Walkers enjoy fine day in the Mournes

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Twenty-seven walkers, including some new faces, assembled at Ott Car Park when the Mid-Ulster Walking Club returned to a favourite part of the Mournes recently for a trek to Ben Crom Mountain.

Setting out they followed a rough track up to the Mourne Wall at the col between Carn Mountain and Slieve Loughshannagh. Here the party divided into ‘A’ and ‘B’ groups, according to how strenuous a day was desired.

For all it was a fine dry morning with superb views. Frost and snow coated the summits of Commedagh and Donard and the high tors of Binnian and Bearnagh, while the sunshine glinted off the haunted waters of Lough Shannagh and, beyond, the Silent Valley Reservoir.

While the others pursued a lower course, descending to follow the Ben Crom River, the seventeen ’A’ walkers headed up Slieve Loughshannagh. Reaching the summit at 620 metres they dropped down to follow a track around the base of Slieve Meelbeg before striking out southeast for the top of Ben Crom. Here the others would rejoin them.

The jutting summit of Ben Crom was an ideal spot for lunch. The walkers sat perched atop high cliffs, plunging down to the Ben Crom Reservoir far below, surrounded by mountains, including Slieve Lamagan and the towering mass of Binnian directly opposite.

In due course it was time to turn for home, but for the ‘A’ group a final challenge remained in the form of nearby Doan (593 m). Their approach, from the south, provided an unexpectedly stiff climb. But the reward was one of the finest views in the Mournes, justly celebrated, a magnificent encircling panorama of mountain and water. Finally descending they followed the others, coming full circle to the Mourne Wall and retracing their outward course to the car park.

The Club’s final Sunday walk of 2012 is Sawel and Dart, led by William Beattie and Jim Rutherford on the 16th December. On December 20th the Thursday outings conclude with a walk, led by Keith Hamilton and George Barclay, and a meal at An Creagan.

New Club members are always welcome and the 2013 Walks Programme will be available shortly. If interested please contact John (8774 7733) or George (8778 4081).

For Thursday walks specifically please contact Ronnie (8676 5142) or Jim (8676 3576). Alternatively simply visit www.midulsterwalkingclub.org.uk for full details of the Club and its activities.