Mid March, and I was heading out to do some hillwalking with my young son, so seeking a smaller hill to do, we were heading for the brilliantly named Balix Hill in the Sperrin Mountains. It is one of the smaller Sperrins at 403m, and at some points, the road passed quite close to the summit, so from looking at the map, it looked like it shouldn’t be too taxing. As it turned out, we didn’t reach the top for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I found it difficult to find somewhere to park without blocking the narrow roads in the area. When I did find a spot, it was to the north of the hill, which meant probably the longest approach to the top. We set off, having to negotiate some very boggy ground and get over several barbed wire fences. We quickly found ourselves walking up across heathery moorland, which made for difficult walking, particulary for my son’s shorter legs!
Out on the open moorland.
A lone, small tree in wide open spaces.
Another valiant little tree struggling in the fairly bleak landscape.
Moorlough, I think, in the distance.
As we got higher, we realised the summit was still quite a bit away, and higher still, and I realised it would be too much for my son to struggle through the deep heather and tussocky grass for that distance. I would have to save Balix Hill for another day, and we turned back.
Seeing the summit, too far away in this terrain for my son.
Its never satisfying to not reach a summit, but we had a pleasant walk down in the sunshine, with some nice clouds to add some interest to the sky.
Looking over to Curradrolan Hill and Lough Ash, both of which I visited and posted on recently.
We soon found ourselves back at the little tree we had seen earlier, and shortly after, back at the car.
Down at the car, I was reluctant to end the day without reaching a summit of some sort. We had plently of daylight and energy left, so having seen Lough Ash from the hillside, we took the short drive to the shore to have our lunch and consider our next move. Curradrolan Hill, above Lough Ash, had been a very easy climb, just a matter of a few fields on a short climb up from the road, and nearby Crockdooish seemed to be a very similar prospect – easily within the capabilities of my son, so we went to attempt it. I stopped beside a pub on the southern side of the hill, and spotting someone outside it, asked if would be alright to park in a little layby a bit farther on. He called a few others, including the owner I think, out from the pub, and they insisted that we should park in the pub car park. They were a very friendly bunch, and we stood chatting for a good while, about hill walking in particular, which some of them had done a bit of. Eventually, we started the short walk up the hillside to the summit, crossing a few fields before reaching a heathery area. Immediately, there were great views around the higher Sperrin Mountains, and the same impressive clouds that we’d had on Balix Hill.
Starting up Crockdooish.
In no time, we had reached the summit area, although it now started to cloud over a little. We took a wander to get the differing views from around the broad summit.
As we turned to go down, it brightened up a bit again, and taking a slightly different route from the way up, we came across an impressive standing stone in the late light.
A handful of shots on the way down, and we were back at the car.
There were great views from Crockdooish for such a small hill and little effort, and we had at least reached one summit, however humble, on our walk.