Lough Formal Walk
Carrigan Forest is the gateway between two significant expanses of upland forest and showcases a landscape rich in limestone features. The walk is almost entirely along forest track with the exception of a short climb to the summit of Formal More and offers a stimulating and captivating adventure.
Click here to view the Lough Formal Walk Map.
Distance: 8.6km Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Grade: Moderate Terrain: all types, mostly forest track with unsurfaced path to Formal More.
Route: Anti-clockwise circular.
Wheelchair friendly: No
Facilities: picnic area, car parking.
Map: Discoverer Series OSNI Sheet 17 Lower Lough Erne; Activity Map OSNI Upper and Lower Lough Erne
Grid Reference: IH 040 493
The most intriguing feature of the walk is Lough Formal, sitting at 240 metres above sea level this small mountain lake sits astride a fault (or crack) in the Earth’s crust. No longer active, this fault moved two very different rock types (limestone and sandstone) beside each other and these now make up the bed of the lake.
The first part of the walk passes through a corridor of forest before opening up to reveal the tranquil shores of Lough Formal. Lough Formal is fed by a resurgence (spring) which lies on its South western shores and this freshwater lake provides a sheltered area for wintering wildfowl, such as mute swans. Continue along the shoreline of Lough Formal and you will link onto a grassy path, which leads onwards up a slope of heather and sandstone boulders to the top of Formal More. From here stunning views of Lough Melvin, Donegal Bay and Cuilcagh Mountain can be enjoyed.
The two hills Formal More and Formal Beg, which flank the western shore of the lake, are made up of a resistant limestone that originally formed over 300 million years ago as a mound of lime-mud at the bottom of an ancient sea-floor. After rejoining the main track, retrace your steps along the lake and by turning right you can follow the course of the Roogagh River. This takes you deep into the forest before emerging onto the hill path that displays fine views of the rocky pinnacles of Big Dog and Little Dog.