Walked Slieve Donard early December .....walking at that time of year has advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages: Quieter; Clear air; see for miles
Disadvantages: got to wait for the right weather; very cold on top; should only walk if you are experienced in that type of weather.
The walk itself really only provides problems on the lower reaches ..... there is a large free car park at the edge of town and allows easy access to the hill path ..... once on the path it switches a few times from one side of the glen river to the other and the start is through woodland, rocks and tree roots are slippy and great care is needed at this section ..... once through the woodland and onto the hill proper there is a good stone path up the hill to the saddle where you veer left and up another path along the Mourne wall - this wall was built in early 1900s to keep livestock away from the reservoir - it goes over 15 hills and is a huge feat of building, I believe it took about 18 years ..... views from the top of Slieve Donard are fantastic and makes the walk worthwhile. I would allow 4.5 to 5 hours for the entire walk and hillwalking boots are essential ..... there are facilities such as toilets in Newcastle. I enjoyed my walk and visit to Newcastle.
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