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All the Mourne MountainsHow many mountains do you think there are in the Mournes? Well, a couple of years ago, Janet Hackney decided to climb them all to find out. She had several reasons for doing this. The first was that from time to time she couldn’t remember which ones she had climbed! Next she had a great group of women friends with whom she loved walking and talking. Then there was the age thing! Apparently lots of women of a certain age, when the children fly the nest, take to the hills feeling a desire to be close to nature and to enjoy the active years which are left to them before arthritis or osteoporosis sets in. Was dementia mentioned? Forgetting which hills you have climbed or why you are upstairs looking for something starts to get worrying.
So in 2010 Janet started a quest to climb all the named Mournes before she applied for a bus pass. With the help of her great friends who joined her most Sunday mornings and during the holidays, she is pleased to announce that the last one, Slieve Roe, over past Hilltown, was completed on May 27th this year.
They climbed ones they had never climbed before, sometimes managing 3 or 4 in one day, always wondering how many were left. The answer would differ each time they tried to count them on the map. Paths marked sometimes couldn’t be found; gates were always opened and closed securely and litter was picked up along the way. Visitors would join in from time to time. Sister Christine from Canada joined in a centenary climb of Donard in June 2011 in memory of their father, JLBoyle of Lisburn.
Things learnt along the way. Ben Crom is very steep if you try to go straight up from the dam wall; a sunny day in winter is just as good as a sunny day in summer; the Black Stairs can be done at any age if you come down on your bottom and swimming in the Blue Lough on a summer’s day after a long walk is bliss.
Janet would like to thank her husband, Ian, for his encouragement and all her very good friends, especially Rita S. Maureen McL. Margaret McK. Rose L. Sheena M & Rita G for all the support, company and great chat along the way. She couldn’t have done it without them. Also thanks to the farmers who helped with advice and sometimes lifts. She has just to finish the photographic record of all the climbs before she gets put in the Old Folks’ Home but hopes there will be many more great walks and swims ahead before that day. Free bus journeys will open up the whole country now!
Oh, and there are 94. Has anyone else done this or is this a record?