On Monday 26th May 2014, it was up at 5am once again, to cross another of the Mourne Mountains off from our to-do list. From our cottage, we returned south down the Slievenaman Road B27 Moyad Road that slice through the central Mournes via a couple of high passes.
The car park to be used for Slievenaglogh GI/MM-012, was just into the start of the track at J284214. Unsurprisingly, at not long after 6am, ours was the first vehicle in there for the morning. The track was near enough level, but long, with nearly 3km needing to be walked before meeting the Mourne Wall. At this point, we doubled-back to follow the wall south, and soon enough, steeply uphill.
Although the contours did squeeze closer together on the map, indicating a fairly steep approach, this was much harder work than it appeared. Perhaps with it being not such a popular hill, the tracks were not particularly well trodden or established. It was a relief when the slopes began to ease as we approached the summit, but I was apprehensive about the descent to follow later. Radio stuff started very slowly for us both. Eventually though, Jimmy did start to get a trickle of 2m FM contacts. By the time he did, I had given up on 12m and had switched, reluctantly, to 40m CW. Here I quickly got 5 CW QSOs followed by 10 on SSB. Meanwhile, Jimmy was racking up 9 on 2m FM.
I did return to 12m in the hope of grabbing a Challenge multiplier, but to no avail. I did hear Phil G4OBK, only to read his message as "MI1EYP/P NIL SRI". I did think about asking Jimmy to get himself below the activation zone on his descent, and quickly working me with his own FT-817 with a bit of feeder connected! I decided that I couldn't be bothered with such a silly and desperate approach, and in any case my position in both the UK and World 12m Challenge tables was not going to change anyway, in either direction.
After descent and drive back to the cottages, we found that Marianne had left Ulster Fry cooked breakfasts for us in the oven. We took quick showers, then hungrily devoured these platters of sausage, bacon, black pudding, white pudding, tomatoes, beans, soda bread and potato bread.
We met up with Marianne and Liam at some kind of bird / butterfly / reptile centre, and then went into Newcastle for cafes and arcades. That evening, I went out with the two Jimmys (my father-in-law and son) to the Thierfurth Inn in Kilcoo for Guinness and Jamesons. The weather forecast for the following day looked favourable, so we plotted to attempt the nearby pair that dominated the view from our cottages - Slieve Bearnagh GI/MM-004 and Slieve Meelbeg GI/MM-005.