From Newcastle, travel south along the coast road to the junction at 374 211. This turn is marked as the road to the Silent Valley reservoir. Follow this road all the way to Carrick Little Carpark 345 219.
The Mournes are a small group of mountains, compact within an elliptical area of about 14 miles by 7 miles. There are 35 summits over 1500 feet high as well as a large number of interesting geological features such as corrie lakes, buttresses etc. One of the best known features of these mountains is the 'Mourne Wall. The wall, which is made of large granite slabs that were quarried locally from the mountain sides, was built by Belfast Water Commissioners to define their catchment area. Work stared in 1910 and finished in 1922. The wall runs over the tops of 15 mountains and encloses around 9000 acres.
The route that you will be walking this weekend can be best described as "The Inner Horseshoe" of the Mourne Mountains. You will take in the highest summit in the six counties of Ulster - Slieve Donard.
The following route outline is the proposed route for the weekend. As with all hike routes. this route is very much subject to change due to such things as weather conditions, staffing etc.
The map used is the 'Mourne Country' 1:25000 - approx. 2.5" to the mile. This is a very large scale so distances can be deceiving. Each grid box is 1km x 1km in size. Also the distances in the Mournes can be very deceptive so the route may look much further than it is in reality.
Leave the carpark and head up along the small road for about .8km Keep to the left as you pass through a gate. You will now be on a track which runs between along a large stone wall. Continue along the track and you will walk along a forest on your right for about 1 km. At the end of the forest, cross the stream and follow the track to the junction at 334 243. Turn right here and follow this track to 336 250. The campsite for the night is just to the east, down the slope. Pitch your tent and have a cuppa and then go to bed! Saturday
The walk will be a day hike and we will use the same campsite for Saturday night. Therefore you may leave a lot of your equipment at basecamp. Please see the enclosed list of gear for the day hike.
Once you have been checked-out from base camp, head up out of basecamp towards the large rock formation called Hares Castle and from there initially following the river to the Mourne Wall at approx. 353 265.
Follow the wall in a northerly direction and you will soon start to climb uphill towards the summit of Donard. This is quite a steep climb - so take your time. Zig-zag up the slope and take short rests regularly. There are some fine views of the Mournes and the surrounding area from this slope. You will achieve most of your height for the days walk on this climb. If the weather is good, you should be able to see the Isle of Man to the south-east from the summit.
When you leave the summit, follow the wall downhill in a westerly direction along a wellworn track. The descent is steep - so take care. Turn south at the track junction (350 279) and continue down the slope until you reach the well defined track, known as the Brandy Pad.
Follow the Brandy Pad in a westerly direction. You will pass beneath some dramatic rock structures known as the Castles. There is a large stone cairn on the track at (342 278) and you should aim for this feature. From here turn and climb towards the summit of Slieve Beg which is marked by 2 large rock formations. The views from here are spectacular down into the Annalong Valley, the Castles below Commedagh and the Brandy Pad winding along the edge of the mountains.
Leaving the summit, descend towards some sandy ground in the col at 335 275 over peaty ground. Climb out of the col to the summit of Cove which is marked by a small cairn. There are excellent views down into the valley and over towards Slieve Donard.
Leave the summit and descend towards the col at 331 267 keeping well away from thecrags on the side of Cove Mtri. From here begin to ascend up through some peat hags towards the rocky ground at 331 263. From here follow the ridge all the way to the summit. There are some fine views from here down into the Silent Valley. Slievelamagan to Basecamp