Those of us who watched the weather forecast on the Wednesday night (30th May) before our walk to Lough Shannagh will have prepared well for wet weather because rain was expected for most of the day in the Mournes. However, as we often find, we were blessed with unexpectedly good weather - in fact hardly a drop of rain fell on us and as we neared the end of the walk we were even treated to some sunshine. So once again, we had nearly perfect walking conditions.
Phyllis drove the mini-bus and we all met up initially at Spelga Dam car park for a comfort stop before driving down towards Kilkeel, alongside the White Water river to the car park at the end of the Banns Road - beside the equestrian centre which nestles under Slievenagore, the mountain immediately to the east.
Phyllis had no difficulty reversing the mini-bus into a space only slightly wider than the bus itself which earned a well deserved round of applause. Most of the party then set off for Lough Shannagh together, although a couple of latecomers, who shall be nameless, had to sprint to catch up with us.
The Banns Road was rocky and rough in places, testing our ankles and our boots, but for the most part the gradient wasn't very steep and, with the usual lively chat, it seemed no time at all before crossed over the Miners Hole River and arrived at Lough Shannagh where we enjoyed our lunch and the wonderful views, enhanced by clouds hiding the peaks of the mountains. To the south we had a clear view of Aughrim Hill (not Slieve Croob) with its mast on top and at other times we could see across Carlingford Lough to Bellagan Point, east of Greenore on the Cooley Peninsula.
After lunch, a small party put their trust in John to guide them over the col between Carn Mountain to the south and Slieve Loughshannagh to the north. Perhaps fortuitously, the clouds appeared to lift as the party progressed up the slope and navigation proved to be less difficult than John might have wished - he needs the practice with a compass! However, he set a challenge to find "faces in the stones", a theme borrowed from the exhibition at nearby Slinet Valley Reservoir. Only one example was found which met the criteria - just!
Study in blue at
Joan, Pat and Kathy
at Lough Shannagh.
Can you spot the
face in the stone?
Betty climbs over style
on Mourne Wall
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We will leave Jethro Centre on the morning of walks at 10:00am unless otherwise agreed. Planned walks may change right up to the last minute. If travelling directly to the start point sign up for John's text messaging service to stay up to date.
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