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The Mountains of Mourne Duke of Edinburghs Award Expedition July 2007


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Title: The Mountains of Mourne Duke of Edinburghs Award Expedition July 2007

The Mountains of Mourne Duke of Edinburghs
Award Expedition July 2007
Raheel Choudhry David Burgess Andy Broadhead
Daniel Hoyle Daniel Frain Luke Holden Shaun
(No Transcript)
Ben Crom Reservoir, Day 1
A Summary of the Mournes
  • Located in County Down in Southeast Northern
    Ireland, the Mourne Mountains span 570 square
    kilometres. Compared with other mountain ranges
    such as the Lake District covering 2292 square
    kilometres, the Mournes are quiet small.
    However, the smaller of the two provokes just as
    much admiration, and commands just as much
    trepidation as the Lakes.
  • The highest mountain is Slieve Donard reaching

The Formation of the Mournes 1
  • The Mournes are a relatively young mountain
    range the granite from which they are composed
    dates back around 56 million years. Compared to
    the Skiddaw Slate found in the Lake District at
    500 million years old, the Mourne granite is the
    new kid on the block.
  • 60 million years ago, the North Atlantic and the
    Eurasian continental plates were moving apart
    from each other. The space between the two
    plates is filled by molten rock from below the
    crust forming a divergent boundary which is now
    known as the Mid Atlantic Ridge. Consequently,
    the earths crust upon which Ireland was situated
    became fractured and stretched.

Formation of the Mournes 2
  • In the Silurian period (around 450 million years
    ago), Northern Ireland was composed of Shale, a
    fine grained sedimentary rock formed from clay
    and mud. As this shale was stretched during the
    formation of the divergent boundary, gaps and
    fissures formed into which magma intruded.
  • As granite is an intrusive rock, it is formed
    when magma cools underground in the gaps and
    fissures, forming large crystals of quartz
    (Silicon Dioxide), feldspar (Potassium, Sodium or
    Calcium Aluminium Silicates), and mica
    (containing a variety of metal silicates).

Formation of the Mournes 3
  • Further magma eruptions uplifted the whole area
    into the mountain range it is today. At this
    point, the Mourne granite was still concealed
    beneath the Silurian Shale. Glacial (ice),
    fluvioglacial (glacial melt water) and fluvial
    (water) activity over the last 50 million years
    have eroded the original shale away revealing the
    much newer granite.
  • The ice action during the Cainozoic Era (65
    million years ago to present), particularly
    during the Quaternary period (the last 1.8
    million years) have shaped the Mourne Mountains
    into the profile we see today.

Formation of the Mournes Definitions
  • Continental Plates sections of the earths
    surface which are free to move under the
    influences of magma flows.
  • Divergent Boundary the space where two
    continental plates have moved apart forming a
    oceanic ridge.
  • Intrusive Rock an igneous rock which forms when
    magma cools below the surface of the earth.
  • Quartz A crystal component of granite, its
    chemical composition is SiO2 (silicon dioxide).
    Quartz is the second most abundant crystal in the
    earths crust.
  • Feldspar A crystal component of granite, its
    chemical composition varies and can be KAlSi3O8,
    NaAlSi3O8 and CaAlSi3O8. Feldspar can be
    summarised as a Group 1 or 2 metal aluminium
    silicate. Feldspar is the most abundant crystal
    in the earths crust.
  • Mica A crystal component of granite, its
    chemical composition varies hugely. One example
    of a mica crystal is K2Mg4Si8O20. K could be
    replaced by Na (sodium) or Ca (calcium). The Mg4
    could be replaced by Al6 or Fe6.

Formation of Tors
Passing beneath the cliffs to the East of Slieve
Beg , Day 1
Tors 1
  • Tors, rocky outcrops on the summits of hills and
    mountains are commonplace throughout the Mournes.
    When the Mourne granite was formed 56 million
    years ago, slight variations in the formation
    conditions led to some of the granite being much
    more durable, than other bits.
  • Since then, glacial and chemical erosion has worn
    less durable granite away leaving noticeable
    rocky, and rounded crowns atop several mountains
    including Slieve Binnian (we would have seen this
    mountain was it not for the mist) Slieve Bearnagh
    and Hen Mountain. We could see the numerous Tors
    of Hen Mountain when we camped aside the Rocky
    River on the second night of our expedition.

Tors 2 Hen Mountain
Tors 3 - Slieve Bearnagh
North Tor
Summit Tor
From the footpath on the SW side of Slieve Corragh
Tors 4
  • When the Mourne granite formed, it cooled and
    contracted, as such, cracks were created
    vertically known as joints. As the Silurian
    shale was eroded away by glacial and fluvial
    processes, huge weight was removed from above
    atop the granite. The pressure release when the
    overburden was removed resulted in horizontal
    cracks emerging known as bedding planes.
  • Throughout the quaternary ice age, water entered
    these cracks and widened them by freeze thaw
    action this is a type of physical weathering.

Tors 5 - Why are they rounded?
  • As already mentioned, there are minerals in the
    rock, when water is held in the cracks,
    hydrolysis can occur between feldspar and mica.
  • In the warm Pliocene period, 7 million years ago,
    the climate was arm and Britain had an advanced
    vegetation system. Decomposing plants and roots
    of species growing on the granite caused water to
    become acidic and dissociate. This means that it
    is split up into its separate ions (H and O-)
  • When the metal ions such as the sodium or
    potassium in feldspar, are swapped for the
    hydrogen ions from the water, the pH of the rock
    falls to below 5. When the pH reached 5, the
    feldspar in the granite is changed into whitish
    clay called kaolin.
  • It was during the Pliocene period that the
    hydrolysis on the granite surface had its
    rounding effect, resulting in the smooth corners
    found on Tors today. The same process can occur
    with mica but not with quartz as it has a very
    stable structure.
  • The hydrolysis of feldspar and mica is an example
    of chemical weathering.

Tors 6 - Summary
  • Tors are formed by the effects of physical and
    chemical weathering on the joints and bedding
    planes in the rock.
  • We saw the Tors of Hen Mountain

Glaciation 1
  • During periods of glacial activity throughout the
    Quaternary period, the Mournes were shaped into
    the profiles we see today. The first glacial
    feature we set foot on was the U shaped valley to
    the North of Hares Gap containing Trassey River,
    see next slide.

Glaciation 2 U shaped Valleys
Glaciation 3 U shaped Valleys How?
  • 18000 years ago, Britain was much colder than
    today and was largely covered by ice. Long after
    the ice had gone the conditions were still cold
    enough for accumulation of snow. When snow
    accumulates in large hollows, it is protected
    from survives melting for a whole year. As more
    snow accumulates, the first snow fall is
    condensed into a more compact snow known as firn.
    Eventually the firn is condensed so much that it
    turns into ice.
  • By the process known as basal slippage, the ice
    wedge can begin to move. Through further
    accumulation and freezing, a glacier can develop
    and then travel down a V shaped river valley
    changing it into a U shaped glacial valley.

Glaciation 4 Corries
  • Although the ice had disappeared from the
    lowlands, there was still ice in hollows in the
  • Through rotational ice movement, aided by basal
    slippage, deep corries were gouged out of the
  • One such example of a corrie is Lough Shannagh.
    (concealed by mist on Day 2)

Glaciation 5 - Lough Shannagh
Glaciation 6 - Lough Shannagh Formation
  • Ice remains in hollow when ice in the low land
    retreated north.
  • Further compacting occurs.
  • The ice rotates around the hollow.

Glaciation 7 Lough Shannagh Formation
  • The corrie becomes much deeper.
  • Basal slippage helps the glacier rotate.
  • Erosion occurs by plucking and abrasion.

Glaciation 8 Lough Shannagh Formation
  • The climate warms up and the ice melts.
  • Left behind was a large amphitheatre like hollow
    on the side of a Carn Mountain in which Lough
    Shannagh now lies.

Glaciation 8 Lough Shannagh on the Map
Glaciation Definitions
  • Basal Slippage When the gap between the rock and
    the base of a glacier becomes lubricated by
    running melt water allowing the glacier to move.
  • U Shaped Valley As it says in the name, a valley
    which is U shaped created when a glacier passes
    along it
  • Firn The transitional stage between snow and
    ice. Firn, also known as Neve is snow which has
    survived a year without melting.
  • Plucking When the glacier freezes to a rock, it
    plucks it out of the ground.
  • Abrasion When rocks frozen in the base of the
    glacier scrape along the ground when the glacier

Andy Broadhead
The expedition was the hardest expeditions I had
undertaken to date but was the one which I had
the greatest amount of fun on. The highlight was
on the last day when Raheel fall waist deep into
a bog which was hilarious until we all began to
fall to waist height. By the end of the
expeditions, I had become much closer to the
other group members and I did not want the
expedition to come to an end.
Daniel Hoyle
Having never visited the Mournes before, I was
really looking forward to the expedition. Id
heard that the Mournes would be tough but looked
forward to the challenge. During the planning
stages, it was clear that navigation would be
difficult if the clag was down, especially due to
the lack of footpaths. However, despite the
potential challenges that lay ahead, as a group
we tackled them head on and had little
navigational trouble. The best bits of the trip
for me was the rugby game in the park at
Rostrevor and the satisfaction of locating Red
Bog spot on when the clag was down on day 4.
Added to which, you cant beat 4 days amongst
fantastic mountain scenery.
Sean Moxham
Day 3 Day 3 was started with the bad news that my
socks and boots had not dried out from the
previous day, which meant putting wet socks, and
boots back on for another full days walking. I
was quite looking forward to the end of the
expedition by this point and even though the
quantity in my back was being reduced it felt
like it was getting heavier. But ever hill we
climbed gave me a sense of accomplishment. That
night I felt exhausted and like I couldnt carry
on, but I just kept thinking that I had no other
choice but to carry on and if I quit now then
there was no point in doing the previous 3
days. Day 4 When I woke up on the 4th day my
only thought was that it was the last day and its
was only 10 miles. Everyone in the team was very
optimistic and were eager to get to the finish
point. We were all slightly de-motivated when we
found out a lot of the teams had finished before
us. But when we finally did finish I felt like I
had really accomplished something. When we were
sitting on the bus on the way back home, I felt
like I could do it all again, and it was all
Day 1 The team set off in high spirits, expecting
the expedition to be easy. The first day passed
quite quickly and with ease. The ascent was quite
gentle and the terrain was easy to traverse. I
was expecting the walking to be harder, due to
the difficulty of the practice expedition. The
ground was fairly firm under foot so it was easy
walking. At the end of day 1 I was tired but very
capable of going further. The team as a whole
worked well together and we navigated the days
route very well. Day 2 Day 2 began with a very
early start. We began with an uphill ascent into
fog. This made the navigating very difficult but
with a bit of teamwork it became possible to
navigate our way through it. I felt ready
physically and mentally for the day ahead. Day 2
was very tiring because of the weight of the
equipment we were carrying and the state of the
terrain we were covering. The night of day 1 it
had rained so the tent was still slightly wet
which added to the weight we had to carry. It
also meant that the ground we were walking on
became harder to traverse, which increased the
amount of energy we used and the time it took to
traverse the route. By the end of day 2 I was
both tired yet ready for the next day. I had to
apply blister plasters to my feet due to my boots
rubbing. I new if I didnt treat them that they
may hinder my speed/performance, and therefore
hindering the teams speed.
Raheel Choudhry
  • When going on expedition I was really excited to
    see how I would survive for the 4 days. Once the
    expedition had begun I realised my team were more
    physically active then me. However I didnt let
    this get me down and just worked my hardest. I
    found that my team where very helpful at lending
    a hand when I would fall in a bog, well after all
    the laughter had stopped.
  • One thing I will remember is how we all bonded
    so well together. I noticed how we would share
    our food and drink so freely. Also how we would
    talk to each other and encourage one another.
    Another experience I will remember is sharing a
    tent. It was so small and we were all squashed
    together, I found Andy and Dan would kindly give
    me more then enough space. However on the last
    night they made sure I was squashed.
  • The Mourne Mountains had some spectacular views,
    the landscape was really beautiful. However it
    was a high climb to see these views and if it
    wasnt for our team I may not have had the
    determination to finish the expedition. The whole
    experience taught me a lot and I wont forget how
    we all had such a laugh and got through it

Dave Burgess
The Mourne Mountains, Newcastle, Northern Ireland
are a spectacular area to walk around, and after
my expeditions there are many images and memories
that stick in my mind. The pinnacle of the
expedition for me must be reaching the top of
Eagle Mountain on day 3 the picturesque view from
the top was astounding which further exemplified
my sense of achievement, sharing this experience
with my group will forever stick in my memory.
As well as this there are also comical memories
on the trip, for example on the final day we were
on our final stretch to our finishing point, we
were walking on what seemed solid ground until
suddenly Raheel suddenly disappeared, as he had
stepped and sunk into a bog. Following him one by
one everyone ended up sinking into the bog. Tired
and exhausted, we resorted to laughter, trying to
help one another out of the bogs. Although funny
this is an example of the high quality teamwork
within the group. Overall my experience of the
area was very positive, an interesting walk with
varied terrain and some magnificent lakes. The
famous Mourne wall was also very impressive,
reaching great heights.
Luke Holden
I enjoyed the expedition and left with many
memories. There were a number of funny moments on
the expedition like when Raheel constantly kept
falling down holes! There was one particular time
on the last day were he was almost completely
consumed by a puddle. Luckily the weather was
sunny. I also learnt a lot about team work and
leadership. The expedition was very enjoyable and
an experience which I would happily do again.
What made it so good was the bunch of lads who
were on it. The meals after everyday of walking
tasted like Michelin quality. We all joined at
meals cooking one large meal for all every night.
The chilli on the second night will definitely go
down in history as the tastiest meal every cooked
when on a Duke of Edinburghs Award expedition!
(Give Danny Hoyle a medal!)..