For many Croaghonagh is the "easier" side of Barnesmore Gap with a wide track the whole way to the top. I've walked this track alone and with my kids a few times and I've ridden up here on a mountain bike also. This time I did it the hard way.
The first section is nice and easy following the line of the old railway from the parking spot at SheskLub (H04536 87427)
through the forest and on to the open area above the river and main road. There is ample evidence of the railway that ran here from 1890-1959. Stone retaining walls, culverts and telegraph poles all stand testament to the quality of the work of this era.
Access to the hill is via a short scramble over one of these walls just before and above Biddys' O' Barnes and now the hard work begins. Heading in a generally East you pick your best line across a challenging terrain of boggy spots, deep grass and rocky crags before climbing a steep grassy ramp and getting your first sight of the summit to the Northeast.
The final approach is across a series of dips and climbs through similar terrain to before but with a mix of peat hags and rocky sections added in - pure Bluestacks. As you get closer to the summit the rock starts to dominate and the last stretch is over welcome rocky slabs and between large erratic boulders. On my way I was lucky enough to spot two large mountain hares as they made a dash across the hill to get away from my presence.
The summit is crowned by an ugly collection of communication masts and the highpoint didn't appear to have a specific marking. I didn't have the actual MV summit coordinates in my GPS but the map showed it to be beside the security fence around one of the masts. This seems to be different to the MV summit location but I feel that I was close enough.
After lunch out of the wind behind a huge rock with great views East and West and across to the hulk of Croaghconnellagh, I took the direct route back to the old railway line, following a gully from the access track over the edge and straight down. This is very steep and overgrown and needed a lot of care. Halfway down I headed into the trees to get a clearer path and for additional support on the steep hillside.
Reaching the track with wobbly legs and aching knees I had a very pleasant 1.5km stroll back to the start.
Track of my route : https://mountainviews.ie/track/4662/
More details of the walk, photos and a video can be found on my blog: https://niallharran.com/2022/04/26/beating-anxiety/
. Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/618/comment/23497/