Rather than simply moving along The Bangor Trail and then veering left, while out for a hike last week, I decided to leave the village of Bangor Erris, cross over the modest summits of Knocklettercuss and Maumykelly and head for the peak of wonderful Slieve Carr beyond.
This was a fine 23 km hike that took me 8h30, to and from the mountain.
Leaving Bangor Erris, I headed straight up the grassy, heather-filled northern slopes of Knocklettercuss. This modest hill of three bumps rises to 370 m and boasts a trig pillar. From there, I skipped E then S to avoid the deep blanket bog, with Maumykelly as my next goal. This hill, again unimpressive at 364 m high, does nevertheless know how to burn the thighs, with a fairly steep incline on its N side. The stretch here is lovely, dotted with small blanket bog lakes and bogpools, as well as the embryonic Tarsaghaunmore River.
From there, I was able to zone in on Slieve Carr itself (721 m), one of Mayo’s finest mountains and said by many to be Ireland’s most remote. I really love this area, with its excellent corrie lakes like Loughs Drumderg and Adanacleveen, its rocky approach and the sheer vastness of the bog that surrounds it.
As yet another lesson in how quickly the weather can change in our lovely West of Ireland, I was on my hands and knees studying some St. Patrick’s Cabbage and Bilberry for maybe 2 minutes while at the top. When I lifted my head, the mist had descended and it was time to exit stage left, pronto.
I returned to Bangor by the same route, taking more time than I had on the outward leg of the hike to enjoy the wildflowers of the blanket bog. The area is dominated by Lousewort, Milkwort, Orchids, Bog Cotton, Bilberry and Tormentil, with Bogbean in the bog pools and both St. Patrick’s Cabbage and Fir Clubmoss higher up along the rocky top of Slieve Carr. I saw my first ever white variety of the more typically blue Milkwort. Very pretty.
Bangor Erris to Slieve Carr and back
22.7 km; 8.5 hours; total ascent = 1200 m approx.
Visit the website of Ballycroy National Park.