Today we went for a lovely walk up Croaghmoyle. In Irish it is called An Chruach Mhaol which means the bare-topped stack. Truth be told we did not actually get to the top as it started to rain quite heavily and we had to turn back, but we still got great views. The area is a Natural Heritage Area.
The track is good so it made for easy walking despite the rain. The start wanders through conifer plantations but the edges are packed with flowers, tormentil, heather, heath bedstraw and birdsfoot trefoil. I was amazed by how many ringlet butterflies were about despite the rain. Some seemed to be laying eggs on grasses which is what the caterpillar feeds on.
We also spotted a lovely common blue. The first I have seen this summer. It was trying to shelter from the rain too (so not the best photo). The forewing is an amazing blue in the males, though the females are less showy and more blue/brown.
Some of the sheep (recently sheared) had found some shelter for themselves, from the heavy rain. They are grazing what is known as commonage land – shared by a number of farmers. The farmers colour-code their sheep so they know who they belong to. In the distance of the second photograph you may be able to make out some wind turbines.
In the past, there had been a couple of farm homesteads here. They are long gone and all that remains are the outlines of some fields and the odd building, becoming surrounded by trees.
Back down at the bottom there is a little lake hidden among some of the trees, called Lough Ben. White water-lilies were just coming into flower.