Waterfalls Walk (02nd April 2022)

Trekking NI had two groups taking on waterfall themed hikes within The Mournes. One group setting off from Ott Car Park and the other from Silent Valley. A low cloud surrounded the valley of Ott Mountain and Slieve Loughshannagh. We opted for the grassy trail following the river that pointed us towards the Mourne Wall. The gentle flow of the water by our side was an auditory delight. After crossing over the wall, the clouds parted to reveal Lough Shannagh which lay still glistening in the sunshine. Beyond the lough was Silent Valley Reservoir and a calming blue sea on the horizon. Onwards we journeyed round the side of the lough and towards Shannagh River where we found our first waterfall. We then negotiated our way across steep porous terrain making our way to Ben Crom River where we had our morning break by a small waterfall. It was here we met our comrades from the other group having a quick chat before going our separate ways. We then made our way towards Ben Crom Dam. From here we had great fun scrambling across the rocks on the slope of Ben Crom though we were wise enough to take our time. To our left there were majestic views of Ben Crom Mountain and to our right was the peaceful reservoir. We reached a river flowing down Ben Crom which displayed an awesome waterfall. We climbed the steep slope and perched ourselves beside the waterfall for lunch with the song of the waterfall for company. After lunch, we ventured up Ben Crom on a near vertical scramble. The ludic nature of the activity distracted from its intensity. We leaped, climbed and crawled our way upward and relished the solving the puzzles the of the challenging terrain. At the top, there was a mini sunshine siesta and an we became amateur wildlife documentarians providing commentary on a nearby bird of prey hunting. Next up was a tricky trek along bumpy and partially swampy terrain as we veered to the right hand side of Slieve Doan. This too was a workout though we were well able for it. Beyond Doan we found our trail adjacent Lough Shannagh that led us back to the Mourne Wall from where we descended back to the cars. This was was a fun hike during featuring both physical and cognitive challenges. We played detective to find concealed waterfalls, solved the problems presented by the deceitful terrain and tested our strength and resolve when to overcome the physical challenges. A great experience indeed.

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