This photograph was taken on a windy afternoon in August 1998. For most of the day shadows had raced over the landscape, often moving from the base to the top of a mountain in under thirty seconds. For a few minutes Slieve Bearnagh was clear for this picture taken from the southern spur of Slieve Meelmore.
The wall just makes you want to walk into the picture! In fact, the wall to the left of the picture is the nearer of two walls that run away from the camera into the valley. They converge and cross in the valley, where the nearer wall stops. The other wall continues up the extremely steep slope of Slieve Bearnagh except where the slope is too great. The obvious way to ascend Slieve Bearnagh from this side is to the right of the wall. The average slope for the first 120 metres of ascent of the mountain is a near cliff of 60%. (For comparison the highest long slope on the Maamturks Ridge Walk is around 40%.) To the left of the wall are cliffs and then the "Bearnagh slabs".
The summit of Slieve Bearnagh is at 739m making it the 81st highest peak in Ireland and the fourth highest in the Mournes. The wall and the rock of the mountain is all granite.
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Part of "Hillwalking in Ireland" at www.simonstewart.ie