It was barely past 7am as I started up the M1 through disconcertingly heavy rain showers towards the Scavvy 7 rendezvous wondering, as any sensible person would, about the wisdom of it all. But by Drogheda the showers had eased off and by the time I arrived at the Carrick Little car park, the sun was out.
In all there were eight of us undertaking Scavenger 7, myself, roberto, tom, dessie1, simon3, osullivanm and, of course, bleck cra & jackill. We started off down the Annalong Valley and got a little bit of rain on the way. Thankfully this soon abated as we passed the slabs of Slieve Lamagan to our left (slabs through which the Cra assured us there was actually a route) and started our first bit of a climb, up to Cove. Here were our first great views of the Annalong Valley amongst some of the lovely sculpted granite that you get in the Mournes, looking more like stacked disks than eroded rock.
Onward to Slieve Beg and a look down the gully that is the Devil's Coachroad. From the top this didn't look to bad of a route, but, viewed in profile from further around our walk, I revised that opinion.
For a panorama of our view of the eastern Mournes, go to: http://tinyurl.com/3zt6bgg
Next we had to earn our lunch with the steep climb from the Brandy Pad up to Commedagh, then dropping back down to beyond the Donard pass (and beyond the hordes) for that lunch. We then headed up Chimney Rock, a favourite Mourne summit of Bleck Cra's and rightly so for the views it offers in all directions; and a summit that would otherwise have been missed by myself.
By now the sun was out as we retraced our steps briefly to avoid the tough going through the head of Spences River and went up and over Rocky Mountain and so back down into the valley and to the cars.
Scavvy 7 must be noted for its non-walking attendees who now joined us in Newcastle at O'Hare's for drinks and, subsequently, food. Tom was joined by dhmiriam (who unfortunately over did the pre-Scavvy training and was thus unable to attend the day's walk) plus partners joined Bleck Cra, jackill and roberto making our numbers up to 12 for the evening's session.
We ate at the restaurant next door to the pub (McCann's) which served great, and very welcome, food. There were then a few drinks, which were equally welcome. To ensure the night did not go quietly, the lads had arranged for a music festival to be on that very evening. Music that improved steadily as the night went on.
In all, another wonderful Scavenger event that exhibited all the qualities that make these things special. Great company, great entertainment and a great walk - made all the better for Cra's choice a route and local knowledge (magic spots definitely being the track around Upper Cove and Chimney Rock).
Many thanks to Bleck Cra & Jackill.