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We met up at a Costcutter shop in a small mountain village called Attical in Western Mournes. From here we followed our group leaders by car towards Sandy Brae a few minutes up the road. About 1/3 way up, the narrow Sandy Brae road surrendered it’s tarmac surface for a rough concrete terrain better suited for farm vehicles.
At this portion of the road we negotiated our cars through the rough terrain driving slowly and manoeuvring around stone filled potholes and uneven surface. Each car whisked up dry dust behind it so we kept distance between vehicles.
Once we arrived at the Sandy Brae farmyard the clouds could no longer tolerate the sun and we were greeted by the beautiful scenery leading towards Eagle Mountain.
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The hike began as we set of towards Eagle being greeted by the tranquil sounds of river water flowing and beautiful greenery basking under the blue skies. We followed a stone path surrounded by green land that lead us past a magnificent herd of cattle. The stone path ended and we progressed through the spongy grassland at foot of Mount Eagle.
The prolonged dry weather had mostly dried out the bog lands, but there were a few surprises that we manoeuvred around as we progressed upward. We then marched up the steep slope of Eagle and the heat climbed with us.
We reached the first plateau of the climb and were greeted by glamorous views to the horizon. We journeyed further through more spongy terrain and found large inviting rocks sticking out of the mountain to perch on offering more wonderful views whilst we got some snacks.
We then ascended further through spongy terrain and the heat intensified even further. By the last plateau before the summit of Eagle, this presented a challenge for the group so we reduced our pace to ensure we could complete the walk safely as a group.
As we ascended towards the summit of Eagle, we formed a mini slow pace group to allow the others to progress and we soon met them at the top.
Once we all reached the summit of Eagle we were higher than some lonely clouds. We had some more snacks then divided the group into two: Those for Shanlieve and the Sunbathers. At Shanlieve we were presented with a beautiful scene with a blissful atmosphere.
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We then returned to our comrades on Eagle calling time on their sunshine siesta before taking a group photo. We then descended down a steep slope of Eagle which presented many entertaining obstacles to manoeuvre around, although not without an element of risk.
There were interesting conversations about past travels to countryside paradises and old school pubs in which a Guinness would be accompanied by a Whiskey as we navigated through the rocky surface.
I think today’s hike will to be looked upon with similar fondness by all present as this too was a great experience. At the bottom we glared at Moughanmore but it was an endeavour we decided not to purse in the burning heat in interest of group safety.
We progressed down the old quarry path at the north east slope of Eagle following a long path. Here we encountered amazing views of the landscape and Mount Eagle itself. The path proceeded down towards our starting point at the farmyard by passing the beautiful views that greeted us at the start.
This Trek is one worth experiencing as it presents a challenging environment with spectacular scenery. With the spongey terrain and steep slopes, fortitude is required to reach the top so you’ll need to be fighting fit for this one.
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