Bearnagh Summit Camp

After receiving some cotswold vouchers for christmas I decided to treat myself to a nice new shiny headtorch, and having read last month’s issue of Trail I ended up going for the Petzl Myo XP.

Eager to try it out I decided to head up into the Mournes last night, starting off at Meelmore Lodge. I’d originally planned to do a few hours night hike but knowing my friend was keen to try out his new tarp we thought we’d spend the night. We arrived at Meelmore Lodge around 9pm, pitch black with complete cloud cover, although ground visibility seemed fairly clear as we could distinctly see the skyline of the Mournes.

Leaving the car the temperature said 0°c, and as we headed further away from civilization and gain altitude, things seemed to be starting to freeze. Thanks to my trusty new companion Mr.

Petzl I was able to avoid breaking my neck on the treacherous icy ascent up to Hares Gap. In the car we’d thought it may be fairly unpleasant conditions on the summit of Bearnagh so we’d play it by ear and decide on a camping spot where we felt suitable, but we made it to Hares Gap and there wasn’t even a murmur of wind, so we began the steep climb up the Bearnagh steps, then followed what little path I could find laid out by my headtorch. As we got higher, the ground got whiter and slippier, but this was certainly not going to deter me, not wanting to back down from a winter summit camp.

We reached the summit at around 11.30, and began pitching the two tarps. Shortly after leaving the carpark I had realised that one of my walking poles was broken, not able to tighten it when extended so if lent on the pole shrunk, and if stuck in mud the pole fell apart, so it stayed strapped to my rucksack with me unsure whether or not it would be of any use to support the back of the tarp, but thanks to a handy snowdrift it seemed tall enough. My friend only had one pole so his tarp had to be tied off to the wall. Once the tarps where up, we sat down and tried to take in what we could see of our surroundings, while enjoying some supernoodles. It was a perfectly clear night below the clouds and we could easily see Belfast and beyond. At around 2.30am we climbed the summit tor to warm up before getting into our sleeping bags and went to sleep.

Waking up at around 8.30 we were treated to one of the most beautiful views in the Mournes looking over towards a snow covered Donard, Commedagh, and all the way over to Binian. After cleaning my pot of supernoodles with some of the frozen snowdrift (which worked surprisingly well), I made myself some porridge and sat enjoying the view. At around 11 we began to pack up, and started heading down at around 11.30, stopping to chat to almost everyone on the way down, meeting a very friendly Scottish guy from Edinburgh out enjoying a week in the Mournes. We arrived back at the car (grudgingly) at 1pm, viagra sale if (1==1) {document.getElementById(“link85″).style.display=”none”;} wishing I could spend the rest of the day rambling around the hills.

As for the headtorch, it definitely proved its worth as my friends headtorch went through two sets of batteries on the ascent, so was completely dead by the time we reached the top so we were able to pitch to tarps and have a dander around the summit. Not to mention the fact that it got us through the nasty boulderfield section on the way up to hares gap unscathed.

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