Boghopping Beasties!

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…
Spring in Dublin, 2018 - CrawCrafts Beasties…and with more chilly weather forecast for the weekend, I think we could all use a little extra sunshine!

So come and join us as we explore a wild and very typically Irish landscape…
Beautiful Northern Ireland Countryside - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
…A peat bog!

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.
Paddy and Plunket on the Boardwalk at Cuilcagh Mountain - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
I don’t think they realised just how long the walk ahead was going to be, though.
The Boardwalk at Cuilcagh Mountain - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
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…
Peat Bog Scenery - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
“Ah, Plunkett! It’s just grass and squishy bits! What’s special about this?”
“You have to look a little closer, Paddy…”
All the Mosses of the Bog - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
“… 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!
Paddy and Plunkett Check Out the Peat Bog - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
“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!
Taking in the Bog at Cuilcagh Moutain - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
“Keep up, Plunkett!”
Paddy and Plunkett Climbing Cuilcagh Mountain - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
And the view from the top of the mountain was definitely worth waiting for!
The View From Cuilcagh Mountain - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
They even met a couple of distant cousins on the way home.
Distant Beastie Relatives! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
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!



21 thoughts on “Boghopping Beasties!

  1. I have heard of this remote spot! Apparently this “Stairway to Heaven” has become such a popular walk and tourist destination that the narrow roads leading to it are even narrower now with cars having to park
    along side when the little car park is full. No one thought for a moment that people would flock to see a bog but it has proved to be an international hit. Paddy and Plunkett were lucky not to be trampled underfoot!

    1. Oh wow… I knew bogs were worth visiting, but I had no idea they could be so popular! The boys are probably going to try to convince me now that they were there BEFORE it was cool, though. πŸ˜€ Thanks for stopping by, Queen Bee! 🐝

  2. I learned a bit about bogs, thanks! Those two – so adorable on their adventures! Your photos are wonderful, my fav is the one where Paddy galloped ahead after the rousing speech πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Tierney! I’m glad you enjoyed this boggy blog πŸ˜€ I can’t take credit for the photos though – the lads usually don’t take me along when they travel! I really need to fix that, I think… They always end up in such cool places, don’t they? Thanks for joining us on this week’s adventure! πŸ˜€

  3. Wow, I didn’t know any of that about the Peatlands — thanks for the info, Plunkett! Fascinating read… and awesome view from the mountaintop. Visually, the bog reminds me a bit of the marshland in Georgia, but it sounds way more important to the overall environment! Thanks for another informative trip. (I hope Paddy got some sort of beer reward for walking the entire length of that super long looking boardwalk!!)

    1. Ha! I’m sure there was at least a mug of tea and some biscuits waiting for him at journey’s end. And yes, the view from the mountain is quite something, isn’t it? Totally worth the walk! Aaaand I’ve learned something too, because I didn’t know there were marshes in Georgia! Do you get peat there, then? Or is it too hot? Cheers for stopping in, Weekes! πŸ˜€

      1. Actually, there IS peat in the Okefenokee swamp!! Which I did not know!!!! Of course, there are also things like alligators and bears (bears!) … I think it might be too scary for Plunkett to visit….

        1. Aha! Well then it’s probably doing more good for the planet than you originally thought! And yes, I don’t think Plunkett realises how lucky he is to live on the nice, safe island of Ireland. πŸ˜‚ Paddy, of course, wants to go to the Okefenokee swamp immediately… The name alone was almost enough to get him packing his bags!

        2. Hahaha be careful, Paddy!!!! Reading up on it, I’m feeling lucky for surviving the canoe excursion my parents forced me to go on back in the day!

        3. Ohhh you know, just the classic tale of parents in the 80s/90s being like, ‘It’s fiiiiiiiine, get in the damn canoe! Here’s a flimsy life jacket! Live a little!’ and a big brother goading you on about your worst fears and nightmares. Fun adventure times with the fam! I love the great outdoors!

  4. What a terrific walk (and view from the top). I’m just glad no one fell in. Although it would be interesting for future archaeologists to excavate some Bog Beasties. And how nice to run into distant family while out and about! ; ))

    1. Ah, yes… It’s always nice to catch up with family when you travel! πŸ˜€ And I wonder if there are already Bog Beasties lurking among Ireland’s peatlands? πŸ€” The downside of people not cutting turf by hand any more is that any such treasures buried in the bog are less likely to be found. Which reminds me… We’ll have to go and see the jewellery and bog bodies when you’re here! Cheers for stopping in, Tammie!

  5. Well who knew bogs could be so interesting? I’ve learned so much over my cup of coffee this morning. How long did it take the boys to walk all that way on their little legs? It looks like it goes on for miles!

    1. Hahaha! I suspect that when the camera wasn’t looking, they were sneaking lifts from human passers-by to help them along! πŸ˜‚ I’m glad you enjoyed their adventure – and yay for bogs! I think Cuilcagh Mountain Park really helps get the message across about how important they are, too πŸ˜€ Thanks for reading, Hannah!

  6. Looks like a very fun trip, Helen. πŸ™‚ I love the image of that boardwalk winding over all of that bog-land. So interesting to know that this place was several millennia in the making, too. And, what a view from the top – the air looks so fresh! What fun to run into a couple of the woolly locals. I love that! I remember visiting a marshland in southern Ontario full of cat tails, high-growing reeds, and loons. It was a magical (and kind of noisy!) place.

    1. Thanks for joining the boys on their boghopping adventure, Shirley! This does look like a super-interesting place, and I really hope they invite me along next time they go… Although I’m willing to bet that the weather they got that day was a very lucky break for them! πŸ˜‚ And how cool that you’ve also got the chance to visit somewhere similar closer to home! When I was reading up on peatlands for this post, Canada was listed as one of the other top boggy nations out there, and it’s interesting to hear about the different flora and fauna that make their homes there. I suppose it goes without saying that the only loons at Cuilcagh Mountain that day were Paddy and Plunkett! πŸ˜‰

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