My Duke of Ed expedition
At the weekend I completed my Bronze DOE with the Killinchy Activity Group. I was supposed to do it with my school, but if I did, I would have to attend meetings during my lunchhour and after school... (way to go teachers, that's really going to encourage people to join).
With the activity group, I wouldn't have this problem and I would also be completing the expeditions with people who also appreciate the mountains. I wouldn't have those whinging girls going on about how much they hate mountains and how they miss their mammy's.
We set off from Rostrevor Forest, and basically followed the Ulster Way, past Crenville, Slievemeel, Tievedockaragh and Altataggart. We then left the path, crossed the Shankys River and followed the road to the Rocky River Bridge. We then followed the road past Hen Mountain, and camped at a confluence in the Rocky River in the valley between Rocky Mountain and Cock Mountain. Myself and two of my friends decided to take a swim in the Rocky River! Stepping into the river with nothing but a pair of keks on you is cold enough, but trying to lower your waist into the water is another matter! Believe it or not the water was quite pleasant after a while, and the deep pools and provided the perfect end to the hot day.
We woke up on the Sunday morning, packed up and set off down the valley skirting Wee Slievemoughan. We then climbed Pigeon Rock (we were rewarded with some fantastic views), then literally ran down it, and set off down the Slievenaman road to the Blue Quarry/Ott Mountain carpark. Here we stopped for a lunch of Pot Noodles, Snickers bars and tea... lovely! We then set off down the Slievenaman road to where the Ulster Way heads around the right side of Fofanny Dam. We followed it to the Trassey Road, past Happy Valley and to the Trassey River. Fatigue began to set in as we followed the Ulster Way past Trassey Bridge and into the edges of Tollymore forest. We followed the maze-like paths from one end of the forest to the other, it seemed to take forever! It reminded me of in Lord of the Rings, where the Hobbits struggle to find their way through the Old Forest! (Only people who have read the book will understand!). We eventually made our way out of the forest, down the Tullybrannigan lane and followed the main road to Donard Park, where we were picked up by the leaders!
I really enjoyed the expedition. It was great to go walking and spend a night up in hills with my mates, acting like eejits and drinking tea... with a playlist of Led Zep, Oasis and Thin Lizzy playing in the background for good measure! I'll be looking forward to the upcoming practice expeditions for the Silver award!