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Saturday 18 October 2014

The Bog of Frogs

I’ve been meaning to do a decent walk around Howth Head for a while and the weather this morning seemed perfect, despite the overnight yellow alert from Met Eireann. The weather gods chose to keep the rain and wind at bay here on the east coast and it was perfect weather for it, walking in the sunshine in a T-shirt in mid October, can’t complain. There are four fully marked loop walks around the headland. I went for the Bog of Frogs option, because, hey with a name like that it just had to done, right? The other options are in the 5-7km range, and offer a choice between the cliff route and a couple of loops around the hills. They are very well way marked, you just need to check one of the big maps down by the waterfront to get your choice of route and then follow the coloured badges around the paths.

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The Bog of Frogs route is the most intense of the four, approximately 12km for the loop itself. I took a bit of a detour at the start to walk out along the pier so it was about 14.5 km in total for me and took just under three hours. It’s a decent hike in any case and includes about 450m total ascent and descent so it was a definite level up from last week’s outing on Killiney Hill. It’s well worth the effort, and manages to be convincingly wild despite weaving in and around quite a few residential areas ( and the Royal Howth Golf Club’s 11th and 12 holes). The eponymous Bog of Frogs is around the 12km mark on the map shown here. Love that name.

Before I kicked off on the walk around the headland I wandered out onto the pier. It was lovely and dramatic with a nice lively autumn feel to it but I forgot my own advice from last week about the polarizing filter and had to bin about 95% of the shots I took as a result. Oh well, there were still some relatively nice ones.



I took the clockwise option for the Bog of Frogs loop, not sure if it matters in general but it meant that if the weather had turned nasty I’d just have gotten wet, and not been at risk of being blown off the cliffs. The risk that is pretty low to be honest, the paths are pretty good, but this is a cliff top walk and I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone not comfortable with such routes. Once you leave the Kilrock car park ( the first photo is looking back over it) you don’t really notice any houses until you get to the Baily Light House, and even from there the path generally keeps well out of the way of buildings apart from a section from around the 5-7km mark where a lot of the south facing slopes are gardens for some fairly expensive houses.




I even managed to get some wildlife shots in.


And down by the waterline in the cove by Worn Hole there was a lot of evidence of collateral damage from the storms earlier in the week – lots of brown crab shells, one or two whole (but well dead) brown crabs, loads of sponges, some mussels and a couple of green crabs. I’ve rarely seen sponges or brown crabs washed up on a beach but there were hundreds at this spot for some reason. 



And yeah – there was another one of those epic Telegraph Cable signs along the way. Very cool.


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