I am seriously thinking about doing my Mountain Leader assessment in a few months time.  It’s a 5 day long assessment which is considered to be tough.  You need to know your stuff and be comfortable in the mountains.  It is something that I have really wanted to do for many years, a major personal goal that I have always had hovering on the horizon.  I probably need to set a few autumn evenings aside for night navigation practice to make sure I am up to scratch.

One aspect of the ML syllabus is knowledge.  Knowledge of geology, botany, and local history.  One thing that is not mentioned on the syllabus, but I think should be, is folklore.  This is an area of knowledge that is in real danger of being lost.  I would imagine lots of it already has been lost.  For years I have hunted for little pieces of folklore about the Mourne Mountains.  There are some books that have a bit, Estyn Evens, Bernard Davey and Paddy Dillon’s books being three major ones.  However, the gems in these books are mostly nuggets of history more than folklore.  With so much folklore found in the Antrim Hills can it be possible that no stories exist about the Mournes?  Are they really so sterile?  But then, hidden away on a dusty shelf in an old book shop I discovered this:

the wee people

The Mournes are not a void after all.  This little book is packed with stories and fables in the very hills and valleys that I love.  I have to keep my eye out now; for the little people.

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A meeting of fairies in the Mourne Mountains

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I sat down tonight to update my log book to see if I have enough quality days and camps.  I need 40 Quality days, 8 nights camping, 4 of these nights being ‘wild’ camps.  I was quite surprised to see I had recorded 96 quality days, 24 nights camping, 13 of these being ‘wild’.  Although there is some variety; Dartmoor, Lake district, Scotland, Peak district, Wicklow, Antrim Hills, Donegal, in there.  It mostly reads as Mournes, Mournes,Mournes,Mournes,Mournes,Mournes, Mournes,Mournes,Mournes, Mournes,Mournes,Mournes, Mournes,Mournes,Mournes,Mournes,Mournes, Mournes,Mournes,Mournes,Mournes,Mournes, Mournes,Mournes,Mournes,Mournes,Mournes, Mournes,Mournes,Mournes,Mournes,Mournes, Mournes,Mournes, Mournes,Mournes,Mournes,Mournes,Mournes,Mournes,Mournes, Mournes,Mournes,Mournes.

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