04 Aug

OSI map 23

β€œAll that the sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.”

John Muir

I recently re-found myself again on the wonderful Letterkeen Loop walk in the Nephin Begs. This time, I was joined by Anthony Stanton from the UK, a fellow hiker and friend who loves all things remote. What better location to take him to than the Nephin Begs region, as he wanted to experience some of the western region's rural beauty?

Starting on the Western Way, we took the anti-clockwise way around the moderate route, aiming to stop off at the Mountain Meitheal Hut for refreshments, and then continue down the Bangor Trail until we arrived back to where we started at the car park later on in the day.

No matter the type of weather, the scenery always impresses when doing the Letterkeen loop walks.

The day began cloudy although the forecast called for showers and periods of clear weather. The Loggers Route's Western Way was pleasant to stroll along, but soon we had to turn left to cross a rocky hill and connect with the woodland trail that would eventually take us to the Bangor Trail.

Anthony at one of the way markers enjoying the scenery.

Rain showers pass over the mountains during our trek, making for some great vistas.

This is a pleasant part of the walk because it is easy to walk and offers beautiful scenery. Here, Coilte trees are thriving, and as I passed Lough Aroher, I knew I was close to the Mountain Meitheal Hut, where we planned to stop for a sandwich and a cup of tea. I've already said in a previous blog that the hut is a lovely building that offers an excellent space for any campers or hikers to rest up in for a bit. It was the ideal place for us to stop today and have a break, as our arrival coincided with a heavy shower of rain.

The Mountain Meitheal hut provides a great shelter to stop in and enjoy a cup of tea during a hike.

The Bangor Trail on the return leg of the hike.

Following part of the Altaconey river on the last leg of the hike.

By the time we had finished our tea, the rain had subsided, and we decided that it was time to hit the last stage of the trek. We were still five kilometres from the car park, and the Bangor trail is not known as an easy trail! This part is made up of mostly stone and bog and can be wet in places depending, of course, on the amount of rain that falls. Today the trail wasn't bad, and the going was good. We made it back to the car park at Letterkeen in good time and in good order.

Tony Stanton

Tony is an experienced camper, as he has been hiking and hill walking in England, Scotland and Wales for a long number of years. He was one of the original founders of the Backpackers Club of the UK. This club was established in 1972, and Tony published a small article for the Clubs magazine, Backpack+, titled "The First Fifty,,  to mark its 50th anniversary. It offers a fascinating summary of what backpacking was like in the UK at the beginning.

His first walk in Ireland, the Letterkeen Loop Walk, was really enjoyed by Tony, who said the hike and the scenery compared nicely to what he had experienced in the UK.

Overall, we both enjoyed the walk very much, and the fact that we frequently have the opportunity to trek in such a remote part of the country adds to its attractiveness. Tony was impressed by the mountain Meitheal hut at the base of Nephin Beg and the excellent shelter it offers because, in the UK, bothys are typically used as shelters. He says he will definitively be back for more hikes!

Carpe Diem

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