Annalong Valley (5th February 2022)

Arriving at Carrick Little we set off down Head Road towards Dunnywater at the bottom of Annalong Wood. The trees were brought to life by the passing wind which relayed a soothing whisper. We emerged from the wood and followed the Mourne Wall to guide us towards Rocky Mountain. As we climbed Rocky, a silvery blue ocean could be seen afar behind us. Standing on the peak, we had our first duel with a powerful wind that attempted to knock us down but we stood strong. We descended Rocky for a trail to take us towards Hares Castle. It was on this trail that the fierce wind returned to batter us and the accompanying rain pierced us like daggers. Undeterred we marched on to Hares Castle where we met the C Group who greeted us with smiles that were a beacon of light under the grey sky. After lunch, we descended into the scenic valley between Annalong Buttress and Cove Mountain navigating along tricky terrain and crossing beautiful rivers heading towards the famed Devils Coach Road. We stood before the impressive Coach Road but did not let it tempt us and decided to conquer it another day. Instead we climbed between Cove Mountain and Slieve Beg and neared the summit of Cove. We may have bypassed the Devils Coach Road, but up here we certainly got the devils weather. The wind found us for round three and threw all it had at us roaring ferociously whilst firing rain at us like bullets as we meandered around Cove. Like warriors the group battled harder and the wind became quiet as we descended Cove back into the valley again. We followed the trail at the foot of Slieve Lamagan to guide us back to Carrick Little. This hike tested all of us physically and mentally, but we went on an epic adventure together and shared a memorable experience that will stay with us for years to come.

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