The Story Behind The Photo: Bearnagh Sunset

This entry is part 8 of 19 in the series The Story Behind The Photo

The latest photo in our series ‘The Story Behind The Photo’ is a beautiful shot from Leslie Hanthorne of sunset behind a snow covered Slieve Bearnagh in the Mourne Mountains. John takes us through what was involved in capturing this beautiful image. Check out to see more of Leslie’s superb work.

Snow on Mourne Mountains

The winter of 2010/2011 was the coldest for over a hundred years so most days I was in the Mournes trying to record what was perhaps a once in a life-time event. I started the walk for this picture at the Happy Valley car park, Trassey Road (293296), 600m east of junction with the Bryansford-Kilkeel road (C312). The walk was tough going as deep snow and strong winds made progress a bit slow but it wasn’t until I was about 300m from the Col between Slieve Meelmore and Slieve Meelbeg that it became really tough.

Once we (my dog accompanies me on all walks in the mountains) reached the Mourne wall  it was alright again… steep but good grip.

About  half an hour later we were on the summit of Slieve Meelmore. It was still dull and overcast but the strong winds gave me hope that  the cloud would break up. It was still about 25 minutes until sunset and the cold was almost unbearable. The summit shelter was jam packed with snow and the wall was giving me very little respite from the wind. About 10 minutes from sunset I could see these amazing colours in the sky. With the strong winds and the low cloud it was almost like watching the Northern Lights.

All of a sudden the clouds parted allowing beautiful light onto the landscape and this was the moment I had been  waiting for….. In mountain photography there are many many failures  but moments like this make it all worthwhile.

Many thanks to Leslie for sharing this superb shot with us. Check out for more of Leslie’s work.