In September 2009, I paid a flying visit to the Mourne Mountains in County Down. I was taking a group of junior orienteers to the Junior Inter-Regional Championships at the Silent Valley Mountain Park. So I didn’t have the chance to explore the area as much as I would have liked. In fact, now it all seems a bit of a haze. I know the start was on a small hill to the west of the Silent Valley Reservoir called Slevenagore and I did wander up there but I had no map so some of these captions are a bit of guesswork.
The main photo is of Slievenaglogh (1,460 ft high), a dwarf compared to the highest mountain Slieve Donard at 2,790 ft.
The feature that strikes in my memory is The Mourne Wall, a 20-mile long wall built between 1904 and 1922 by the Belfast Water Commissioners to enclose their water catchment areas thereby protecting them from the effects of cattle and sheep. The section over Slevenagore was an impressively huge dry-stone wall, about 1.5 metres high, very well-constructed and probably made of granite although I didn’t take much notice at the time.
‘Slieve’, by the way, is an Anglicisation of the Irish word sliabh, meaning a ‘mountain’.