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Top 5 Walks in the Mournes

Posted on May 13, 2015 @ 9:46 AM in Walking

The highest and most dramatic mountain range in Northern Ireland, there is no shortage of walks with fabulous views and breath-taking hills to climb in the Mourne Mountains, Co. Down.  With so many to choose from we’ve put together a list of the top 5 viewed walks in the Mourne Mountains on WalkNI.com. Click on the links below for downloadable route descriptions and maps:

1. Slieve Donard via Glen River

Distance: 2.9 miles (one way) linear

Slieve Donard

No list of top walks in the Mournes would be complete without including Northern Ireland’s highest summit, Slieve Donard (850m (2,789 ft)).  The most well-trodden way to the top, this route begins in Donard Park and follows the Glen River to the saddle between Donard and Commmedagh before meeting the Mourne Wall for the final ascent to the summit.   Expect extensive views from the top as the mountains sweep down to the sea opening up views from Newcastle to the Isle of Man, Wicklow, Donegal, Wales and Scotland.  For an alternative route to the top check out Slieve Donard via Bloody Bridge

2. Slieve Binnian

Distance: 7 miles circular

Slieve Binnian

This fantastic circular walking route begins at Carrick Little Car Park and follows the Mourne Wall to the summit of Slieve Binnian (the 3rdhighest peak at 747m). It then traverses between the spectacular South and North Tors before descending along a track past the Blue Lough, Annalong Forest and back to Carrick Little car park near Annalong village.  You’ll encounter fine panoramas along the way with the striking Silent Valley and Ben Crom Reservoirs below and towering summits beyond providing dramatic views. 

3. Bearnagh and Meelmore

Distance: 6 miles circular

Slieve Bearnagh and Meelmore

A strenuous walk this route takes in the peaks of Slieve Bearnagh (one of the most distinctive mountains in the Mournes, renowned for the granite tors on its summit (739m)) and Slieve Meelmore (704m), finishing by walking down Happy Valley and along a section of the Ulster Way. This circuit uses the Mourne Wall as a handrail on the higher parts of the mountain and offers superb views on a clear day stretching as far as the Sperrins, Lough Neagh and Strangford Lough.

4. Mourne Wall Challenge

Distance: 22 miles circular

Mourne Wall Challenge

A 1 day challenge following the 22 miles (35 km) of the historic Mourne Wall this highly strenuous route incorporates the ascents and descents of 15 peaks including 7 of the 10 highest mountains in the Mournes and Northern Ireland. Taking over 18 years to complete between 1904 - 1922 many skilled people were employed seasonally to build this stone wall which stands up to 8ft high and 3ft wide. Not for the faint hearted it is sure to reward you with a truly unique experience.

*Group numbers of no higher than 12 should attempt this route in one go, due to erosion issues around the fragile Mourne wall.

Hen cock and pigeon rock

Distance: 5.9 miles circular  

Hen Cock and Pigeon Rock

A circular route in the western Mournes giving a taster of views that can be experienced in the region. The route ascends Hen, Cock and Pigeon Rock Mountains using open mountain terrain before descending through a valley to the starting car park.  Expect interesting rock formations and luscious green grass of the surrounding countryside. 

Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Officer

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

7 comments have been posted in reply to this article

Posted by seamus on May 14, 2015 @ 12:40 AM

all lovely walks but Slieve Comeragh is a lovely one - i know its difficult to choose 5 but i love it...

Posted by Jim Duffy on May 15, 2015 @ 12:55 PM

I think It would be well-nigh impossible to get any 2 walkers to agree on their top 5 in order. My list would have to include Doan from the OTT mountain carpark . Not overly strenuous and the summit Doan gives a wonderful feeling of being “in“ the Mournes

Posted by jason on May 15, 2015 @ 11:04 PM

Hen cock and pigeon rock is not a great walk , actually didn't like one bit of it .

Other 4 are great

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Posted by Paul Ahearne on July 5, 2016 @ 4:35 PM

Hi, at Special Olympics we are looking for exciting fundraising events and one of our more successful events is our 5 Peaks Challenge in Sligo each May. We are looking to replicate this in The Mournes and wonder if you could suggest a couple of tour / adventure operators in the Mourne region who we could talk to about putting an attractive package together.

Thanks, Paul.

Posted by WalkNI on July 5, 2016 @ 4:36 PM

Hi Paul,

Great to hear you are interested in the Mournes we will email you details.

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