December 19, 2001
Don't start this climb if the summit is clouded or if it's raining!! There are very strong winds up there and you need good visibility.
To start the climb, take the R251 out of Dunlewy, to Letterkenny. When you reach the car park near a bridge you should be able to see the poles which mark the trail up to Errigal. It's no problem to do the climb if you don't find the trail because you'll probably start climbing on the least steep side of the mountain and you'll eventually come to the trail.
The climb itself is not a particularly difficult one but when you get on higher ground the scree slopes are a little bit difficult to climb. It is these slopes that give Errigal Mountain its distinctive appearance: that of a big rock candy mountain.
Be very careful that you wear the right shoes for this climb: I've seen some real dumb tourists try to climb the mountain wearing Nikes!!! This might work if it's not raining - not very likely in Ireland - and if you keep on the lower ground, but when you get higher you are risking your life and that of the Mountain Rescue Team, because the upper slopes are always a little bit moist and slippery, so take care!!!
As you go up you come by a remembrance stone of those who have lost their lives on the mountain. It is appropriate that you halt here for a while and realize that it is not difficult at all to lose your life in the mountains. Keeping this thought in your mind you're ready to complete the final stage: reaching Errigal's summit.
The trail is going to become very narrow right now, only 20 inches or 50 centimetres in width and starts to curl up to the summit.
You might think you're in the Alps right now because you use the mountain to your left to keep your balance so you don't fall into the awesome ravine to your right. It is a sheer drop of over 650 metres, probably 700 if you fall.
From here it's only a short walk to the summit, or better said the two summits.
On the summit is a sort of structure which you can use to take shelter from the always present harsh wind or rain or so.
Now you've climbed Errigal, enjoy the view -sigh!- and take your time coming down.
The descent is actually the most dangerous part of the trip because you are tired and probably have stiff muscles because you've been standing in the cold wind for half an hour or longer.
Take care going down and buy yourself a big pint of Guinness. You've earned it!!
From journal Hiking in Donegal