In February 2015, encouraged by a fellow photographer Alistair Hamill, I made my first walk into the snowy Mourne Mountains, after a break of more than 10 years and what a walk it turned out to be!! What started out as a circuitous walk from Donard car park in Newcastle, turned into a linear walk up to the saddle between Slieve Donard & Slieve Commedagh, a knee deep in snow trek along the Brandy Pad, leading to the Hare's Gap and ultimately down the Trassey Track to Meelmore and needing a taxi to get back to Newcastle!!
On that day I made myself a promise to get back into these mountains on a regular basis - BUT - you know how it is, life takes over, you make excuses and before you know it the year had passed me by with no more Mourne trips.
Along came 2016 and I made myself the same promise - get into those hills on a regular basis and build up a portfolio of Mournes landscape images along the way - and that is why Sunday 17th April 2016 was my fifth trip into the Mournes this year.
Once you start to explore this landscape and reach the summit of the various peaks from different directions, they start to get into your soul. Yes, I love the walking, I love getting that special shot, I love the varied weather conditions which sometimes turn a gentle walk into a bit of a nightmare, but there is something extra, something more special about this part of the world, that leaves me wanting more at the end of every trip.
Since the start of the year I have summitted Slievenaglogh, Slieve Binnian, Slieve Bearnagh, Slieve Lamagan and walked the Trassey Track from Meelmore, via the Hare's Gap to the Devils Coach Road and back more than once. I have had my morning coffee three Saturdays in a row at Mourne Wall and I can tell you that a cup of tea and a ham sandwich have never tasted as good as when eaten after a good climb up to one of the summits.
The weather conditions have been as varied as the routes into the Mournes and, as a photographer, the ever changing light, has resulted in a collection of images that I am very pleased with.
So, if you ever wondered where C S Lewis or Percy French got some of their inspiration then go and have a look my Mournes gallery and if some of those images dont turn you from a couch potato to a hill walker, then nothing will!!