Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Slieve Binnian, The Back Castles/North Top

On The Tor (Slieve Binnian)

Slieve Binnian
Range: Mourne Mountains
Date First Walkes: Feburary 14th 2009
Mapsheet: 29
Classification: Dillon, Hewitt, Marilyn
Height: 747 metres

County: Down
My Dillon Count: 3

Back Castles

Range: Mourne Mountains
Date First Walkes: Feburary 14th 2009
Mapsheet: 29
Classification: Dillon
Height: 678 metres
County: Down

My Dillon Count: 4

A superb mountain, Binnian is best known for the its spectacular rugged crest of rocky tors making it easily identifiable around the Mourne Mountain range. For me, Binnian is the best mountain in the Mournes and it offers stunning views across the Mourne range. On both times I’ve been on the mountain to date, I’ve been lucky enough that the cloud cover we had while climbing moved off by the time were at the summit. The various rocky tors on the summit crest offer loads of interest. This walk encompasses two ‘Dillons’, the summit of Binnian itself as well as the Back Castles.

Start the walk from Carrick Little carpark at the huntion of the Head Road and Oldtown Road near Annalong. Follow a stony track that runs alongside an impressive boulder wall as far as a stone stile beside an iron gate. At the gate, veer left to follow the Mourne Wall which runs uphill. The wall offers a sure guide almost all the way to the summit of the mountain over some quite steep and rocky ground. You will meet a couple of subsidiary walls and as you near the top you will see a break in the wall where it runs into a face of granite. You should aim for a prominent
notch in the granite which on passing through, opens up views down to the Silent Valley reservoir.

Should you wish to reach the summit proper, you will need to use your hands to climb the rock. From the summit of Binnian, it is possible to see the Isle of Man and the mountains of Wicklow on a clear day.

From the summit, follow the crest across over a ruined wall to the Back Castles, the second ‘Dillon’ of the walk. There is some confusion as to where exactly Dillon regards as being a summit with some reckoning he refers to the North Top which is the obvious crest further on. In either case, your walk will bring you across both. Look out for the North Tor, a magnificent lump of granite towards the end of the crest.

Turn right and follow a path downhill taking care not to venture too near any crags on the slopes. You will eventually meet a clear path which leads past a corner of Annalong Wood and back to the gate you originally passed through.

Note that this walk could be expanded by including Slieve Lamagan or alternatively heading down the opposite side of Slieve Binnian towards Wee Binnian and taking in some of the tops around Slient Valley/Ben Crom. If descending Binnian towards Wee Binnian, take care to avoid the outcrops of granite along the wire fence marking the wall as these quickly lead onto steep and slippy rocks.

Setting Off
Mark, Jason and Ronan taking the track towards Binnian from Carrick Little

Into the Clouds
Close to the summit of Binnian. Aim for the prominent notch

On Slieve Binnian's Tor
Me on Binnian's summit tor

Up In The Sky
Me on one of the rocky outcrops on the summit of Binnian

View from Binnian
View from Binnian towards the Back Castles and North Tor

View of Binnian North Top
View from Binnian towards the Back Castles and North Tor

Slieve Binnian North Top
North Tor from North Top

The Mournes
View from Binnian's North Top

No comments:

Post a Comment