No View from the Top

Top of Slieve Donard (c) Duncan Hutt

Top of Slieve Donard (c) Duncan Hutt

Glen River Donard Wood (c) Duncan Hutt

Glen River Donard Wood (c) Duncan Hutt

It wasn’t the day for a climb up Slieve Donard if the aim was a good view.  Nevertheless ascending a hill in thick fog does alter the perspective, heightening the sense of hearing while giving few visual references from which to work.

Stunted fir trees (c) Duncan Hutt

Stunted fir trees (c) Duncan Hutt

The walk started almost at sea level with a steep path up through Donard Wood following the Glen River.  The water cascades over slabs of rock in a small but often steep-sided ravine.  This was the grounds of Annesley Demesne and has suffered the fate of many such places with Rhododendron taking over and hiding the river; although much work has been done in clearing it.  The woodland itself is largely pine changing to fir at the upper extent, some trees have done reasonably well but this is tough ground and the exposed edges are stunted and gnarled.

Ice house, just visible in the fog (c) Duncan Hutt

Ice house, just visible in the fog (c) Duncan Hutt

Mourne Wall and snow drifts (c) Duncan Hutt

Mourne Wall and snow drifts (c) Duncan Hutt

Just beyond the tree line is an old ice house; a high and inconvenient location out on the hillside.  It must have been close to the ice supply but it must have been a tough job transporting the ice down the rough ground to the house, not that it would have been a concern of the owner.  The path climbs slowly upwards to the Mourne Wall; a massive structure and a huge and tough undertaking from the early 20th century when it was constructed to enclose the reservoir catchment to the south and keep livestock out.  The wall climbs the steep side of Slieve Donard and makes a right angle turn at the top, a little turret carries the trig pillar and is dated 1910.

The final ascent turned more and more bleak, the wind picked up although the wall offered some shelter and the ground became more and more snow-covered.  An occasional meadow pipit call broke the sound of the wind and the sound of boots on the rocky path.

Orange peel on the hill (c) Duncan Hutt

Orange peel on the hill (c) Duncan Hutt

One disappointment of the walk was the huge scattering of orange peel.  It seems that the expectation that it is ‘biodegradable’ makes it OK to throw it down (along with banana skins) but in the hills, and particularly in the cold of winter, it takes ages to decay.  Why, if you can carry an orange up a hill is it not possible to carry the peel back down?

This was the eleventh hill for Sally as part of her 50 hill challenge and the longest climb so far with a view somewhat similar to the first of them, Killhope Law!

Advertisements

About thehutts

The Hutt Family from Northumberland
This entry was posted in Archaeology, Flowering Plants, Ireland, Sustainability and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to No View from the Top

  1. The atmosphere and effort are well conveyed by the photographs. A very interesting walk, despite the fog.

  2. joannadailey says:

    Well done, Sally, even though you missed out on a view it sounds an interesting walk.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s