Regardless of weather and season, the Mournes are one of Northern Irelands most popular destinations. Rain, hail or shine, on a long warm summers evening or in the depths of winter hordes of people make their way to County Down to spend some time in what is undoubtedly Irelands most picturesque location. It is a recognised area of outstanding natural beauty and it isn’t hard to see why with dozens of granite peaks squeezed into an area only 15 miles by 8 all giving outstanding views.
The National Trust own 1,300 acres of the mountains including parts of Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh and the Water Comission own the area inside the boundary of the magnificent 22 mile Mourne Wall with the rest tended by local farmers still using the land for agriculture.
There are 6 peaks over 700 meters with Donard the highest at 849m and the range is crisscrossed with a multitude tracks and paths that would take years to explore fully. Rivers, lakes and reservoirs litter the area and dams have been build over the last century ensuring that the Mournes are not only a beautiful place to visit but also essential as the main water supply to the Northern Ireland capital, Belfast.
On any weekend the forests will have happy campers, peaks will have energetic walkers and cliffs will have daredevil climbers and if anything the biggest problem the Mournes face is one of popularity suffering badly from erosion and litter.
A History of Mourne from the BBC