Extreme Hill Walking

Last weekend, Mike’s friend Dave flew over from Wales and the three of us drove to the Mountains of Mourne, located about 45 minutes southeast of us.  Ireland has proven to be relatively flat compared to my native New England, with low, wide hills at most.  Mike has also referred to his “hill walking club” – a term we don’t use in the USA.  I call it “hiking,” but I figured maybe the term came from the smaller peaks and easier walking paths than those that I’m used to.

When we arrived at the Mournes, I was blown away.  Out of nowhere is a large range of beautiful, steep, rocky peaks.  I wouldn’t categorize these as “hills.”

It was a freezing cold and windy day, but we had attempted this hike a few weeks ago and I could barely even exit the car based on how windy it was.  Ultimately we decided to skip it and go to the pub for some rugby instead.  So this time, we committed to it – the summits are known for being cold and windy anyways.

The “hill walk” was not easy – the paths are really just a bunch of boulders to climb up.  The summit was so cold I couldn’t feel my hands (with gloves on) so I don’t have many pictures to speak of – Mike shot a few decent ones before they all go out of focus and before he lost the ability to click the shutter.  Despite the frigid conditions though, I totally fell for the sweeping views.  From the top of Slieve Bearnagh, the peak we hiked, you can see out to the ocean from one side and, on the other side, up to Belfast (on a clear day).  Silent Valley sat below us – completely barren and beautiful.  The Brandy Path, where they used to smuggle brandy in from the ocean, runs along the side of the range.

My favorite part of hiking the Mountains of Mourne was the stone wall which runs along the tops of the entire mountain range.  It was absolutely stunning.  It gives you a unique perspective – you can see how steep it is, how long it runs, and it also acts as a great shield from the wind.

I’m hoping to go back to the Mournes again before our departure to Australia in the end of April.

 

8 replies »

  1. I can’t wait to return to N Ireland to climb these hills with you. Such desolate beauty and those walls!

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. come to London or Greece before you head to Australia! 😉

    Greece has hiking like that. Not perhaps solo grey and cold, but chilly and windy and absolutely astonishingly beautiful. yes, Greece has loads and loads of pretty islands and beaches, but the mountains are a special treat for those who seek them out.

    Keep up the awesome blog writing! I am inspired and hope to follow suit soon—but it takes quite a lot of work to get me focused enough to post! I’ll take the photos and think out the text, but typing and posting? somehow I never get quite that far. So, I enjoy yours all the more 🙂

    Xx beth

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    • Greece is one of my #1 locations to see! I would love to visit sometime. There seems to be so much there! Also, Turkey! Wow they both look so spectacular and unique.

      I hope you do follow through with a blog, Beth! I’d love to read it. It does take a lot of work – a heck of a lot more than anyone would think. My favorite of my own posts have historically taken me several weeks of thinking, letting an idea simmer until it’s ready, and about 12 hours of writing/editing each. I think doing regular blogging with a job would be next to impossible, but lots of people somehow get it done!

      Thanks for reading and I will try to keep it up!

      Cheers,
      Char

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  3. Charlotte – thanks for capturing the walk so accurately. I hope to experience the beauty of New England at some point to gain an appreciation of the contrast.
    D

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