Bridges in the Forest

Day 8

I managed to get out for a quick walk today and it felt a lot colder than the 4 degrees reported by the weather forecast. At least it was dry which made it a bit easier. On the way in, it was nice to see a splash of color from what I think is a rosehip. With the Holly long gone, this is pretty much the only colour in the landscape apart from the gorse which is trying to get going

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When I get to the second part of the walk, there are several bridges over streams in various stages of disrepair which is odd as the route is very rarely walked. I’ve only ever met one or two others on the route.

This is the first one and is probably in the best state of any of them. Somebody went to a bit of effort putting this in.

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The next one isn’t quite as strong but is in a reasonable state

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The last one is really falling apart and I am going to have to try to find the time to fix it up a bit as it is extremely slippy, particularly when a bit wet.

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There is another one that I made myself but it needs a little bit of work before I post a picture.

Ruins in the Woods

Day 7

It was a bit of a miserable day but not so bad as to keep me inside. This was another quick lunchtime walk as a break from work so I had to be quite fast on the route.

I took the longer route around so as to get a couple of pictures of some ruined cottages in the wood. There were once quite a few people living up in on Ardagh mountain but with the general depopulation of Ireland through much of the 20th century, the houses ended up deserted and the rather marginal land was planted with forestry.

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This is what’s left of a fairly well-built stone wall.

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Under all this there are actually the four walls of a stone cottage although it is almost invisible under brush and fallen trees.

The Road Less Travelled

Day 6

There are few roads in the forest that are mainly used for Coillte to get their trucks in and out. This one is quite odd as it goes just about 50m but I presume it is there to allow  trucks to turn.

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I like to avoid the bigger tracks as much as possible as it is more interesting to be in the wilder parts of the forest but today I spent a bit longer than normal as one of the tracks is a bit of a short-cut and I was in a hurry.

Towards the end of the walk I get presented with a choice between two roads. One of these is a muddy track while other is a gravelled road used by Coillte to get trucks in. The good track leads to a public road and makes for a longer walk but I hate road walking so tend to avoid it.

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The other road leads down towards a ruined house and allows me to get back into my own fields without going near any public roads. This suits me as it allows me to let the dogs off the lead and let them have a good run without having to waste time catching them and getting them back on leads.

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So  in my case, the Road less Travelled is the one I travel most which is all a bit metaphorical. Who would want to walk along a boring gravel track when there is a muddy wild way to go instead?

Another walk with my family

Day 5

Another fine day for the time of year so we decided to all head out again although with the usual objections from the kids. Anyway, we got our act together and had a lovely brisk walk around the loop. The dogs enjoyed themselves as did we.

For such a dull day it was surprisingly clear with visibility well up in the 30km range. We could clearly see the church in Granard and the hills at Coole were fairly clear. I only had my phone with me so this is the best I could do in the way of a picture.

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We did have a bit of drizzle on the way around but nothing too nasty. I’ve dropped in a picture of one of the ruins in the forest and will write a bit more about what’s about another day. The walls of this one were substantially intact until about 6 months ago when a local farmer decided to do a bit of quarrying in it so as to get stone for some walls.

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I suppose the stones are better off making up a nice road-side wall somewhere as opposed to making up an old house in the forest.

We all had a nice walk and had a bit of a laugh about spotting one of the cats about 15m up a tree towards the end.


Not on my own today

Day 4

Today’s was the first one of the year with my family and it is nice from time-to-time to share it with some others although I do find a lot of the benefit I get from the forest is from being on my own in nature. Anyway, we got out for an hour after the initial wails of protest and it was very pleasant after having spent the past few days indoors.

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It had been quite a misty morning but it had mostly cleared up by the time we set out.  The walk was quite a normal one really, not a lot to see as the visibility wasn’t really up to much with the remains of the mist. As it has been dry for a few days the place has started to dry up a bit but it is still quite wet. The bluebell plants are looking quite forlorn in some places, most likely because they didn’t really flower last year. Hopefully we’ll get a decent spring this year so that they do well.

This is the area that normally comes alive with bluebells in the spring but it is all looking a little sad right now.

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Anyway, we had a pleasant though unremarkable walk. We did have an exciting moment when we got home as one of the dogs caught a rat and promptly dispatched it.

Long lunch

Day 3

Normally I take a quick stroll around the 4.5km loop in the woods over lunch when I’m working from home. Today it ended up taking a bit longer than normal as I was taking quite a few photos with both the big camera and my phone.


The gorse is really getting going now although it is still very early in the year. Probably to do with the mild winter so far. The weather is pretty good today but with a bit of a haze interfering with the limit of visibility. Here’s a shot of the manor house in Ardagh that I took from the top of the hill. I guess I was about 1.5km from the house.


Aside from the frequent photo stops, there wasn’t a lot remarkable about the walk. Everything is still quite soggy but the going was fairly reasonable.

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After an incredible autumn for fungii there are still a few of the more boring types hanging about in the darker spots. It was a bit of a struggle for my phone to get a decent picture  but I did try.

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Wet and Mucky

Day 2

After having had a beer too many the night before, I wasn’t feeling particularly clever this morning so was in particular need of a walk to blow away the cobwebs. It was a rotten day and I eventually gave up waiting for a break in the weather around 2PM and set off into the rain. The dogs didn’t mind anyway – they were quite happy to be getting a walk.

Raindrops on the branches

It was particularly dark this afternoon. In parts where I was deep under evergreen cover I could almost have done with a torch.

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I didn’t get particularly wet but it was a bit of a dreary old stroll really. I was happy to get in after an hour of getting rained on.

Fabulous Crisp Winter’s Morning.

Day 1

Today I’ve decided to start writing a few notes on my walks in the forest on Ardagh mountain mainly so that I can remember for myself how the place changes over the year. Although this isn’t actually my first walk of the year, I’m going to count today as day 1. I don’t expect to walk every day but I typically average out at about 3 days a week so my 100 day goal for the year seems pretty achievable.

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Today was one of those days where I just couldn’t miss getting up the mountain. While this has been a pretty mild winter, we had one of our hardest frosts so far and the air was spectacularly clear. So I got the dogs ready immediately after breakfast and we set off for a brisk walk around.

The road was so slippy that I ended up walking on the verge most of the time – even the dogs were finding it a bit tricky. It was fine once we got off the road but it was quite chilly. Nothing really out of the ordinary but the view from the top was absolutely amazing – the clearest I’ve seen for quite some time.

The walk through the forest was pretty uneventful but it is all very wet at the moment.