18 May

β€œFor a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”

Richard P. Feynman

Today, I want to share with you my recent experience climbing Nephin Beg Mountain in the stunning Wild Nephin National Park. Situated in the remote Nephin Begs mountain range, this challenging climb offers a perfect blend of adventure and natural beauty.

Splendid view from the side of Nephin Beg looking down on the Bawnduff river valley.

On the hike, I had the pleasure of being accompanied by my adventurous niece in law, Siobhan Bohan, who had been eager to embark on a hill walking journey for quite some time. Nephin Beg Mountain proved to be the perfect introduction to remote hill walking for her, offering a diverse range of landscapes including rivers, woods, bogs, and, of course, mountains and trails. I must admit, Siobhan's youthful energy and enthusiasm challenged my own pace most of the time, but it was all part of the enjoyment of the hike.

Siobhan subtly reminding me to hurry up ! 😁

To begin our journey, after hiking in around 5 kilometres along the Bangor Trail from Letterkeen, we started the climb at the Lough Aroher shelter site. This shelter is conveniently located at the junction of the Bangor trail and the Letterkeen Loop walk trails. From there, we embarked on a gradual ascent towards Hill 410, taking in the breathtaking surroundings along the way. The dry ground made for a pleasant climb, and we continued our journey uphill to the next spot's height of 505mts.

Looking out over the foothills of Nephin Beg towards the plains of Mayo.

As we reached Hill 505, we found ourselves enveloped in clouds, which slightly hindered our visibility. Nevertheless, we were able to navigate our way through the peat hags and any wet holes and soft spots we encountered along the way. Taking a map bearing to ensure we were on the right path, we ascended a further 120m until we finally reached the summit at 627mts marked by a large cairn.

We reach the cairn at the summit in a cloudy misty atmosphere.

Although the windy and misty conditions resulted in dropping temperature urged us to not linger at the summit for too long. On our way up, we had noticed a post protruding from the ground at around 500mts on the western facing spur. Hoping for forecasted improved visibility at that level, we decided to descend via that route. And we were lucky! The mist began to lift, revealing the awe-inspiring vistas that surrounded us, the views we came here to see! From left to right, the panoramic scenery was so captivating that we couldn't resist staying there for a while to photograph this wonderful vista.

As we look back towards the summit the cloud is slowly lifting.

The contrast in the landscape is captivating.

Given the cloudy conditions, our strategy for the day was to follow the spot heights to the summit. This approach allowed us to pause at each spot, assess our progress, and ensure we remained on the right track. It was both entertaining and educational, as we honed our navigation skills and appreciated the unique beauty of the mountain even in the limited visibility.

The Bangor trail weaves a lonely trail as it works its way towards Bangor Erris. Here it is passing the lower part of Slieve Carr.

Nephin Beg Mountain truly exceeded our expectations. Despite the initial cloud cover, we were rewarded with stunning views and unforgettable scenery. As ever the remote and wild nature of Wild Nephin National Park provides a sense of adventure that is hard to find elsewhere. With its diverse landscapes and challenging climbs, this hidden gem is a must-visit for any outdoor enthusiast. Siobhan certainly thought so!

From the location of the lone farm house, one can observe how isolated the area is.

Along their meandering paths, the Bawnduff River and Bangor Trail pass one another.


I didn't realise there were two birds pictured in the upper right corner of this image of the Oweninny Wind Farm until I uploaded it to the computer when I got home. It appears to be a predatory bird in pursuit. If so, a peregrine falcon is most likely the biggest of the two birds pictured here.

Predator birds like peregrine falcons perch high on the cliffs overlooking Corrie Lakes in the Wild Nephin Wilderness. This falcon has the ability to capture ducks, pigeons, etc. in midair, and if this is the case, it’s nice to know that predatory birds like these seem to be thriving in our nature parks.

However and alarmingly, I see that planning permission for further developments of wind farms have being submitted, this time encroaching very near Slieve Carr and Nephin Beg areas. If and when these permissions are granted, it only remains to be seen the negative impact this decision will have on the flora and fauna in the area and indeed the visual landscape as a whole ?

Carpe Diem

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