Thursday, 31 July 2014


On Saturday evening the husband and I decided to take a drive up into the Mourne Mountains to see how low the water level in the Spelga Reservoir had become due to the hot weather we have been having. We travelled from Rathfriland to Hilltown and then took the B27 up into the mountains. We passed a field of horses on the way so had to stop for some photos.
There is a really bad hairpin bend that I hate driving round as the road is also very steep. At the side of the reservoir there is a car park where you can stop and have a look at the beautiful scenery. However we continued on along the road to a T-junction further on. We took the road to the right which goes to Kilkeel and then, just as we passed the end of the reservoir, we took an old, narrow road to the right. There’s room at the end of it, where it is fenced off, to park about half a dozen cars but we were the only ones there apart from a couple walking their dog.

I don’t think I have ever seen the water so low. Although the old road is fenced off so you can’t drive any further, you can walk down to the edge of the water. This old road is what was originally the road through the mountains from Kilkeel before the Spelga Dam was built and the area flooded. At times when the water level is low you can see the old road, no longer submerged, wending its way into the reservoir.
There’s also a bridge that at times becomes visible. These little stone bridges are built along all the roads in the Mournes to allow streams to run down the mountains and under the road.

Do you see the lengths I went to for a photo?

It was tricky crossing the stream on those wobbly stones!

Made it in the end - I wasn't wearing suitable shoes!

On this occasion we were able to walk along the old road for probably half a mile. It is broken up quite badly in places now but still recognisable as a road. The husband took lots of photos so you can see what it is like. It’s actually quite an eerie place, especially once we’d walked out as far as we could go.

Almost there....

 We reached the water's edge.
Of course the husband refused to be in any of the pictures so I'm afraid they're all of me. I hate being photographed but had to endure it! So you'll have to endure looking at them now they're taken.

Time was going on (and there isn't a lot to do once you get to this point) so we turned and made our way slowly back to the car.
We passed a little culvert that is normally under the water.
Someone had written in the drying silt - DON'T STEP HERE. A sensible warning I think.

What is normally under the water of the resevoir was drying up and starting to crack.

The husband took his opportunity and wrote the name of my blog - except he didn't quite get it right!

What direction to go round the stunted tree?

To the right.


The mountain you can see in the picture above is called Slieve Muck. It comes from the Irish Sliabh Muc which means Mountain of the Pigs. It is 2211 feet (674 metres) high. The husband and I have walked to the top a few times as there is a magnificent view on the other side.
Time for home, back down the B27....

...and round the hairpin bend.

Finally heading back home to Rathfriland from Hilltown.

For some reason seeing the old road reminded me of a poem I love even though it isn't really about the same thing - except that it's about a road. But I'll include it anyway as it's really good. It's by Robert Frost and is called The Road not Taken; I'm sure a lot of you will know it. Enjoy.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.


  1. Lovely picture of you here and it does look like an eerie lace. Know that poem well - it's our school head's favourite assembly reading. I like the idea of taking 'the road less travelled'.

    1. Yes, I think 'the road less travelled' is the better option.

  2. You look so lovely, Gillian. I enjoyed seeing the reservoir. Here, the Rio Grande is actually much higher than I am used to seeing it and when I drove over it yesterday I was surprised by the level. I hope you get rain soon.

    1. The rain has started though it will take a lot more to make any difference to the reservoir.

  3. Oh I love that poem. Thank you for reminding me of it.

  4. Thank you very much for visiting 'SIBOL' Gillian
    Shawls can come in all different sizes but I've measured
    a few upstairs and they are

    Top to Point 65cms
    124 cms across

    Hope this helps.

    What a pleasure to read this post.
    The scenery is so lovely it looks so peaceful there just what we need
    to re-charge our batteries!
    Lovely photo of you too!
    Lovely Blog xx

    Sue’s measure

    Top to Point 65cms
    124 cms


  5. Hello Gillian

    Thank you so much for sharing your magnificient and spectacular pictures of Ireland and Yourself (you are so brave) I feel as if I have travelled with you, and also for your thought provoking poem.



    1. Thanks for commenting again - sorry for deleting the original comment accidently! I hate getting my photo taken - I'm very un-photogenic.

  6. What a beautiful poem. The water is so very low isn't it, but it is amazing to see the old road and bridge and so on. Lovely also to see your photo! I can picture you now when I read your blog and your lovely comments! xx

    1. It rained almost all day yesterday but it takes a long time for the level of the reservoir to rise again.

  7. You have so exciting nature of your country, great pictures.
    Good Sunday from Marit.

    1. Yes it is very beautiful here. Hope you enjoy the rest of your Sunday and have a good week to come.

  8. It's years since I've seen the Spelga Dam and you've reminded me that a trip through The Mournes is long overdue as I haven't managed to get further north than Newry this year.
    Love the poem too - it's a favourite from my schooldays.

  9. I love the pictures your hubby has taken of you, and those views are amazing....stunning even, no wonder you thought of the poem it fits in perfectly!
    bestest daisy j xx

    1. I'll tell him you liked the photos - he'll be pleased! Thanks.

  10. You look so happy , hubby did great job.It looks so tranquil and looks like the perfect day

    1. Yes it was extremely quiet and peaceful.

  11. Hi Gillian,

    What a lovely trip, thanks for all the wonderful photos (taken by both of you)! In fact, I think you should use the close up one (slightly cropped) of you as a profile picture, what do you think? It's very good! :)

    The landscape looks amazing, and the road into the water seems kinda eerie, probably even more so on a grey misty day... good job the weather was pleasant enough when you took the pictures.

    Hopefully there will be enough rain to raise the water levels again. It seems that everywhere the weather is becoming more and more extreme. This summer we are having a lot of heat and humidity (here in Belgium), today it is slightly grey, but still too warm and it rained only for less than 5 mins, barely a drizzle!

    The poem is lovely, I have heard of the expression (the road less travelled) but I never knew the whole poem!

    A very important question: did you take along anything to crochet or knit in the car? Or were you driving?

    Ingrid xx

    1. Hi Ingrid,

      On this occasion I was driving so wasn't able to do any crocheting. Recently I've been crocheting a scarf in the car but since yesterday I've gone back to crocheting daisies for a blanket. I've finished two blankets and just need to block them and photograph them before putting on the blog. I'm glad you like the photos and I just might use that one for my profile picture when I come to change it.

      It has been raining here - very heavy showers - then followed by sunshine. It's very humid.


      PS - I tried to reply to your comment earlier and got a Google error. So I'm not sure if you will now have two replies.


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