Starting point is at the sizeable parking which leads to the deserted village of Slievemore. This is perhaps fittingly beside a graveyard which, like the deserted village, looks to the past and those who are no longer with us.
A track of white quartz stands out in contrast to the bleak bog, passing a massively detailed information board on the village whose stone remains are on the slopes above. The long abandoned houses stretch for over a km alongside the fields and lazy beds which would have provided food and grazing.
Bleakness is a word which keeps coming back into the mind – from the steep brown slopes ascending into cloud atop Slievemore to the less steep brown slopes descending to the houses clutching onto the coast. A grey sky and cool wind ruffling the fleeces of grazing sheep did nothing to brighten the picture.The houses further on are more intact and time is well spent exploring the remains. Views sweep down and across to the cliffs at Menawn, Clare Island and the distant Nephin Begs. Birdsong was something that actually did brighten the journey and a squad of seagulls tracked our progress.
The track turns and rises to reach an old quarry, with a stunning perspective on Slievemore. Old rusting machinery stands out against the snow white heaps of quartz. A lone concrete structure sits further out on the hillside and did not really warrant the diversion. Climb up the hillside to reach the remains of a signal tower which had been beckoning from the start of the walk.
Impressive views are available at nearly 200m – to the waves crashing at the base of Slievemore and up to its summit, to a cloud capped Croaghaun, across to Trawmore Strand. Drop and follow a well defined track which rises easily to the next hill at 269m. This is a rocky little top offering cracking views west to the storm beach at Annagh Strand and Lough Nakeeroge backed by the slopes of Croaghaun.
A steep drop of nearly 300m follows to the coast. Looking down to the coast the dramatic sight of Lough Nakeeroge comes into sight. It sits at near sea level, with a hungry Atlantic eating away at the cliff edge – a bit like Bunnafreva Lough West which is in a similar more dramatic position further up the slopes of Croagaun. The remains of a lonely stone dwelling stands in this isolated spot – a fire had recently been burning inside and was probably the kayakers we had met the previous evening who had camped out here overnight.
Spent a good hour here exploring the lough and rocky storm beach, with golden sands revealed by an outward tide, the remains of a seal gaining attention, along with other flotsam and jetsam.
Thought of returning along the coast and there is a sheeptrack which followed for a bit but it does become pretty exposed so thought better. Returned by climbing steadily from shore of Lough and pretty much made a return of the way came.
The forecasted rain was on time and pushed us back to the car, though wasn’t too much of a hassle compared to the walking already experienced. A walk of nearly 3 hours and 600m ascent/descent – below the giants to either side but totally absorbing in its own right.