Friday, 16 August 2013
Ireland Day Two. Mountains of Mourne.
We parked at a place Graeme had sussed out which was the Meelmore lodge amenity campsite. £6 a night per tent. Situated directly under Slieve Meelmore this has an attached breakfast/lunch Café doing Ulster fry ups: showers, toilets and picnic tables. It was fairly basic but had everything we needed and has a beautiful rural setting, surrounded by cattle, potato fields and mountains. Great place for children to explore and there were a few families and a couple of mini buses full of well behaved teenagers in the large site when we arrived. The Mournes are popular with Duke of Edinburgh youth groups on adventure treks.
The photo above was taken just as it was getting dark. The midges were bad and biting and I made a joking comment about them to the owner when he came round. It was just an off the cuff remark but he disappeared then came back a few minutes later with a firelog which did a brilliant job of keeping them away. It's sitting on a BBQ stand which was already there. Now that's friendly service for you and totally unexpected.
Another campsite Graeme looked at wanted £16 pounds a night. Wonder if we would have got a free complimentary firebrick thrown in there. Maybe when he heard we were from Glasgow mind you he thought we would rip down all the trees and burn them instead. It's amazing how folk from different cities perceive each other. I knew a friend from Belfast years ago who was slightly worried about coming over to visit me on holiday in Glasgow because he'd heard the city had more gangs than London, a city six times it's size, and that Pollok had more gangs than any other area. (This was only because greater Pollok took in so many separate schemes, around 11 or 12 different dividing lines to be crossed.)
Mind you he was impressed by the brutal, no nonsense architecture of some of the older 1950's tenement estates at that time which looked as if they had been built by the Romans. (Some actually were by way of captured Italian POW's )
This is the view from the campsite in the morning. Beautiful setting. Note the potato fields. You don't see many fields of crops around Glasgow's Central Belt or in the west of Scotland anymore but all over the Emerald Isle the fields are still productive.
http://www.explorethemournes.com/mourne-wall.html Great link to the area here with a cracking slide show of photographs. The pictures of the ascent of the Devil's Coach Road in here are particularly impressive.
Some folk like Alex faff around drinking coffee and eating meals and Graeme and Sandra were no different. Fired up for the mountains I arranged to meet them later at a pass called the Hare's gap which is the low coll in the second photograph. I would race up Slieve Bearnagh right away to sample its wonderful summit tor just in case the weather turned nasty later on.
This is the North Tor, which you come to first after a brutal climb. Only problem with the Mourne wall is that it makes a beeline for the summit. No deviations to allow for the steepness of the terrain. A marvellous feat of building but the original maintenance paths tend to go straight up right beside it, without the usual easy gradient zig zags you might expect. In the 4th pic down the path follows the wall. Yep, it is a steep as it looks! Good for the heart.
We were all very impressed by the Mournes. Formed mainly from granite they are similar to the Arran peaks but cover a larger area. Mountaineering heaven. Loads of rock climbs, distance treks,and outdoor adventures to be had here.
Thanks to Graeme and Sandra for great memories and a fun camping experience.
It's been a while since we had a video so here's an absolute cracker. Stumbled across this at random surfing you tube for new music. A world wide dance smash from a few years ago I must have missed. Great catchy tune, great video, sexy band. And lashings of gratuitous Sax. And the best Dominatrix band leader you'll ever see. What more do you want from a song? Only a few years old this video has already been viewed over 23 million times outstripping most established headline hit singles by established acts. Wonder why:)