Blue Stacks, Co. Donegal
22nd - 24th Oct
The Blue Stacks
The Blue Stacks lie to the north-east of Donegal Town and form the largest knot of high ground in this county. It is a wild and rugged area of granite uplands and they contain few traces of man - few fences, walls or tracks exist. They vary from being very rocky and difficult to grassy and boggy. The walking conditions can generally be described as "wet" underfoot!!
How to get there
From Donegal Town, follow the N15 towards Ballybofey. Approximately 9 miles from Donegal Town, there is a gap through the mountains called "Barnes Gap". The route will start from here. Staff will direct you with regard to car parking. Groups must not head onto the hills without first having checked-in.
Note: When planning any walking event in the hills, it is very important to have a flexible approach to the route. The following route outline is the proposed route for the weekend. However this route is very much subject to change since it is subject to such things as weather conditions, staffing, morale of the participants etc. Therefore the route can change and this should be borne in mind by all participants.
Never stick blindly to your planned route just because it is your planned route. This map has a very small scale (½ inch = 1 mile) so distances can be deceiving. Bear this in mind when making out your route card.
Road to Barnes Lough (030 880)
Leave the road at 040 870 and head uphill, climbing slowly, following the small river until you arrive at Barnes Lough 030 880. The campsite for the night is beside the lake. Check-in and pitch your tent and have a cuppa and then go to bed!
Barnes Lough (030 880) to Col (020 890)
Once you have been checked-out from base camp, head in a northerly direction climbing steadily towards the Col to the north-east of Croaghnageer.
Col (020 890) to River junction (014 904)
Leave the Col, continuing in a northerly direction and descend over broken ground towards the river junction at 014 904.
River junction (014 904) to the Col (005 909)
Leave the river junction and head in a more north-westerly direction towards the Col at 005 909. A short climb back out of the valley will bring you onto this col.
Col (005 909) to Croaghbarnes Lakes (985 901)
Leave this col and travel along the shoulder of the ridge climbing slowly towards the small lakes at 985 901. On reaching these, you should be able to see southwards towards Lough Eske and beyond (weather permitting).
Croaghbarnes Lakes (985 901) to Summit (979 911)
Leaving the lakes in a northerly direction climb onto the summit at 979 911. This mountain although unnamed on the map is called Croaghbann (white steep sided mountain) You should be able to see Lough Belshade below which is the site of the campsite for this evening.
Croaghbann (979 911) to Summit 2118 (970 910)
Descend slightly from the spot height in a westerly direction towards the col at 975 910 over some very rocky ground. The rock scenery is quite impressive and ahead you will need to pick another rocky route up towards the next summit A short climb some will take you to the summit marked 2118 which is called Ardnageer (970 910) which means "height of the berries".
Ardnageer (970 910) to Col (957 900)
The descent from Ardnageer is followed by a slight re-ascent on bouldery ground passing a cairn. This is still part of ridge of the same mountain. Nearby you may be able to see a prominent peak of pure quartz which may reflects the sunshine brightly. Hopefully we will see the sun on this weekend! Continue downhill to a boggy, hummocky rocky col at 957 900.
Col (957 900) to Blue stack (949 897)
Leave the col and a gentle climb which is less rocky than the previous climbs will take you to the summit which again is not individually named on the map. At a height of 2219ft, magnificent views can be obtained southwards over the drumlins of Donegal. Not far from here are the remains of a Sunderland bomber which crashed here in 1943. If weather conditions and time permit we may flag a route out to the crash site.
Blue stack (949 897) to Lough Belshade(975 895)
Leave the summit in an easterly direction, descending along the shoulder of Blue Stack Mountain towards the small lake at 975 891 initially. Upon reaching the small lake turn north and head to Lough Belshade at 975 895. Check-in on reaching the campsite which is near the lake.
Lough Belshade(975 895) to Track (970 871)
The walkout from Lough Belshade will take you initially the Corabber River at 985 885. Follow the rough track down along the right hand side of the river which drains the lake. On reaching the river junction turn southwards and follow the track along the river continuing downhill. This track may be very wet and you will pass the earthworks left from the building of a controversial hydro-electric scheme. Continue until you reach a forest at Edergole Bridge 970 871. Now follow the small road out along the eastern side of Lough Eske for approximately 3 miles until you arrive back on the main road at 987 825. You will make better progress on the road than cross country since there are many small farms on the mountain side along this road.