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4 Peaks Training

Date: 16th May 2005
Submitted by: Anthony Feeney

4-Peak Challenge? Pah! I went 5 peaks yesterday! Phil Magill and I went for a training session in the Mournes (Monday 16th May). The plan was Slieve Donard and weather permitting maybe Slieve Commodagh. We got to Newcastle with the radio stations all proclaiming how great the weather in Northern Ireland was when all we could see was low cloud. Phil claimed to have seen blue sky at Ballymena and was optimistic things would improve but we were already reaching for the waterproofs when we were barely out of Donard Forest. We reached the Mourne Wall at the Commodagh / Donard Saddle and crossed it into a chill wind and low cloud.

Phil challenged me to storm on up Donard then come back and meet him to re-ascend but when I reached the peak I was so out of puff I'd barely descended 50 yards when he emerged from the cloud. I think he didn't want to be shown up too much and had pushed on a little himself. We passed 4 other walkers descending, 3 of them in trainers trying not to fall on their arse. The cairn at the peak was stinking of meths or some other fuel and we barely hung around to eat a quick bite and say hello to 2 other walkers who'd sneaked up behind us. We took a different route down descending into the Bog of Donard where we glimpsed the promised blue sky and Phil readied the sunglasses. We dandered across the bog and below Commodagh to the gap at Slieve Bearnagh which Phil challenged me to ascend while he dozed in the encroaching sunshine. Halfway en-route to the North Tor I realised I should have involved money in these challenges. Didn't make the higher Tor cos I was bloody knackered and we had the three peaks of Commodagh, Corragh and t'other one (Slievenaglogh ???) to ascend on the way home.

Back to the gap, change of socks and a snack and we enjoyed the peace and quiet for a wee rest. Wouldn't have been like that on a weekend I'm told. Strolled over the unknown peak and Corragh and sweated over the Commodagh ascent, the pace having slowed considerably. Picked up some dirty bugger's sweetie wrappers and empty bottles - bah! Another snack in the cairn which was much cleaner than Donard's then down to the saddle and on down into the forest. From an 11am start it was after 7pm when we reached the car. Phil tells me today we walked 17km and ascended a total of 1480 metres which is just over Ben Nevis's height of 1343. Not a bad day's walk. I'm tired today but not totally incapacitated. But factor in another 3 peaks in the preceding 36 hours and not much sleep and I've now got an inkling of just how knackered I'm going to be when the challange is over. :(

Photo of Route