Trusk Lough A Waterway

Trusk Lough, a mountainy lake , a tarn , lies 5km from the town of Ballybofey. It is a popular
spot with locals who go to fish, swim ,walk or meet up for a chat there . On a sunny afternoon
you will see the people come, some walk ,some drive or cycle , drawn to the place. On days like
this the colony of wild ducks that live here become connoisseurs of bread, they turn their noses
up at the bulk of it on offer and the margins of the lake become rimmed with the white flotsam.
On winter afternoons they are not fussy, they will eagerly come for any stale morsel offered. The
lake is the summer home of a group of whooper swans whose gaudy glamour draws the
crowds to admire their grace, like glowing chalices they consecrate the water.
The lake shrinks and grows depending on the weather. After a particularly rainy spell it becomes
bloated by the multitude of mountain streams that race to expel their watery spoils. This water is
often dark brown, red with the rust that seeps through the ground, the color of ochre or
meditterance pottery.
The lake has a pebbly shore, a great place for stone skimming competitions, to the right of the
beach the land is marshy, splurges of spagnum and rushes and water gorging plants thrive
here. To the left a path leaves the pebbly beach and winds around the lakeshore. The path is
rough and stubborn bog shrubs wage an eternal battle for territory,.Alder and grey willow, rowan
and gorse all compete for supremacy. Close clumps of heather carpet the edge of the path
made bright with tiny bell flowers of lilac through to deepest purple. Rock speedwell shines like
sapphire and tomential winks hidden amongst the grass, orchids shed their perfumey scent and
bog cottons dance in the wind. This path takes you halfway around the lake, then leaves the
shore and heads upwards to the bog where at its summit ,views of the Bluestacks make the
steady climb worthwhile.
This is the place to come to hear the cuckoo in mid April . The lake is also a favourite haunt of
the lark , you can spot them high in the sky singing love songs to the blue eye of the lake far
below. I have often spied clumps of otter dung but only once did I see the sleek brown head of
an otter breaking the surface.
People come to fish here and catch wriggling eels darting minnow and fat brown trout. My
grandmother told me of a doctor who worked in the town a long time ago who would swim the
lake winter and summer. I often thought of his lonely swims , shallow water near the margins but
the lake deepers into a dark bowl over the centre, black waters , who knows how deep, gouged
out by an ancient ice ball aeons gone by.
The lake has made the news several times because the northern lights can sometimes be seen
here , a kaleidoscopic sky. In one photo taken by a local astronomer the dense starlight of the
milky way is reflected in the lake’s dark glassy water. But for me the lake needs no
pyrotechnics, in winter or spring summer or autumn its waters whisper soothing promises of
peace for those with ears to hear and eyes to see a very ordinary beauty.