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One of our favourite things to do is head out in a family “adventure”. We mention this little word to our two girls and they go nuts with excitement.
Before we had kids, my husband and I would have taken our dogs up in the Mournes almost every week – that’s gotten significantly harder with two littles in tow now. So we’ve found some new favourite spots to walk close to home – many can still be all day adventures with the dogs, picnic and more.
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We live so close to the beach it’s become a favourite go-to! Specifically on a sunny summers day: we’ll walk one end to the other and stop to skip rocks, play tag, or eat a picnic. One a hot day, we might even go paddling to cool off. I love that the backdrop of the walk is the Mournes and Greencastle castle – this is usually a quiet walk and means plenty of space for running about in the midst of some peace and quiet. Greencastle is a fab walk for our two girls as they always come home wrecked and loving life!
2. The Silent Valley
If I had my way I’d take a walk at the Valley every day! It’s literally right in the mountains without having to hike too much. Our girls love the various paths and we can vary which adventure we have every time. As a family we found the Valley offers a great escape for us (and the dogs) and it’s our family favourite for bank holiday adventures and days spent in the sun. My personal favourite is the high walk by the wall – even our two girls can make the walk now, with some encouragement – the views are worth the slow, steady walk with the kids.
This is an easy walk for us with the two young girls. It’s a more sheltered walk and great for those “is it going to spit” kind of days. Our two love it in autumn when the leaves are changing and there’s a bit more colour on the scene. We love taking a picnic and eating it when we get to the river.
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My husband will say our favourite is the Narnia Trail…I disagree. I think the climb up to Cloughmore Stone is my favourite challenge to do with the girls (either via the main road or the windy wooded track up). Once we get to the stone there’s plenty of space for us to chill and munch on a snack and rest – and who wouldn’t enjoy the view?! The girls love getting to the top and seeing it as an accomplishment. Again, it’s breathtaking in autumn when the leaves are changing colours and there’s such a depth to the forest. Both girls would have done this walk as babies in the carrier – now they can do it on their own and love the challenge!
5. Knockchree Mountain
This may be just a hill to most but to our family it’s a mountain. The girls love this trek as we take our time getting to the top. As the dogs run about and we hear the girls spur one another on (usually the youngest telling the oldest to hurry up) it makes for a great walk. We’ve yet to manage the walk for an evening sunset with the girls, but someday soon we will – I know from experience that it’s a great place for taking in peaceful sunsets on a dry evening.
Currently we’re all in lockdown and not able to get to any of the above walks…but we manage a family walk daily out on the country roads. Our favourite destination: the friendly donkey. While we have the chance and the family time, it’s been a blessing to get out walking even in the space around us. Our daily walk has been a beacon of joy for myself as getting out allows us to recharge as a family each day.