This walk starts at the Donard carpark, Newcastle.
Note the clear unpeaty water of the Glen River, striking rock strata and fine trees. The wood fades away and a granite gravel path runs almost to the great Mourne Wall, built 1904-22 to enclose the catchment area of the Silent Valley which was dammed in the 1920’s.
Look back down the glen to the elegant sweep of the bay. From here to the wall provides a perfect if steep guide to the summit of Slieve Donard, Ulster’s highest peak – not to be missed if the weather is good. Brandy Pad is an old smuggler’s trail. Passing below The Castles (rock towers) look south where isolated granite towers (tors) stand here and there on the ridges. They seem almost man-made. You might be side tracked up 400 ft (120m) to inspect the Diamond Rocks.
Beyond the Hare’s Gap it’s a long tramp along Trassey River. Examine the sheep pens, where strays were probably kept after the hill had been gathered and the sheep sorted out according to their fleece-marks. Now you pass gorse banks, then Ulster Way signs and stiles, hazel coppice, young fir plantation and a fully grown wood of Douglas firs.
Just before Parnell’s Bridge the Ulster Way goes south but you stay with the river bank. Do not cross the bridge but go straight down to the small lake, passing Curraghard viewpoint on your return to the carpark.
Maps / guides
Walking Route Cards are available from Newcastle Visitor Information Centre - firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 028 4372 2222
Mourne Mountain Walk