Although not particularly impressive, this Croaghmoyle booster station walk is a pleasant 9km stroll near Castlebar that includes an easy climb on tarmac. I do it a few times each year in spring, just to get some km into the legs before hiking season.
The track/roadway up to the TV booster station begins along the road out of Castlebar towards Glenisland. There is ample room here to park 6 cars. From there, we head through mostly unlovely conifer plantations towards the upland bogs beyond (although, thankfully, some of the trees along this lower section are larch).
Along the way, we encounter a typical West of Ireland scene. A small stream cuts through one little area of level land, walled out into tiny fields by past dwellers. A ruined cottage, now virtually swallowed up by the plantation, stands to one side where, once, a family eked out an existence from this little oasis of almost fertile ground.
On accasion, this little stream has delighted us with Dippers and Grey Wagtails.
From this miniature ‘valley’ begins the long slog to the booster station. Strangely, the road surface improves from here, becoming to all intents a proper roadway all the way to the top.
At various points along this walk, we can enjoy nice views westwards towards the Nephin Begs, Corraun, Clare Island, Inisturk and Croagh Patrick, with Clew Bay in the centre of this fine arc. By the time we get to the top, however, we need to jump up onto the bog itself to regain such views, as the road is somewhat sunken beneath the level of the surrounding peat. The sort-of-conical summit of Birreencorragh to the NW grabs my attention, reminding me that it’s been a while since I last climbed her.
Pushing a short distance beyond the booster station and out onto the bog itself brings us to the trig pillar, with views of Nephin mountain now joining the others already enjoyed.
As I turn for home, the unmistakable sound of a calling Red Grouse accompanies me, reminding me that this is, after all, West of Ireland upland bog, booster station or not …
Croaghmoyle Booster Station Walk
Length (total) 8.8 km; Climb 400m; Time 2 hours.