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Sperrin Mountains Area   NW Cen: Glenelly North West Subarea
Place count in area: 64, OSI/LPS Maps: 12, 13, 6, 7, 8 
Highest place:
Sawel, 678m
Maximum height for area: 678 metres,     Maximum prominence for area: 657 metres,

Places in area Sperrin Mountains:
E: Magherafelt Hills:   Slieve Gallion NE Top 496m
E: Magherafelt Hills:   Slieve Gallion 528m
N: Claudy Hills:   Crockdooish 321mCurradrolan Hill 270mEglish 277mLetterlogher 249mMullaghmeash Hill 244mSlieveboy 259mStraid Hill 303m
NE Cen: Glenelly North East:   Barnes Top 456mCraigagh Hill 460mCrockbrack 526mKnockanbane Mountain 441mMeenard Mountain 620mMeenard Mtn W Top 480mMullaghaneany 627mMullaghash 480mMullaghsallagh 485mOughtmore 569mSpelhoagh 568m
NE: Glenshane North:   Benbradagh 465mBoviel Top 454mCarn Hill 448mCarntogher 464mMoneyoran Hill 414m
NE: Glenshane South:   Bohilbreaga 478mCoolnasillagh Mountain 423mCorick Mountain 430mCrockalougha 407mMullaghmore 550mWhite Mountain 537m
NW Cen: Glenelly North West:   Dart Mountain 619mDart Mountain North-West Top 525mLearmount Mountain 489mLearmount Mountain South Top 492mMullaghasturrakeen 581mMullaghcarbatagh 517mMullaghclogha 635mMullaghclogher 572mMullaghdoo 568mSawel 678m
NW: Maheramason Hills:   Clondermot Hill 220mGortmonly Hill 218mSlievekirk 370m
SE Cen: Glenelly South East:   Carnanelly 562mCarnanelly West Top 505mMullaghbane 467mMullaghturk 416m
SE: Cookstown Hills:   Cregganconroe 300mFir Mountain 362mOughtmore 382m
SW Cen: Glenelly South West:   Clogherny Top 408mCraignamaddy 385mCrocknamoghil 335mMullaghbolig 442mSpaltindoagh 420m
SW: Mullaghcarn:   Curraghchosaly Mountain 416mMullaghcarn 542mMullaghcarn South Top 525m
SW: Newtownstewart Hills:   Bessy Bell 420mMullaghcroy 242m
W: Strabane:   Balix Hill 403mKnockavoe 296mOwenreagh Hill 400m

Note: this list of places includes island features such as summits, but not islands as such.
Rating graphic.
Sawel Mountain Samhail Phite Méabha A name in Irish (Ir. 'Samhail Phite Méabha' [DUPN], 'resemblance of Maeve’s vulva') County Highpoint of Derry & Tyrone and in Derry/ Tyrone Counties in NI and in Ulster Province, in County Highpoint, Arderin, Vandeleur-Lynam, Irish Highest Hundred Lists, Psammite & semipellite Bedrock

Height: 678m OS 1:50k Mapsheet: 13 Grid Reference: H61796 97305
Place visited by 391 members. Recently by: wintersmick, SeanPurcell, MickM45, Leonas_Escapades, sjmorg, Rabsoffagain, karoloconnor, No1Grumbler, Kirsty, kirtatty, atlantic73, Louise.Nolan, Jai-mckinney, Brendanbarrett, ElaineM76
I have visited this place: NO (You need to be a logged-in member to change this.)

Longitude: -7.039464, Latitude: 54.819745 , Easting: 261796, Northing: 397305 Prominence: 657m,  Isolation: 1.8km,   Has trig pillar
ITM: 661731 897294,   GPS IDs, 6 char: Sawel, 10 char: Sawel
Bedrock type: Psammite & semipellite, (Dart Formation)

This rather colourful name seems to derive from the appearance of the glen on the S side of Sawel.   Sawel is the highest mountain in the Sperrin Mountains area and the 147th highest in Ireland. Sawel is the highest point in county Derry and also the highest in Tyrone.

Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/144/
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MountainViews.ie Picture about mountain Sawel (<i>Samhail Phite Méabha</i>) in area Sperrin Mountains, Ireland
Picture: taking the strain near the summit of Sawel
 
gerrym on Sawel, 2007
by gerrym  13 Jun 2007
Climbed 5.3.06 after a week of cold weather and snow. Tramping up the narrow road from Sperrin hamlet heavy hail showers obscured the summit, not giving much confidence of fantastic views. The climb up the long E shoulder was through deep powder snow, glistening in the sunlight as the weather cleared, with drifting in places. Following the fenceline upward the mist at the top began to clear to a deep, cold blue sky. My pace quickened to capture the views, though I had no need to worry and was able to linger on the summit in perfect conditions. Gobsmacking views to distant summts capped with snow in Donegal, with dark snow clouds scurrying across the intervening countryside against the clearest of blue skies. The wind was strong and biting but i had the hill to myself and took the opportunity to savour what was before me - if I was a believer I would be tempted to say that it was a near religious experience.
Dart beckoned across the ridge, looking quite different in a winter coat. Sheltering against the summit cairn as a snow shower whipped across brought a smile to my face, in relative warmth. I just had to return the same way and again spent time on a clear summit of Sawel taking in the views of the surrounding high and low hills before reluctantly dropping down. A great way to spend four hours any Sunday. Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/144/comment/2223/
Your Score: Very useful <<  >>Average
 
Bleck Cra on Sawel, 2004
by Bleck Cra  29 Sep 2004
The Sperrins. Four words, excepting my stoppage, describe these burst teabags. “Completely beautiful” and “duelling bbbbbanjos”.

The Sperrins could start from Goles Bridge or anywhere else through the worm hole.
First, come out of Draperstown and take the delightful Plumbridge Road.

I followed a fence made of razor wire, itself following a gurgling stream and both briefly followed by a farmer from Gortin. Frightening enough.

Half an hour of orange (history) bog and a conviction that nothing survives here.
At 2000’. “Hello now” I said. “Hello back,” he said. “Cutting the turf?” said I. “Sure that I am,” said he.
A dog (or similar) was welded to a post, buried in said bog. The first sniff of me and the land cracked and retched as damned Spot tried to uproot the mountain and swallow me.
“Sure he won’t touch you”. Sure he’ll just inhale me.

When you’ve seen all the bog there is, comes the summit of Sawel and what true bog is, to Derry, Donegal and Greenland.

On a good day (Ha) you can see to McGilligan and that breathtaking black blue texture of ocean kissing Tir nan Og, and also back into the bitter glens of the lower Sperrins: green, beautiful and uneasy.

My route was Mullaghsallagh, Oughtmore, Mullaghaneany, Meenard, and Oughtvabeg.

A hill can be looked from as well as looked at and the dullest hill can present the prettiest views. The Sperrins teach us the converse.
Go amongst them and love them. Go up them and hate them forever.

Here’s an incentive - on another occasion, I said to the wummin in the Sperrin Centre “what about if I go West of the Burn?” “Oh yyyyyes” she said: “the farmer will shoot you”. “In what way?” said I. “Ddddead,” said she. Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/144/comment/1211/
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MountainViews.ie Picture about mountain Sawel (<i>Samhail Phite Méabha</i>) in area Sperrin Mountains, Ireland
Picture: Frozen fence leading into the freezing fog
wicklore on Sawel, 2008
by wicklore  31 Oct 2008
Photo of the fence that leads almost to the summit of Sawel from the Barnes Road. Except for the fact that some photos showed the colour of my walking poles I would have thought the camera was in black and white mode. Some steep sections on this approach needed to be negotiated with care as a simple stumble could have resulted in a slippery slide! Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/144/comment/3410/
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Derry / Tyrone County Top
by Gribster  23 Aug 2010
As I near the completion of my 2010 County Tops challenge, I would like to inform my fellow County Toppers about something I've recently learned about Sawel Mountain. A few weeks ago, I followed the “county boundary” fence to the summit from Sperrin Road. The fence passes about 10m west of the summit trig pillar which supposedly marks the County Top of Derry. I walked westwards from it to the highest point along the fence about 10m west. There were two small boulders - one each side of the fence - which served nicely as a stile. The boulder on the west side of the fence seemed the most likely location of the County Top of Tyrone, so I felt a need to stand on it. I realise there can be a lack of precision associated with certain County Tops (see my MV entry for Seltannasaggart SE Slope), and I wanted to be absolutely sure about this one too. OSNI 1:50,000 Sheet 13 and 1:25,000 Sperrins Activity Map both show the county boundary passing very close to the Sawel Mountain trig pillar. In fact, the Sperrins Activity Map clearly shows the boundary deviating away from the fence to possibly pass through the pillar. I checked with OSNI, and they've informed me that the county boundary is an "undefined" boundary (i.e. one which is not coincident with any feature). If the fence had marked the boundary, it would have been a "defined" boundary. This confirms that the fence, used by many people as a navigational guide to the summit, doesn’t mark the county boundary. OSNI also checked the location of the trig pillar and the county boundary on their digital mapping. From this, they measured that the trig pillar lies 0.8m on the Tyrone side of the county boundary. However, they could only confirm an accuracy of 2m - in other words, the trig pillar could be 2.8m into Tyrone or it could just as easily be 1.2m into Derry. A townland boundary also crosses the summit, intersecting the county boundary within 2m of the trig pillar. The proximity of these two boundaries to the trig pillar and the 2m accuracy of the mapping leads me to believe that the trig pillar marks the point where the county and townland boundaries intersect. While it’s not possible to pinpoint the County Top of either Derry or Tyrone based on the most accurate large-scale mapping available, there appears to be a strong possibility that the Sawel Mountain trig pillar marks the top of both counties. It certainly marks the top of at least one. If it marks the top of Derry only, then the top of Tyrone is up to 1.2m to the south of it. If it marks the top of Tyrone only, then the top of Derry is up to 2.8m to the north of it. Based on the high level of uncertainty and the tiny distances involved, it is best to assume that the trig pillar is located directly on the county boundary and marks the County Top of both Derry and Tyrone. To be absolutely sure you get both counties, walk a tight circle around the trig pillar and then spiral out gradually until you are 2.8m from it. It's the only way to be sure. Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/144/comment/6047/
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MountainViews.ie Picture about mountain Sawel (<i>Samhail Phite Méabha</i>) in area Sperrin Mountains, Ireland
Picture: Sawel from the approach to the start point coming from the Glenelly Valley
 
dr_banuska on Sawel, 2009
by dr_banuska  1 Jul 2009
Gave this one another stab with my trusty dog Susie after not even being able to find the start point a year ago. Began at the usual start point: coming from the Glenelly Valley, travel a couple of miles up Sperrin Rd, park at the fence just past the second cattle grid, shortly after passing a large shed on the left. As others have said, the County Rock is a little way up the hill on the other side of the road if you cross the gate, and is well worth a look, if only for photo opps where you can mark out Tyrone and Derry!

The fence leading up the long eastern shoulder is reassuring and I tended not to wander too far from it. This was a steady ascent although a number of jumps were needed to avoid boggier parts - added to the experience though. The summit does look very far away from the lower heights though it came upon me very suddenly in the end. The ever widening views are excellent and as this was my highest peak to date, I had that 'on top of the world' feeling nearing the summit. Great views east along the range: Slieve Gallion with its transmitter, and Lough Neagh narrowly visible behind it, could be seen to the south east. Looking north, I could see the village of Park (?), a couple of wind farms and the distinctive profile of Benbradagh beyond Dungiven. Further up I could see the distinctive profile of Binevenagh, with Lough Foyle and Inishowen to the west.

At the summit there were good views west along the range to Dart and what I assumed was Mullaghclogha beyond (which actually looked higher than Sawel). My preconceptions were jarred somewhat I must admit: for some reason I expected a short descent and a tightrope-esque ridge leading to the summit of Dart when in reality it was quite a steep drop and a very broad ridge (no danger of falling off then!), which made the neighbouring summit look further away than it was. But having come this far I couldn't resist and made my way downhill again (will cover Dart in more detail in a separate comment). I ended up descending the other side of Dart using the track others have mentioned, until I reached the Glenelly Valley again, then east along the main road past the Heritage Centre then up Sperrin Rd again. This meant a very long walk in total: as others have suggested it might be an idea to take two cars if possible.

For a relatively sunny and clear day, and considering Sawel's position as the highest in the range (and a county peak, if not two), I didn't meet one other walker, although there was another car parked at the start point when I set off.

Overall, a very enjoyable hike that took in two peaks I've wanted to bag for a long time. Just a shame there was a thunderstorm on the way down Dart and we got soaked to the skin, but that's all part of the experience. Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/144/comment/3847/
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MountainViews.ie Picture about mountain Sawel (<i>Samhail Phite Méabha</i>) in area Sperrin Mountains, Ireland
Picture: Looking back on the ascent
A Beginner's View
by Aidy  27 Aug 2013
Can't add much to previous comments, but as this is my first climb, I thought I'd give a beginner's perspective, This site, along with gerrym's videos on youtube inspired me to have a go, so maybe if someone is thinking of starting to hike, I can do the same.

Chose Sawel as its the highest point in my native Tyrone and within easy reach. I went up the East side following the fence from the second cattle grid on the Sperrin Road, in bright late afternoon sunshine. Not too steep or difficult although I needed a couple of breathers when the legs protested. The fence was a great security blanket and you can't miss the summit. The views are great but unfortunately it became very murky and hazy at the top, so no great photos. Dutifully hopped over the fence too, so I could claim Tyrone as well as Derry.

I found it to be a great mountain for a beginner. I had no specialist gear, just wellies and a fleece, and had no navigation to do. Great views from the top, not too demanding, up and down in 2 - 3 hours, and two county tops on my first climb! If you're hesitating, give it a go - I'm hooked now. Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/144/comment/15161/
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(End of comment section for Sawel (Samhail Phite Méabha).)

OSi logo OSNI/LPS logo
Some mapping:
Open Street Map
(Various variations used.)
British summit data courtesy:
Database of British & Irish Hills
(Creative Commons Licence)
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