My first visit to Mournes was organised by Whiteabbey Presbyterian Church in cold month of December. It was a long drive (1.5 hours) to Newcastle where the mountains stand beautifully alongside of the crystal clear blue sea. A wonderful sunny but chilly day, it was enjoyable experience ascending this magnificent peak of Slieve Donard.
My 5-hour walk from the foot of Donard Forest was paved off as the towering natural ground of 849 metres high (2,786 ft) sets before in front of me; with several mini waterfalls along the way. It was -4 degrees C during our climb and my clothes and shoes were not enough to cover me from the freezing wind!
The second time, I joined again the church members to climbed the 3rd highest peak of the mountains, Slieve Binnian. Seeing again the Mournes reminds me of the books written by C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia. The Mournes inspired Lewis to write this series of novels for children. Unfortunately, I havent read any of the stories, except that I watched the film - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as adapted from the books.
While ascending the mountains, the panoramic view is astonishing - combined with brown, yellow and green colours infront of us which dominates the skyline! It was a glorious Easter Monday with sunny spell and the frequent touch of the cold wind.
Before we proceeded to the peak of Slieve Binnian, we had our lunch besides the small lake and the atmosphere is surreal having such special moment having with nature - appreciating the wonderful gifts from God! As soon as we finished filling our hungry stomachs, we started our journey and finally reached the foot of Slieve Binnian where the catchment areas for the water source of Northern Ireland take over the view, including the coastline of the Republic of Ireland. Tiny bits of hails struck our faces while ascending the peak!
I can not explain the feeling of being there - at the top of the mountain watching the well-curved mountains of Mournes, including the icy tip of Slieve Donard, some of the uniformily laid-out stones - the Mournes Wall, the green spots of pine trees and the blue ocean below. It took us almost 2.5 hours to reach the top confronting our fears to be carried away by the freezing wind and not to mention the slippery sloping ground while descending the peak. Descending the icy peak of Slieve Binnian provided us another view of Mournes, where green fields and farms meet with the coastline, including the whistling sound coming from the wind passing through the gaps between the stones of the Mournes Wall.
Another testimony of nature at its best and it deserves to be admired. A place not to be missed while visiting the Irish region.For future trips, click here for additional information: MOURNES