Start in Donegal
When we go out, it is still pleasant - cloudy, but warm and in between it makes it seem as if the sun is shining through the cloud cover. We walk a little way on the Bluestack Way: this leads in three stages of approximately 20 KM through the Bluestack Mountains and is - for Ireland comparatively rare - well signposted: About every 100 meter is a hint.
Stage 1 begins in Donegal: The 4000 residents' place at the bay and river nowadays mostly lives by tourists. Main road is the Donegal Castel. Right next door, in the former stables of the castle, is the Olde Castl Pub, in which one compares comparatively cheap a very creative cuisine. Highly Recommended!
Special offers for hikers
Every year at the beginning of June the Donegal Walking Week takes place, during which three days of different walks around the village are offered. Abbey Hotel offers special offers.
I was also recommended the Eas Dun Lodge BundB in Lough Eske. Owner Anne McGlinchey is said to be of great help to hikers as she drives her or her luggage somewhere. You can also book guided hikes with Sean Mullen of Walk Talk Ireland.
The Bluestack Way
The Bluestack Way and now leads on the first 20 kilometers past Lough Eske and through the hills to Drumone. Here is a hostel for the night and a pub. Nothing else The next 20 kilometers will take you through picturesque landscapes and over beautiful viewpoints to Glenties, where BundB's and a hostel take in hikers.
The third stage finally leads to the small town of Ardara. The tourist attractions here include a walking festival, a "multicultural festival" and the annual Cup of Tae Festival of traditional music in May.
About 25 KM away from Ardara is the Glencolmcille Folk Village, which gives a little insight into the rural life of the early 18., 19. and 20. Century. It was founded 1950 by James McDyer, but today is rather touristy, but not yet overflowed. At least it waits with homemade food and a small, very nice sandy beach.
Hiking on the Banagher Hill
However, my guide Anne Leonhardt decides that she wants to show me more of the landscape's original wilderness, and after a few miles leaves the Bluestack Way to climb Banagher Hill. According to Anne, the Bluestack Way is the only one that can easily handle even without a guide - and as I follow her up the trail, I agree:
Because our path is becoming a tramping path, which is hardly recognizable as such. Around us lakes, green, bare hills, a landscape that is almost eerie, which gives you the feeling of an alpine high mountain at an altitude of 300 meters. Knowing where to go to find the right path would not be possible for me now, because everything looks the same. After all, there is a fence that you can follow as untrained.
Where there is a will, a path also flows
And at first we have a fantastic view of the surrounding landscape, we are suddenly surrounded by thick clouds within a few minutes and I begin to understand what the famous Irish rain means: Shortly afterwards we are wet to the bones, waterproof equipment brings since nothing and the path, which is not present anyway, has been transformed into crashing streams and mud puddles.
There is no escape from moisture, trees or shelters - no indication; the water even stands in the supposedly waterproof shoes. Even going back now would bring nothing more. There is only one thing left: just keep going!
Do not underestimate the forces of nature
Anne, originally from Dublin, has been on the Bluestack Mountains since 20 years. She is also a member of the local hiking club, Blustack Ramblers, who even regularly makes 6 tours to the mountains in the evening and takes 5 euros per person for tourists.
Anne herself offers her services as a hiking guide for 90 Euro. And she is equipped for such weather: Always, even in winter, she has, for example, a pair of waterproof pants, headgear against wind and cold, spare socks and even gloves - and indeed you can now good up here in July. In addition, the legs are specially protected by gaiters from damp grass. Who would have thought below, how cutting cold the wind here whistles?
So when we get to the top of the summit, the rain finally stops. We're looking for a sheltered spot to change our gear and drink a sip of hot tea - and enjoy the stunning views of the increasingly clear skies. During the descent, we are largely spared from further rain showers. I am now twice as happy with the two walking sticks that Anne gave me. And I have learned that even in the supposedly harmless Ireland, the violence of nature should not be underestimated. But actually it does not really matter if it rains or not. And in doubt just helps: go further.
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