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The Bluestack Way Part 3 - alternative route

In the event of poor weather, take this safer route to avoid the mountain.

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Difficulty: Easy
Length: 8.3 miles
Duration: Full day

Overview :  If the weather is poor or you are not feeling up to a hike over the 412m Cloghmeen Hill, then best to take this alternative route... more »

Tips:  PLEASE NOTE: This App is primarily intended as a means of enjoying the lore and history of the area. While it follows the route of the... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Towards Donegal

After the old ruined cottage, following this track for approx. 2km gives the walker fine views across Donegal Bay on a clear day. Young plantations of conifers are fast becoming the prominent landscape feature of this ares.

A right turn through a gate at the bottom of this track leads you north again toward the mountains. On climbing ... More

2. The hungry month

Patrick Campbell writes that 'scarcity would still be felt in and around the small mountain farms until midsummer or even the end of July. Indeed July was called ‘the hungry month’, ‘the lean month’ (the old Irish speakers named it Iul an ghorta’) ‘the shaking of the bags ‘ which when emptied were left ready and waiting for August and the golden... More

3. Heather, bees and views

The route joins a track of the townland of Cronagrass below Binbane mountain and curves round southwestward to join the main Frosses to Glenties road (R262). Along this section of the route can be found Ling heather moorland. Cronagrass was once populated; evidence of which can be found in the many ruins in this townland. In the past... More

4. Geology of the valley

The panorama looks north to the western part of the Bluestack mountains. The most westerly mountain is Binbane, the long ridge to the east is Cloghmeen Hill which passes into the more rugged peal of Carnawen. The windfarm at Meenaguse and the mountain to the east of this is Binnasruell. The rocks that form the mountains are 600 million years old... More

5. Beware of the Pooka

You'll be coming out onto the R263 main road from Frosses to Glenties here. Take a right and walk against the traffic until you get to Sir Arthur's Bridge.

In the village of Killian not far from Binbane, Kinnfaela tells the story of the Pooka, which infested the district around 1817. The Pooka was a ghost, which showed himself... More

6. The Bog Hotel

On a corner of the R262, you'll see a number of buildings on the left. You're looking at The Bog Hotel belonging to Patsy Brogan. No, it is not an hotel and no, it is not a bar. Sort of. Patsy Brogan and his young Polish fiancee, Daria Weiske, fought the law and the law lost in trying to call this place a sheebeen or illegal drinking... More

7. The Bluestack Mountains North Range

The Bluestack Mountains, North Range – Name, Irish Name and Meaning

The most westerly section of the range is well named with only a few nameless stacks: -

1 Cronaslieve - Cró na Sliabh, The Sheltered Place of the Mountains
2 Binbane - Binn Bán, White Peak
3 Luaghnabrogue - Luach na mBróg, The Price of the Shoes
4 Meentacreeghan - Mínte... More

8. The legend of Castlemeara

To the south west of our current location lies the ancient castle of Castlemeara. According to Kinnfeala, residents of the area believed that the three last remaining Danes after the Battle of Clontarf, a father and two sons, were condemned to be hurled into the nearby lake by the victorious Irish.

They were kept in close confinement at... More

9. Mountain mist

According to weather postman Michael Gallagher, the mist clearing from the top of the hill in the morning is a good sign for the rest of the day. If there is mist over rain or valley, looking like grey smoke, a good spell of weather is expected. Smoke from a chimney rising in a straight column to the heavens, predicts good weather, but if it is... More

10. Sir Arthur's Bridge

You'll be getting off the R262 and heading right at Sir Arthur's Bridge, rejoining the Way form the back of Binbane. we suspect the Sir Arthur in question was Sir Arthur Chicester, a landowner whose son was to become the Earl of Donegall - note the two 'l's in the spelling!

In our audio piece, we hear from Dan Gallagher, who would have... More

11. Owentocker river

The Owentocker is regarded as one of the best Grade IV rivers in the northwest.

According to canoeist Neil Fox, 'the starting point is at Lough Nillan bridge which is on the Alternative route and is marked on our guide. It’s a 35m/km gradient that travels for five kilometres. The Owentocker or commonly called ‘Ardara River’ is steep, narrow,... More

12. Rambling House

Our audio explains what a rambling house is. Patrick Campbell writes 'Those rambling hours and the old men’s tales were my greatest enjoyment, as I listened with excited eagerness to Big Owen Ward tell of his years in Colorado and his weeks on the sea in sailing boats, going and coming home from America. How often they told of the lonesomeness of ... More

13. Getting back on track

At this point, you'll rejoining the main Bluestack Way, meeting up at the Owenea river. You'll be carrying on over the the bridge into deepest Doobin and along the Casan down into Glenties.

In our audio piece, we tell you about All Soul's Day and its customs in these parts.