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Peter Walker: Track 4588 in area near Mourne Mountains (Ireland)
Doan and Slieve Muck from the Banns Road
Length: 15.0km, Creator time taken: 4h 9m, Ascent: 613m,
Descent: 612m

Places: Start at J28461 21427, Doan, Carn Mountain North Top, Carn Mountain, Slieve Muck, end at Start
Logged as completed by 1

It had been a grey week, and it had climaxed with a grey weekend. It was a Sunday when motivation to arise before 6am was weak, but I had agreed to lead The Team (see Bleck Cra's article from the 2021 MV Annual) on a walk in the Mournes, so I was going regardless of any internal monologues that might have led me elsewhere (or indeed to just have a lie-in). I bigged up the chances of getting above the days-old layer of low cloud that had settled over much of Ireland, and set off for the Banns Road car park.

Out of the clouds

On arrival it was still grey, but quite a dark grey in the early stages of dawn. It wasn't wildly promising, but Nuala, Mick and Gerard were all already there so now we really couldn't bail! So we scuttled along the Banns Road into the gloom and crossed our fingers as much as one can on a gloved cold winter's morning. As the altitude increased so did the light levels, initially illuminating the inside of the cloud, until finally we broke though into blue skies and bright daylight. It had been worth getting out of bed after all.

Climbing Doan from Loughshannagh

The Banns Road eventually deposited us on the shores of Loughshannagh under the ramparts of Doan, the first objective. We crossed some rough, tussocky ground and found a little path snaking up to the summit crags that I'd never noticed before: never underestimate your ability to locate extra detail in an area you'd thought you knew pretty well. This merged with the (nowadays) motorway that comes to Doan from the Ott direction, and a final sharp climb gained the top.

Looking into the Silent Valley from Doan
Oh, crikey. It was a day of razor visibility over the summits, with the low angle of the sun casting crazy shadows across the mountainsides. And the cloud sea below seemed alive, smothering the coast and the sea, sinking and rising into the valleys and over the cols and the summits. We stayed for a while. This was a bit special.


This was a tough summit to leave, but left it we did. Across the bog (frozen, hurrah) to gain the Mourne Wall under Slieveloughshannagh, then turning left for the plod over Carn to the final summit of Slieve Muck. To our left were cotton wool, sunbeams and Loughshannagh. And if you looked away from the Mournes it was just a monumental layer of fluff, with ridiculously distant high summits nudging through; Sawel and Cuilcagh just as visible as the nearer Slieve Gullion.

It's a sharp drop again from Muck back down to the Banns Road, made slightly spooky by re-entering the clouds on its lower slopes, but it was a Caspar The Friendly Ghost level of spookiness, rather than John Carpenter's The Fog. It was a much cheerier party on the walk down the Road than it had been on the walk up.

The descent from Slieve Muck

I'm slightly dubious about a lot of outdoors writing...99% of my time on the hill is 'nice enough', 'invigorating', 'meh', 'well, it got me out of the house', and all the points in between. Some folk seem to find every trip out an intense orgy of nigh-on impossible pleasure. Even in Wicklow or the Sperrins! Are they being honest? If they are, where the hell do they get the energy?

No, for me it's only about 1% of the time when mountain walking is the best thing in the world, and that's enough. I've been at this game for over 40 years now, and I've seen a fair bit. Enough to know that this was a good day...

Buy a ticket. Win the lottery.

Uploaded on: Sat, 1 Jan 2022 (12:59:29)
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NOTE: ALL information such as Ascent, Length and Creator time taken etc should be regarded as approximate. The creator's comments are opinions and may not be accurate or still correct.
Your time to complete will depend on your speed plus break time and your mode of transport. For walkers: Naismith's rule, an approximate though often inaccurate estimate, suggests a time of 4h 1m + time stopped for breaks
NOTE: It is up to you to ensure that your route is appropriate for you and your party to follow bearing in mind all factors such as safety, weather conditions, experience and access permission.

* Note: A GPS Height in the elevation profile is sourced from the device that recorded the track. An "SRTM" height is derived from a model of elevations for parts of the earth. More detail

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Some mapping:
Open Street Map
(Various variations used.)
British summit data courtesy:
Database of British & Irish Hills
(Creative Commons Licence), a Hill-walking Website for the island of Ireland. 2100 Summiteers, 1400 Contributors, Monthly Newsletter since 2007