Venue Donard Forest
Date Sat, 12th Aug 23
Starts 06:30 to 08:00 iCal file iCal
Entries Open: Saturday 10th December 2022
Entries Close: Monday 31st July 2023 or when full
The event is now full.
The following information is provisional and will be updated closer to the event. The entry link is at the bottom of this page.
FINAL INSTRUCTIONS – Please download and read here
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.
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 minimum kit which will be checked at registration:
- hiking boots/shoes or fell shoes (no trainers)
- waterproof coat with hood
- waterproof trousers
- food and drink sufficient for a long day hiking
- 1:25,000 map of the Mourne Mountains ¹
- compass & whistle ¹ ²
- First Aid kit ²
- survival bag (a foil bag is good but no space blankets) ²
Note 1 – Smart phones must not be used as the only means of navigation.
Note 2 – If walking in a group – the map, compass, whistle, first aid kit and survival bag may be shared between up to 3 people. Groups will need to do kit check together and then stay together throughout the day.
These items are required regardless of the weather forecast as mountain conditions in Britain and Ireland can change dramatically with little warning. Anyone failing the kit-check at registration will not be allowed to start. The Organiser’s decision will be final and there will be no recompense for this decision.
Dogs are not allowed on the walk, since large sections of it cross land grazed by sheep.
On the Day
Parking will be in Donard car park, Newcastle. Parking is free. Follow signs & tape from the south end of the car park through to the Registration in Shimna Integrated College. Please do not drive directly to the college.
Toilets are available at the north end of Donard car park and in Shimna College
Registration opens on Saturday morning at 06:00. You will need to hand in the Registration Form 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). DOWNLOAD FORM HERE
You will be given an electronic timing chip (aka dibber) on a lanyard. Please look after this – the replacement cost is £30. You will also receive a numbered tag to attach to your rucksack.
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 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.
Starts are open between 06:30 and 08:00. The start of the walk will be a short distance from Registration.
There are six marshalled positions along the route in cols between summits where you will be required to give your participant number.
The 2023 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.
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.
Order of Summits for 2023 (29km, 2500m)
|Checkpoint||Grid Ref *
||Marshals / Timed|
|Start – Shimna College||J 374 301||Start Control Box|
|Slieve Donard 853m||J 357 276||Control Box
|Col Donard-Commedagh||J 349 279||Marshaled Check Point|
|Slieve Commedagh 765m||J 346 286||Control Box
|Slieve Lamagan 704m||J 328 260||Control Box
|Col Binnian-Lamagan Cut-Off Time 12:00
||J 321 255||Marshaled Check Point|
|Slieve Binnian 747m||J 320 233||Control Box
|Ben Crom Dam (NW end) Cut-Off Time 14:00||J 313 256||Marshaled Check Point – Control Box
|Slieve Meelbeg 708m||J 300 279||Control Box
|Col Meelmore-Meelbeg Cut-Off Time 16:00||J 303 281||Marshaled Check Point|
|Slieve Meelmore 687m||J 305 285||Control Box
|Slieve Bearnagh 739m||J 312 280||Control Box
|Hares Gap Cut-Off Time 18:00
||J 322 286||Marshaled Check Point|
|Col Donard-Commedagh||J 349 279||Marshaled Check Point – Control Box
|Finish – Shimna College||J 374 301||Finish Control Box|
* N.B. 6 figure grid references refer to the bottom left corner of a 100m square.
Cut-off times & Retirements
There are four checkpoints with cut-off times: Lamagan-Binnian Col, Ben Crom Dam, Meelmore-Meelbeg Col; and at Hares Gap. 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.
N.B. Controls in each section of the course will be taken in shortly after the cut-off time at the last control. eg: the 3 controls before the Lamagan-Binnian Col will be taken around 12:00.
Time and Distance
If you look at previous years’ results you will note that the Ben Crom dam is consistently half way around the course for most people, regardless of their finish time. 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. The Meels Col is also consistently 3/4Qtrs of the circuit – so you should do the maths for your own particular walking pace and work out a start time.
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 return their dibbers and register that they are safely off the mountains.
Download At the finish and 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. Finish times will be published online.
- Refreshments will be available at the finish from 2pm. Please state any dietary preferences on the entry form.
- Showers TBC
- Toilets are available in Shimna College.
Coronavirus regulations and safety measures may change over the year to Auguist 2023 and we will amend our requirement here if necessary. The current restrictions are as follows:
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 5 days
- You are supposed to be Self Isolating or are undergoing testing for suspected Coronavirus
If you have a condition that makes you Clinically Vulnerable, please follow current government and medical advice before registering.
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.
This event accepts online entry only and there will be no entries on the day. The entry fee is £40 (includes £5 non-refundable deposit). Minimum age 18 years old on the day.
Check your Start Time here
Withdrawals & Changes
You may cancel your entry via the SI Entries portal up until Monday 31st July, and refunds will be offered as follows
- Up to Tuesday 9th May – £35 (date extended by 1 day)
- Up to Friday 30th June – £30
- 1st – 31st July – £20
- No Refunds after Monday 31st July
Cancel your Entry here
Name and start time changes can also be made via SI Entries (at no charge) but please be sure to amend all the required details.
Edit your Entry here
Or email us at:
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.