The Mournes : Ott Track to Doan Mountain

5 mins read

Doan Mountain sits high on my list of favourite Mourne summits. At only 593m Doan it isn’t a difficult climb but its central location offers stunning 360 degree views of the key Mourne Mountain peaks. Doan Mountain, sometimes referred to as ‘Maol Chobha’s Fort’ sits above Silent Valley and Lough Shannagh and is a relatively short work, tending to be my go-to hike when there is limited time on the hills.

The weather in Northern Ireland is generally unpredictable. I’ve visited this mountain in all sorts of weather from dark winter nights to driving snow but this was my first experience in the sun. The visibility was amazing, stretching for miles the hazy views down to the Irish Sea were breathtaking. If you look carefully on the first frame of the video below you can see us perched on the top of the mountain.

Slieve Doan

The hike is broken down into two stages. Stage one meanders the route along Ott Track to the famous Mourne Wall, although beautiful it is completely overshadowed by the view as you clamber over the wooden stile. It is a surreal experience as you climb over the wall and smooth contours of Ott track drop into a valley surrounded by the crags Bearnagh and Binnian Binnian with Doan sitting majestically in the deep valley. I really love taking friends on their first trip into the mountains and watching their reaction to the dramatic change in terrain.

Stage two is a muddy, marsh laden trek from the wall to the foot of Doan Mountain. Dead ahead sits the stunning Slieve Bearnagh with its striking Tors. On this visit the route was beginning to dry out in the warm sun and I was keen to capture some of the views with the DJI Mavic Air. Note: there is no real path or track so the ability to navigate is essential should the weather suddenly change.

Drone video footage of the Mourne Mountains can in no way replace the experience of standing at the top of Doan Mountain and taking in the views of the main peaks. You can see Slieve Commedagh, Slieve Donnard, Slieve Binnian and Slieve Bearnagh from this single peak. It was exciting to view Doan from the air. The lens on the Mavic Air drone is fantastic and the focal length is ideal for video, I just haven’t quite grasped capturing wide open spaces so that they translate to the smaller screen (even at 4k). I returned home with over fifteen minutes of video with the majority being the same pan across from Lough Shannagh through to Slieve Bearnagh (it was stunning on the little iPhone screen).

Doan Mountain / Slieve Doan

Doan Mountain Height : 593m, Grid Ref : J302262, Google Maps : 54.168477, -6.005944

The DJI Spark and Mavic Air drones are spectacular. It is great to carry a little backpack and still be able to pack a little drone that is capable of capturing stunning, crisp and smooth 4K video footage. The Mavic Air is really easy to unpack and set up, I was flying over the summit of Doan mountain within a few minutes. Sitting at lunch the DJI GO 4 app offered a quick edit of the video footage and some low resolution versions of the still images. The quick edit can act as a ‘rush’ for what is possible when editing the 4k footage back at the computer, it’s breathtaking to watch the elevated Mournes from an elevation.

Related Links

Doan Mountain | Winter Sun on Doan Mountain | The view to Doan from Bearnagh | Doan Mountain in Winter | Doan Mountain with the X-Pro2 | Photography eBooks | The DJI Mavic Air | DJI Mavic Air First Impressions | 3 Days with the DJI Mavic Air | FlixelPix Video | Adobe Lightroom Presets

About the Mourne Mountains

The Mourne Mountains also called the Mournes or Mountains of Mourne includes the highest mountains in Northern Ireland, Slieve Donard at 850 m (2,790 ft). The Mourne Mountains are situated in County Down on the south-east of Northern Ireland, an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and has been proposed as the first national park in Northern Ireland.


David is a documentary and landscape photographer covering everything from dramatic long exposure landscape photography through to live music. David is a former Official Fujifilm X Photographer.

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