One of several loughs on Croaghacullion Hill.
After our visit to the standing stone and the ancient tomb, I continued my walk, aiming for the 374 meter high Croaghacullion – a hill to the north east of Glencolmcille. After an initial stretch on the road, I found myself on a rough track leading up the hillside to the prominent communications masts. Height was quickly gained with good views down over Glencolmcille to the coast.
Taking the track up the hillside, looking out to Rossan Point.
Looking across the Glencolmcille valley, with Slieve League in the distance.
Glen Bay beach below in Glencolmcille.
Looking back down the track as I ascended.
Reaching the communications masts, the track continued northwards on the waymarked Drum Loop Walk, but I left it at this point, turning east instead on to the open hillside of Croaghacullion. I was now on steadily rising, heathery ground, sometimes rocky, sometimes peaty. There had been a prolonged dry spell, but it was clear that at other times, this would be very boggy, wet terrain.
A glimpse of the sea stacks at Port, to the north.
The dry, peaty ground underfoot.
The way ahead to the summit lay over a series of minor summits.
Dried up moss – I was definitely getting the impression that under normal conditions this could be a bit of a wet slog.
A few peat hags to get through, but not too bad in the dry weather.
Glencolmcille now seemed a long way back.
Clearer views now of the coast around Port.
Getting closer to the top, I found myself making my way between several small loughs nestled between the many hillocks and little summits. They were picturesque, reflecting the bright blue colour of the almost cloudless sky.
The summit lying on the high ground to the left of the lough.
A second, smaller lough.
A stone cairn on one of the lower summits.
Passing between the first two loughs, I was getting closer to the top. The ground up here was becoming more eroded, with large expanses of peat or bedrock being exposed. It made for an unusual landscape.
The bedrock and peat became increasingly exposed as I got closer to the top.
A large area of exposed peat and rock.
A view southwards.
Sturrall Head just peeping up over the slopes to the west.
South over the valley leading to Glencolmcille, with Slieve League on the right of the frame, and further behind on the left, the Dartry Mountains in Sligo and Leitrim.
Passing between a second pair of small loughs, this one seemed about to spill over a narrow lip to the slopes below, appearing to almost merge with the ocean, although there is actually a fair bit of ground between.
A very regular, pentagon shaped cross section in the rock.
Another large eroded area.
Looking back at the second pair of loughs I had passed between.
The Slievetooey line of peaks to the north.
Interesting shapes in dried out peat.
And, there I was on the summit, marked by a low cairn. The views were stunning on this sunny, summer day. North was the long line of Slievetooey summits, with Aran Island visible on the horizon. Turning my gaze westwards I could look down on Port with its huge sea stacks, on to Sturrall Head, and Glen Head. Then came Glencolmcille with its golden beach. A little southwards was Rossan Point and Rathlin O’Birne Island, then Slieve League, with glimpses of the Dartry Mountains beyond. Some of the best scenery in Donegal.
The summit cairn, with Slievetooey to the north.
A little more eastwards along the Slievetooey summits.
Slieve League, with the Dartry Mountains on the horizon on the left.
Time to start making my way back along much the same route.
A fellow walker.
And, one who’s walking days were over!
On the way back, I veered north, joining the Drum Loop Walk trail a bit further on than where I had left it on the way up.
Turf cut from the ground for fuel.
Approaching Glencolmcille again, with a view over the beach to Rossan Point, with Rathlin O’Birne Island on the left. North Mayo can be seen on the horizon.
That was the end of the walk, and of our two day stay in Glencolmcille. It had been a great couple of days with plenty of walking through amazing scenery taking in golden beaches, sea stacks and lofty cliffs, mountain and bog, antiquities and history, all in a compact little area. A brilliant trip in a beautiful part of Donegal.