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If these stones could speak, they’d tell tales of hermits, smugglers and fugitives…
• Now open
• £35 per person based on a group 7+. One to four persons £200 in total. Five to six persons £42 per person
• Fully guided mountain walk/hike through the Mournes
• Advance booking required
• Approximately 5.5 hours in duration
• Moderate level of fitness required. Walking footwear, waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece, gloves, hat and sun cream all required. Kit list provided at booking. Guests must also bring a packed lunch and drink - water is essential.
• Ages 12+
• Café close to starting point with seasonal opening hours
The Mourne Mountains offer a tranquil spot to pause and reflect. It’s little wonder that these summits and valleys have been immortalised in verse and song. But it wasn’t always so. Once upon a time, this famous range was a hive of activity for stone masons, soldiers, and even smugglers.
Join expert mountain guide Peter Rafferty as he stretches your imagination - and your legs - as you follow rocky paths at a gentle pace, stopping for breaks to take in the sights and sounds of this special mountain range.
Learn about the era when Mourne granite was highly sought after and the mountains echoed with the sound of handpicks. Watch as Peter shows you the tools and ‘plug and feather’ technique used to cut the stone, discover where it was sent, and hear about the men who built the 22-mile Mourne wall, constructed in 1904 - 1922 to define a catchment area for a local reservoir.
Listen to Peter’s stories of the US military men who trained here before heading for the battlefields of the Second World War, and discover how the Mournes were also home to less respectable pursuits in times gone by.
See the Brandy Pad routes, which were used by local smugglers in the 18th and 19th centuries, and soak up the atmosphere in secret caves which came in handy for storing illicit brandy, silk, tea, tobacco and other contraband.
With so many tales to tell, it’s clear to see why the Mournes are said to have been the inspiration for CS Lewis’ mystical Chronicles of Narnia.
Towards the end of the tour comes a vista that – despite a day full to the brim with beautiful views - might just take your breath away. The scene overlooking the Ben Crom dam is, quite simply, spectacular. There couldn’t be a more fitting finale to a day rich in sights, sounds, stories and the freshest of air. Even Peter, who viewed the Mournes as his playground in childhood, and has hiked this route many times over many years, never fails to be wowed by this scene.
It’s an experience he says he will never tire of – and something you are unlikely to forget, either.