Log: Donegal | Errigal North West Ridge: 20/10/2018

IMG_9622
Gerry O Sullivan and Nuala on the Northwest Ridge, Errigal, about 150 m below the summit.

 

Intro: A week in Dunlewey.

We took up residence in the Dunlewey Hostel for a week with the aim of doing some new routes in the Derryveagh Mountains (Slieve Sneachta), Errigal, and Muckish, travelling further afield if the weather improved.

There were a few other people in the hostel but we had it to ourselves more or less. It was fantastic. The facilities are first class, especially the drying room and the kitchen. We were given the run of the place by Erin and her team and we are very grateful to them.

Itinerary

Day 1  Errigal North West ridge, led by Gerard O’sullivan.

Park Run | Dunloe (Bairbre and Bertie)

Day 2  Poison Glen to Slieve Sneachta (Peer Led)

Day 3  Muckish (Miner’s Track)

Day 4  Derry, taking in the Grianán Aileach.

Day 5  Loch Altan to Errigal

Day 6  Arranmore Island.

Day 7  Park Run Letterkenny (Bairbre and Bertie)

 

Day 1 | Errigal North west Ridge: 20-10-2018

Nuala Finn, Gerard O’Sullivan, Ciarán Walsh.

Start time 10.30

 

Weather

Forecast was fairly good. Ireland lay at the top end of a slack depression with a very  light band of rain covering the North West, very or light wind.  It was lovely and clear “at ground level” but cloud over remained at around 600m for the day.

 

IMG_9636

 

The Route

This was a car split. We dropped a car at at the start of the tourist track and retraced our steps to Dunlewey, turning right at the old hostel and following the way marked route to the foot of the beautifully named Sliabh Bealtaine. We left the car here and headed up a track for about 700m before taking  a direct line across bog to the foot of  the North West slope, which we ascended keeping to a sheep trail to the right of the a stream.

We continued up the next slope, skirting around some scree and reached a lovely ridge of morraine. We followed it around to the base of the spur, where we picked up some trails through the scree on the lower end of the spur. They became one and continued up through a narrow rocky arrete. The route was fairly clear but it did take some trail finding. The rock was very slippery and  a detour around a step ended in a narrow scree fill gully and a nervous moment or two. Rule no 1 on a rocky ridge, don’t divert.

We reached the summit in drizzle and very poor visibility, marked the moment, and headed for the carpark. It is a lovely route but one that require some scrambling and short sections of narrow exposed ridge walking just below the summit, which could be very challenging on a windy day. Some experience on exposed, rocky ridges is necessary before tackling this route. Having done it, I don’t think that I will be doing the tourist route again.

Map OSI 1:50,000 No 1.

 

Errigal NW Route
Errigal North West Ridge route on a good old fashionel laminated map, the only thing for Donegal drizzle.

 

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