Slieve Donard - 4th April 2003

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This was a Friday so it nearly counts as a weekend trip.

click My work took me to Balbriggan, Co. Dublin to inspect this piling rig. I was finished by 10 o'clock but my ferry home wasn't until 8 in the evening. I checked around but there were no more rigs in Dublin needing attention. So I looked at my Michelin map of all Ireland and decided to head for the Mountains of Mourne in Co. Down, Northern Ireland.
click By 1pm I had stopped in a car park near the Bloody Bridge. Another chap was there putting on a wet suit. He said he was heading for a spot of 'canyoning' in the river. Strange, I thought. It didn't sound like there was enough water. Anyway, he gave me directions and, after a very quick lunch, I was off up the track beside the river. I wasn't sure how far I would get in the 3 hours available so I set myself a 3 o'clock turn around time.
click After 3/4 hour, I came to an old quarry. I think they mined granite and there were many interesting looking walls. By 2pm I had reached the col and turned right along a wall. It's a well built afair - around 80cm thick and at least 2m tall. The top is very flat - ideal for walking on. Apparently, it is 35km long and joins all the major peaks in the Mournes.
click By 2:30 I had made the summit of Slieve Donard, at 850m, the highest point in Northern Ireland. It had been completely clear when I started but now the clouds were rolling in from the north-west so that my panorama from the trig point is not all that exciting.
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click I legged it back down to the quarry and had a mouch about. There was plenty to play on, on the side walls.
click Returning to the road, I kept, as much as possible, to the course of the river and soon discovered why the chap had come here canyoning.
click I made it back to the van just on 4 o'clock and my journey back to Dublin took another 3 leaving me an hour before latest check-in. It was a lot of travelling for such a short walk but not bad for a 'free' day out. The overnight ferry got me to Mostyn at 5 in the morning so I was home by 6 - and went straight to bed.