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dino: Track 4693 in area near Craignamaddy, Sperrin Mountains (Ireland)
Craignamaddy & Mullaghbolig from Barnes Gap
Length: 15.6km, Creator time taken: 6h 2m, Ascent: 591m,
Descent: 590m

Places: Start at H55130 90455, Craignamaddy, Mullaghbolig, end at Start
Logged as completed by 1

15.5km route from Barnes Gap Trailhead car park taking in Craignamaddy and Mullaghbolig. Combines the route description from Harry Goodman's log on Craignamaddy and Track 2159 by Peter Walker.
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The two guys both parked at the top of Barnes Gap but I decided to use the parking facilities at the bottom. This has toilets, a water tap at the rear, picnic tables and a covered area if you bring something to sit on.
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I took the higher road (signed for Vinegar Hill and Craignamaddy Loop Trails) which brought me out at the top of Barnes Gap where the two loops converge. This road passes through a farmyard with noisy but harmless dogs. Use the Gorticashel Road on the right if you want to avoid them.
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Part I - Craignamaddy
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The first section follows the tarmac road to a junction with a gravel lane that is signposted with an International Appalachian Way marker. Follow this for approximately 1km before crossing a gate onto a rough laneway. This follows the old route of the Central Sperrins Way which has now been abandoned. An old stile that may still have a marker disc will confirm you are on the right path.
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This path winds up the hill through sheep grazing and eventually to a fence at the top of the ridge at Pt 366. There is a very deep peat ditch on the left but a handy grassy ramp has been left just below the fence. Turn left and follow the fence all the way to the summit of Craignamaddy.
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On my visit (June 2022) I crossed three fences (one with a stile) and the heather was reasonably short as the land had been grazed in recent years. The final section (approx 1km) was much deeper but the ground was OK underneath so very manageable.
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On reaching the summit of Craignamaddy reverse your outward route back to Point 366 and continue along the fence line towards and over Mullaghbane. Once again there are a number of fences to cross but these are all quite old and don't require any significant gymnastics. This part of the hill seems to have been abandoned and the heather and grass is much deeper and requires a bit more effort.
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At the top of Mullaghbane drop down the steep hillside towards the road above Barnes Gap. This is steep but easily managed with one small cliff that requires skirting. This could be difficult to spot in poor visibility.
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There is a wide grassy area at the base of the hill and care is required once again as there is a hidden stream overgrown with grass and bog that will not support your weight. I found this the hard (and wet) way and it frightened me how difficult it was to get out of. It is easily crossed with one large step once you identify the location.
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Part II - Mullaghbolig
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Proceed up to the top road once again and take the gravel lane on your right. Follow this gradually climbing lane for approx 1.5km before entering a field on your left.
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There is a gateway marked by a line of conifers descending down the hill. On my visit there was a faint track made by a tractor accessing the hill and this proved to be the easiest to walk on as it was free of heather. The ground underfoot was wet and heavy after weeks of rain but not difficult. As the track begins to bear more to the East across the side of the hill strike off into the heather towards the fence that should now be visible on the top of the ridge. Follow this a short distance East to the summit of Mullaghbolig which is marked by the meeting of three fencelines.
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Leaving the summit I took a slightly more direct line off the hill to meet the tractor track once again and retraced my steps back to the gravel lane and the road above Barnes Gap.
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Regardless of your route up to here I would highly recommend to descend to the car park by the lower Gorticashel Road. You may meet some traffic but the feeling of walking through Barnes Gap with the trees on your left and the many little streams and waterfalls is more than worth it.
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Notes
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The land here is predominantly sheep grazing and access isn't a given. I'd strongly advise against bringing a dog and definitely not off a lead/harness. The farmers I met were very friendly and welcoming but this could easily be harmed with a dog allowed to run free frightening livestock and/or upsetting the local landowners.
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Although the distance isn't huge at 15.5km the deep heather and wet, heavy ground will leave you feeling like you have walked much further. The views from the top of the ridge and the descent through Barnes Gap make this a great walk and very enjoyable.
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Detailed descriptions, photos and videos are linked from my comments on the Craignamaddy and Mullaghbolig summit pages here on MV.
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https://mountainviews.ie/summit/861/comment/23574/
https://mountainviews.ie/summit/647/comment/23575/
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Uploaded on: Wed, 6 Jul 2022 (09:40:28)
Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/track/4693/  
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NOTE: ALL information such as Ascent, Length and Creator time taken etc should be regarded as approximate. The creator's comments are opinions and may not be accurate or still correct.
Your time to complete will depend on your speed plus break time and your mode of transport. For walkers: Naismith's rule, an approximate though often inaccurate estimate, suggests a time of 4h 6m + time stopped for breaks
NOTE: It is up to you to ensure that your route is appropriate for you and your party to follow bearing in mind all factors such as safety, weather conditions, experience and access permission.

* Note: A GPS Height in the elevation profile is sourced from the device that recorded the track. An "SRTM" height is derived from a model of elevations for parts of the earth. More detail

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Some mapping:
Open Street Map
(Various variations used.)
British summit data courtesy:
Database of British & Irish Hills
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