Category: hillwalking

We went for a short trip to Northern Ireland in October and visited quite a few prehistorical sites, such as dolmen, burial cairns and a souterrain (crawling into a badly lit tunnel basically). I couldn’t help myself to include the interesting history of the Brontë Family since we visited a place on the Brontë Homeland route. I also attempt to play the folk tune ‘Brian Boru’s March’. Enjoy! 

Slieve Croob and the surrounding countryside, Northern Ireland

Slieve Croob can be translated to ‘Mountain of the Hoof’ and though it is not very high (534 m), it is apparently over 380 Million years old, even older than the Mourne Mountains, which you can see looming on the other side. This whole area was once shaped by big ice sheets pushing down from Donegal during the Ice Age. On top of Slieve Croob you find the 12 Cairns, which are Neolithic burial chambers (possibly put together from one big one originally). Neolithic farming communities would settle in the fertile valleys below between 4000BC and 2000BC and they have erected many impressive stone structures all around the area. Slieve Croob was also traditionally the place where Lughnasa was celebrated, the festival dedicated to the Celtic sun god Lugh. It was celebrated in August to prolong the period of sunshine into the harvest months. People would pick bilberries (also known as ‘blaeberries’, giving it the name ‘Blaeberry Sunday’) on the way up and then sing, dance and play the fiddle. This was done on Slieve Croob well into the 1950s.

A Northern Ireland vlog is up on Youtube. 

Ronas Hill, Shetland

This is Shetland’s highest hill. At only 450 m (1,480 ft) it doesn’t seem like much, but it turned out to be a long, challenging walk. Not only is the climate here perfect for Arctic plants, the wind was also howling like there was no tomorrow. It felt like walking on the moon in this barren landscape. There is a Neolithic chambered cairn on top of Ronas Hill, which can be entered. It actually gives some good shelter from the wind. You could probably spend the night in there if you really needed to. We got a good view across the Northmavine Peninsula, although the low sun was creating a hazy effect. Just as the rest of Shetland the landscape here is beautifully rugged with a special character. 

Shetland Day 5

My whole Shetland adventure is up on Youtube. 

On Day 5 we visit the Shetland Museum & Archives in Lerwick and then go hillwalking to the top of  Shetland’s highest hill, Ronas Hill. Lots of museum footage for those who like history. Enjoy!

Inchewan Path near Dunkeld, Scotland

This was a wholesome walk on a lovely day with just a few soft showers thrown into the mix. For me, this area never fails to deliver in scenery and beauty and it is one of my favourite walks, as you may already know. Along the way, I have continued my experimentation with close-up photography and I ended up ‘accidentally’ finding many critters, when I was trying to photograph the plants. It just shows you how alive this place is.  

Walking the Scottish Highlands | Glencoe | Coire Gabhail – The Hidden Valley

Walking the Scottish Highlands | Glencoe | The Hidden Valley – Coire Gabhail

Part 1 | Part 2

The Hidden Valley (“Coire Gabhail” in Gaelic, meaning “hollow of the spoils”) is somewhere that can only be reached by ascending a fairly steep and rocky path (or descending from the mountains surrounding it). It was used by members of Clan MacDonald to hide the cattle that they had stolen, for which they demanded ransom from the owners. Cattle raiding was a custom that stretched into prehistory, but was simply considered a nuisance by the 17th Century. Clan MacDonald often had feuds with Clan Campbell, which resulted in the Glencoe Massacre in 1692. The surviving members of Clan MacDonald took refuge in the Hidden Valley.

Walking the Scottish Highlands | Glencoe | The Hidden Valley – Coire Gabhail

Part 1 | Part 2

The Hidden Valley (“Coire Gabhail” in Gaelic, meaning “hollow of the spoils”) is somewhere that can only be reached by ascending a fairly steep and rocky path (or descending from the mountains surrounding it). It was used by members of Clan MacDonald to hide the cattle that they had stolen, for which they demanded ransom from the owners. Cattle raiding was a custom that stretched into prehistory, but was simply considered a nuisance by the 17th Century. Clan MacDonald often had feuds with Clan Campbell, which resulted in the Glencoe Massacre in 1692. The surviving members of Clan MacDonald took refuge in the Hidden Valley.

Revisiting Places: McDuff’s Monument and Lynedoch Obelisk, Perthshire

Hiking in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, Germany

There is definitely some kind of magic in this landscape. Some of the rock is dark and rugged, some of it light and straight as a razor, as if some giant creature had shaped these rocks to its will. We felt dwarfed by the size and in awe of all the different formations. The rock pillar is known as ‘Barbarine’, or ‘Maiden Rock’ and has been used for rock-climbing for over 200 years and reminded me of the Old Man of Hoy on the Orkney Islands. However, due to the climbing activity and the weathering process, the top of the pillar had to be fixed with concrete and one is not allowed to climb it any longer. I first came to this region as a child and I remembered it fondly, so I was very happy to go back as an adult and be able to see it again and appreciate it even more. A holiday well spent.