Day 1: Depart Wicklow/Dublin for Newcastle Co. Down. Depart Wicklow/Bray at 18.00hrs for Newcastle; driving time is approximately 2.5hrs, depending on traffic. An Caisleán Nua “The NewNewcastle” sheltering at the foot of Slieve Donard, divided by the Shimna River and lying on the edge of the Irish Sea. You can walk from one end of town to the other along the promenade, passing the Percy French memorial fountain; visit the many shops and pubs that are in the town, or simply relax on its golden sandy beach.
Day 2: Slieve Donard. Distance: 12Km/7.5 miles. Ascent: 843Mtrs/2529 Ft. Our walk starts just outside Newcastle at Bloody Bridge. From here we follow the Bloody Bridge Rive up past Crannoge to join the famous Mourne Wall. This wall was built over an 18 year period between 1904 and 1922, taking in some 35Km/22 miles and 9000 acres of land that drains into the Silent Valley and Ben Crom Reservoir. This very impressive wall is built of large granite rocks that were hand-quarried locally from the mountain sides. Our trail now follows the Mourne Wall to reach the summit to of Slieve Donard.
From here we will have spectacular views down over Newcastle, along the Irish Coastline, into the Silent Valley and much, much more. Our descent takes us back to Newcastle by way of the wall to the coll at the base of Slieve Commedagh. Here we join the Glen River Path to Donard Forest and back to one of the many local establishments for a well earned drink of your favorite tipple.
Day 3: The Trassey Track and The Hare’s Gap. Distance: 13Km/8.2 miles. Ascent: 650Mtrs/1950 Ft. Once again another super walk that takes in some spectacular scenery, folklore, flora and fauna. Our walk starts approximately 20 minutes drive outside of Newcastle at Meelmore Lodge. Our walk takes us up what is known locally as the Trassey Track. A trail created by smugglers in the 18th and 19th centuries to transport illegal cargoes of tobacco, spirits, leather, silk and much more.
The goods would be taken through the mountains from the east coast to be distributed inland. Our trail comes out at the Hare’s Gap, where we join the Mourne Wall once again and follow it to the summit of Slieve Bearnagh, with its two glorious tops, North Tor and Summit Tor. This is a superb setting to stop for lunch, sit back and absorb the beauty of this incredible landscape. Our descent takes us further along by the wall and down to Col between Slieve Meelmore and Slieve Meelbeg onto a very well defined track back to Meelmore Lodge.
Day 4: Castlewellan Forest Park and Peace Maze. After a relaxing breakfast you will have an hour or so to do some shopping, exploring or simply relaxing before we depart Newcastle for our journey home. On route we will stop of at the Castlewellan Forest Park and do some low-level walking around the 16th century castle and grounds. Take a stroll along the banks of Castlewellan Lake and visit and the incredible Peace Maze. The maize was officially opened in 2001 as the world’s largest permanent hedge maze, to represent the route and process to be taken by the people of Northern Ireland to achieve peace in the years following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. The maze covers an area of 2.7 acres, the path is 3.4Km/2 miles and hedge of over 6000 yew trees, many of which were planted by the people of Northern Ireland during December 2000. Depart for home approximately 1500hrs.
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Europe Ireland Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking