I was at work on the Friday and there was heavy rain and strong winds all day. My work colleagues questioned my decision to go camping that evening. I have come to trust the accuracy of the short range forecast though (12-24 hours) and I knew that although it would be cold, conditions would otherwise be perfect for camping in the Mournes later that evening and overnight (Not that wind and rain would stop me anyway).
After ticking Binnian’s North Tor off my list at the start of the week I now had Bearnagh’s North Tor in my head for that night so I set off for Trassey Road where I would hike up Trassey Track toward Bearnagh. Although the weather was now dry and clear there was a huge amount of water rushing down from the mountains from the heavy rain earlier in the day. Parts of the track were flooded more than I have seen before.
Instead of going up to Hare’s Gap I went to the right and up to the saddle between Bearnagh and Meelmore. There at the saddle I found one of the signs posted throughout The Mournes about the important ongoing work to repair the wall.
There was flooding due to the heavy rain earlier that day.
The signs advising of the repair work to the Mourne Wall.
I absolutely love the ascent up this side of Bearnagh. It is steep and tough, especially when loaded up with camping gear and water for the night. I thoroughly enjoyed it this time. I had been up The Mournes as much as I could fit in over the recent weeks and I felt strong. On the way up there are sections where erosion is posing a severe threat to the Mourne Wall. It is clear to see why the work to maintain the wall and the paths is so important so we can all continue to enjoy The Mournes. The views from the summit were fantastic as always. They just never get old. There was some small bits of cloud passing through the mountains which made it even nicer than usual.
The standard route over Bearnagh from one side to the other does not go right over the North Tor. Instead it goes around it a little lower down. It had been a few years since I had been right up to the Tor itself but I remembered that there was a small section of grass facing north that I hoped would be suitable for camping. Thankfully when I got up to the Tor it was even better than I had remembered; a perfectly flat grassy spot more than big enough for my tent. I enjoyed the unobstructed views as the sun went down then picked out all of the different towns and villages, the lights of which I could see after dark.
Erosion threatening the Mourne Wall.
Stunning views from the summit.
Some light cloud was passing through.
Looking north the next morning from the perfect spot at the North Tor.
The weather the next morning was just as good as the night before. When I packed up I decided to go down via Hare’s Gap. As I descended the day got warmer and I met a lot of people on their way up for what would be a beautiful Saturday in The Mournes.
Check out my long term plan to camp on all of the Mourne 500’s here