‘When am I going to be an expert mountaineer?’ I asked Lionel while picking my next peak.
‘You’re not a mountaineer, you are a hillwalker.’
‘May I point out they are called the Mourne mountains, not the Mourne hills. A person who climbs a mountain is called a mountaineer. And I’ve climbed six of them; Hen Mountain, Cock mountain, Divis Mountain, Slieve Meelmore, Slieve Loughshannagh and Doan,’ I listed off the mountains I had already climbed and conquered.
‘You’re still a hillwalker and still a novice.’
I reached for the Oxford English dictionary. It was time to settle this once and for all.
‘A hill is, and I quote, ‘a naturally raised area of land, not as high or craggy as a mountain’, so I’m right, you’re wrong, case closed!’
Having settled the argument, I now had to settle on a peak.
I decided on Slieve Meelbeg, its name in Irish, Sliabh Míol Beag, meant mountain of the little ants.
After having successfully climbed the last six mountains without falling, I felt confident that I could bring my camera with me this time and it wasn’t long before I found my first subject, a sheep with a punk hairdo, who happily posed for me.
We walked up the grassy bank towards the saddle between Slieve Meelmore and Slieve Meelbeg, stopping at the stone shelter on the way up.
From there we crossed over a crumbling stone wall and walked up to the Mourne wall.
Crossing over the stile, we turned right and began our ascent up Slieve Meelbeg.
Sadly, there wasn’t an ant in sight!
At the top, there was a clear view across to Slieve Meelmore and Slieve Bearnagh.
We looked down on Doan.
And Lough Shannagh.
The cairn was on the other side of the wall.
Having enjoyed the spectacular views from the summit, it was time to start our descent.
We followed the path round Slieve Loughshannagh and then crossed back over the Mourne wall.
Our route took us down to Fofanny Dam.
I arrived back at the car, tired but triumphant. Another peak had been scaled, Polaroids had been taken and Prosecco would soon be popped. Yay!
Peaks: A big 702m peak!
Polaroids: Two today.
Prosecco: Quite a few flutes!
Ants seen on mountaineering expedition: Zero!