The terrible twosome are back! I was looking through my old emails the other day, and I came across an unblogged Paddy and Plunkett adventure from – ta daaaah! – a bright sunny day last June. I’m not sure about you, but Spring is taking its time getting into full swing here in Dublin…
…and with more chilly weather forecast for the weekend, I think we could all use a little extra sunshine!
This blanket bog is at Cuilcagh Mountain in Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, and it’s one of the most intact blanket bogs in Western Europe. But what’s a blanket bog, you ask? Well, it’s a thick carpet of peat that forms over a large area of flat or gently undulating ground, covering it like a blanket. The peat is usually about 2-3m thick, and takes thousands of years to form… Even in areas like Cuilcagh Mountain, where the high rainfall and poor drainage make for perfect bog-growing conditions!
Paddy and Plunkett were lucky enough to visit the Cuilcagh Mountain Park on a rare day when it wasn’t raining, and they bravely took to the boardwalk to explore this unusual habitat.
I don’t think they realised just how long the walk ahead was going to be, though.
The boardwalk was built after the area became a park in 1998, so that rangers could begin conservation work on the bog without damaging it further. Their main task was to dam 17 miles (that’s 25km) of drainage ditches – which had been dug to facilitate peat cutting back in the day – and restore the natural water level of the bog, so that it could start to grow again. This was an immense undertaking, as all the work had to be done by hand… so it’s hardly surprising that it took the guts of 13 years to complete!
However, Paddy was a little underwhelmed by the appearance of the bog itself…
“Ah, Plunkett! It’s just grass and squishy bits! What’s special about this?”
“You have to look a little closer, Paddy…”
“… Because although they’re not very big, the plants here are specially adapted to life in these strange, squelchy places. And look at those colours!”
Plunkett also explained that bogs are one of the best weapons we have against climate change, by being massive carbon sinks. It’s estimated that boglands in the northern hemisphere alone have about 450 billion tonnes of carbon squirreled away in long-term storage, and undisturbed peat bogs are continuously adding to this stockpile at a rate of 0.7 tonnes per hectare per year. You can find out more here!
“We’re also very lucky to have so many of them so nearby, Paddy! Less than 2% of the earth’s land surface is made of blanket bogs, compared with the 7% covered by rainforest!”
Talk about a turnaround! That rousing speech had Paddy galloping ahead to see as much of the park as possible!
“Keep up, Plunkett!”
And the view from the top of the mountain was definitely worth waiting for!
They even met a couple of distant cousins on the way home.
Hope that’s got you all in a nice summery mood! And have any of you had a chance to visit one of these wondrous landscapes? Let us know in the comments!
We’ll have more Beastie adventures next Tuesday – plus I’ve an artsy Friday Social planned for the end of the week, so don’t forget to swing by for that! See you then!