Slieve Donard 2: Mourne with joy

Slieve Donard, the county top of County Down, Prince of the Mourne Mountains, stands looming above Newcastle; the silly seaside boutiques and rides, gaudy ice-cream stalls and beachwear shops looking tiny beneath its silent, majestic presence.
Previously I described the initial climb from the beach, though the woods by the Glen River up to the Ice House. It is here, having emerged from the woods, that the walk opens up, and the way to the top of the mountain appears.

Slieve Donard 1: up to highest of Down

Slieve Donard, the highest mountain of the gorgeous Mourne Mountains, and the highest point of County Down and of all Ulster, was a challenge not to be missed, and gave me another county top to tick off the list.
The distinctive shape of this mountain, its bulk and whale-like profile, was visible from many of the places we visited around the edge of the Mournes, and called out to be trodden. It is not without neighbours equally haunting in their shape and immensity, but Slieve Donard is the greatest of them. For those who have not been among the Mourne Mountains, they create in a relatively small compass in the southernmost of one county a sudden landscape of rare intensity.

Climbing Snowdon: The Watkin Path

The Watkin Path is the toughest of the standard routes up Snowdon. There may be other routes known to climbers considered more challenging, such as the haul up Crib Goch, but of those normal routes straight to the top, the Watkin is the one. It also has the greatest ascent from start to finish: 3,330 feet.
The walk start at the ‘back of the mountain’ on the south side in the valley of the Nant Gwynant, at Bethania, between the two long lakes of the valley. A short walk in leads first through lovely woodland, then it begins to mean business as you walk up a dry valley carved into the mountainside, where Snowdon was heavily quarried for slate.