Donegal Hiking Weekend
Feeling a little wanderlust, we are dusting off our Donegal mapping and plotting a 2 day hiking adventure in the Donegal hills.
The plan is simple, 2 days 2 hikes, choose either or both!
Day 1 see’s us in the Derryveigh Mountain range and Errigal Mountain while Day 2 see’s us travel to south west Donegal, home to Slieve League.
To save on needless travel on Saturday night our guides will be staying at the Errigal Hostel which rests at the foot of the mountain, hikers can arrange booking here if they wish to keep their minds in the ‘mountain spirit’, the hostel provides kitchen facilities and common areas where people can come together, a well-stocked shop and small local bar sit next to the hostel, in the evening weather dependent, our guides will explore the surrounding areas where hike ticket holders are welcome to accompany.
Mount Errigal and the Lough Altan Farm.
Saturday 24 August, 11 am
Claiming the highest point in Donegal, Errigal Mountain needs little to no introduction as it is one of Ireland’s most photographed mountains.
Rising high above the surrounding peaks, this unique mountain finishes with its famous twin peaked summit joined with a narrow one mans pass that always invokes a gasp and awe to all who take on the challenge on standing atop of this quartzite beauty.
To extend our day in the Derryveagh Mountains we begin by taking a journey to Lough Altan home to the now abandoned Altan Farm House. This farm house is arguably one of the most picturesque settings in the land with the mountains of Aghla More, Mackoght and Errigal rising dramatically on both sides of the homestead, hear the long and often troubled history of the farm as we rest by the lake shores.
From the tranquil farm house we begin our ascent by firstly ticking off the summit of Mackoght otherwise knowing as ‘Little Errigal’, the main goal of the day Errigal slowly creeps in to full view along this ascent and after lunch on Mackoght we cross the saddle to the south spur of Errigal, here we join the footsteps of many others that make their way to the summit while watching the route we have just come from grow smaller below our feet, and after a final climb to the summit we claim our prize of stunning panoramic views along the so called ‘Seven Sister’ peaks of the Derryveagh Mountains and views across to the Poisoned Glen and more of Donegal’s rolling mountains, valleys, shore lines and numerous Islands all with a story to tell.
Duration approx. 5 hours.
Slieve League – Sunday 25th August 11am.
Sunday will see us take on Slieve League another of Donegal’s peaks that needs little introduction. Although not as famous as its Co Clare cousins
Slieve League is actually 3 times higher to the cliffs found in Moher and Europe’s fifth highest sea cliff and its winding cliff top path provides views to take the breath away every time you visit otherwise knowing ‘Grey Mountain’
Our route begins at the upper carpark near Bunglass which overlooks the cliffs along with features like ‘The Giants Desk and Chair’ and ‘The Eagles Nest’. From here several vantage points are visited before making our way along the edge of the cliffs gradually up and up to the south summit where views of the mind-boggling scale of the cliff face can be seen.
Upon reaching the south summit we have lunch before we make our way over the famous ‘One mans Pass’ to the true summit of Slieve League. This airy traverse is more daunting in name than actaul fact with its sloping sides dropping off on one side to the sea and the mountain valley with Lough Agh on the side, wide enough to take several men this arete is still a breathtaking location to be stood upon.
Reaching the summit, we rejoice and enjoy the views that stretch from north Donegal all the way round the bay through Sligo and on to Mayo in this true 360 degree vista, we also visit a rock knowing as ‘The Diving Board’ where some of Slieve Leagues most impressive pictures have been taking.
We descend via the century’s old Pilgrims Path passing the ancient ruins of a Church and Beehive houses near the top before leaving the open mountain and joining the hardcore stretch of the Pilgrims Path which majestically sinks into a glacial corrie with the surrounding mountain’s enclosing us on all sides. Beautiful streams, waterfalls and views to the coast finish our day as we tie up a fun packed weekend in the hills of Donegal.
Duration approx. 5 hours.