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The Banns Road takes you into the heart of the High Mournes. There are many different ways you can access it but probably my favourite way to walk up it is starting from Ott Car Park. It gives you a few options to choose from dependant on the weather. A few weeks back I decided that I would walk it from Ott via Slieve Muck.
I arrived in Ott Car Park at 8am and after pulling on my boots and checking that I had everything in my bag, I headed across the road to the stile which takes you onto Ott Track. After about 2 minutes walking you will come to a fork in the track – taking the right track at this point for another 20 minutes and you will find yourself at the Mourne Wall. Once over the Stile turn to your right and follow the wall until you come to the top of Carn Mountain. You’ll know you’re there when you reach a break in the the wall and the stile.
At this point you can choose to follow the wall straight on down Carn Mountain and meet the Mourne Wall again at the bottom of Slieve Muck, if you like.
At the gap in the wall I turned right which takes you down Carn mountain to the start of the ascent up Slieve Muck.
Heading out to the left of the granite crags turn right and after a small climb you will meet the Mourne Wall again. Follow the wall and after about 20 minutes you will reach the top of Slieve Muck.
Following the wall for about 5 mins you will reach the start of the descent down Slieve Muck. The start of the descent is relatively ease but you really need to be careful after that as it becomes really steep and boggy very quickly. It’s not called Slieve Muck for nothing! The other thing to watch out for is the slab about 2/3 of the way down where you should head out to the right of the wall.
Once at the bottom follow the wall until you reach a stile and a set of gates about 10 minutes walk. It’s also very boggy across this section so take care. When you reach the gates go through them and that is you on the Banns Road.
Following the Banns Road from here you will reach Lough Shannagh. You can head back up onto Carn Mountain from here but today I headed up the side of the Lough to the Shelter Hut where I stopped for a well earned cup of soup.
Again at this point you have a couple of options. You can head up Doan which would take you about 15 to 20 minutes or head up towards Doan and you will pick up a track about half way up which takes you back to the stile at Ott. From here it will take you about 40 mins back to the car park.
Distant: 8 miles
Time: 4 hours
I really enjoy this walk but please take care, and if it is your first time hiking it try and do it on a good day as there a few dangerous parts to the hike.
A Ballymena man now living in Markethill. Married to Tracey with three great kids. Financial Crime Risk Manager in Financial Services through the week. At the weekend, I’ll either be in the mountains or heading to them.