vikinghar 21 Apr 2009
Crockfadda is a hill that I have walked many, many times as part of one of my favourite walks and, without guile or hubris, I walked it without knowing its name. Word of warning though, the OSI sheet 1 map labels Crocfadda as a 464m height, when this fine website labels a different height at 485m. I think we can trust this site. Crockfadda is a fine steeped mountain with its feet in the Poisoned Glen and its back to a high flat valley. For the tourists that drive the mountain road past Mount Errigal, Crockfadda can be easily identified when looking into the Poisoned Glen. At the back of the Glen there is a distinct notch in the bowl, and Crockfadda is the height immediately to left of the notch. The best route to it, however, is not via the Poisoned Glen, unless of course you like wet, dead-air walks, but from the other side of the ridge entirely. The best way up is to tackle the high valley, advancing towards it from the South East. From Letterkenny, take the road through Churchill and turn left to pass the Gartan Outdoor Adventure Centre and continue on straight from there. This road (R254) will take you out into the wilds, past Glendowan and the back entrance to Glenveagh (called the Bridal Path). Just after the Bridal Path entrance, the road turns a sharp 90 degrees to the left. One hundred yards further on the right there a gravel pit, providing a perfect place to park your car (Point A B963 153 (Point A) approx.). From the gravel pit head further down the road until you see a stream on the right hand side. Cut across the bog and follow this stream up into the high wet valley. Keep off the floor of the valley and to the right by following the sheep tracks. This will take you to the shores of Lough Atirrive. Behind the lough there is the side of Drumnalifferny Mountain on the left, a high bank in the middle, and Crockfadda on the right. The whole reason that this one of my favourite walks is the view at the top of the high bank. Any of my friends or visitors that fancy a walk, this is the one I take them on because, without any warning, but to many gasps of delight, the view opens out to reveal the entire expanse of the Poisoned Glen and Mount Errigal beyond. Up until this point it is very nice walk, then it becomes nothing short of majestic. Gasps, pictures, lunch. Then it is up the slopes of Crockfadda to the top. From here continue on along the top of the ridge, taking in Crockfadda East top (454m) then descend into a deep cut with the Glenveagh deer fence running through it. No need to tackle the fence, just follow it and then descend to the back of the gravel pit. As with most walks in the Derryveaghs, there is infinite scope for variations.
Picture from gerrym : Cnoc Fada is high ground to right before Errigal, as seen from Moylenanav
Picture: Cnoc Fada is high ground to right before Errigal, as seen from Moylenanav
gerrym 27 Mar 2010
Cnoc Fada was the first stop on a cracking round from Dunlewy, also taking in Drumnaliffernn, Bingorms, Slieve Snaght and Crockfadda NE Top. Parking was at the side of the road just past the start of the track into the Poisoned Glen. The track into the Glen is well worn and passes over a lovely arched stone bridge. At this point Errigal is still ahead with the X Factor but this changes as travel further into the ampitheatre. The ground does get pretty wet, but relativity is all - as i think of the walk into Lough Belshade in the Bluestacks! The grass is lush and green and the walls of rock tower skyward all around. I passed the gully access point to the right and veered left to follow the river dropping down from little Lough Beg. There was a bit of boulder hopping and walking along a surprisingly dry riverbed. On reaching a deerfence i followed this steeply uphill to the right, along the flanks of Cnoc Fada. As i stopped to catch my breath the wind exhaled and whistled through the strands of wire beside me. A couple of merlins flew past furiously and noisily. Mackoght now deems to make an appearance alongside the presence of Errigal above the high ground of Maumlack. The whole of the Poison Glen was also laid out before me, back to the ruined church at Dunlewy (wow). The toil uphill is steep and today was slippery. At the crest leave the fenceline and head to the right to reach the 485m of Cnoc Fada after a couple of hours walking. Big big views to the surrounding Derryveaghs - Dooish joining from the NW, Moylenanav to the S and Drumnaliffernn, Bingorms and S Snaght. The ground here is wonderfully rocky and gives a great sense of being in the wilds. Options to extend the walk from here are numerous dependent upon time, energy, interest and experience. I took another 5 hours in the cold, mist and wet underfoot, getting back near dark and kipping in the car - and it was great!
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