Slieve Binnian North Tor.
In Part 1 I described the first part of my walk to Slieve Bearnagh in the Mourne Mountains. I had arrived at the top of Slieve Bearnagh North Tor, having come up from Meelmore Lodge via the the Trassey Track and Hare’s Gap. The final push up to the summit had been extremely steep, and I spent a fair bit of time exploring the two rocky tors on the summit, getting my breath back and allowing my legs to recover, before taking the short walk over to Slieve Bearnagh itself. The tors were a fantastic sight, similar to what I’d seen on Slieve Binnian and its sister summits on a previous walk. Their fascinating shape revitalised me enough to climb up on top of both of them, one of them constituting the highest point on this summit.
Arriving at the top.
Looking across to Slieve Bearnagh.
The view towards Slieve Donard.
Dundrum Bay in the distance.
I could just see the Ben Crom Reservoir at the foot of Slievelamagan and on the right edge, the Silent Valley Reservoir at the foot of Slieve Binnian.
Looking down on the Trassey Track which I had taken on the way in.
On the Mourne Wall between the two tors.
Going around the second tor – it would be easier to climb on top from the other side.
From this side, I would be able to cross the wall and get on top of the tor.
A view over to Slieve Meelmore, the Mourne Wall seeming to ascend an impossible slope!
On top of the second, higher tor, looking back at the first.
Looking over to Slieve Bearnagh from atop the tor.
Magnificent views now in all directions from the tor.
Ben Crom’s distinctive shape on the left, with the Silent Valley Reservoir beyond, Slieve Bearnagh on the right, and the fascinating shape and texture of the tor in the foreground. I was elated to be up here, and tiredness was soon forgotten.
The Mourne Wall continuing over to Slieve Bearnagh.
A shoulder of Slieve Meelmore, which I had rounded earlier, sweeping down towards the Trassey Track.
Another view towards Dundrum Bay.
Coming back down off the tor.
By now, I was well rested again, and ready for the next stage of my walk, the short hike over to Slieve Bearnagh, following the Mourne Wall. There was very little descent, and even the ascent up to the higher top of Slieve Bearnagh didn’t look too bad, especially considering the steep haul I’d had up to the North Tor.
A look back at the North Tor.
I could clearly see the double tor on Slieve Bearnagh North Tor as I made my way from it up to Slieve Bearnagh main summit.
A view towards the two highest summits in the Mournes, Slieve Commedagh and Slieve Donard, which is also the highest mountain in the province of Ulster.
Arriving at the summit, the views again were absolutely breathtaking, particularly those which had been previously hidden to the south towards Doan mountain and Lough Shannagh.
Previously hidden views to the south. On the left is the Silent Valley Reservoir, the fantastic pointed Doan mountain is in the centre, with Lough Shannagh on the right. I have to admit, I find it difficult to convey how I feel when standing in a place like this. It is a mixture of seemingly conflicting elation and excitement, combined with a great sense of tranquility and absolute well-being. Words (at least mine!) can’t really describe it.
Slieve Binnian in the distance emerging from behind the tor, with Ben Crom a little lower, and Silent Valley Reservoir near the centre.
The wild, boggy terrain in the centre of the Mournes.
The tors are an amazing experience up close.
The wall continuing on to Slieve Meelmore.
A look back at the North Tor.
A final look at this view which I was mesmerised by.
Despite being smaller than the surrounding peaks, I was also fascinated by the sharp outline of Ben Crom.
I had lingered for a long time on Slieve Bearnagh, and I found it a brilliant experience to stand on what is possibly the best mountain in the Mournes, which is no small boast in this great range. I fully intend to do a lot more walking in the Mournes, and part of the pleasure will be looking over to Bearnagh from other summits, appreciating its distinctive outline, knowing that I’ve stood on its summit, and having a feeling for it that only having walked it can give you.
For now, it was time to start back towards my starting point at Meelmore Lodge, initially taking a slightly differnt route – down the western side of Slieve Bearnagh, on to the col with Slieve Meelmore, and then making for the Trassey Track again. I’ll continue with that in Part 3.