Monday, 28 March 2011
Into the Wild
On the 25th myself and Stuart went for a bit of a dander over the Antrim plateau. Our intention was to pay a visit to the Neolithic Axe factory at the foot of Teivebulliagh in the hills above Cushendall to observe the unique features in the landscape made by our ancestors all those years ago. In true NIBA fashion we decided to make the walk there a little more challenging and take in a couple of peaks while we were at it. We started off at a small carpark east of Newtowncrommelin and hit the hills. The ground over the antrim hills is challenging unlike the Mournes there are very little if any tracks, most of which are made by sheep. Navigation can also be a problem a map and compass being a must have item. There are few close reference points and when the mist comes in it can be a tad dangerous if you cant navigate properly. Other real dangers up there are sink holes of which we discovered many, one was particularyly large (we plotted a grid of this one for future reference) and would involve ropes to navigate it properly. Our first peek was Slievenanee standing 543mts from here we headed north east to the top of Trostan standing 550mts. Whilst up there we were joined by some folks from the South of Ireland who were walking to the top of the highest peak in each of the 32 counties in Ireland in aid of Cystic Fibrosis (i will be putting up another blog entry especially for this event) After a chat and a quick photo session we said our farewells and headed on towards Tievebulliagh standing. Our next stop was at the top of Teivebulliagh itself for a spot of lunch. Tievebulliagh stands 402mts and is actually the inclined plug of an extinct volcano. As a result of this there are many different rock formations to be observed at this site though as it is ASSSI we didn't disturb the area and enjoyed the view which is quite frankly breathtaking! This site was the location of a find of an assortment of Neolithic Axe heads made from a hard volcanic rock called Porcellanite. I am not geologist so here is a link to an online site that explains more, www.habitas.org.uk/escr/summary.asp?item=14. We spent a good hour enjoying the view before heading back to the cars via a slightly different route. At first glance the Antrim hills give the appearance of a desolate barren landscape, but spend some time up there and you will come across its inhabatants. On the journey we saws lots of sign of fox, we saw a number of red grouse and even collected some feathers. There were also rabbits snipe frogs and spawn. The area is not for the unfit as this is a challenging enough route to take, but is well worth the walk.