Benauglin or Binn Eachlabhra translates as "Peak of the Speaking Horse" and is a small mountain situated 9 miles south of Enniskillen in the foothills of the Cuilcagh mountains. The origins of the name relate to a horse shaped piece of limestone that once showed through the soil on the eastern slope but is now largely obscured by soil and undergrowth. There are many myths and legends surrounding Benaughlin. It was thought to be a fairy mound, the dwelling place of 'Donn Bin', a fairy king who roamed the area on horseback every May eve, looking for 'changlings'. If you hadn't a piece of mountain ash above the door it was 'God help you'. The mythical white horse or 'coppal ban' was a powerful figure and came out once a year on the last Sunday of July, 'Bilberry Sunday', to speak oracles to the people.
Apparently, just below the pillar in a flattish area there is a memorial slab to a servant of Lord Stuart which I never came across when planting the cache. It is broken and is supposed to read:
"Maxwell and Stuart. This stone
was here erected on the 3rd November
eighteen hundred and one, by Lord E.
Stuart as a memorial to his esteem for
the above first mentioned officer.
The virtues that men have live after
them; so it may be with Caesar.
Si quid novisti rectius illis candidus
imperti si non, his utere mecum."
The Latin words are the last two lines of the poet Horace's letter to his friend Numicus. These words translate as: "If you know anything more honourable than these, be frank and let me know. If not then you must agree with me about this." Old residents in the area claim that this massive slab was hauled by a crowd of men to the summit from Florence Court to provide a stage for a fiddler to stand on during the Bilberry Sunday Festival.
Leave Enniskillen by the Sligo Road and take the Swanlinbar A32 to your left just outside the town. The start of this walk is 2.5miles(4km) exactly past the crossroads where you would turn off to Florence court and Marble Arch Caves which are well worth a visit if you have the time. Look out for a forest road on your right(N 54° 13.940 W 007° 41.880), this is where you can park but be sure not to block the gate as it is also provides access to farmland.
Follow the track through a conifer forest which has been harvested of late until you reach the end approx 1.5miles. Here turn to your left and start walking uphill through the forest keeping a rusting wire fence on your left handside until you come across a stile and another fence in front of you. Do not cross the stile or the fence here but turn right and follow the other fence keeping it on your left. From here the path becomes quite rough and you may even think it disappears, just keep the fence on your left until you reach two stiles side by side directly in front of you. Do not cross the stiles but turn back on yourself and start to head uphill along a small mountain track which zig zags up the side of Benaughlin. After two sharp hairpin bends you are at a small scree field. Bear left along a well defined grassy path. This part of the route was probably made to bring turf down from the bog on the higher ground just below the summit. Near the top your route follows the line of a fence and a roughish not so well defined path. Keep this fence on your left and do not cross it as you could end up falling of the cliffs you passed on the way up! The path turns into a sunken gully/track which veers to the right and eventually you are able to see the trig pillar at the summit of Benaughlin.
From the top there are wonderful views in all directions. To the east you can make out part of your route up through the forest and Upper Lough Erne. To the southeast is the wind farm on Slieve Rushen. To the west lies Cuilcagh, and north is Florence Court House and estate, Lough MacNean Lower with Belmore Mountain beyond.
Good walking footwear is required. Be aware that the weather can change quite dramatically on the summit with dark clouds occasionally rolling in off Cuilcagh so waterproofs are reccommended just in case. Please keep to the track at the top as the cliffs can be quite dangerous.
The cache is a medium sized 3.9L tab-lock tuperware container with a load of goodies for those that make it that far! Best to use two hands to obtain the cache, it can be quite stubborn!