Peader's Blog - by Peader Gillespie
Sliabh Liag Walking Group - View
photos of walks
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Sliabh Liag Hillwalkers (Blog) by Peadar Gillespie.
The November 2014 club walk took place on the last Sunday of the month 30 November,
when we joined forces with our good friends from the Bluestack Ramblers for
an enjoyable outing to ascend Carnaween Mountain, near Letterbarrow. We have
been blessed with wonderful weather all through 2014 and Sunday’s outing
was accomplished in very mild and calm conditions of around 10c.
We assembled at Letterbarrow soccer pitch, and following a briefing by the
capable leaders of the Ramblers Anne & Michael Leonard, we began our walk
of around 8km, first on the roadway, for approx. 1km before pausing for a group
photo at the turn-off to fellow the Bluestack Way. We had a fine group of 25
As we ascended the hills above Clochmeen the valley of Frosses came into view
as we followed the marked way and later passed Carn Lough. We took the Pilgrim’s
Path route from Glenties approach by west and to our left saw several mountains
lakes in the distance. We had fog present today at higher altitudes which obscured
the impressive panoramic views here that can be seen in clear weather, and
our destination lay hidden until we were very close to the summit of Carnaween.
Despite the fog, the top of the mountain was superb-dead clam and still, so
we rested here at the summit (height 521m, 1715ft elevation) and signed the ‘visitors
book’, which is found in a compartment located at the base of a small
cross on the mountaintop. The traditional day for the pilgrimage has been the
first Sunday in June, in olden times single men and women brought a stone with
them to the top, and those whose stones matched in size were paired off, so
this was an unusual form of matchmaking.
After refreshments and photos, we took a more direct route in descending
the mountain, being careful, as it is quite steep and, at this time of year,
fairly slippery. Having successfully descended the slope, our host and guides,
Anne and Micheal brought us along the path by the Eany Beg River to visit
the historic site of Disert Graveyard, and related many stories and points
The graveyard was still used ‘till the 1950’s for burial of unbaptised
infants. Near the entrance is a stone alter upon which are placed a number
of stones each serving a purpose. One has a hole through it, with the tradition
that a person with defective eyesight who looks through it will have their
sight restored. Another stone is intended to be carried in hand for a set distance
and ritual and is a test for male endurance and virility. In a separate enclosure
some meters from the graveyard lies a cell or cairn with a reputed ‘fairy
tree’ and also a holy well here.
Close by is a triangular standing stone structure, with curative properties
for the body for pilgrims who recite prayers while passing through the narrow
gap three times before laying on the stone bed which is located at the front
of the feature.
Disert Graveyard is perhaps more widely known for its clay down through the
years. By tradition a little of it was obtained from a local person for
the purpose of banishing rats around one’s property, when a quantity
was sprinkled at one’s home and outbuildings. Disert Graveyard it itself has a delightful and tranquil location.