I was back on top of Cloghernagh after having passed over the same summit earlier in the morning on the way to Lugnaquilla, taking in Corrigasleggaun too on the way back. By the time I’d reached Cloghernagh in the morning, the cloud had closed in and I’d lost the views. Now, on the walk back out, the cloud had lifted and I could see the surrounding mountains, even if it was still murky and gloomy.
Back at the summit cairn on Cloghernagh for the second time that day.
My three summits were all done, and it would be all downhill now, first down the steep slope above Art’s Lough, then a short flat stretch leading to the faint track through a neck of forestry. After emerging from that, I would be on the more substantial zigzag track down the lower slopes through the forest to Glenmalure.
Walking down from the broad top of Cloghernagh.
These views had been hidden on the way up. Now I could see the curious flat area near Tomaneena, which is an artificial lake and power station – the one area catching the sun in the photo.
Normally in the mountains it is up to yourself to avoid potential leg-breaking pitfalls like this. Here, possibly because I was inside the confines of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, the vegatation had been cut back to reveal it, and a stake was driven in to make it more visible.
Beginning the drop down to the area around Art’s Lough. This would be the steepest park of the descent.
The forest below, that I would also be passing through on the way to Glenmalure.
I managed to lose the faint track at some point, leading to some awkward ground, with scattered rocks, often covered in high heather. Luckily, I picked the track up again soon after, leading to easier going.
Back on the track – there is a faint trail on the left.
Soon, I had negotiated the steeper slope, and was back down close to Art’s Lough. Conditions were much gloomier now than they had been in the early morning light on the way up, so I haven’t included any photos overlooking the lough. Part 1 contains some images from here taken in the better, earlier light.
Back at the forest – shortly after this point, I would cut through it briefly on an almost invisible trail, leading to the larger track that zigzags down through it to Glenmalure.
Time to make my way through the trees – there is actually a faint track there, although it is difficult to spot, even there in person on the ground, and I was glad of the GPS to keep me right.
Pushing down through the trees to the zigzag, I was often brushing under and against encroaching branches and deep heather. Conscious of the fact that this was an area populated by deer, when I emerged on to the wider track, I gave myself a bit of an inspection for ticks. Sure enough, I found two on my sleeve! None attached to me yet fortunately.
I was on the home straight now – the zigzag track down the forested hillside to Glenmalure, and the sunshine was starting to come back too.
One of many little streams and waterfalls running down the steep slopes beside the track.
The zigzag is a substantial path, making for easy walking now.
The surrounding forest.
Almost back at the bottom of the glen.
Crossing the Avonbeg River, which was beside the road, a few metres from where I was parked at the Ballinafunshoge Forest Recreation Area.
And that was my third of the four provincial tops completed. Now for the long drive back to Tyrone. I made one more quick stop shortly after leaving, when the sculpture of the blackbird in nearby Rathdrum caught my eye as I passed. After that it was non-stop to home.
The blackbird in Rathdrum.