Monday, August 02, 2010

The Mourne 500 - Take 2! 30 July

Every point in the Mournes over 500m in height – 21 hours (18 hrs 26 min from Point 1 to Point 39), 68km, 5400m of climbing.

Mourne 500 final peak, Finlieve
Atop Finlieve, the Mourne 500 completed

Following our abject failure on 5 June, we were all lined up to give the Mourne 500 another crack with the bikes on 30 July. Unfortunately, Davy had to pull out at the last minute due to a particularly nasty bout of athlete’s foot, so instead Enda and I decided to have a quick stroll around the route to stretch the legs, Enda fresh from completing the Transalp Challenge with Mickey Laverty as Team TrailBadger the week before.
Incapacitated as he was, Davy joined us for every stride via his trusty CB radio, and was a constant source of inspiration and advice through what turned out to be a pretty arduous 21 hours!

We decided to do the route in the opposite direction to the previous bike effort, parking at Carrick Little car park and heading up Binnian, our start time about 11:20am in the rain and mist.

Food and supplies were similar to before, with LOTS of pizza, chocolate, gels and energy bars (crisps too would have greatly improved the experience), plus first aid kit and bivvy bag, torch and extra layers, etc. But no bikes!

The weather was unpredictable, with rain, drizzle, mist, wind, sunshine and clear skies to keep us on our toes, but it was pretty cold, wet, windy and miserable through the night. Throughout, we were glad of our compass to keep us right, as visibility was very changeable.

It started to get dark when we were coming off Ben Crom around 10pm, and the following mountains were tackled in total darkness: Doan, Slieveloughshannagh, Carn, Muck, Ott, Slievenamuck, Cock, Pigeon Rock. The first hints of daybreak greeted us as we tackled Slievemoughanmore.

After our final point, Finlieve, we shuffled down to the road and started a 12km trudge on the tarmac back to the car. Once we got to the shop in Attical, to our great relief a geological research team were kind enough to offer us a lift back to the car park in their Land Rover.

So, who’s next for this one?!

Mourne 500 route map

All the points on our route