I must preface my comments on this hill by saying that I love the Mournes, from its big beauties like Bearnagh to its little hills like the Hen. However, this is one hill that won’t live long in the heart for me or be revisited! Its not that it was gruelling, like Donard on the worst day of winter, I did this yesterday evening on one of the finest days of summer. It’s just that it has no real character, it doesn’t link up nicely with its neighbours like most in the Mournes. By the standards of this area the views are average, with the bulk of Finlieve and Shanlieve blocking views of the greater hills to the north, also, the route I took to the summit was a bit of a mess!
I took in Slievemeel as part of a 12k circuit, starting out at the yellow water picnic area taking the summit of Tievedockaragh first. From here I headed over open ground for Slievemeel. As Wicklore had mentioned on the general forum earlier this week, the good weather gives us a great opportunity to get out and walk in areas that are usually boggy. The route between Tievedockaragh and Slievemeel is definitely one of these areas. Being aware of the dangers of Shanlough and the nearby Red Bog I wasn’t aware of any such dangers on the route I took (however, if I did take a foolhardy route and got lucky I would appreciate for some of the wiser ones to advise).
From the summit of Tievedockaragh I headed south for the edge of the forest, from here I simply skirted the edge of it until I reached the far end, at the foot of Slievemeel. From here it was a straight forward ascent to the top of this boggy, featureless hump of a hill! This route was tough enough going in dry conditions, it would be a pure slog in the wet and not one I would repeat, but it did make a circuit!
The route I took for my descent was far better and more interesting and an approach that I would recommend as a possible alternative to the route already outlined in the previous comments (for those of you who are ticking this hill off a list, I wouldn’t bother with this hill otherwise). From the summit I headed roughly north west towards the forest, hoping for a fire break, some tree felling or any kind of opening that would let me out of here. At
I came across a small stile that took me into a very mature section of the forest, I soon came across mountain bike tracks and was able to follow them back to the end of a forest track at
. If you were approaching this from the forest track, look out for a gap at the top right part of the clearing, the bike track is very muddy to start with and then the route is soon covered by boardwalks. I followed the forest track for about 1.5k to
where it joins the Mourne Way, which I followed back to my car. Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/summit/735/comment/6818/