So all that Xmas and New Years cobblers out the way (probably not a surprise to some that it's not my thing, as I'm a bitter, grumpy old mountain goat).
Anyway, moving into January quite nicely and weather has been great. So, last weekend was a must for a good bimble with an added overnighter, just local, but hey! there is loads to explore and amazing places right on our doorstep and to be honest it never gets old.
Me 'n Charlie (that's my lunatic springer spaniel) headed up the mountains from Donard Park. Arriving at the Ice house we bumped into a lad coming down from an overnighter, who said he had had a bit of a rough night in the cold, but still enjoyed his time out. We ended up having quite a lengthy chat and even exchanged contact details, "Jay" what a nice bloke, to be fair that's what it's generally like outdoors, people are nice, like-minded and friendly.
Moving along quite nicely, me and my furry lunatic mate passed the Mourne wall and were making good progress South, although, as we followed the wall there were some hefty bogs and I reckon deep down Charlie was amused when I sunk a few times. "Yeah cheers mate," man's best friend huh? The random things you sometimes see as well. Some bloke was just walking along the wall with a plastic bag, no backpack, just a plastic supermarket bag... but there is more of that to come.
We got to our destination forest and was looking for a good spot to set up camp. I just brought a tarp, as I had planned to build a nice fire to radiate into my shelter, which worked out very well and was cozy all night.
Coming back to the random stuff though... after the Wall wanderer, we reached a point where we had to turn South West to reach our target destination. There we saw 2 hikers looking puzzled at a map, not an uncommon site and to be fair it's always good to see people practising at using a map & compass. We bimbled passed them and thought nothing of it. Later in the day, once camp was set up, fire was going nicely and me and the furry lump (that has a black hole as a stomach aka Charlie) were sitting chillaxing. We heard voices, which was really bizarre because the camp I had picked was really secluded and out of the way. I didn't think anyone would ever be walking around there. However, as we sat looking out of the woods, in a kind of poised stance, hoping they wouldn't see us, the 2 hikers that had been looking at their map 4 hours or so earlier in the day strolled passed us. Funnily enough even though they passed about 6 meters away, they never saw us, even with a lit fire.
After a decent night, we had a slow morning, no rush but nice. I banged on another fire, cooked some brekkie and slowly squared away the camp, leaving no trace, well apart from form the stone built firepit and wood radiating wall, but to be fair those are all natural items sourced there and it would be nice to go back and use them again. Me and Charlie headed West/North West again towards our finishing location, passing the beautiful Ben Crom and Silent valley reservoirs. Obviously in silence, me and the dog were taking the piss out of each other as we sank in bogs now and again. I actually watched Charlie sink his back legs in a bog, laughed and then just followed him and done exactly the same "what a donut". Sun was shining and the day was just amazing though. As we were getting closer to end point, about the last 2 hours of hike, 3 lads were coming the opposite direction heading into that quite boggy area, I felt quite sorry for them, as they had no Gaiters. I reckon they would have had a squidgy trek.
We cracked on and finished up at 1600 and what a weekend it was, and that furry lunatic was great company and a legend.