There is little or no shelter on the summit of Doan for camping. It requires a very calm night. When I seen the wind forecast to be only around 10 mph at high level for that Friday night I snapped up the opportunity. That is as good as it gets in the Mournes. I had been off work that day so I was able to set off for the Mournes late afternoon as I had a few things to do earlier in the day. I parked in Ott carpark and headed off up Ott track toward the saddle between Slieve Loughshannagh and Carn Mountain. The ground is always quite wet just below the saddle on the west side but this time is was worse than usual. There had been a large amount of rain and snow earlier in the week. Once over the saddle I continued around the track at the bottom of Slieve Loughshannagh toward Doan. This section of track was also incredibly wet and muddy. Nothing my boots couldn’t handle though. The evening was stunning and all the high peaks still had a little snow from earlier in the week. It was a fantastic hike in toward Doan and up the gradual slope to the summit.
dsc_3136There was still some snow toward the summit of Doan. dsc_3142The original location for the tent as the sun was setting.
The muddy path on the way into Doan with some snow on the sevens ahead. Doan to the right.
 I initially picked a spot for the tent just below the summit, beside some large rocks because I thought if there was to be any wind I would have some shelter at least. However, after I had the tent up I relised that the ground was wetter than I would have liked and it wouldn’t take long to become muddy as I was getting in and out of the tent. I decided to relocate the tent to a small, perfectly sized and level patch of grass right on the summit. This was a much more exposed spot but with the wind forecast I knew it should be ok. I had my smaller Vango Banshee 200 with me and by simply removing the pegs I was able to lift and move the tent without removing the poles or my Thermarest and sleeping bag that were already inside. By the time I had finished relocating my camp the sun had set and darkness was fast approaching. I sat on a rock and enjoyed the last of the days views before darkness fell completely. This was the first time I had camped on Doan summit and the thing that struck me most was just how dark it was. All the other main peaks I have camped on are more or less on the edges of the Mournes so you still feel close to the streetlights below. Doan feels much more isolated. I had my usual Chilli Beef Pot Noodle snack before I settled down for the night. There was virtually no wind all night so I slept very well.
dsc_3156My usual Chilli Beef Pot Noodle snack. dsc_3159I woke to an absolutely stunning morning.
The next morning I woke to an absolutely stunning day in the Mournes. I would loved to have been able to stay there for the entire day and maybe another camp that night but unfortunately I had things to do so I packed up and started to make my way back to the car. On descending Doan there was already a group of people ascending and by the time I got back to Ott carpark it was completely filled with cars. It was going to be a very busy day in the Mournes.
Check out my long term plan to camp on all of the Mourne 500’s here