Getting out into the Mournes during the winter months can be a challenge given the dramatic reduction in daylight hours. Fortunately an early morning start allowed for a pre-christmas family climb up Doan Mountain accompanied by my trusty Fujifilm X-T1 with the ever versatile Fujinon 16-55mm zoom lens.
In Northern Ireland there is a dullness that is associated with the month of December but it brings a positive that the lack of light can often add some extra drama when combined with our ever-changing weather. Our visit coincided with such a combination of weather and light and Doan Mountain is a particularly breathtaking section of the Mourne Mountains even in summer.
The journey from Ott track to the Mourne Wall, although beautiful in itself is completely overshadowed by the view as you clamber over the wooden stile. (If you do venture up check out the little plaque on the side of the stile). I really love taking people on this walk on their first visit to watch their reaction as the view dramatically changes from the smooth contours of Ott track to the jagged crags of Bearnagh, Binnian and Doan mountains lining the deep valleys.
One word of caution, this walk can be marshy and very muddy in places making it a little precarious at times. Make sure you are well prepared for the mountains if you are heading out into the Mournes, especially after a period of rain.
XT-1 Panorama Mode
The X-T1 like the X100T camera offers a brilliant sweep panorama mode that I love to employ in the Mournes. The process is simple, compose the shot press the shutter and sweep in an arc across the view while the X-T1 captures and stitches the photos together into a stunning panoramic vista.
Above is the view from just beyond the Mourne Wall heading to the foot of Doan mountain, you can just see Silent Valley in the distance with the top of Binnian being just covered by cloud.
This image was captured at the foot of Doan across to the peaks of Bearnagh. This is probably the boggiest section of the walk just before the slightly steeper ascent / scramble. This has to be one of my favourite views captured at the very top of Doan mountain out towards Silent Valley. It was a particularly windy day so we approached with caution and only stayed a few minutes to grab some photos of Slieve Binnian in the distance.
The thick layer of cloud offered a real sense of drama and texture to what is already a stunning landscape before it fell as rain.
Doan Mountain Height : 593m, Grid Ref : J302262, Google Maps : 54.168477, -6.005944