Take on the highest peak in Northern Ireland
FoodSome provided. Details below
Difficulty LevelsMultiple options available
2 - 3
Don’t be put off by place names such as Bloody Bridge and the Mourne mountains as this weekend’s yomp is far from being a sad, swear-inducing trip!
In fact it’s uplifting, in the truest sense of the word as one of our walks includes striding to Northern Ireland’s highest point atop Slieve Donard. This peak is a great introduction to longer hill walks and one to tick off if you’re bagging the UK’s highest mountains.
Add in a further walk to the lovely Fairy Glen, spectacular beaches and a good dollop of Irish Craic and you’ve got a pretty perfect weekend in store.
In a nutshell
- Get high (literally) with a walk to the highest point in Northern Ireland.
- Keep the buzz going with a weekend of socialising that includes evenings out in the local pubs.
- Feel the Cheshire cat grin emerging as you look out at beautiful mountain scenery while ambling along to wonderful spots such as The Fairy Glen.
On Friday morning we collect you from Belfast airport and break up our journey to our accommodation with a leg-loosening 4-6 mile stroll along a stretch of Northern Ireland’s coastline.
We then travel on to the peaceful seaside town of Newcastle, as far removed as it can be from the North-East city bearing the same name, and to our base for the weekend.
Once we’ve unpacked and settled in, we head out for an evening meal.
Ok this is the big day so you’re welcome to tuck into a hearty breakfast before we step out to pick up a packed lunch and look at today’s target, the mighty 850-metre high Slieve Donard.
There’s no getting away from the fact that there will be plenty of ascent in this one but our route takes us along a well-defined trail and the varied landscape – rockpools, waterfalls, forest, the Mourne Wall and open mountain top – makes you forget the steeper bits as we head upwards.
At the top, and given a clear sky, there are fantastic views across to Wales and the Isle of Man, which are best enjoyed while tucking into a sandwich or chocolate bar.
We then head back down and with that oh-so-satisfying-weary-limb feeling we enjoy a bit of downtime back at the hostel before visiting another hostelry for the evening meal and a few celebratory drinks.
Today is an easier day spent exploring the Mourne Mountains or the coast. One of our possible walks is a circular route that takes in the beautiful Fairy Glen in Rostrevor.
This stroll includes views across to the Mournes as we follow the lovely Kilbroney River before entering the Rostrevor Forest and then making for the café for a re-fuel. We then cross parkland with views out to Carlingford Lough on our return.
Back at base we then enjoy a final meal out together.
Darn it, already it’s time to leave and we find ourselves packing the minibus as we transport you back to the airport for your onward journey home.
About the Area
The Mourne Mountains
The highest range of hills in Northern Ireland, the Mournes are named after an ancient tribe that lived in the area, and the hills are jam-packed with ancient sites and myths. The highest peak is Slieve Donard (850m) and there are several other peaks over 700m in the range. There are plans to make this area, with its hills, valleys and forests, Northern Ireland’s first National Park, and it’s already a huge draw for walkers and outdoor enthusiasts from all over the British Isles. On a clear day you can see Belfast from the peaks, and on a really clear day the Isle of Man and Wales are visible!
Good to know:
We’ll be staying in hostel-style accommodation near Newcastle, Northern Ireland. Beds are allocated in a single-sex shared room basis.
Northern Ireland Show me
What our members have to say...
Well, for a non-walker it was certainly challenging but my word was it exhilarating! The feeling of achievement after every day, was just fabulous. The group we went with were all strangers on day one, but firm friends by the end of the week. The comradery on some of the tougher walks, helped me to the top…..and wow what views. Anyone thinking of doing it - don’t worry….just go for it!ClaireMember Since 2016
“I didn’t really know what to expect on my first ever walking holiday and wasn’t very prepared if truth be known – lesson to all read the essential kit list especially waterproofs! It was great fun and what a lovely group of supportive and encouraging people, especially Gareth who did a great job looking after us all. I must admit at times I found it a bit challenging but what a great sense of achievement when we reached the top of the mountains (hills) I will definitely do this again.ElizabethMember Since 2016
My first Large Outdoors and (Ulster & the Giant's Causeway Walking Weekend) Irish experience was absolutely fantastic. Everything was organised perfectly and Gareth is a joy to be around. I loved every minute and will definitely book myself onto another trip. #toldallmyfriendstheyhavetocomeVanessaMember Since 2018