Day out: Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail, County Fermanagh
The long, serpentine boardwalk that scales Cuilcagh mountain gives walkers the chance to experience this sensitive blanket-bog environment without damaging it.
Cuilcagh sits inside the Marble Arch Caves Unesco Global Geopark, an area of limestone caverns, peatland, inky forests and lakes. The 665m mountain, straddling the counties of Fermanagh and Cavan, is home to one of the best-preserved blanket bogs in Europe.
From the car park, climb the rough mountain track, looking out for common lizards after their winter hibernation. Savour the bog’s delicate detail: the star-shaped sphagnum (peat moss), the flypaper butterwort with its violet flowers, and the fire-red sticky tentacles of the insect-catching sundew.
Bog cotton appears like blankets of snow, the limestone habitat rich in wildflowers and herbs in spring. Peregrine falcons, buzzards and merlins lord over the sky; the skylark’s song sweet on the air.
After a heart-pumping climb up the wooden stairway to the viewing platform, gaze across the uplands where the land rises and falls before retiring into the distant haze.
Helen is the author of Slow Travel The Peak District, Bradt and A Time of Birds, Saraband, a memoir and travelogue describing her journey across Europe to Istanbul on her sit-up-and-beg bike.