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Post details Post   (Contract pics)
dhmiriam
2009-05-08 22:12:19
"Castles guard Donard." from dhmiriam Contract pics
Picture: Castles guard Donard. (Contract pics)

Almost 'there'.
Minutes later, rounding a couple of slight curvatures in the track, we rounded Commedagh, to see the Castles and Donard sweep high in the background. In October 2008, we approached this same area from Bloody Bridge, to climb the latter. Atop Donard, with the Mourne Wall on the right of you, the mountains seem to shelter like a great herd of buffalo corralled together the far side of Donard Bog. Lots of them, so if one wants choice added to the scale of things, knock your self out, this is the spot. On our trips to this high country, autumn and spring, we have met with the most obliging of weather. When it rained it poured and got it over with quickly. When the sun came out, it shone brilliantly, and mopped up efficiently. When cloud fell, it was sudden enough to poleaxe Chicken Little into a lifetime of therapy. As with the remainder of our island, we do get weather, in preposterous guises, with impossibly quick gear changes, and entirely unpredictable, August making no exception, so come forewarned and armed. The recent Mourne walk offer by Bleck Cra and Jackill, is a gracious offer of time, energies, and person, and the payback is all in the travellers purse. To have guides who know this area like they know their own nose hair, would cost one an arm and a leg on one of those pretty, paved, publicity pumped, soul- less, impersonal excursions that you’d get anywhere, including the D.I.Y. demonstration stand of the local shopping centre. In fact, if that’s what you favour, don’t come north. The natives we met, shot from the hip, after looking us straight in the eye, telling us what it would cost, how well we would be looked after, how besotted we would be by the time of our departure, when we would be charged, how soon we had to get out, and with such enchanting laissez faire, Eros arrow scored bullseye, in one. We were so(u)led not ‘sold to’. The entire staff of the Slieve Donard Hotel (Hastings Group), including their smashing doorman who watched me walk across their lovely foyer in trecking boots, are some of this stock, as were the folk we met in Newcastle out for their evening constitution. It was honest, straight up, luxuriously easy to follow, and very refreshing. If that’s more to your liking, then take the men up, and buy them a barrell back at the pub.
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