Spring ’09. Leaving Newcastle, followed the Bryansford Road, B180, out toward Hilltown approx 3.5km until came to a small fork left off the road. The fork runs almost parallel with the B180 for a little. All for the alternative, but of no advantage, we passed the Trassey Track car park and made our way to the Meelmore Lodge, further along the road. Once parked, we turned left down a narrow stone-walled lane off the car park proper. Following this yellow furze road, heady with gorse aroma, we crossed a little bridge, travelled more lane, then through a gate out into open bog. Trees as rare as hen’s teeth here, birds fly low at viciously stealth-like-oblique angles, into and out of the gorse, making open bog a comfort. Skirting the sheep pens off to the left, one of us headed for the track and the other across the bog, bee like to begin with, and then rather waspish, as the terrain proves swampish and ugly going. Fording the Trassy river, a couple of times, we met with Speilic, or Spellack, (Splintery Rock) a spur off Meelmore, looming high and sheer over our right shoulder. Speilic’s bare rock face is badly scarred, once raised by the magnificent upheaval of earth plates; her tenacious granite was cracked and splintered by contraction as the great ice sheets scored across her over the millennia. Half way down her great stand, residual soil sits like a skirt hugging her girth, the earth still claiming hold, after the force upward. Small rocks and stones mimic river ‘flow’ down her drapes and folds. Once past Speilic, our track split, one fork branching to the right and the other decidedly forward. Frogspawn, frog, and frog-froth littered the wet gullies either side of the fork. The area teemed with the squirming mass making the drier path upwards a welcome escape. About 200m up Hare’s Gap’s 400m height, we turned to take in the vista below. Down’s Lough Island Reavey Resevoir glistened in the far distance, with as much of the world again spreading off into the beyond. It is spring but weather feigns a late May. Continuing our climb up Hare, the tedium of indecisive track or path, irritates, so eager to reach the top, Graham Preskett’s ‘Chevalier de Sangreal’ strikes up in the ‘inner’ ear, (the charismatic Jackill having the monopoly on ‘ten green bottles’) with each advancing step, until finally through the wall via the simplest of gates, the climatic overture, into another world. All in all, our only troubles north that Spring day, small kamikaze birds and incubating footprints filled with one eyed globules, and truth be told, we have that, south.