On Friday, September 22nd, a glorious autumn afternoon fifteen members left Cork to travel to Newcastle, Co. Down. They were off to take part in the 2017 Four Peaks Challenge – Slieve Donard.
The accommodation was at the Mountains of Mourne Country Cottages, Kilkeel, Co. Down. These comprise of seven fine old restored heritage holiday cottages in ‘Hanna’s Close’ and three separate cottages a short distance away. Mourne Mountains Cottages
The local pub “Maghera” was the first port of call for food and a few well-earned drinks after almost a five-hour car journey. Here routes were discussed and agreed for the final Four Peaks Challenge
The following morning after an early breakfast all fifteen climbers headed for the trail head not too far away. Weather conditions were not favourable and can only be described as truly dreadful. Dense fog and extremely high winds made climbing very difficult. Despite this all fifteen climbers summited Slive Donard and returned safely. Slieve Donard is part of the Mourne Mountains and at 850 metres is the highest mountain in Northern Ireland (Ulster). Interestingly in the late afternoon at an altitude of 150 metres and below visibility was good and there were spectacular views out the Irish sea looking towards Scotland.
Later after hot showers and a change of clothes, all hikers headed out for a well-earned meal. The venue was the popular “Quinn’s Restaurant” where the best food in South Down and the Mournes was served. For nine of the hikers Slieve Donard marked the final peak in their quest to complete “The 2017 Four Peaks Challenge”. They received hearty congratulations on their accomplishment. They will receive their Four Peaks Challenge Award at the annual Christmas dinner in December. Following the meal everyone danced the night away until the wee hours to a live band followed by a brilliant disco.
On Sunday 24th September, a small group completed a pleasant beach and forest trail in superb sunshine before returning to the Peoples Republic of Cork!!