Much a-Doan about something?
Yesterday, under impossibly blue skies and amid the granite wonders of the Kingdom of Mourne, we climbed our 300th MV summit: Doan. This peak, sat bang in the centre of circuits we had taken in the higher mountains surrounding it, meant that it had languished un-bagged on the MV Mourne list. I think we probably left the best until last. It offered us a fine climb from the Ott track up to the Mourne Wall, on to the summit of Slieve Loughshannagh and down its steep slopes to the boggy ground below.
Doan, its rocky granite crown bathed in late afternoon sunshine, rose to greet a cornflower blue sky. A relatively easy climb up to it through a maze of dried out peat hags brimming with the fluffy heads of bog cotton that glowed with a brilliance unsurpassed in any previous summer, brought us to the foot of its craggy summit. A steep climb up over the granite outcrops and we alighted onto a viewing platform second to none! All around a circle of conical mountains which we had previously climbed lifted their purple heads as if in tumultuous applause above the heathery bowl in which Doan playfully sits, enjoying being the centre of attraction. Behold the crenellated tors of Bernagh, the defiant hard line of the Mourne wall streaking up the impossibly steep slopes of Meelbeg and Meelmore; the conical hulk of mighty Donard in the hazy distance, Blue Lough, a spoonful of sky seemingly trapped in the col between Slieve Binnian and Slieve Lamagan. Binnian, its spiky tors and rock strewn slopes bathed in a rosy haze, sweeping down to the mysterious blue ribbon of water in the Silent Valley, its waterline well down exposing a sinuous rocky shoreline betraying the recent spell of hot weather that has made demands on its water. Far below, Lough Shannagh, its surface agitated by a warm evening breeze which heralded the setting sun, seething with a million moving monochrome shapes and shadows. Surprisingly for the Mournes, we had the hills entirely to ourselves; there was not another soul in sight. From our vantage point atop the jumble of granite rocks, carved and weathered by the countless rains and winds of eons, a lone raven put on a fantastical display of aerobatics, croaking loudly as if in unbridled ecstasy.
As we cracked open a couple of tins of liquid pleasure to celebrate our achievement, we did so with thoughts of the MV community. Thanks to all those who have blazed the trails we have often followed, for sharing their photographs, rich and varied summit descriptions, for uploading useful GPS tracks, splendid walking routes and inspirational videos, all of which have made many a foray into our mountains so much more rewarding. But most of all, we owe a debt of thanks to Simon3 for the MV website with its infectious lists! By wandering amid our high places, allowing mountains to meld with mind, I have discovered and learned to appreciate the wonders and beauty of all corners of this magnificent island. Go raibh maith agat.