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I have now received some photos of the club holiday on Lanzarote last month. Thanks to Helen Magill for the selection of photos and to Ivan for the text on the first photo page.


An absolutely wonderful Birds hike in the Mournes today led by Norman. Fantastic weather and fantastic views! Took in Pigeon, Cock and Hen Mountains. Fabulous. And don't forget that a group of Ramblers (now 9) will be tackling the 7 highest mountains in Ireland over 5 days (17-22 May) to raise money for the Friends of the Cancer Centre. A JustGiving page has been set up by Orlagh which you might like to share with all your friends: details in the recent e-mail from Sinead.
(thanks to Dermot for the photos and text)


Superbly enjoyable walk led by Denis Hamill today from Kilbroney car park to the Cloughmore Stone and on to the top of Slieve Martin, before meandering back via some delightful scenes. Fabulous weather. Fabulous views. Fabulous day! (I suspect that Dermot enjoyed the walk, thanks to him for the photos and description)


This walk was originally scheduled for 16th March but the weather intervened. Starting from Pigeon car park, Colin led a high level walk including Eagle and Pigeon whilst Cowan led a low level alternative route. Thanks to Dermot for the photos.


Some photos from Saturday’s walk in the Mournes led by Sinead (Low Level) and Norman (High Level). All left Meelmore Lodge together and proceeded past Fofanny Dan to the saddle at Slieve Loughshannagh. Here group split and LL followed path round Slieve Loughshannagh to stile between Bearnagh and Meelmore and back to Lodge. HL group went over Loughshannagh, Meelbeg and Meelmore and back to Lodge. Often in low cloud at higher levels and very windy in areas, but another enjoyable and tiring day in the mountains. Coffee and lemon meringue pie well earned!(thanks to Dermot and Orlagh for photos and Dermot for the text)


Thanks to Stephen for organising what looks to have been a challenging but enjoyable walk from Carrick Little to the top of Binnian. Thanks also to Dermot and Orlagh for the photos.


Friday evening, mid-January, Pavilion, it has to be the club AGM. An excellent turnout witnessed a prompt conclusion to the AGM business, an interesting presentation by Jim Hayes on the Irish Munros, an enjoyable meal, a ballot which raised a generous sum of £176 for Mourne Mountain Rescue and capped off by an enjoyable quiz organised by Cowan(helped by his glamorous but modest assistant). A very enjoyable evening all round.


The first Mourne walk of 2019 started at Meelmore Lodge and followed the Ulster Way around Lukes Mountain. Whilst cloud shrouded the mountain tops, the group of 8 ramblers were treated to some fine views over Tollymore and Newcastle. After ascending Commedagh the group descended to the Brandy Pad and followed it to the Hare's Gap. We then followed the higher path around the base of Bearnagh before descending on to the Trassey track and back to Meelmore Lodge. Our thanks to Stephen for leading and to all who participated in a fine ramble. A little easier than last years adventure in the snow!(thanks to Cowan for the photos and text)


Six ramblers gathered at Meelmore Lodge on a fine autumn day. The first leg of the walk took us from the Lodge, across to the foot of Spellack. Having found one of a number of indistinct routes, we paused to regroup and admire the view from Spellack across to Bearnagh, before heading onward to the summit of Meelmore. The climb from Spellack to Meelmore provided wonderful views across the Mournes and conditions underfoot made for good progress to the top and a well earned banana break! The route followed the wall to the foot of Meelmore, before ascending to the top of Meelbeg and another brief stop to enjoy the autumn sunshine. We continued to follow the wall to the summit of Meelbeg and then on to the saddle between Meelbeg and Slieve Loughshannagh. From the saddle our route took us back along the path to the saddle between Meelmore and Bearnagh. The consensus was that Bearnagh was a mountain too much, so lunch was had before descending through Pollaphuca. The path back took us parallel to the Trassey Track, around the foot of Spellack and back to the Lodge. A shorter walk than planned but one which provided a challenge and enjoyment in equal measure! Thanks to all who attended, a grand day out!(thanks to Cowan for photos and text)


Thanks to Cowan for the text and photos, the walk description is on the Photos page.


A low turn out for the planned two level walk from Carrick Little to Meelmore Lodge resulted in the merger of the two groups. Following transfer by taxi from Meelmore Lodge to Carrick Little, the high level walkers followed the wall towards the summit of Binnian before traversing around the mountain, joining the low level group who had taken the more traditional route following their taxi transfer, from the carpark to the saddle. Having agreed on a revised route, Ivan led the small band down to the reservoir where lunch was taken. The route took the group on a beautiful walk along the edge of Ben Crom towards the Shelter stone, in perfect walking weather. The route back to Meelmore Lodge was by the high path around the foot of Bearnagh, joining the Trassey Track and across country to pick up the lane to Meelmore Lodge. Our thanks to Ivan for leading and providing an opportunity for some of us to explore new routes! (thanks to Cowan for the photos and text)


Twelve ramblers assembled at Meelmore Lodge and headed for Pollaphuca in perfect walking conditions. Ably lead by Helen Magill, the group climbed to the summit of Meelmore and then onward to Meelbeg before descending to the saddle between Meelbeg and Slieve Loughshannagh. Following lunch, we split into two groups, with one group heading on to Doan before returning to Meelmore Lodge via Pollaphuca. The second group returned to climb Bearnagh, returning to the Lodge by way of the Hares Gap. Well earned refreshments were had by all at the Lodge before heading home. Thanks to Helen for leading a great walk on a fine day.(thanks to Cowan for the photos and text)


Nine members met at the car park at Spelga Dam and took the track leading around Slievenamuck and on to Butter. The group descended from Butter, crossing the Slievenaman Road and taking the Ott track towards Ott and Cairn. Following a brief "banana" break, we followed the wall to the summit of Muck. The group descended Muck, crossing the Kilkeel Road and ascending Pigeon. Following lunch on Pigeon the group headed across to Cock Mountain. At this point we divided into two groups with one group scaling the summits of Cock and Slievenamiskin and the others traversing around towards the dam wall. The general concensus was that those taking the summit route had the easier path whilst the others battled through waist high reeds. A fine walk was completed by crossing at the foot of the dam wall and returning to the car park where a welcome ice cream awaited.(thanks to Cowan for the photos and text)


To enable the circular route to be completed in 7 days, the Ramblers started and finished The Dingle Way at Camp. The peninsula was circled clockwise with overnight stops at Annascaul, Dingle, Dunquin, Cuas, Cloghan and back to Camp. The route took in road, lane, boreens and beach sections, with a challenging section around Brandon. For the most part we were blessed with fine weather although the group did suffer the full impact of Storm Hector as we undertook the Slea Head section. The guesthouses provided comfortable and friendly accommodation with fine food. The pubs and restaurants provided fine food and ales. Our thanks to John Holmes for organising another fine trail walk and well done to all for completing the Dingle Way! (thanks to Cowan for the photos and text and to Jim, Peter and Cowan for taking on the daily organisation and walk leading roles in my absence)


Fifteen ramblers gathered at the Pigeon Rock car park on a fine spring day with the option of two alternative routes ahead. The first leg of the ramble took us from the car park to the wall, close to the summit of Pigeon Rock Mountain and then to Slievemoughanmore. At this point the group split with 7 continuing on to Eagle Mountain, across to Slievemageogh and back to the car park via Pigeon Rock. The remaining eight ramblers descended to the Windy Gap and followed the quarry track down the valley before crossing to Slievemageogh and following the path from the summit back to the car park via Pigeon Rock.
Our thanks to Norman for leading the high level walk and to Colin for leading the group which took the "low level” route. A challenging low level is probably a more accurate description!
(thanks to Cowan for photos and text)


Thirteen club members gathered at Donard Park in beautiful sunny weather where the group car-shared to Bloody Bridge. The low level walkers arrived first and headed up the Brandy Pad towards the Mourne Wall. It did not take long for the high level walkers to catch up and we arrived as one Group for the regulation “Banana break” at the quarry. From there, it was onward to the Mourne wall where individuals decided on which route they would take. The high level walkers followed the wall up and over Donard and then to Commedagh before returning to Donard Park via Slievenamaddy. The Low level walkers followed the Brandy pad to the col between Donard and Commedagh and waited for their fellow walkers to join them. Those who chose not to do Commedagh, returned to Donard Park via the Glen River path. The decision to include a low level Mournes option proved popular. This route offered low, high and higher options! Thanks to all who participated, a fine day was had by all.(thanks to Cowan and Ivan for photos and text)


Ten ramblers met at the  Happy Valley carpark in fine walking weather. Under the leadership of Colin and Orlagh, the group headed up on to the Mourne Way, in the direction  of Fofanny Dam. We took the high path around Meelmore and Meelbeg and then on to the summit of Slieve Loughshannagh. Following a short “banana” break, the ramblers descended to the saddle and then on to Meelmore and Meelbeg, where lunch was called for. The return journey took us down to the saddle between Meelmore and Bearnagh and then on to the path leading back to the stile at Slieve Loughshannagh. From there, it was back along the track to Happy Valley carpark. Low cloud and mist masked the scenery and whilst the weather gods were kind, it was decidedly damp underfoot. Our thanks to Colin and Orlagh for organising and leading the walk.(thanks to Cowan for photos and text)


Another Saturday, and another walk in the Mournes, this time in the little-visited southern mountains. Our leader Norman had promised good weather – not like two weeks ago when the rain almost washed us back to Belfast - and so the sun beamed as ten walkers gathered in Rostrevor’s Kilbroney Park to begin the trek. But first, the traditional ritual of a coffee and scone – or in Den’s case a sausage roll – in the revamped coffee shop in Kilbroney Park. Then it was off, an easy slog up to the Cloughmore Stone, a 50-ton glacial erratic – from here there are great views over Carlingford Lough. The area was very busy with lots of runners, walkers and cyclists jostling for space. The rounded contours of Slieve Martin beckoned, then it was down the other side and a lunch-stop fornenst the forest. A wrong turn took us down a slope and through the wettest bog imaginable until we found the right path through the forest and a pleasant – and dry – dander back to the car park. A splendid day out.(thanks to Jim for the photos and text)


On a very wet and windy Saturday, eight intrepid walkers set off from Dinnywater gates. Guided by the redoubtable Denis Hamill,  we first easily ascended Round and Long Seefin before heading through the granite workings of Rocky Mountain- so far so good. Crossing the Bog of Donard, we headed up and over Chimney Rock which was not very pleasant as the wind increased blowing rain and sleet into our faces. The low mist meant visibility was very limited and it was of course very wet underfoot requiring much effort not to slip. The ridge to Spence’s Mountain was next and the plan was to drop down and follow the usual route back to Rourke’s Park. Unfortunately the wind had blown us slightly off course and we finished at a different spot necessitating a lift back to Dinnywater. The rain had not ceased and everyone was soaked through. We have had better days in the Mournes.
Before setting off, we handed over a cheque for £150, raised at our AGM,  to Ronan McBride from the Mourne Rescue team. Ronan commented that the team was most grateful for the donation.
(thanks to Helen Magill and Jim for the photos and to Jim for the text)


Text to follow(thanks to Helen Magill for photos)


15 walkers met on a glorious morning at Meelmore Lodge and were transferred to Bloody Bridge car park by hired minibus (thanks to Sinead and the Club for organising). Our route followed the Brandy Pad to the quarry below the Mourne Wall at Donard. At this point we split into three groups.
The A group pushed on along the Brandy pad towards the Hares Gap and from there to Bea
rnagh and Meelmore before returning to Meelmore Lodge via Spellagh. The B group followed closely in their footsteps, taking in Bearnagh before returning to Meelmore Lodge via Pollaphuca and the Trassey Track. The C group took a leisurely walk along the Brandy Pad to the Hares Gap and from there back to the Lodge via the Trassey Track.
A day of unbroken sunshine accompanied by splendid views of the helicopter as it continued its work aiding the restoration of the Mourne Wall. Those in the A and B group had a closer encounter with the machine and crew on Bearnagh. Those in the C group had to be content with a friendly circle overhead! A grand day out!(thanks to Cowan for photos and text)


Ten Ramblers gathered at the carpark at the foot of Butter Mountain for the walk  led by Colin and Orlagh. The route followed the Ott Track to the saddle between Slieve Loughshannagh and Cairn Mountain and from there followed a somewhat indistinct path across wet bog land and heather to Doan. The group contoured around Doan before climbing to the summit from the Silent Valley side – a tough but interesting ascent. Poor visibility spoiled the views and it was decided that given the poor weather conditions, crossing to Ben Crom would be avoided. Under Colin and Orlaghs expert map reading, we headed for Cairn Mountain and from there to Ott Mountain before descending once again to the Ott track and back to the carpark. A fine walk with some challenging conditions under foot but mercifully the rain stayed away until we were all safely back in our cars! Thanks to Colin and Orlagh for organizing and their fine leadership. (thanks to Cowan for photos and text)


Thanks to Orlagh and Cowan for the photos and Cowan for the text on the Photos page.


The NICS Ramblers AGM was held at the Stormont Pavilion, commencing with the necessary business matters which saw Imelda(Secretary) and Helen(Treasurer) step down and be replaced by Sinead McCartan and Norman McElhinney respectively. A welcome meal followed accompanied by a slideshow of the 2017 walks and holidays. After the meal Den conducted a raffle which raised the excellent sum of £140(rounded up by the club to £150) for the worthy cause of Mourne Mountain Rescue. The evening concluded with musical entertainment provided by Victor. Thanks to the members who attended, contributed raffle prizes and helped make the evening a success.

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