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If you’re feeling cooped up at home and looking for an alternative to another night in watching the box, then a relaxing hike to Hen Mountain is just the answer.
Our latest walk with Trekking NI took us there on a hot, humid Wednesday evening, and it proved the perfect end to the day and easily do-able in the time available.
Meeting at 8pm, our little flock of eight began our ascent from Sandbank Car Park, crossing the Sandbank Road to Hen track, and then on up the mountain.
On the way we passed some rock climbers on the West Tor (I think I’ll keep my feet firmly on the ground thank you), next to a tranquil little pool, and before long we had reached the summit with more granite tors which you can easily scramble onto to get some impressive panoramic views.
We had been hoping to catch a glorious sunset but it proved elusive on this occasion, the blood-red gash on the skyline being too far distant to capture properly on camera. Lots of other photo opps though, with Carlingford Lough and the sea in one direction, a patchwork of lush green fields in another, and more imposing mountain peaks all along a further side.
Often used as the starting point for ‘the birdie walk’ of Hen, Cock and Pigeon mountains, Hen Mountain also lies quite close to big cousin Eagle, whose steeper inclines I had encountered on a previous occasion. As its name suggests, Hen Mountain offers an easier option, with nothing to ruffle the feathers too much.
Hen delivers a great sense of fulfillment. Yes, I was panting a bit on the way up, but it’s totally manageable for anyone new to hiking, and a great one to do if you’re not that happy with heights. The rocky tors on the summit are relatively flat and widely spread so you feel more secure standing on top of Hen and therefore able to relax and enjoy the moment.
With time to fit in a welcome tea break by that lovely little pool on the way down, we were up and down Hen Mountain and back in our cars before 10pm. Can’t think of a better way to spend a pleasant summer evening!
Date: Wednesday 3rd July, 2019
Total distance: 3.4km
Elevation gain: 196m
Duration: 2 hours
The Trekking NI Walking Group meets regularly for adventures throughout Northern Ireland.
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