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Mourne Mountains GI/MM


This is a mountain region I am very interested in. It looks a lovely area, with proper mountain routes and scenary, judging by maps and websites. The only GI/MM I have done is Cairngaver GI/MM-017, twice, but this is actually on the outskirts of Belfast and nowhere near the rest of the Mournes! I assume it is very different in character also.

There looks to be several pairs of logical combinations of pairs - ie GI/MM-001 and GI/MM-002 - walk up the river from Newcastle, then follow the Mourne Wall either side of the col for each summit - or triples, eg MM-007, MM-008, MM-009 from either side of the road further towards the southwest of the area.

There is very little in the way of routes, tips etc in the summit infobase on here, so I would be interested in hearing some details from the GI activators on recommended routes etc. Are there any youth hostels in the area, and what are the campsites like? I hope to do a holiday here with Jimmy in the next few years.

The Mournes is the one and only 1:25000 OSNI map available in Northern Ireland. I bought it during my recent trip, but it appears to be just the same as the 1:50000, but four times bigger; no extra detail.

Interestingly, the whole of the GI/CA region (5 summits) lies very close to the West of the Mournes, and these walks look quick and easy. Therefore, a well-planned holiday could see an entire second region bagged.

Think I will put in an application for summer 2009…

Tom M(I)1EYP


In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom,

Sorry I missed you when you were across here recently.

I can certainly recommend the Mournes, having done several very enjoyable activations from there over the past few years.

There are indeed a few nice double summit walks. MM-001 and MM-002 are straightforward by the route you suggest from Newcastle. Other double summit activations which I have done are:
MM-003 and MM-006 (accessed from the Annalong River valley)
MM-004 and MM-005 (accessed from the Trassey River valley)

I think MM-008 and MM-009 are also possible in a day, although I haven’t done this myself.

MM-007 is easily reached from the Hilltown-Kilkeel road. I haven’t tried combining this with anything else, as it provides such a good opportunity for a day out with the children.

I think you should be OK with the Mournes 1:25,000 map.

In the County Armagh (CA) region, CA-001 is straightforward from the Slieve Gullion Forest Park road. I believe that CA-003 is also a good one to do, although I haven’t been there yet myself. However, access to the other CA summits may still be problematic - until recently there was a lot of security forces activity in this area, so I would recommend caution.

I’ll have a think about accomodation and get back to you - as a local I don’t have need of it!

Let us know before you come over. My email address is OK on qrz.com



Thanks Fred. Shame about the security issues that may prevent access. All five CA summits look close to public roads and tracks on my Ireland OS road atlas, so I assumed access would be straightforward along short tracks and bridleways etc. A pity if not. I see now that CA-002, CA-004 and CA-005 have never been activated.

I had picked out all the same doubles as you mention, and the possible treble of 7, 8 & 9. The others you would have to drive between, between activations, to new parking spots, but could still be done at 2 per day I reckon.

Another one I would like to do in that area is the EI/IE summit just over the border on the other side of Carlingford Lough - but Jimmy M3EYP won’t let me!

It will be a couple of years before I get a chance to come over and do the Mournes, so when it is on the horizon, I will mke some enquiries to try and secure permission/access for the CAs 2, 4, 5. I got it for Divis GI/AH-004 before that went to public access in 2005.

Talking of Divis, I understand that is now open to the public with an official car park and country walk, with a trail walk to the summit. Any idea what this is like, or how safe the parking is? I recall that some potential parking/access spots to begin a walk up Divis were not exactly where one would wish to leave a car for a few hours!

We might be going to Galway in the summer - but again I’ve been banned from SOTA by Jimmy - at least until we return whenever he gets a full licence.



In reply to M1EYP:

Tom, Fred, I’m just registering an interest in your thread, my daughter is living in Belfast and working in Down Patrick at the moment but is moving jobs at the end of Jan to a job in Armagh (she’s in your line of business , Fred).

We took advantage of a good deal on the ferry to take a car load of belongings to her last November. It was our first trip to GI so we did various touristy things like visiting the Giants Causeway. I had a look at the GI/MM area, bought the 1:25000 map, etc. We’ll be going again in the next couple of months and I’ll be hoping to get my boots out next time and do a couple of hills. I’ll need to think carefully about transport though, particularly to and from the hills.

73 Stuart G0MJG


In reply to M1EYP:

Talking of Divis, I understand that is now open to the public with an
official car park and country walk, with a trail walk to the summit.
Any idea what this is like, or how safe the parking is? I recall that
some potential parking/access spots to begin a walk up Divis were not
exactly where one would wish to leave a car for a few hours!

Yes Tom, Divis is now National Trust property, with free public access. I can see it through the window as I’m typing this! There is a good, well-signposted carpark, and the summit is easily reached from there by walking up the tarmac track which services the TV transmitter and MOD installation.

I’ve parked in the carpark without any problems. You’d probably be OK there during daylight… However, the real problem with Divis is the severe receiver desensing experienced at the summit, which makes activating very difficult. It’s a shame because the takeoff over the Irish Sea is very good. Although as the crow flies it’s probably my nearest summit, it’s not high on my list for future activations - the Mournes is much more fun!

73, Fred


In reply to G0MJG:

Hi Stuart,

Good to hear from you again. I well remember our very fine joint activation of Fairfield in Oct 06. We could do with some of that good weather at the moment!

I’m glad you now have opportunities to visit GI, and I’m sure you will enjoy activating in the Mournes. (I think OSNI will have to print more 1:25,000 maps to keep up with current visitor demand!). Let me know when you’re coming over!

73, Fred


Thanks Fred. Yes, it was at the bottom of that tarmac road where Colin GI0RQK made a judgement that he didn’t want to leave his car there when we jointly activated it in 2005! I take it things are a little safer now that it is National Trust. I have to do it again now of course, because my son Jimmy needs it - he wasn’t licensed when he climbed it before.

I well remember the desensing on the summit. I was convinced that we weren’t going to be able to make a single contact, but with a bit of persistence (and Colin possibly “'phoning a friend”) we were able to make sufficient QSOs with stations in Belfast beneath us, who were strong enough to cut above the severe QRM. I wonder if HF would be any easier, or whether it is a broadband noise?

Talking of tourism, most people thnking of going to Ireland seem to head for the south - Dublin, Wickow, Kerry or Galway. I can definitely recommend Ulster. It is a beautiful place, and in my opinion has much more character and friendlier inhabitants! And if you’ve never had a Large Ulster Fry, you’ve never experienced a proper breakfast!