January Wildcamp

After such a mild and wet winter, a forecast for some proper icy conditions with the threat of snow sounded like just the ticket for an overnight camp. Temperatures were due to plummet as low as -5c with snow on Thursday and Saturday, fingers crossed by Friday night we would either have some or be seeing some.

Arriving in the Fofanny Reservoir area after dark we found a pitch, lit a small fire and fired up a stove for a winter warmer – a donated bottle of mulled wine left over from Christmas. It wasn’t long before another pair of our party arrived and we started cooking dinner. Food finished, we settled for a bit of chat around the fire finally retiring at around 3am. Alas, we never saw any temperatures below 0.8c and the snow never appeared so all our cold weather gear was pretty redundant, even in bivvies it wasn’t really overly cold.

In the morning around 9am, after coffee we all went our separate ways. I headed up towards the saddle between Meelmore and Meelbeg in search of some snow. It was certainly white up there in the distance. Following the valley was a pleasant hike, treacherous in places with ice but little snow until 500m and even then no more than a few inches. Nothing like the wall high drifts we saw a few years ago. Interestingly, having only a 1:50k map with me I was briefly confused meeting a wall unmarked on the map which later checking at home on the 1:25k did indeed exist. Small things like that can really confuse in poor conditions but being a bright, clear day I was able to tell from other landmarks exactly where I was. I continued on as far as the Mourne Wall but was forced to turn back due to time constraints. On the way back down it did start to snow but alas, quickly turned to sleet.

Looks like we might have to wait until next year for the chance of a proper snowy camp.

A drop of mull to warm our bones

A drop of mull to warm our bones

Steak and tobacco onions. Yum.

Steak and tobacco onions. Yum.

Food always tastes better outdoors.

Food always tastes better outdoors.

Bivvies and not a drop of snow. Disappointing.

Bivvies and not a drop of snow. Disappointing.

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I could see snow in the distance but couldn't gauge if it was deep enough for some fun,

I could see snow in the distance but couldn’t gauge if it was deep enough for some fun,

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Around 500m snow had started to lie.

The mystery wall that only existed on the 1:25k map.

The mystery wall that only existed on the 1:25k map.

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Snow starting to fall.

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The Meemore / Meelbeg Saddle in the distance.

The wind had blown the snow on the Mourne Wall in an interesting pattern.

The wind had blown the snow on the Mourne Wall in an interesting pattern.

A few inches of snow but not really enough for a shelter or igloo.

A few inches of snow but not really enough for a shelter or igloo.

The mountains in the distance over the Mourne Wall.

The mountains in the distance over the Mourne Wall.

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The view back down to where I had come from.

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Heading away from the Mourne Wall again.

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The Mourne Wall rising up and onto Meelbeg,

An old hut on the way back down the valley. There must have been stone quarried up here at some stage.

An old hut on the way back down the valley. There must have been stone quarried up here at some stage.

Guess who drew the short straw on the pepper sauce pot

Guess who drew the short straw on the pepper sauce pot

This entry was posted in Trip Reviews.

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