Trail Length

8.81 km

Trail Difficulty

Hard

Trail Type

Looped

Walk Description

We parked carefully off road at Prughlish Forest between two gates, one wooden and locked and a second metal farm gate that was not locked. We went through the metal gate and followed a stoney track NW along the side of the forest up to a farm house where we were met by a howling pack of dogs running at us across the field. Fortunately the sheep farmer was in the field and soon had the dogs under control. On asking if we could gain access to the mountain we were told that we were most welcome to do so and the farmer even directed us to a stile he had erected for use by walkers. He also indicated that he had built a number of stiles for this purpose and had even tied plastic sacks around the strand of barred wire to safeguard anyone crossing over. Happy in the knowledge that we were welcome to cross his land we set off in pursuit of Nephin. From the farm house we went along the edge of the forest until there was a slight break between the trees. We cressed over a fence which the farmer had marked with plastic wrap. We then followed the line of the fence left to gain the high point and the start of the long ridge up Nephin. Once there it is more or less a straight climb NE up the ridge to the top. Indeed the steepest and most troublesome part of the climb is in the first few hundred metres along the ridge where the heather is thickest but soon gives way to much shorter undergrowth. The climb is steady, long, but not on a difficult gradient. The short heather and grass evenually gives way to a stoney slope which is cairned all the way to the top. Once we had taken in the views from the summit E over Lough Cong, down the impressive NE and SE stoney spurs and then W to the Nephin Beg Range we had our lunch within a stone shelter about 100 metres down the slope to the S. Our descent was by way of ascent. The total distance walked was approx 9k, and we were up and down very comfortably in five hours. In my view this is a mountain well worth climbing. By the way, the farmer does not live at the farm and the dogs are not left there unattended lest anyone is put off by the possibility of encountering them.
NOTE: Weather on this mountain can change rapidly and as such you need to be prepared to turn around before the summit if it turns. This climb is not really for the inexperienced and a good map and compass are extremely handy especially at the start as if you go to far left or right you will miss the ridge that leads to the summit.

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