It was many years ago. I was tired and still soaking wet from the best storm that Antrim could render. I sat on a hillside and admitted to my walking companion that this was a tough walk largely because I had glossed over inconvenient bits in the planning. Still, I can look back at days of 12 hours’ or 13 hours’ walking a day in the hills as an achievement. What I did not notice is that the hill in question was Trostan, the highest hill in County Antrim, and passing over its shoulder I missed by a hundred yards or so the opportunity to top it.
It was raining in Carnlough and dull – though I have since been there in glorious sunshine and realise what I missed. Maybe Carnlough and the walk over the top to Glenariff are for another post. The next morning from the top of that wonderful glen we followed up a track on the Moyle Way, high above the glen, by this time soaked to the skin and begging internally for a better day than the last. There was a hill, a fine hill, a hill that seemed to know its place in the landscape – Trostan. The path led up and over the shoulder of the hill, close to the summit but not to it. By this time, realising my timings were completely out, it was just a question of putting one foot in front of another and bashing through the day, with no thought to exploration or taking pictures or tapping the top of a trig pillar, and so we went on.
It was later when compiling a list of county tops, I realised that Trostan is the highest hill of the Antrim Hills and the county top of County Antrim – and I had missed it. In my defence, I was not at that time interested in county tops, and had no thought to dashing round topping as many as possible as I have done since, but it itches at the back of my head that I missed a county top I could have bagged, had I but known.
When I was back in Antrim a few years ago we drove along the coast road and as we came near, my eyes involuntarily started plotting routes, but we had a B&B booked and the walking boots were deep in the packing, and it passed us by. I only did two county tops that holiday (Down and Armagh). I can at least note Trostan as “nearly done”, and look for an opportunity when next passing to hare up to the summit and bash that trig point.
- Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Discoverer Map 08: Ballymoney