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Family-Friendly Mourne Mountains

8 Christmas Hike Ideas in the Mournes

23rd December 2020 by David McIlroy Share

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This has undoubtedly been one of the strangest years in recent times, and unfortunately, we’re now set for an equally unusual festive period. So there’s no better time to get your boots on, grab the family and head for the hills, where the air is fresh and the views are reliably spectacular. Good for the soul.

Here are eight simple routes in the Mourne Mountains to enjoy this Christmas.

1. The Blue Lough from Carrick Little

A great Christmas trek for the whole family. Leave the car in one of the paid parking areas at Carrick Little (they’re closer to the start of the trail) and head in the direction of Slieve Lamagan, with Annalong Wood on your right and hulking Slieve Binnian on your left. Limited ascents and clear paths all the way make this one perfect for all ages.

Route description here.

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2. Hen Mountain from Sandbank Car Park

In spite of a deceptively-steep climb to the summit area, Hen Mountain is another great option for families with children due to its proximity to a handy car park and the relatively-short duration of the trek to the top – no dogs allowed, though. The views across the Western Mournes and Hilltown are spectacular, too.

More info here.

3. Doan from Ott Car Park

A classic Mournes hike featuring some of the best views in the entire mountain range. Be mindful of the weather ahead of making this trek as the route to the Mourne Wall from Ott car park can be muddy after rainfall.

Route description here.

4. Crannoge Quarry via Bloody Bridge

Another family-friendly hike that’s not too taxing, beginning and ending at the Bloody Bridge car park. Follow a clear stony track up to the quarry, and keep an eye out for the old tracks on the side of Chimney Rock mountain.

Route description here.

5. Pierce’s Castle from Leitrim Lodge

Probably the easiest trek on the list, this one starts off at Leitrim Lodge car park and takes you into the heart of the Western Mournes. It’s guaranteed to be quieter than the more popular routes in the area, so give this one a try if you prefer going at your own pace.

Route description here.

Feeling adventurous? Why not try Wee Slievemoughan from the same starting point?

6. Slieve Croob from Dree Hill

Park at the foot of Slieve Croob and dander to the top along a tarmac road for a more straightforward but equally stunning trek this Christmas. Like Hen, dogs aren’t permitted, but the fairly easy ascent and smooth track make it a good choice for little ones.

Route description here.

7. Slieve Martin from Kilbroney Forest Park

This trek to Slieve Martin starts in Kilbroney Forest Park and follows a winding trail through the woods that’ll help burn off some of those Christmas carbs. Spend some time at the summit (if it’s not too cold) enjoying fantastic views over Rostrevor, Warrenpoint and Carlingford Lough.

Route description here.

READ: The Seefins and Rocky Mountain.

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8. A little Spelga loop

This one also starts at Ott Car Park and, like the Doan trek, should be preceded with a few days weather-monitoring as sections of the track can be muddy. The views over Spelga Dam are well worth the effort, though.

Route description here.

So there you have it – eight simple routes to enjoy with all the family, or on your own if you prefer some outdoor solitude. Always remember to prepare well, let others know where you’ll be and for how long, and keep an eye on the weather.

Above all, enjoy what our beautiful countryside has to offer, and have a very happy Christmas!

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