Venue Donard Forest
Date Sat, 14th Aug 21
Starts 06:30 to 09:00 iCal file iCal
Entries Open Friday 25th June
FINAL INSTRUCTIONS DOWNLOAD HERE
This event accepts online entry only and there will be no entries on the day. There will be a limit of 350 walkers. If you need to withdraw your entry, please give us as much notice as possible so that we can reallocate your place if the event becomes oversubscribed. The Entry fee is £35 (includes £5 non-refundable deposit). Minimum age 18 years old on the day. The entry link is at the bottom of this page.
It is important to note that this site is for the Challenge Walk only. If you want to enter the mountain race which is run as a separate event then you should consult the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) website.
Registration opens on Saturday morning at 06:00. Parking will be in Donard car park, Newcastle which is free. Follow signs & tape from the SE end of the car park through to the Registration van in Shimna Intergrated College. (Please do not drive directly to the college).
For Covid Safety, please:
- report to Registration no earlier than 10 minutes before your allocated Start Block WEARING YOUR FACE COVERING and ready to Start – do not check-in early
- maintain 2m spacing in the queue and with no more than 2 people abreast
You will need to hand in the Registration Form (download here) with details of your car registration, walking companions (if any), contact details, etc. These details will only be used for event admin or emergencies on the day and will be securely disposed of after the event. (Please print out and complete this in advance so as to minimise queuing time and Covid contact).
You will be given a numbered race tag to attach to your rucksack. You will also receive an electronic timing chip (aka dibber) on a laynard. Please look after this as you will be charged £30 for a lost dibber.
How to use the electronic timing gear: When you are ready to start your walk, go to the start marshals who will activate the timing chip (dibber). At each summit you will find an electronic SI Control Box on a white post with an orange and white flag. Insert your dibber into the hole in the SI box and wait until you hear a beep. The dibber will now have recorded the time you arrived at the top. (Click here for more info on the timing system).
N.B. To maintain Covid hygiene do not handle the Control Boxes
The Start – of the walk is 150m from Registration at the SW end of the College and is open between 06:30 – 09:00. Please maintain social distancing in the queue. DO NOT GO TO THE START BEFORE YOUR ALLOCATED TIME.
There are six marshalled positions along the route in cols between summits where you will be required to give your participant number. At the finish, hand in your dibber. You will receive a print out of your progress around the route with split times for each summit plus a certificate of completion.
Route – The 2021 route is clockwise around each of the seven summits which must be visited in the order stipulated below plus the marshaled checkpoints (denoted MCP below).
This Challenge Walk is not guided or way-marked along the route. Navigational skills will be required, especially if weather conditions are poor so participants must have the ability and experience to use both map and compass. (Navigation using only a smartphone app is not allowed).
ORDER OF SUMMITS FOR 2021
|Checkpoint||Grid Ref *
||Marshals / Timed|
|Start – Shimna College||J 374 301|
|Slieve Donard 853m||J 357 276||Control Box|
|Col Donard-Commedagh||J 349 279||MCP 1|
|Slieve Commedagh 765m||J 346 286||Control Box|
|Slieve Lamagan 704m||J 328 260||Control Box|
|Col Binnian-Lamagan||J 321 255||MCP 2|
|Slieve Binnian 747m||J 320 233||Control Box|
|Ben Crom Dam (Cut-Off Time 14:00)||J 315 254||MCP 3 & Control Box|
|Slieve Meelbeg 708m||J 300 279||Control Box|
|Col Meelmore-Meelbeg (Cut-Off 17:00)||J 303 281||MCP 4|
|Slieve Meelmore 687m||J 305 285||Control Box|
|Slieve Bearnagh 739m||J 312 280||Control Box|
||J 322 286||MCP 5
||J 349 279||MCP 6
|Finish – Shimna College||J 374 301|
* Exact locations will be confirmed at registration.
Cut-off time: There are two checkpoints with cut-off times: 2pm at Ben Crom dam and 5pm at the Meelbeg-Meelmore Col. These are to ensure walkers complete the route before dark and that our marshals can also safely get off the mountains. Walkers missing a cut-off will be retired from the event and should return directly to Donard Park. N.B. Retirements are marked RTD on the results with no times and no certificate issued.
Time and Distance – If you look at previous years’ results (see 2016 results in excel or pdf) you will note that the Ben Crom dam is consistently half way around the course for most people. And that Meelbeg/Meelmore is 2/3rd of the way. Slow or leisurely walkers take up to 14hrs to finish the course. If you fall into this category you need to be starting no later than 7am in order to reach the dam by the 2pm cut-off. Similarly you need to keep a steady pace to get to the Meels by 5pm.
Retirees at any stage of the event must report as soon as possible either to a marshal or via text to base and return directly to Donard Park to register that they are safely off the mountains and to return their dibber.
Refreshments – will be available at the finish after 2pm. (Unfortunately, we cannot provide shower facilities this year)
Toilets – are available at the NW end of Donard car park and in the College near Registration.
Equipment, food and water: The event is not supported along the route. Participants must carry all the equipment and supplies they need for the day. Participants must have the following kit:
- hiking boots or fell shoes (no trainers)
- waterproof coat with hood
- waterproof trousers
- survival bag
- 1:25,000 map of the Mourne Mountains
- compass & whistle
- plus food and drink sufficient for a long day hiking
- (RECOMMENDED – Personal First Aid kit)
- Mask or Face Covering (a buff is acceptable)
These items are required regardless of the weather forecast as mountain conditions in Britain and Ireland can change dramatically with little warning.
Coronavirus Safety Measures
A number of measures have been put in place to provide for 2m Social Distancing and ensure your safety throughout this activity. Please pay attention to them.
- Start Times are pre-allocated in 15min blocks so that we can minimise the number of people at the various stages of the event. Please time your arrival so that you can get to your start just in time
- During the event please use the hand sanitisers provided to maintain hygiene
- Do not touch the SI Control boxes except with the SI Card
- During the walk please be aware of who is around you and try to maintain distance especially when approaching Controls and using stiles
- Please be careful when socialising and maintain your distance
- If car sharing you are advised to wear masks and ensure good ventilation (if not in a household/ bubble)
IMPORTANT You MUST NOT attend the activity if:
- You are unwell with a cough, fever or have had other Covid symptoms or tested positive for Covid-19 within the last 10 days
- You have been in close contact with anyone who is suspected of or confirmed as having Covid-19 in the 10 days before this event
- You are supposed to be Self Isolating or are undergoing testing for suspected Coronavirus
- You have been outside of Northern Ireland or the Common Travel Area within the last 10 days **EXCEPT from exempted countries – See https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-advice for the current rules .
- Travel within the CTA is currently permitted but you should take a Lateral Flow test before and after arrival into NI. See Coronavirus (COVID-19): travelling within the Common Travel Area | nidirect for more info
If you have a condition that makes you Clinically Vulnerable, please follow current government and medical advice before registering. If you need to withdraw your entry due to Coronavirus restrictions we will refund your entry fee (less £5) on request.
The Wall – Please do not walk on the Mourne Wall. This is to protect our national treasure from damage. Stiles should be used to cross the wall where available or if necessary the wall can be climbed over with care where it is sturdy.
Dogs are not allowed on the walk, since large sections of it cross land grazed by sheep.
Disclaimer: Hillwalking is an activity with a danger of personal injury, death and loss of or damage to property. Participants must be be over 18 years old and must be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement. Neither Lagan Valley Orienteers, nor any of its individual members, can be held responsible for any injury, loss or damage (to individuals or to property) howsoever sustained by participation in the event. The club reserves the right to refuse entry to the walk to anyone deemed unprepared for the event on the day and to force retirement from the event of anyone breaching either the rules of the event or the NI Countryside Code.
Withdrawals & Changes: Withdrawals are allowed via email to us (see address in banner at top of page) up until 31st July and a refund of £25 will be given. Name changes can also be made via SI Entries (at no charge) but please be sure to amend all the required details.
Event Cancellation: If we are forced to cancel the event we will refund the entry fee less £5 to cover our non-recoverable costs. We will not be liable for any incidental costs incurred by the Participant, including (but not limited to) travel, accommodation, food or equipment.