Mourne Wall Challenge
A highly challenging route taking in 7 of the 10 highest mountains in the Mournes and Northern Ireland, by following the historic Mourne wall. Group numbers of no higher than 12 should attempt this route in one go, due to erosion issues around the fragile Mourne wall.
Distance 19 miles
OS Map 29
Terrain Single file mountain track
Nearest Town Hilltown
Route Shape Circular
Grid Reference J345219
Route Type Mountain
From Carricklittle car park, take the track northwards for 1 km and cross the Mourne Wall using the stile provided. Follow the Mourne Wall to the north west and ascend Slieve Binnian (747m). The wall rises steeply on the rugged slopes of Slieve Binnian, but it is an obvious line to follow almost all the way to the summit. There is a break when the wall runs into a bare face of granite, and before this point you should bear right and aim for a notch in the top of the mountain. Going all the way to the summit involves easy scrambling to summit the tors and taking care on the rock. The reward is a fine panorama of the surrounding mountains. In clear weather it’s possible to see the Isle of Man out to sea and the Wicklow Mountains beyond Dublin.
Continue following the Mourne Wall in a south westerly direction, descending steeply to Wee Binnian and across Moolieve. Continue the descent following the Mourne Wall to Silent Valley Mountain Park. A network of paths lead west across to the other side of the park. You can cut across at this point and travel west to regain the wall or continue following the wall south until the wall ends at the junction of Head Road and the entrance to Silent Valley Park. Continue in a westerly direction along Head Road for 1km and regain the wall where it meets Head Road after the forested area to the north ends. Continue along the wall in a northerly direction for 1.5 km where the wall takes a sharp westerly turn. After 500m, there is a junction of two walls, follow the wall to the north east to ascend Slievenaglogh. Descend Slievenaglogh following the Mourne Wall in a north westerly direction, crossing the Bann Road and steeply ascending towards Slieve Muck (674m). At the summit of Slieve Muck, take the northerly fork in the Mourne Wall. Continue east along this route to the summit of Carn Mountain (588m). Follow the Mourne Wall, passing Lough Shannagh on the right. Continue following the Mourne Wall to traverse the summits of Slieve Loughshannagh (619m) and Slieve Meelbeg (708m), up to the summit of Slieve Meelmore (687m). Continue to descend steeply following the wall in a south easterly direction, cross Pollaphuca and ascend Slieve Bearnagh (739m). Continue following the Mourne Wall in a north easterly direction to descend into Hare’s Gap. From Hare’s Gap ascend Slievenaglogh (586m). Continue following the wall in an east to south easterly direction to ascend Slieve Commedagh. Excellent views of Newcastle, Donard Wood and the Glen River can be enjoyed here. Continue east along the wall to ascend the highest mountain in Northern Ireland, Slieve Donard (853m). The summit provides spectacular views of the coast and as far afield as Belfast, 30 miles north, and Dublin, 55 miles to the south. Continue descending along the Mourne Wall in a southerly direction where the Bog of Donard spreads out before you. Continue along the Mourne Wall skirting past Chimney Rock Mountain to the east and Rocky Mountain to the west. From the north east side of Rocky Mountain, the wall trends south east towards Long Seefin. From here the 90 degree turn in the wall will lead you towards Annalong Wood. Continue following the wall for 500m, to meet a minor untarred road. Follow this road in a south easterly direction to meet the Head Road at Rourkes Park. Follow the Head Road in a westerly direction for 1.5km back to Carricklittle car park.
Please be aware that this walking route passes through areas of open land such as hillside, working farmland and working forests. Livestock may be present, ground conditions may be uneven or wet underfoot and all forestry signage should be adhered to. Please refer to the ‘Walk Safely’ information that can be found at the link below.
Slieve Binnian, Slieve Muck, Carn Mountain, Slieve Loughshannagh, Slieve Meelbeg, Slieve Meelmore, Slieve Bearnagh, Slieve Commedagh, Slieve Donard.
The walk starts at Carricklittle car park. To get here follow the Moneydarragh Road out of Annalong for 1.3 km, continue straight on at the crossroads on the Oldtown Road for 2.4 km, Carricklittle car park is at the end of the Oldtown Road.
Translink – journeyplanner.translink.co.uk
Dogs must be kept on leads
Car park available at Carricklittle and Silent Valley (charge applicable at Silent Valley).
Coffee shop open 11.00am-6.30pm every day June, July, August, weekends and Bank Holidays during April, May, September.
Visitors Centre and toilet facilities available at Silent Valley.
- There may not be a formalised path, and variable, single file trails are to be expected.
- Gradients and cross slope could be expected to be steep and not limited.
- Obstacles and surface breaks of greater than 75mm measured across the line of the path to be expected.
- Overhanging branches are possible. Passing places and rest areas may not be formalised or provided.
Comments will be reviewed and those that cause offence will be removed. This is at the discretion of WalkNI.
We want everyone to be able to enjoy the walking routes listed on WalkNI safely and easily.
If you have come across any problems whilst walking a route, please let us so we can pass on any issues to the appropriate management body responsible for maintaining the walk.
Mourne Wall Challenge
Did this walk alone on the 28th June 2019.
Agree with everyone here. Very difficult to complete in one day. Started at 6:25am and got back to car around 9:30pm. Light just starting to fade. Found Slieve Muck, the rise up Commedagh, and the long walk after Donard were the most difficult. Brought 3 Litres of water but this was just enough to reach the waterpipe.
Did this walk in competition in 1970 as an eighteen year old. I was 12th in the all Ireland cross country that year so very fit, so I decided to run at the front with guys who were supposed to be mountain guides. We ended up getting lost and did an extra 4 miles. Going up Slieve Donald I hit the wall for the first time. I had drag myself up the rest of the way and was then in agony coming down back to the end. Having said that it was the mikes before the ‘wall’ were the most glorious of my life, a real sense of free and energy. I could barely walk for the next 3 days but I did manage to get 2nd and 3rd in the NI school athletic championships 1500 & 800 a week later. How mad and foolish is youth
Did the Mourne wall challenge yesterday (3 July 2017). Took 13 hours. A big challenge was the heat (I know, careful what you wish for!). I carried 8 litres of water, which was a killer to carry up binnion, but glad I did given the heat on the day. The water pipe at comedagh wasn’t producing.
The walk itself was stunningly beautiful, conditions unimaginably perfect. I used an entire bottle of suncream, applying every hour and got away without sunburn.
Binnion with the weight was tough and as others have said, slieve muck is the big challenge of the day. From there the paths become more defined and the climbs are shorter, although more numerous. I was completely shattered climbing donard but wanted to finish.
The walk from donard all the way back to carrick little car park along the wall and then the road is very tough, it seems to go on forever.
The mournes are such a treasure!