Lough Shannagh. A place where the water is always blue, where the fresh air touches the surface, and where the lough is protected by the surrounding mountains.
I last explored this place back in January of this year, two months before our ‘normal’ lives changed so quickly and so dramatically. Our natural world is something to be grateful for now and after Covid-19 passes. Walking in nature helps us to feel less stressed and less anxious, so I believe taking more walks is important during these uncertain times. I hope everyone reading this is safe and well, physically and mentally.
SHOP: The Mourne Mountains: 30 Best Hikes
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This trek will start at the Bann’s Road car park. Here you will be able to park your car safety until you return later on. Begin walking up the path – this lane is often uneven therefore please do take care. Along this first part of the hike, you might even come across some beautiful horses.
Continue along this path for around 10 – 20 minutes more, and you’ll then come across a gate. This gate will lead you into a wider natural space where you can witness the Mourne Mountains in their full glory. If the weather is good when you do this trek, you will then get to experience the light enhancing the beauty of the mountains, the colours blooming, and it will make you smile.
Along the way you see Slieve Muck to your left as you continue to walk the path to Lough Shannagh. The eastern slope of Slieve Muck appears lighter than the rest of the mountain due to the rock. This lighter coloured area appears to spell ‘POV’ when you are standing at a distance. Local people in the area have decided to be creative and complete the word ‘Poverty’, leading to Slieve Muck being referred to as Poverty Mountain.
When continuing to explore this trek, watch out for loose stones or uneven ground, which can be a safety hazard for visitors and experienced explorers alike. Please wear suitable footwear and clothing to ensure you enjoy this trek to its full potential.
The Mourne Wall
The Mourne Wall is one of the most photographed sights in Co. Down. The wall is 22 miles long and it travels over 15 peaks in the Mourne Mountains. In this trek, you’ll get to experience it. Get your camera out and capture great photographs of this well-known site.
Shortly after you pass the Mourne Wall, you’ll see Lough Shannagh come into view. I personally love this view, watching the mountains hug together almost creating a protective barrier around the lough. It makes the water look fragile in this landscape.
When you reach the Lough, listen and enjoy the movement of the water, the wind whistling against the mountains or a gentle calm breeze hitting the mountain tops. This is a spot where you can sit on the rocks beside the lough and enjoy lunch or a snack. The views are spectacular.
Feel free to stay as long as you want at the Lough – I believe it to be one of the most beautiful sights in the Mourne Mountains. For something different, on your way back from Lough Shannagh, you will pass the Mourne Wall again – follow the wall up the mountain (this will take around 15-20 minutes), and once you have successfully hiked up the mountain side you can use the steps secured by the wall and cross over to the other side.
Ben Crom Reservoir and the Silent Valley
The view that you will witness is Ben Crom Reservoir and the Silent Valley. This is a popular destination in the Mourne area, so to see this view in person is something else.
The Silent Valley and Ben Crom Reservior were both built in the 20th Century. The purpose of these projects was to help supply water to most of Co. Down and parts of Belfast City as well.
- This walk is not suitable for young children as the route can be rocky and uneven
- Always wear suitable footwear and clothing
- Bring water to stay hydrated
- Bring food to have lunch beside the Lough – to keep up your energy and health levels
- Don’t forget to bring a camera or use your phone to capture photographs of the scenery.
I hope you enjoy this trek in the near future!
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About the author
My name is Caoimhe Clements and I am a Photographer and Artist from Kilkeel, Co. Down. I now attend the Ulster University where I currently study Photography and Video. Outside of my studies, I am a photographer for the UK-based charity The Woodland Trust and I am always working on my independent creative projects and solo exhibitions.