New Year’s Day 2012 – Walk to the top of Lough Hyne Forest (Knockomagh Wood Nature Reserve)

On New Year’s Day, after relaxing by the fire all week, too many chocolates and lots of tasty treats, we decided that we would start the year as we meant to go on and walk to the top of Lough Hyne Forest (Knockomagh Wood). The weather was a bit grey as we started off, but I had high hopes of clear skies coming from the west and sunshine to greet us at the top. Up through the woods we trudged and as predicted the higher we went the clearer the skies. Spurred on by the improvement in the weather and hopes of a clear view of the peninsula from the top we pushed on upwards. The path is clearly signposted and we counted off the numbers on our way to the summit. Then a final push through a particularly muddy patch and we were there. The sun was peeping through the clouds and I captured the panoramic view on my camera. In the distance through a yellow haze I could see sheets of rain. “There’s no time to pour the hot chocolate”, I said, but my family were oblivious to the approaching storm. Suddenly the gentle breeze turned into a strong gust, the heavens opened and we were pelted with hail stones. At that moment being at the highest point for miles didn’t seem like such a great idea with the threat of a thunderstorm. We fled to the shelter of the trees and fell about laughing, half spilt hot chocolate in our hands, with faces pink from the stinging hail stones and to crown it all a beautiful rainbow appeared. We took a different path down the hill, along the north face of the wood to visit the holy well, a spring where people have left ribbons tied to trees and pennies scattered on the stones. We duly hung our ribbon and covered in mud we returned home with happy hearts, a great start to the New Year.

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