MOURNE INTERNATIONAL WALKING FESTIVAL 2019
Always wanted to explore the Mournes or climb Slieve Donard (Northern Ireland’s highest peak – 850m) but not sure where to begin?
Good news - the popular three-day Mourne International Walking Festival is back from Friday 28th June to Sunday 30th June 2019.
The Mournes offer some of the best hikes in Ireland. With a range of walks to suit beginners and seasoned trekkers, it’s a great outdoors event which can be enjoyed with your usual group of fitness friends, family, or at your own leisure.
Celebrating its 21st anniversary, this year the festival will take in new routes covering popular Game of Thrones filming locations.
Most walks set off from Newcastle, County Down.
This year’s festival features nine different exciting routes for everyone, from 10k beginners to the more advanced 20k rambler, with walks at both high and low level.
Don't worry - you will not have to tackle Slieve Donard on your own - a professional guiding service will be provided for the more strenuous hikes.
The official event hashtag - #MourneWalkingFest on social media.
Event Info and Map.
What walks can I choose from this year?
** I'VE SIGNED UP FOR WALK 5 ON SATURDAY 29TH JUNE (NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED!) REGISTER AND JOIN ME... BE GREAT TO SEE YOU THERE!
FRIDAY 28TH JUNE
Walk 1 – 15km Mourne Way
Newcastle Centre, bus to Ott Car Park, following Mourne Way to Newcastle Centre.
SATURDAY 29TH JUNE
Walk 2 - 10km Road/ Track Walk
Newcastle Centre, Promenade, Castle Park, Island Park, Tipperary Wood, Tullybrannigan, Tollymore Forest Park, Wild Forest Lane, Tollymore Road, Bryansford Road, Main Street, Promenade, Newcastle Centre.
Walk 3 - 20km Road/ Track Walk
Newcastle Centre, Promenade, Castle Park, Island Park, Tipperary Wood, Tullybrannigan, Tollymore Forest (Mountain Trail) Wild Forest Lane, Tollymore Road, Bryansford Road, Main Street, Promenade, Newcastle Centre.
Walk 4 – 13km Mountain Ramble (Strenuous)
Newcastle Centre, bus to Happy Valley, path to Hare’s Gap contouring Slieve Bearnagh to the Brandy Pad, Glen River Path, Donard Park, Newcastle Centre.
Walk 5 – 12km Mountain Hike (Very Strenuous)
Newcastle Centre, bus to Ott Car Park, track to summit of Doan, summit of Ben Crom, summit of Slieve Bearnagh, Hare’s Gap, To Brandy Pad, Glen River Path,Donard Park, Newcastle Centre.
SUNDAY 30TH JUNE
Walk 6 - 12km Road/ Track Walk
Newcastle Centre, bus to Ardilea, Dundrum Coastal Path, Dundrum, Dundrum Castle, Dam Lane, Keel Point, Murlough Nature Reserve, Newcastle Beach, Promenade, Newcastle Centre.
Walk 7 - 20km Road/ Track Walk
Newcastle Centre, Promenade, Newcastle Harbour, Granite Trail, Thomas Quarry, Drinnahilly Mast, (Tunnel Vent), Shepherds lodge, Newcastle Promenade, Newcastle Centre.
Walk 8 – 15km Mountain Ramble (Strenuous)
Newcastle Centre, bus to Carrick Little car park, follow path adjacent to Annalong Wood, Annalong Valley, Brandy Pad, Donard /Commedagh Col, Glen River Path, Donard Park, Newcastle Centre.
Walk 9 – 10.5km Mountain Hike (Very Strenuous)
Newcastle Centre, Donard Park, Glen River Path, Slieve Donard Summit, Glen River Path, Donard Park, Newcastle Centre.
Where can I park?
At Donard Car Park on-site, overflow facilities will also be available.
What to wear?
Comfortable footwear suitable for walking on rough terrain. Pack waterproofs, sun protection, water and a light lunch.
How can I sign up?
Registration in advance is advised and encouraged (plus cheaper) via Eventbrite. It allows the organisers to order the correct number of buses.
What's the latest weather forecast?
June is typically an ideal month for hiking with lots of early summer warm sunshine, but in the Mournes you could experience sun, blustery winds and drizzling rain all in one afternoon! Be prepared as the weather can be unpredictable.
UV rays at higher altitudes can be very harsh. You should apply sunscreen even on days that are not sunny and re-apply every couple of hours.
For basic comfort and safety, here's a quick checklist of what to bring.
Sunscreen SPF 20+
Sunglasses or hat
Compass and map
Basic first aid kit
Fully charged mobile phone
Post-hike snacks, water, towel, clothing change