My intention that evening was to possibly camp on the summit of Slieve Beg and hike up via the Devil’s Coachroad. I was hiking in from Carrick Little and I knew it was a deceivingly long way from there into Slieve Beg. As I set off up the valley there was still sunlight making it in. It was a fantastic evening with light winds. The wind was from the north though so out of the direct sunlight there was definitely a chill in the air. As I hiked towards Cove Mountain I began to think about how long it would take me to hike back out the following morning and I needed to get home reasonably early. This prompted my decision to camp on Cove Mountain for the night instead. I had already passed Lower Cove so I turned left off the track and hiked directly up the steep slope by the waterfall towards Cove Lough. This slope was tough with all of the camping gear on board but very enjoyable, a scramble in places. Eventually I got above Cove Lough onto the saddle between Cove and Slieve Lamagan where I then followed the relatively gentle climb to the summit.
The sun still flooding into Annalong Valley .
Lower Cove.
The sun had set by the time I reached the summit but there was still some usable daylight left. I immediately set about finding a spot for the tent as close to the summit cairn as possible. This was not easy as the ground was very rocky. I did find a spot and pitched the tent only to find that there was a hole underneath one side. There was a little space at the other side so I was able to remove a few pegs and just slide the tent a little to the side. Entirely though my own fault I managed to snap the smaller end pole of the Vango Banshee 200 tent while doing this by pulling on the joint of the pole and not having lifted my backpack out of the tent first. Thankfully the tent is still usable (in light winds at least) without the smaller end pole so I was still able to spend the night. I ordered a new pole as soon as I got home which thankfully was not very expensive. Although the wind was light overnight I did feel the bottom of the tent flapping against my legs due to the absence of the end pole. This woke me a couple of times through the night.
Looking south from the summit cairn.
Finding a suitable spot for the tent was a challenge.
The next morning the sun was out again and it was totally clear. There was still a light northerly wind so the temperature was quite low, not much above freezing. I had some Nutrigrain bars for breakfast. When I got packed up I realised I had a little time to spare so I decided to hike over Slieve Lamagan on the way back. It was such a beautiful morning I was glad I did. I had not been on the summit of Slieve Lamagan since the Mourne Seven Sevens challenge in 2016. It really is a fantastic peak for the views.
It was a stunning morning on Slieve Lamagan.
Check out my long term plan to camp on all of the Mourne 500’s here