrone and Derry, as the snow had made driving to some of the bigger mountains difficult. My second hill of the day was Gortmonly Hill in northwest Tyrone. It is only 218m high, and there is a concrete access road for wind turbines, that passes close to the summit, which makes it an easy hill to climb. The weather had been fairly good as I went up Curraghchosaly, but by the time I got to Gortmonly Hill, dark clouds had gathered overhead and there were some heavy showers of snow and hail.
I parked the car at the bottom of the concrete access road, and noticed there were several men with shotguns standing in the adjacent field. A quick chat to them reassured me that it was OK to continue, and I wouldn’t be in any danger of being accidently shot! They had a couple of companions with dogs further up the hill, and while I was there, they drove a woodcock down towards the shooters. I was pleased to see them missing it, although I kept my pleasure to myself. Continuing on, it was a short walk to the top situated in a field beside the track.
Looking across to Slievekirk.
The River Foyle, Derry City and Clondermot Hill.
Looking across the River Foyle.
Shortly after taking the above photo, black clouds came racing in, the wind rose, and it grew very dark as hail was driven horizontally across the summit. Suddenly everything lit up with a blue lightning flash and a simultaneous thunderclap. The ligthning was directly overhead, and I was one of the highest points in a very open place. I descended the hill faster than I’ve ever done before, and decided that would be enough summits for one day!