local mountain- and did yous spot it?

This week’s walk saw us over Binevenagh. Numbers were up –with new faces now becoming regulars and an old face coming back. We had planned to go over to the Sperrins or Donegal way, but snow on high ground proved too risky.
Binevenagh IS pretty local, but it is a favourite. What, with majestic views from low to high ground and a great history to it.
Thanks to a new member of our motley little crew (John) and his trusty ordnance survey map we came across and old stone fort, and I got a few tips in map reading.

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There was snow –but not as deep as we expected. At times it was pretty slippy, and proved to be a bit of a challenge to all of us-so a big pat on the back is in order to Mary Lou, this was her first walk with us in at least 2 or 3 years-not only was the walk a challenge, she had to put up with my jokes.
There is a cave up there somewhere-we know where it is, but we have never been up to it-we have made a promise that we will as soon as the weather improves. There is two stories behind this cave. Some people say that it is man made by American soldiers during world war II. The OTHER is that this was used as a hide out by the highway man Cushy Glen. Now Cushy was a real person.He was a famous outlaw,of which there were many in Ireland in the 18th century. Now such people may have been outlaws as far as the authorities were concerned-but by the local people, the whole Robin Hood kind of figures. But not Cushy-he was a thief and a murderer. The road were he did the majority of his crimes is known by locals (to this day) as the Murder Hole Road. Apparently Cushy dumped his victims in hole somewhere over this road. Local authorities have named this road Windyhill Road –ask a local where the Windyhill Road is and we have to think for a few seconds before we realise that it’s the murderhole they are looking for. He was killed during a robbery in 1804, legend has it that his wife did a runner with his hoard. ANY WAY –made by the Yanks* or Cushy Glen’s hide out? I think the latter sounds better and more believable.The ruins of his house is still standing on his area of business.

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There is a also a few ruins of old houses/cabins throughout the forest.And I would not be surprised if they were abandoned sooner than we would think.
But as I have said many times up at the top of the climb there is a real good buzz looking down at the ground that you have come up from, the hills of Donegal on the horizon and the light, wow seeing the sun rays coming through the clouds makes it all worth while. The walk was a little bit longer than we thought it would be-but we never actually noticed that until we got back to the cars.

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I think this year is our little group’s 10th anniversary. We started as a club but we ditched that title and decided that we were better off as just being a bunch of people that like to get out for a ramble. We’re not a particularly large group, but we like it that way-less work organising and ,well WE like to think, the camaraderie is better. New people are of welcome though. Our AGMs proved to be so much fun we decided to have them on a monthly basis-in one of our local pubs.And we have me some great people during our little meetingsTo be honest-the walks part of these meetings is only about 10% of the chat. This week we made a note of our palned walks for the year-will be interesting to see how much we stick to it-but then plans are for wimps any way.

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* To my American readers this term is not an insult/put down. I just thought it had a better sound to it here than “made by the Americans”-ok?

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the crabbit man rambled

Another year over a new one just begun. Well 2014 is done and gone. It was a pretty good year for us. Although we did not manage to get to the much loved Lake District we DID manage one weekend trip on our own fair island. And we had perfect weather for it too. Numbers were way down for this one-but worked out well.
We also discovered that doing a much taken walk in a different circle make a big difference and we saw things from a different angle.

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We also discovered bits we never saw before over my favourite-Binevenagh. You think you know a walk until you take a few steps to the right or to the left.The last time we were round Binevenagh the weather was near perfect and the views were breathtaking-we could easily have sat all day at the lunch spot, taking in the view-it was just one of those days.And due to a bit going off course-we almost WERE there all day.

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We made an attempt at the North Sperrins Way-but we have not officially finished it yet (story only 3 of us will get)-so that’s something to look forward to in 2015.The first leg of this walk turned out to be our longest both distance and time wise for a local walk.And a good one it was too.Brendan almost starved Anthony on this one (that wasn’t the good part, I hasten to add)-umm i previously put this in as the causeway coast challenge-but i was corrected. The causeway coast challenge was another one we did-which to be honest was not much of a challenge, despite being along the wonderful Giant’s Causeway.
The weekender in 2014 was done at Glen Colmcille in Donegal. I have cycled and stayed here a few times so I know it is a beautiful part of the country. I also knew of a marvellous beach there which came as a hidden extra surprise to Anthony and Breandan.
We got wet a few times too-seemed to be the norm for us, for a while. A couple of times we had to cut a walk off early it was so bad. But sometimes a cloudy misty sky was actually quite picturesque-and one of those “you had to be there” moments , but huddled under a group of trees in the rain looking at a map and deciding what to do next has a certain “something” about it.
We have also gotten into the habit of going for a coffee/tea somewhere after a walk now-when there is somewhere that does that. Adds to the whole social aspect of the rambling that I love so much about this pastime.
Sometimes we got more than a little off course and after looking at a map and calling a gps some colourful names, we wondered if we’d be home before it got dark. But HEY! Sure I’m typing this now.
My game of taking a stone from one hill to another has taken a new twist. I now write something on the stone and place it somewhere. A stone I put near the top of Errigal was found by someone else-and he took a photo it and put in on our facebook page. Will be interesting if anymore are found this year.

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I read this somewhere else, it was actually about cycling- but it applies to rambling too. It is one of those exercises that you can adapt to suit yourself, you’d be surprised how easy it is to gain speed and momentum at a relaxed pace. OK rambling is not about speed-but you’d be surprised how quickly this hills you once struggled up become just a bump in the road. So any virtual ramblers out there –get out and do something. The regulars in the group were not always this agile. And there are some hills that are still a challenge to us. There is nothing wrong with stopping for a breather going up a hill, and when you see what you’ve come up so far you get a good feeling.

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So here’s to 2015, hope to see some new faces and boots, some new places and the usual craic.And I’m too lazy to edit this

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