32 Things: Climb Slemish

I have always loved the outdoors and hiking and while living in Edinburgh when I first made this list of 32 Things the original plan was to walk up Arthur’s Seat.  However having moved home I switched the location to Slemish a little mound of volcanic rock that has jutted up from the world to create a thrilling walk in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.  Tradition holds that Saint Patrick, enslaved as a youth, was brought to this area in the town-land of Carnstroan a few miles east of Ballymena, where he tended sheep and while doing so found God.

I travelled up this little mountain with my friends Keith and Jonny, the latter of whom like me had never climbed Slemish before.  Keith acting as our guide and teacher informed us that Slemish is the remains of an extinct volcano that over time had eroded away leaving only the volcanic Plug, which is why it is in such contrast to the low lying fields that surround it. When The three of us began our climb to the top the snow was still laying heavy on the ground and it made for some stunning photographs, all of which I cannot show you here but I have included a couple of my favourites.

Standing tall at 490 feet the climb is steep and rocky and I think the snow made the adventure all the more fun, it was at times a hard climb but the snow and ice made it a little more difficult and adding to the fact we went straight up rather than around at a steady pace.  However Keith would rally his troops with speeches from Winston Churchill when times got tough and got us to the top.  It was stunning even half way up looking at the world rolling away from us we sat in silence just drinking it all in.  The top was a little windier but all the more spectacular views.  The photo below shows me taking n the majestic views from the top and of the surrounding  Antrim and Scottish coastlines, Lough Neagh, Sperrin Mountains, Bann Valley and the higher summits of the Antrim Hills.

The sun setting and night closing in the three of us made our way back down the mountain in a decent that was to prove much faster than the climb to the top.  We essentially slid down the side of the mountain on the snow it was amazing!  I will leave you with the magnificent views if the setting sun from the top.

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