Never underestimate the power of arrogance. Especially when it bites you in your own backside.
I did my first hillwalk 30 years ago and have been doing them most weekends since.
So when I found myself on the top of Doan in the Mournes for the second time today, when no such plan had been made, I guessed I was in diffs.
The route was to be – Spellack, to Meelmore, to Meelbeg, to Slieveloughshannagh, to Doan, return same route off Doan, Bearnagh by the Loughshannagh track, Hare’s Gap, Trassey Track and Meelmore Lodge.
But – it wasn’t.
The main track for Doan comes from the NW. SE, it drops towards the Silent Valley Road. West and North are the most appalling, outrageous bogs of peat hag and endless water.
Avoid them in July with long vis. Go nowhere near them in November with cloud at 200’. It was November and cloud was at 200’.
Having come off Doan, I did a circuit of one of these bogs in no vis. I still don’t know which one. Then an incline at last: I would recognise the top and thus, recalibrate. Was it Doan, Loughshannagh, Crom, Meelbeg?
It was Doan – again. So a thoughtful run off it West-ish – but nope. Into the bog again. Dragging myself dripping on to the Shannagh track, I headed for Bearnagh and thought better of it, took the track to the Shannagh/Meelbeg col, on to Meelbeg - thought about Meelmore. Thought better of that too – and focussed on the Trassey Road for home.
Back at the car and with safety, came confidence – and no sooner was confidence in the ascendant and so was arrogance – for the second time today.
I have been in these roads and these mountains for 16 years. I got lost driving home.