To make it more interesting and a longer walk I started at Banagher Glen some 9km away (B (C670 050)
) and some snow added in. The carpark at Banagher is only open June - Sept but there is limited parking beside some wooden sheds.
Walk along road past carpark which has an information board on flora and fauna and history of Altnaheglish Resevoir - highest dam in N. Ireland at 42m supplying water to Derry City. Pass an old water filter house, taking fork signed to Dam which drops down and crosses to left bank of river. There is now a steady rise up along Banagher Glen, through a national nature reserve full of oak trees and the occasional buzzard flying overhead. The Dam is reached after 40 minutes and is an impressive sight.
It is worthwhile spending a bit of time here exploring around the dam and taking in the scenery. Continue along track taking right turn towards resevoir and crossing stile to enter Banagher Forest.The track closely follows the edge of the resevoir which turns and twists for a couple of kilometres. This combined with the heavily wooded slopes reminds me of those pictures of N. American forests and it wouldn't feel too out of place if a bear were to come crashing out of the trees. Continue straight ahead ignoring a turn to the right which is part of a circular route around the resevoir (and a good shorter walk).
Soon leave trees into a desolate area of clearfell as valley continues to narrow, a short steep climb onto open moor, eventually reaching isolated B road.Turn right and follow the road until reach the service road for the communications mast atop Mullaghmore. Climb the metal gates and begin a steep and steady ascent . There are impressive views across the sprawling trees of Banagher Forest into the heart of the ever bigger mountains of the Sperrins. There are also good views N across the Roe River Valley to the escarpment of Benbradagh.
At a cattle grid on the road follow a fence off to the left towards the summit of White Mtn. This took around 20 minutes over ground containing numerous peat hags with knee deep drifted snow - although on retracing my steps the true nature of the ground was apparent as my footprints were full of water. The fence continues to the summit, which has a distinct little rocky rise. The summit area heads off to the west to give views of Slieve Gallion and the Lough Neagh basin.
As said I retraced my steps to the service road and continued to the summit of Mullaghmore, with its distinctive communications mast. This is by far the more interesting of the two summits with better views and some steep little cliffs on flanks. Having soaked in the views and endured the full force of the biting wind it was back down the hillside and through Banagher Forest past the resevoir to the car, just before darkness. A walk of around 6 hours made a slightly less than average hill into a good days varied and interesting walking. Linkback: mountainviews.ie/summit/380/comment/1393/