A beau­ti­ful place... but dan­ger­ous one

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS -

YES­TER­DAY’S deaths come just days after the Mournes won a host of awards for of­fer­ing North­ern Ire­land’s favourite hikes.

The moun­tain range took six gongs in the Walk NI Awards, in­clud­ing favourite walk­ing desti­na­tion. It was also named the best place to watch a sun­set.

Al­though beau­ti­ful, dan­ger is never far away, and bad weather can de­scend quickly.

The Mourne Moun­tain Res­cue Team was called out 52 times last year.

In Au­gust 2017 chil­dren as young as 12 were stranded in the Mournes after the weather turned treach­er­ous. They were part of a 70-strong group, 10 of them adults, from the Cleve­land Army Cadets Force, who were tak­ing part in a camp. Eight chil­dren had to be stretchered off the moun­tain.

In­ter­nal Army re­ports on the res­cue, re­leased un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act, dis­cuss how the in­ci­dent “could eas­ily have been more se­ri­ous”.

Ge­orge Ach­e­son, sec­re­tary of the Mournes Ram­bling Group, said: “If there is damp­ness, the slopes can get quite greasy, mak­ing it very easy to slip.

“Most walk­ers in the Mournes are well-equipped with cloth­ing that is able to keep them warm.

“If you slip or can’t move and have to wait for the moun­tain res­cue team, you need to be well-equipped if you are not to get hy­pother­mia. But your nav­i­ga­tion skills have to be good or you can quickly get into trou­ble.”

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