Slieve Commedagh via Slievenaglogh Ridge

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Navigationally this is a relatively undemanding high ridge walk and includes three tops. As an introduction to the Mountains of Mourne it offers views of all the summits and down the major valleys. Future climbs can be plotted as many tracks can be easily picked out and noted as the walk progresses. The return half of the walk is on the well-trod and popular 'Brandy Pad' crossing the Mournes from east to west. It is easy to imagine leading a mule laden with contraband here!

The walk begins and finishes at the well-known Meelmore Lodge on the western edge of the Mournes. Initially the walk is a gentle and long pull up to the base of a col known as Hare's Gap and could be said to be the most dramatic mountain pass in the Mournes. Its sharply defined outlines indicate that ice once passed this way. Crossing the Hare's Gap stile reveals a breathtaking panorama of the hills. Hare's Gap marks the last high point for smugglers bringing goods across the hills from the coast including soap, leather, spices and coffee. For walkers it is an access point to the centre of the Mournes.

The easiest and best approach is to scramble directly to the stile and iron gate at the top. Turning to the north at the stile, a set of granite block stairs will get you up the first 100m to the start of the ridge. From here the wall is a handrail throughout the outward leg. Another stile in the wall presents the walker with the choice of views for the walk. The north side opens up views across County Down as far as the Belfast Hills on a clear day, as well as the grandeur of steep north faces and the Pot of Legawherry with its wind- and ice-carved granite stacks. A steady climb following the Mournes wall meets the summit of Slievenaglough, marked by a small cairn some distance away from the south face of the wall. Continuing along the wall, a second summit is reached: Slieve Corragh. If walking on the north side of the wall, impressive steep cliffs sweep down to granite formations below, whereas on the south of the wall there is a fine vista down to the Silent Valley and Crom Reservoir. Looking eastward, the summit of Commedagh dominates the thin line of the wall, which descends to the Pot of Legawherry, which is best seen from the north side of the wall, but is still impressive as the wall ascends to the summit of Commedagh, reaching a square granite block shelter together with a stile. The true summit is at a cairn some 200m NW of the tower reached by a well-trodden path over sheep-cropped grass. On the south side of the tower a depression provides good shelter from the wind and a convenient natural dining area to enjoy a packed lunch.

Retrace your steps westward along the wall, descending to the col between Corragh and Commedagh, turning left and following a path downwards (approximately SW) to the left of a pair of granite stack sentinels. Beyond these, cross the stream and continue the descent to the well-defined Brandy Pad. Turn right onto the path (westerly) and follow to Hare's Gap. From here retrace your steps to the Meelmore Lodge, where coffee and apple pie is available in season.

Northern Ireland - East Northern Ireland - County Down - Mourne Mountains

Features

Cafe, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Mountains, Toilets