Bad back Bearnagh
Updated: Feb 25, 2018
Last weekend I took a group on one of my mountain bimbles, which usually is a true gem, The Gems of the Mourne mountains. The hike would usually be a 5 hour loop summiting Slieve Bearnagh, Doan and finishing off at Meelmore lodge, which means absolutely nothing if you don't know the Mournes or surrounding area.
Anyway long story short, it's not short, on a mild enough overcast day we cracked on up towards Hares gap. It was all grand no rain, standard day really, low visibility above 500m, but to be expected.
Unfortunately one of my group started taking bad back spasms. This was an old injury that the group member had had since childhood, but as events unfolded the shots of pain were getting more persistent, stronger and more frequent. In hindsight shots of tequila would have preferred to shots of pain.
Anyway we cracked on as we were 3/4 of the way up to summit, bracing the casualty every time she had a a shot of pain. We did reach the summit and everyone was keeping in good spirits, visibility was very bad and wind was hitting us hard from the North west. We had some quick pictures on the summit, mainly of cloud and whiteout, I pointed out Newcastle, Castlewellan and Silent Valley which was basically like showing them a blank white post card. So, Summit all done we started our descent, casualty was now getting worse and I had to get hands on, as she was screaming in agony, but also couldn't take painkillers due to other issues, so each shot of pain we had to support her as to not lose balance and fall. I Then guided her directly to Mourne wall, to use as additional support as I assisted her all the way down to the Pollaphuca saddle.
On the plus side spirits remained high and banter was good, mountain bants being good medicine and to be fair our casualty showed good grit and was feeling better at the saddle as weather conditions were obviously milder too in lower terrain as well.
we were were on our returning leg, as we had to cut hike short due to the casualty and losing time to pace slowing us too much. We arrived back at the lodge after some of the group actually taking some more falls on route back, with casualty falling into a stream, she didn't mind though and kept smiling as we were minutes away from the lodge. All in all a success and the warm drinks and food went down a treat in the lodge.