The sunny easter holidays attracted a large throng of people to the summits of the Mourne Mountains in County Down. The weather was a stark change from the Slieve Binnian walk the week before and instead of full weather gear, sunscreen was the order of the day.
Setting off from Donard carpark we made our way though Donard forest alongside the Glen river. Once through the dense forest (about 10-15minutes walk) the views open up towards the saddle and are something to behold.
The walk is quite a challenge and WalkNI list it as a level 5 walk, it can be quite tricky in places as the inclines steepen, especially the stage before reaching the Mourne Wall and then the remaining Mourne Wall to the peak of Donard both can be particularly tiring. Remember you are climbing 850m from ground level and although the final ascent may be challenging the views across the Mournes are something to behold.
Even on a bright sunny day in April there was still snow at the top of Slieve Donard, it was breezy but still warm enough to stop for lunch at the very top.
In many ways coming down is more troublesome than the ascent but looking out over the Mournes and seeing walkers making their way through Hare’s Gap meant we were down at the bottom of the saddle in practically no time.
I was out with my favourite camera the Fujifilm X100T (See 65 photos captured with the X100 series cameras). Like many of the Fujifilm X range cameras the X100T has a built in panorama feature, simply activate and sweep across the landscape you wish to capture and the camera automatically stitches the series of images into a single JPEG. I really love this feature and have found the image quality to be fantastic to the point I have printed a number of these panoramas large scale. I really think the panorama feature is under-estimated on the X range of cameras.
The hazy sunshine meant there was little contrast to focus upon but I think the X100T panoramic images give some sense of the view at the top of Slieve Donard.
Below are the details of the walk, please note these details are provided for information only and are used at your own risk. Make sure you are properly equipped for walking in the hills and prepared for sudden changes in weather check out this site for great deals in outdoor wear. I have this route in my Garmin Connect account if anyone needs it.
The hike from the carpark to the top of Slieve Donard (and back) takes about 4 hours at a leisurely pace. If you are heading out remember to do as much research as you can and go properly equipped for all weathers. The WalkNI website is a great source of information on both walks and their demands. You can see more images from this walk over in the Slieve Donard Flickr Set.