The frogs have spawned; the catkins are on the Sally Bushes; Danny McNamee has his sunglasses on… it must be spring! And with a spring in our step the Bluestack Ramblers headed for the hills.
Our first outing for the month of March was to Crocknafarragh, in the Derryveigh Mountains, up near Crolly (02.03.14.). Brian Boyle and Kathleen Friel were our leaders for the day and they led us up past the beautiful waterfall on Scardan Burn; given the recent rain, there was quite a torrent. There was a real nip in the air that day, and damp on occasions too, but the well-wrapped crew faced the elements and was rewarded with spectacular views of Dunlewey and Thorr from the top.
I am happy to report that everybody survived the trip but there was sinister evidence that others might not have been so lucky. We came upon a leg that had been removed from its owner. The fact that the owner may have been a mallard duck didn’t lessen the moral outrage felt, by one and all, at this heinous crime. A number of suspects immediately came to mind – ‘could it have been the Eagles or the Buzzards?’ ‘It could have been those Peregrine Falcons, they’re never up to any good!’ The finger of suspicion was being pointed everywhere!
One young lady unfortunately got a muscle strain in her leg - with all her dancing, cycling and now hill walking, something had to give. She happily accepted our First Aid ministrations in the form of ‘Deep Heat’ and anti-inflammatories but she firmly turned down our offer of a massage… well, it was worth a try!!
Twenty-seven started out on this journey and all returned home safely.
Our next outing was on the 09.03.14 to Carnaween. This week Paddy Meehan led the group of 24 to the top where we all signed the visitor’s book. There used to be a statue of Fionn McCool on the summit of this mountain but I am told that it had to be removed for repairs as it had been struck by lightning. Personally, I prefer that wild places are left wild but, when the statue was there, it always felt like I were going to visit a friend every time I climbed that mountain - I hope it is replaced.
Sunday March 16th was designated “Bring a Friend Sunday” in an effort to introduce new people to walking and to the club; by any measure it was deemed to be a resounding success. The walk was along the coast, from Murvagh to Rossnowlagh and back again, led by Danny McNamee. This was the first walk Danny had ever led, and he had all the symptoms of a teenager on a first date. The nerves might have been in but he performed manfully - well done Danny!
Our outing on the March the 23rd was to Slievetooey in Ardara. And what a day; bright sunshine and a cool air – ideal walking weather. Alan and Brian, our leaders took us up Granny Glen, up some remote valley to a long-abandoned homestead, and from there to the summit at 511m. The views were world-class. We had a glacial corrie lake below us, Loughros Point in the middle-distance, and Arranmore on the horizon. Bliss. Although the sun was warm, there was still snow on the ground, and I have to admit, it was me who threw the first snowball, but why did everyone start throwing snow at me? As I was brushing snow out of my ear, I thought I heard someone say, ‘if you live by the sword, you die by the sword’ – what could they possibly mean?
The up-coming outing on the 6th of April is to Ards. It is an easy to moderately walk that will take about 4 hours. The meeting place is the Creeslough Filling Station at 10am. You can get further information from Kathleen Friel or Brian Boyle on 087 9777554. We look forward to seeing you there.