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mcrtchly
2016-10-04 10:55:21
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Quad bikers in the Mournes
Whilst out in the Mournes on Sunday 2nd Oct, at about 8.30am we were shocked to see a group of half a dozen quad bikers powering up the track from the Banns Road towards Lough Shannagh (below Doan and Carn), shattering the peace and beauty of a gorgeous autumn morning with their noise and fumes. They proceeded along the edge of the lake and disappeared heading east below Doan and towards the Silent Valley (which now became the Noisy Valley). They returned about 2 hours later, this time driving through the water at the edge of Lough Shannagh before doing wheelies in the sand on the beach and stopping for drinks (some of them discarding empty coke bottles nearby). One of them even drove up and down through the lake several times right in front of where we were camped on the beach.

We encountered the bikers again on our walk back towards the Banns Road and I stopped to talk with the first driver (presumably the leader). I asked him if quad bikes were allowed in the Mournes and he replied yes. He also said that he owned a small bit of land in Mournes, implying that this gave him right of access. He went on to say that they had driven as far as the Blue Lough in the Annalong Valley. This would require a steep decent to the Silent Valley and back up the other side. We noticed that the track from the Banns Road to Lough Shannagh is already scarred with tyre tracks and loose stones dislodged by vehicle traffic, and was considerably worse after they had passed over it. No doubt significant damage would have been done to the bog by driving across to the Annalong Valley and may even have affected paths repaired by the Mournes Heritage Trust.

We have never before seen any quad bikers in the Mournes and I did ask one local resident about the legality of this activity; she told me that it was not allowed. Do any MV members know if this is the case? If so, then I will notify Mountaineering Ireland and the MHT about the incident. I attach one photo of a quad biker (and have others which clearly show the faces of the bikers).
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