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Cuilcagh 665m, Benbeg 539m,
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3180, 5km
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Breifne Area   Cuilcagh Mountains Subarea
Place count in area: 14, OSI/LPS Maps: 26, 27, 27A 
Highest place:
Cuilcagh, 665m
Maximum height for area: 665 metres,     Maximum prominence for area: 570 metres,

Note: this list of places includes island features such as summits, but not islands as such.
Rating graphic.
Cuilcagh Mountain Binn Chuilceach A name in Irish
(Ir. Binn Chuilceach [DUPN], 'chalky peak') County Highpoint of Cavan & Fermanagh, in County Highpoint, Arderin, Vandeleur-Lynam, Irish Highest Hundred Lists, Cyclothemic sandstone, siltstone, coal Bedrock

Height: 665m OS 1:50k Mapsheet: 26 Grid Reference: H12356 28017
Place visited by 422 members. Recently by: doogleman, jmcg, cactustravelfan, conororourke, IndyMan, dunphymgt, livelife2thefull, Pikes, Gus, Andy1287, Grumbler, nupat, m0jla, Krumel, mallymcd
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Longitude: -7.811428, Latitude: 54.201026 , Easting: 212356, Northing: 328017 Prominence: 570m,  Isolation: 2.6km,   Has trig pillar
ITM: 612303 828028,   GPS IDs, 6 char: Clcgh, 10 char: Cuilcagh
Bedrock type: Cyclothemic sandstone, siltstone, coal, (Lackagh Sandstone Formation)

Cuilcagh lies on the Shannon-Erne watershed. The Shannon rises on the north-western slopes of Cuilcagh at Shannon Pot, a steep-sided pool where the underground river emerges. Strictly speaking, there are streams a mile or two further uphill. Originating in Ulster, the Shannon’s journey through this province lasts less than ten miles, before it enters Connacht. It forms the boundary between Connacht and Leinster for much of its length, and ultimately meets the sea in the province of Munster. Thus it is both a boundary and a link between all four provinces of Ireland. In fact, it even formed the western boundary of the ancient fifth province of Meath. Around Cuilcagh there is a belief concerning the ‘Northern Shannon’, an underground river that supposedly connects the waters at Shannon Pot to the River Claddagh, which emerges at Marble Arch Caves and then flows into the Erne. If Cuilceach genuinely is a variant of cailceach, 'chalky', the name is rather puzzling, as the mountain consists predominantly of sandstone and shale, covered with much bog and heather. Where the rock does outcrop, as at the summit cliffs, it is mainly grey. However, it is possible that the name refers to the limestone rock on the lower northern flanks. Here a number of streams disappear below ground at swallow holes named Cats Hole, Pollawaddy, Pollasumera and Polliniska, all forming part of the Marble Arch cave system. If so, the name would mean 'calcareous' rather than 'chalky'.   Cuilcagh is the highest mountain in the Breifne area and the 169th highest in Ireland. Cuilcagh is the highest point in county Cavan and also the highest in Fermanagh.

Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/165/
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MountainViews.ie Picture about mountain Cuilcagh in area Breifne, Ireland
Picture: Landslide
 
Braving the landslide!
by AdrianneB  11 Apr 2011
Walked the Northern waymarked route on Sunday 10th April 2011, took my chances with the landslide. As you can see from the photo it's not too bad, although the day I was there we hadn't had rain for a good few days. There were far boggier/difficult to negotiate spots further up the mountain. In fact my feet were wet for quiet a lot of the walk, but didn't get wet crossing the section that had lost it's bridge, use the grass humocks to the left of where the bridge used to be in the picture. Did the return trip in 2 hours 45, although I did jog the last 4 km which is on the gravel track back to the car. It's a great walk, unfortunately there was a bit too much mist to enjoy the views. But be prepared to have very wet feet. Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/165/comment/6301/
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madfrankie on Cuilcagh, 2002
by madfrankie  14 Oct 2002
Any guide book or description of Cuilcagh I've seen has advocated approaches from the North or North-west, but in my opinion the easiest , most straightforward route is from the road to the south at the Bellavallagh Gap (commonly called by locals The Cuilcagh Gap). Provided you have a car, of course. Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/165/comment/154/
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Ascent from Bellavally Gap
by bsheils  28 Jul 2013
Climbed Cuilcagh Mountain on 26.07.13 from gravel layby at H11695 24560 A along R200 on Bellavally Gap as suggested by Kieron Gribbon's book Ireland's County High Points. Following Kieron Gribbon's route to Cuilcagh I walked about 250m on R200 road to top of Bellavally Gap to enter gated forest entrance at point L as identified by DonieG.

I followed forest track from point L as it zig zagged up through forestry to telecommunication mast at point M. From here passing the mast on my left over some soft ground I crossed over stile short distance away at H12110 25116 B onto open mountain.

From the stile is a faint track uphill from here and also a wire fence to the right which runs north/south. This fence can be followed as a handrail feature as far as H12121 25360 C from where it turns sharply away in an east-southeast direction. It struck me that this fence corner maybe a useful guide back down in conditions of very poor visibility.

Leaving the fence behind I followed the track which is intermittantly faint and pronounced along the NW facing slope of Benbeg. I took note of half bent over rusty iron post at H11911 25462 D which appears to mark the top of Benbeg. However, as much of the area around Benbeg appears to be dominated by peat hags I continued on the track for easier progress.

After leaving Benbeg I continued following the track along the southern spur of Cuilcagh close to its east facing slope. For a while there are not many landmarks along the route to take note of except perhaps a lone conifer at point P identified by DonieG. Further on I took note of cairn at H11690 27409 E and a subsequent cairn at point T again identified by DonieG when I reached the plateau on which the summit is located at point U.

A worthy excursion in good weather is to walk along the broad rocky ridge to view Lough Atona but care needed as sheer cliff walls overlook the lake.

I returned by the same route of ascent.

I agree with DonieG as to dangerous drops along the route in poor visibility and I would like to thank DonieG for the points submitted. Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/165/comment/15051/
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MountainViews.ie Picture about mountain Cuilcagh in area Breifne, Ireland
Picture: Trig
Wonderful Wilderness approached from the South
by concorde  29 Mar 2014
A fine spring morning in march and I finally got the chance to climb Cuilcagh an hours drive from my base in Sligo. I chose the excellent route from the south starting at Bellavally Gap as suggested by Doneig supported with a good set of GPS coordinates. It was a short pull up to the non descript summit of Benbeg from where the vista of the route ahead opened up, a sweeping escarpment arcing around to a Cuilcagh peak. This really is a vast wilderness area with the bog stretching nearly 6km east to Swanlinbar. It is best to stick to the rough track that follows the edge of the escarpment down to a damp coll halfway to the summit. Do take care on this route as there were a couple of areas of significant subsidence. If you veer too far inland to the west you will encounter heavier going and have to navigate through a forest of peat hags. From the col the ground rises gently and dries out as you reach the rock strewn summit plateau.
A squally hail shower greeted me as I reached the summit which sported a thin crust of snow.
I took shelter in a small stone enclosure beside the Trig point. The area betrayed the signs of significant human traffic with many bootprints and the discarded debris of some ignorant buffoons There were crisp and chocolate wrappers as well as drinks bottles and paper cups stuffed into the cracks.
Having packed up the discarded debris I retraced my route leaving the summit of Tiltinbane for another day when tackling Cuilcagh from the Northern route. The return trip was notable in that one gets a great view of the interesting North East summit of BenBrack and the sun ignited surface of the high mountain lake Derrynananta. Having reached Benbeg it was a short descent to the start point. Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/165/comment/15952/
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A walk on the wild side !
by Heathcliff  25 Sep 2014
By Heathcliff 25sept.2014 completed "Cuilcagh Way" Mon.22nd Sept.This 33km loop walk from Cladagh Bridge took me 9 hours,including breaks.Part of the route is officially closed owing to a landslide (2010?) but with weather being so dry decided to take a chance.So glad I did-one of finest walks I've ever done!!
Good news is ,a board walk over very marshy ground approaching the ascent is nearing completion(Christmas?) Hopefully the path will then be officially open to walkers.Great views,variety of scenery and wonderful sense of isolation.
Experienced a problem on my descent from the summit of Cuilcagh!! Some of the way markers from the trig point are either missing or fallen leaving the safest route down unclear.There are crags on either side of the steep but safe route down and great care must be taken to avoid these!!These crags are not visible at the start of the descent making it crucial to identify the correct pathway. I spotted a fence and used this to guide me down.The Way then heads for Legacurragh along the Ulster Way.
Brilliant if challenging walk ,well worth the effort!! Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/165/comment/17692/
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A classy mountain
by hazyview  19 Jul 2019
I followed the directions (per scarecrow & others) to the second carpark & we commenced the awesome long boardwalk across the bog & up the mountain. A good challenging climb of stairs to the summit. Fabulous views all the way but the boardwalk stopped short of the summit. We climbed the fence & continued the final 150 metres to the top but the weather changed dramatically from sunny spells to heavy fog & driving rain. When we returned to the path it was suddenly fine again. We were dry by the time we got back to the carpark. Fabulous wilderness feel to this place, despite its popularity. Enjoy!

[Ed: Many of us have a diametrically opposed view about the value of this board walk. Many would believe it cheapens the experience, has led to environmental damage and access issues. Mountaineering Ireland as of 2019 is asking hillwalkers to take other routes up the mountain to prevent further damage. and are saying that the boardwalk is a short-term measure and there will substantial changes to it. This website has three shared tracks for different ways up, for example including the extraordinary curved scarp to the south.] Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/165/comment/20578/
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(End of comment section for Cuilcagh.)

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