The last few weeks have seen the West Tyrone Ramblers visit local areas full of historic significance but where they haven’t visited for a number of years
First up saw 21 Ramblers stay dry as they enjoyed the majestic wilds of Fermanagh . Some six miles outside of Derrygonnelly the Ramblers parked at Big Dog Forest. . The forest is named after two distinct hills within the forest, Big Dog and Little Dog. This forest is included in the UNESCO Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark. This is a 1,097 hectare mainly coniferous forest. Management of the forest is focused on timber production, biodiversity and water quality. The main soil types in the forest range from deep peat to peaty gley. The ramblers enjoyed dry weather st they trekked six miles , walking around the edge of Lough Nabrickboy , through a farm yard then the forest itself. Before climbing and lunching at Little Dog peak
On the last sunday ramble of January the walk started in Victoria Bridge and there were 18 walkers out. They headed towards the riverbank and followed the fishermen path towards the Sion Mill. On reaching Sion weir the Ramblers learned the history of the lade, swinging bridge and Herdsman’s mill. They also were informed of the events associated with the cricket ground and the football pitch. We then made our way to the Recreation club for a lovely tea. On leaving the club they did a small tour of the village and the churches and then retraced their path back to Victoria Bridge.
Then on a chilly Saturday morning 27 ramblers travelled the short distance to Seskinore Forest. After leaving the car park the walkers passed the courtyard and stopped briefly opposite the stable block to hear some of the history of the forest which was originally part of the McClintock estate. Unlike most local forests, Seskinore was planted on more fertile lowland and is mainly mixed or deciduous woodland, with each season bringing change. From the stables the walkers followed one of the original estate roads called Ladies’ Walk. In days gone by ladies paraded here in their finery, very different from the hiking boots and wet weather gear worn today. The group continued in a loop which brought them back close to the site of Seskinore House which was demolished in 1952. Along the way they passed two WW2 ammunition stores and the ice house. They then visited the Garden of Remembrance where they learned a little more about the McClintock family. Seskinore is a relatively small forest and the leader had decided never to take the direct route if a longer one could be found, and so the group meandered their way towards the main entrance passing some fine displays of snowdrops. The walkers crossed the Seskinore Road and continued along the Cow Lane where the legendary White Lady wanders. Dressed in her wedding gown, she looks for her husband who was tragically thrown from his horse and killed on their wedding day. The walk continued along quiet country roads until a suitably dry and elevated spot was found for lunch. There was one final detour through a particularly pleasant area of beech wood before the ramblers made their way uphill to view the ruins of Mullaghmore Castle or Perrymount. A few minutes later the first raindrops were felt and it was decided to take the shortest way back to the car park giving a total distance 6.75 miles.