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Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Mournes in Winter

The wall which the stile crosses is around 51/2 foot in height

With almost 2 weeks of a continuous freeze & with one abandoned trip to the hills already. Due to the roads being impassable around the 2 relative hills we wanted to climb on the Tyrone Donegal border, we were keen to get out.

Crossing the Mourne wall, where even the stile is buried

As we drove up towards the Ott Mountain car park, we were met by a road closed sign, due to the snow & icy on the road. Luckily we were in a 4 wheel drive vehicle - though this had not helped the week before - and we made the car park fine, with the only other vehicle in the car park being a land rover. We geared up whilst watching a few other drivers appear out of the mist & struggle with the icy conditions.

Snow & Rime sculptures around the gaps in the wall still showing

We made the Mourne wall in good time, despite the mist and snow conditions under foot, with the pacer poles helping to pull ourselves out of the deeper drifts.

We decide to follow the Mourne wall, well what little of it was actually showing above the snow, to Slieve Muck via the minor top of Carn Mountain.

The snow drifts by the Mourne wall were deep enough for the construction of snow shelters, with several of differing quality being passed on our way to Carn Mountains summit. Visibility was not the best and at a couple of points started to turn into a white out accompanied with the ubiquitous wind driven snow. A Quality day then!

We descended from Carn Mountain in deep snow, before turning a small out crop on the ascent of Slieve Muck. Anywhere ground which had been blasted clear by the wind, was covered in thick water ice, the gullies on Slieve Commedgah must have been in fine condition for ice climbing. Or indeed anywhere in the mournes was for those wishing to practice their crampon work.

We crossed the wall and walked the short distance to the summit Trig Point, just as the snow started again. Ski shades on, we walked into the wind and snow, returned over the wall and descended back to Carn Mountain, only stopping for a quick lunch break, before descending over Ott Mountain, back to the car park, passing ski tracks on our way down.

On the Summit of Slieve Muck in an incoming snow shower

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2 Comments:

Blogger Phil said...

Great walk & great pics, Michael. And all the better for being viewed in a nice warm room with a large malt!

January 4, 2010 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger michael gray said...

It was good to be out in the snow again, even with the dodgy knee. Off to sunnier climes in a week and half, so that will be my sole winter walk till next winter. Unless these excellent conditions last to Easter, fingers crossed!

January 4, 2010 at 9:19 PM  

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