The impressive, undulating Sperrin Mountains form the northeastern limits of County Tyrone. Wild, empty and beautiful, they reach 2240ft at their highest point, yet the smooth and gradually curving slopes give them a deceptively low appearance. The covering of bog and heather adds to this effect, suggesting nothing more than high, open moorland. For all this, views from the summits are panoramic, and the evenness of texture can make these mountains sumptuous when bathed in evening light. Once in the mountains, it’s impossible not to catch sight of the wildlife. Sparrowhawks and kestrels hover above, and you might see buzzards or the far more rare hen harrier, attracted by a rich range of prey in a landscape mostly undisturbed by development – the mountains teem with assorted rodents, including even the rare Irish hare. Over the years there’s been many a tale about the discovery of “gold in them there hills” and you might encounter the occasional panner testing the story’s veracity.
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