Slieve Binnion, Mournes
Slieve Binnion is the third highest mountain in the Mournes at 747 metres. Slieve Binnian is best accessed from Carrick Little Car Park on the Head Road from where you can follow the Mourne Wall right to the summit. You can also access from Silent Valley Mountain Park by following another wall up and over Wee Binnian. The summit is broad and flat with tors at either end north to south with the “Back Castles” an interesting stone structure in-between. Goat trails cross the summit making it relatively easy to navigate, however finding the descending path from the North Tor to the saddle at Slievelamagan can be difficult and care is required.
I tend to hike Slieve Binnion in the dark, either to gain a sunrise photo or a sunset photo. If you attempt to do this you need to ensure that you are very well prepared for the hike. Make sure that you have invested in a very good head torch. And always have a back up torch. The beauty about the Mournes is that no matter what time you climb there will always be other signs of life. Just a few weeks back I decided to take on the Devil's coach road via the blue lough. I arrived to the car park at 6.30am and there was only one space left to park.Most of these climbers were doing Binnion. But it is comforting to see the flickering of head torches out in the vast mountain ranges.
Being a photographer and hiking comes with it's own consequences. If you are using the hike for both a challenge physically and photo shoots it is never easy. Because you have worked up a sweat while climbing, stopping to take photos is giving the body time to cool down. But this becomes very uncomfortable as you realise the cold temperatures at the top of a mountain. I always bring a spare change of upper body clothes. For the minute or two of hassle it takes at the top to change into another fleece and a warm jacket, the results are well worth it. It gives you more time at the top to wait on your perfect sunrise or sunset, or in many of my cases none at all.
Binnion overall is a very rewarding hike. It can be done in many ways. I tend to do it clockwise and hit the ground running (or crawling) straight away. But remember, as with all hikes, be prepared for all eventualities. I always use Alltrails for all my hikes and find it extremely useful. I have the pro version which is great for downloading maps in case you ever lose signal. Which is very common on all mountain ranges.
You can check out the Binnion hike here on Alltrails