MOUNTAIN ROAD

       

 After Ballypatrick the route passes over a raised walled roadway through Loughareema,  this unusual Lough is fed by several small streams which carry the run off water from the surrounding hills but has no river outlet itself - at its extreme it can fill to a depth of over twenty-five feet and is known locally as 'the vanishing lake' due to its ability to fill and empty within days. It has baffled people for centuries with its unique phenomenon - during warm weather the lake dries out and develops classic 'sun cracks', in the centre is a hollow or pot where the water drains away. The bed of the Lough is stratified alluvial mud overlying a bed of gravely deposits - the water drains away through this and the underlying rock strata to reappear from limestone rock some two miles away. As a young man I was always told stories about Loughareema, that  on certain nights a ghostly carriage and horses can be seen crossing the road through the Lough - walking back home from dances in Castle Green at 4am on a Sunday morning I would often recall these stories on passing the Lough, though I never saw the ghostly carriage.  I found out in later life that the story had developed from a tragic and true occurrence at the Lough in 1898. From Loughareema you ascend the final hundred feet or so up onto the plateau of blanket peat - here you'll find stunning views ahead which take in four glens. The sheep here tend to ignore passing cars, the mountains belong to them and some will hardly bothered themselves to move out of your way - at night you'll find many sleeping by the roadside.

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