Just a short out and back walk this week to the top of Slieau Whallian above St Johns. The weather was a bit grim and whilst this hill can be part of a loop the obvious descent via the Slieau Whallian ‘greenway’ track is in no way pleasurable. It is extremely eroded, gullied, rutted and you are likely to be buzzed by off-road motorcycles.
I started from the lane to the east of the hill, heading straight into the plantation.
Any route up through Slieau Whallian plantation is going to be steep but I tried to find a different way by heading over to the western side. It was a bit rougher going and followed a downhill mountainbike trail uphill for a while. This was ok on a weekday but probably not wise at the weekend.
Once near the top of the plantation the gradient eases, a stile over the fence is found and a permissive path to the summit starts.
A large cairn is a superb viewpoint over the west coast of the island.
Another stile leads over a fence to a long flattish section, a broken wall and then the steep grassy climb towards the summit.
Yet another stile goes over a broken fence onto the last heathery climb.
The view form the top is excellent towards Peel, South Barrule and Cronk ny Array Laa as well as to the north and east to Archallegan.
Deciding not to head south and then join the Slieua Whallian greenway I headed back down the ascent route, returning to the plantation through wintery showers on a strong wind.
I followed a more conventional route down through the trees, the sun came out and illuminated the autumnal colours.
So just a quick walk today – an hour and a half for 5.5 km – but it’s always worth going out even if the rain and hail on the house roof suggests otherwise!