Saturday 8 March 2014

Mizen Peak

6th February 2014
An unusually bright, mild, sunny, Spring like day today. Time to visit the Mizen !
I have been reading through William O'Brien's book Ivernia and noticed a photograph of White Strand near Crookhaven. We knew about the ancient field boundary in the bay but O'Brien mentions that the massive stone nearby is a possible Standing Stone. As it happens, the tide is on the way out so I have a wander over for a look. It is actually in the Townland of Ballynaule and a fine stone it is too. Too large and too isolated to be part of the field boundary it seems a very good candidate, for a Megalith. Aligned towards the hill at Brow Head NE-SW.  The ancient field boundary runs E-W and is still partially submerged. It consists of 15 stones plus an isolated one several yards on. There's a Great Northern Diver floating around the bay. Always a nice bird to see. A couple of Stonechats flit around and the ubiquitous pair of Ravens call overhead.

Back to the car and a quick look over Galley Bay for Divers and Seals. Only a Cormorant there today though. In Crookhaven, there are a couple more Great Northerns of the pier.

While the weather is so good, I am going to have a trek up to the signal station at the Mizen and then up to Mizen Peak ( Carn Úi Néid). Even at this time of year with the visitor centre closed, there are a few cars around. A quick jump over the gate in the middle of the car park and a dash straight up the hill. A Snipe flies up startled, making it's familiar squelching call. The hill is quite steep (and wet !), but soon enough levels out. The signal station comes into view and I head in that direction. It's in a ruinous state, just a shell.

Mizen Peak dominates the North Western skyline and it is to there that I am off to next. Heading in a roughly NW direction across the short heather and grass moorland, I skirt around a small hill and head for the boundary wall that divides the Townlands of Cloghane and Caher. The wall climbs the hill, going through a handy sort of gateway and up to the Trig Point which is at 232m (761ft) isn't the biggest of hills, but what a view. You can literally see for miles and miles. Sea, Mountains, green fields wow !
A little further on along the ridge is Mizen Peak itself. The cairn of unknown date  is the focus for many megalithic monuments. It's unique shape visible from as far away as Kealkill circle.
I return the same way having another look at the signal station en route.

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