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2010-11-29 17:08:39
Winter comes to the Granite Kingdom
The Mourne Mountains, gripped by the first iron fist of winter, lay partially concealed beneath yellow-grey cloud rumbling atop their crests, russet skirts dusted with ice and snow. With a bitterly cold wind at our backs we began the walk up the Glen River track. Verglas-covered rocks lightly peppered with snow covered the crazy paving that passes for a pathway, making walking conditions difficult. Higher up this gave way to thick grey ice that oozed down over the pathway’s steps dripping icicles like melted wax. Stopping to don our crampons, a large group of youths wielding walking poles appeared, inching their way slowly downwards determination etched onto wan faces bearing smiles bordering on grimaces. ‘Der wearing spiky tings’ gasped one in amazement as we exchanged greetings and left them slipping and sliding open mouthed behind us.

The mountains of this granite kingdom never fail to amaze and astound, their rugged beauty matched by the ever-changing weather of the four seasons that plays about their summits. Like an addict, one is compelled to return again and again to indulge in their majesty and to savour their mystery. Yesterday was one such day. I watched, mesmerised, as frigid Slieve Bearnagh, its spiky tors silhouetted against an apricot sky, was slowly engulfed by cloud boiling up in the valley below partially obscuring the watery sun now hanging like a paper lantern in the darkening sky. Bright pools of light flooding the surface of the Irish Sea gradually vanished from sight as snow began to fall heavily.

Struggling against a vicious east wind we made our way up to the tower on Commedagh, seemingly etched in monochrome, a welcome sanctuary from the elements. We fired up our stove inside for a hot drink watching the maelstrom unfolding outside. With the mercury plummeting and a wind chill making it feel about -10, we reached the cairn on Commedagh in near white out conditions then began our descent through ankle deep snow to Slieve Corragh. Through the spindrift and snowflakes whirling dervish-like I thought I spied a person; then more loomed into view. The granite pillars below Commedagh appeared like giant totem poles carved by the hand of time into fantastical shapes – stone sentinels guarding the castle of a Mountain King. Clambering over the ice encrusted Mourne Wall we reached the summit of Corragh then returned to the Castles, passing a group of walkers taking shelter close to the stile.

The path down to Newcastle was now covered with the diamond dazzling treachery of fresh snow on ice. As we descended below the cloud it stopped snowing, unveiling the iced tree tops of Donard Wood and the white crescent of Newcastle Bay abutting a moody grey-green sea. Entering the mysterious darkening Donard Wood snow began to fall softly, the twinkling lights of Newcastle revealed periodically between the tangled boughs of trees serving to entice us safely downwards.

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Summit Comment
Torc Mountain W Top: Big brother ....
hivisibility a day ago.
Here's a picture of Torc itself from Torc West Top. Approx 600m between the two summits.

Summit Comment
Barnahowna: Fine-weather photo
bryanmccabe 2 days ago.
Thought a fine-weather photo of Barnahowna summit was needed!

Summit Summary
Maumtrasna North-East Top: Worth a visit!
Collaborative entry Last edit by: bryanmccabe 2 days ago.
Maumtrasna NE top, approximately 2km NE of Maumtrasna, is worth a visit in its own right. The most direct access is via the steep ridge up to nearby spot height 542. One possible starting point is...

Ott Mountain to Slieve Meelmore
Aidy 3 days ago.
Started at the Ott/Blue Quarry car park on the Moyad Road, and took a route taking in six summits, going over Ott Mou... walk, Len: 10.9km, Climb: 730m, Area: Ott Mountain, Mourne Mountains (Ireland)

Summit Comment
Crossderry: Summit No 2 of a fine ridge walk.
hivisibility 2 days ago.
Here is another view of Crossderry taken from Mothillín. You can see the twin peaks at the summit area. The summit proper is the one on the right. Knocknabreeda in the background.Its pretty rugged...

Glenbeigh to Galway's Bridge
GSheehy 4 days ago.
I?m putting this one up because it was a club walk and I was thinking about the other day. There aren?t too many clu walk, Len: 40.5km, Climb: 917m, Area: Glenbeigh Horseshoe (Ireland)

Summit Comment
Mothaillín: Fabulous views to the west from the summit.
hivisibility 3 days ago.
Fine view towards Broghnabinnia and Caher from Mothillín summit.

Summit Comment
Mothaillín: Summit area as seen from Crossderry.
hivisibility 3 days ago.
Mothillín summit from Crossderry.

Peak bagging in The Sperrins in autumn
peter1 5 days ago.
Again, the use of a mountain bike is highly recommended for this route, if you are a solo walker. I left my bike in a... walk, Len: 16.2km, Climb: 1048m, Area: Mullaghclogha, Sperrin Mountains (Irela

Forum: General
Cable Car to the Hellfire Club - 20/10
cave-dweller 6 days ago.
Hello, There is a meeting being held in the Yellow House Pub in Rathfarnham in Dublin 14 tomorrow night at 8 pm about some proposed "redevelopments" in and around the Hellfire Club/Montpelier Hill...

Summit Comment
Crossderry: Towards Knocknabreeda and Stumoa Dúloigh
hivisibility 3 days ago.
The view towards Knocknabreeda fro Crossderry summit. Stumpa Dúloigh in the background. Knocknabreeda summit is located over to the far left of the ridge.

Slieve Foye
Onzy a week ago.
Sunday route over Slieve Foye and along the ridge for a bit... walk, Len: 9.9km, Climb: 439m, Area: Slieve Foye, Cooley/Gullion (Ireland) Slie...

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