One of the things that really make me happy is time spent with my family and particularly when this involves exploring nature, somewhere new. We had been to Ballycroy National Park before but this boardwalk trail we had only driven passed before.
The wooden boardwalk rises you slightly above the bog , so you can look down and admire the heathers and beautiful grasses in their winter browns and reds. Here and there bog pools are dotted and interpretation boards hint at what you may see on a summers day.
All around you can admire views of mountains, such as Claggan Moutain, (even if covered in low-lying mist) and the bay. In fact it is hard to imagine it as the sea as it seemed so calm. And you can also see why it would have been a favourite pirate hiding place in years gone by.
The boardwalk leads you to the sea shore where yet another surprise awaits. There in the water, and jutting out from the deep peat banks are ancient trees. Known as bog oak (though they may be oak, yew or pine) these tree fossils could be 5 or 6 thousand years old. They have basically been preserved in the acidic peat soil. Some, are slowly been colonised by seaweeds.
This is a special place. It is not just the spectacular scenery that make me happy but seeing these ancient trees is a powerful link to the past.