The holidays started the way they should, with a walk.  This was four guys taking a walk, but we were guys so we had to do something different…..scrambles.

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The walk began up the glen river track.  instead of the path we decided to go straight up the middle.  The mist was hanging over the mountains and the path ahead, at the base of the cliffs, looked dangerous.  We put our helmets on and prepared ourselves for…….a very gentle and non scary gully.  I made a mental note that this was a far nicer route to the col than the path.

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Then we headed for a more popular gully; the Devil’s Coachroad.  This is the gouge in SlieveBeg with a scree ‘road’ that is unmissable on a clear day.  This was not a clear day and so took a little pondering to stumble upon.  In my opinion the most dangerous bit is not the gully itself but the scree approach.  This is not the place to walk behind someone as rocks trundle down.

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Two strange things were encountered on this dander, on seen and one not seen.  When we descended the glen river track the gras ahead appeared a winter grey as if coated in frost.  When we looked behind it was as green as.. well…grass!  The change in colour was always where we stood, always grey in front and green behind.  The second strangeness was the lack of people on a normally busy part of the Mournes.

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Christmas Eve began with a tradition that goes back nearly a decade; the breakfast.  We meet up with friends and have a long breakfast in a restaurant.  Sometimes we have not seen some of these friends for a while.  It is always good to relax and catch up.  A friend from a long time ago used to do something similar with his friends, they would always meet up at a point on new year’s eve in the middle of dartmoor.  Sometimes they had not seen each other all year and they would not arrange it by phoning each other close to the time or reminding each other.  They would simply turn up no matter the weather.

After breakfast the lovely Sharon did some last minute shopping around Carrickfergus as I sat in the harbour and read my book.  It was not very cold and the lough was as still as glass.  As I relaxed it was so calm that a gull floated by all curled up and asleep.  Or dead?  Asleep sounds better and it is more probable as a few minutes later it flew off and i did not notice as my head was in my book.  Or it sank?

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