I wait all year for June, like a child waits for Christmas, but when it arrives the tempo of work and family life reaches such a crescendo that I struggle to get out on the hills at all. By the time the summer solstice materialises, I am in deep mittelschmerz. That's why I stole away from the house before dawn this morning and drove to Leitrim to tackle the Anierin Trio. It was a kind of hopeless protest against another wasted June. I knew I had to be home again at lunchtime so the route would have to be completed in a bit of a hurry. I thought about following Track 2167 but rejected it as inefficient because the start point (under Anierin itself) is at the 200 meter contour, meaning an ascent of 385 of meters to get the day going. I decided to reverse the route by starting at the large parking area under Bencroy which is at almost 400 meters.
(I should mention that I gave serious consideration to cycling from Bencroy to Anierin but although there's great descent for quite a bit, the road layout doesn't really work and there would be a huge pull up to Anierin "base camp".)
Anyway, back to the chosen route. It's no distance at all from the car park to Bencroy summit, but it is mildly steep. Be sensible and take your time. Unfortunately, I always get carried away at the beginning of routes, and charge off, which is a bit of a disaster because there's no point in doing that to your heart and muscles. I was well puffed by the time I arrived on the rim of Bencroy a few minutes after I left the car park. Bencroy is essentially an old volcano that someone filled with peat and water: the rim is dry but the centre is "soft". STAY ON THE RIM: it seems fairly obvious that the summit is on the rim. For some reason I decided to cross the marshmellow middle to the other side. It was daft and wasted at least twenty minutes. After breakfast I set off for Knockacullion and realised that the warnings from the other MVers re the "conditions underfoot" were not exaggerated: I noted big wobbly tussocks, marshy reed beds, undulating heather (populated by midges) and the odd (reasonably contained - nothing Wicklowish) peat hag. That said, weather conditions were almost perfect, sunny but cool, and I knew that the "cliffs"(more like steep rocky slopes) had great potential. Sure enough the best part of the day was the walk along the cliff edge looking down on nearby Cavan which seemed to be richly populated by luxurious trees and shimmering lakes. It seemed so much wilder than the neat farms you observe from the much higher Galtee ridge, and, therefore, much more rewarding. Also, the conditions underfoot improved there which was a bonus.
Anierin itself was not much more than a grassy hump (remember I was above it's castellated western edge) and it was a major disappointment not to able to see Lough Allen (except a bit that I spotted on the return journey).I now ask myself why I didn't walk towards Lough Allen to get the view: I suppose the tension of needing to be home didn't allow for such excursions.
Oh! The clever marketing people came up with the ingenious idea of locating the Anierin summit marker on a little bog island in the middle of a lake.Without realising it you extend your stay as you search in vain for the flat metal marker!
The return journey: I dropped down through a gap in the cliff to avoid the short reclimb of Knockacullion and enjoyed looking back up at the rock face. Overall verdict. This Anierin walk is the poor man's Cuilcagh but very worthwhile all the same. The conditions underfoot make it a bit of a slog in parts but strangely enough are at their least taxing along the cliff, where the views are superb.