Our trip started off when we were dropped at a farm in the Drumcliff area of Sligo. Barry, from Northwest Adventures was our guide for the day again and after he went through some important advice and tips we set off on our way up the Dartry Mountains. The hike started with what Barry told us would be the toughest incline of the day, and he was right! We crossed gullies to make our way to Kings Mountain, from a spot known as Kings Table we were able to take in spectacular views of Sligo town and its surrounding areas including the Atlantic coastline.
Over 14 kilometers of walking and climbing of over 3,000 feet in total took us to many vantage points where we could look down from the Mountain top taking in beautiful scenery such as Glencar Lake and Glenif Horseshoe. We were also lucky to take in Glencarbury mines, where some old equipment and buildings are in ruin but clearly show that it’s not so long ago that these mountains were a very active part of the Sligo community and working industry. Barry’s knowledge of the area brought the area to life for us as he spoke about how the workers would transport the rock and minerals which were been mined at the time, showing us ruins of equipment which are still very evident along the mountain range. We made our way down the mountain to the picturesque Glenif horseshoe where we met William from Northwest Adventures, who was ready and waiting with bikes and safety equipment for us all. As the rain started to fall we headed off on our cycle taking in some lovely views of the mountain range we had been looking down from earlier in the day.
After 7 kilometers on the bikes we reached our accommodation for the night, Benwiskin Centre. If anyone was feeling tired or de-motivated at this stage they couldn’t help but get a lift when walking in to the recently refurbished Benwiskin Centre, which would rival many hotels for quality and comfort! The entire group helped out with getting dinner ready, which had been kindly pre prepared for us by the wonderful catering tutors and trainees in our own centre. As always the food was a big hit!
Later in the evening Barry invited all of us outside to the side of the Benwiskin centre where he went through some bush skills which led to a camp fire been lit and marshmallows been toasted for all to enjoy! All that was left for the group to do was enjoy some well-deserved rest time, and the common area in Benwiskin centre certainly allows this with its comfortable décor, smart TV and Wi-Fi for all to avail of. Some stories and laughs later, the day and activities had took its toll on everyone and it was off to bed for some much needed sleep, again we wouldn’t be let down by our hosts for the night as everyone enjoyed a good night’s sleep in the newly refurbished bedrooms which are as clean as they are comfortable.
The next morning there was a lot of tired limbs but everyone chipped in to avail of the wonderful facilities one last time where a gorgeous breakfast was prepared and eaten in comfort. A trip that will live long in the memory for all involved!
|Group starting their climb on the first day
|The group in enjoying the views from on top of the mountains
|Spectacular views from up top
|The group descending down the valley