We enjoyed THE best family trek on Sunday! Not sure where to go for an afternoon wander, we decided finally to try out the Granite Trail in Newcastle, County Down, after a friend recommended it. Despite being regular hikers in the Mournes, we had never been along this trail and I am so glad that we decided to give it a go – it is a stunning walk and delivers some of the most spectacular views. It is a certainly a long enough trail to feel that you have done a really decent workout but not so long that the kids lose interest and begin to complain of sore legs and boredom! Give yourself a few hours so you can enjoy a leisurely place as there are loads of places where you will want to pause to catch your breath and admire your surroundings.
We parked at the harbour in Newcastle and followed the brown tourist signposts for ‘The Granite Trail’ which lead up some steps, across a road, another set of steps and into beautiful woodland – the scent of pine filling the air and the rustle of wind through the trees immediately drowning out the noise of traffic down below – bliss! A short section of steps were closed off due to repair work so we followed the forest loop, stopping every so often to admire the sea views between the tall trees. We then followed a further stepped section uphill to a gate which leads through to a flatter section across to the Quarry with amazing views over Donard Wood, across the sparkling blue sea and rolling green countryside along the way – we felt like we were on holiday as we sat down on some rocks in the sunshine to enjoy the views and have a cuppa. It doesn’t get much better than that in my opinion!
Once ready to move on, we passed through another little gate to the Quarry itself, where the sharp cut granite and gushing waterfall provided a stark contrast to the soft curves and gentle tones of the land we had just traversed. As we explored a little, we watched as dark clouds rolled in our direction from Slieve Croob in the distance knowing full well we were soon to get wet – oh the joys of a Northern Irish summer!
Within minutes, the sunshine was replaced with heavy rain and we dashed into the forest for cover!
Here we meandered along the trails of Donard Wood, enjoying views up to Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh while walking along in the persistent downpour.
Eventually, we worked our way downwards back to Newcastle town where we rewarded our efforts with some tasty donuts from Black Box Donuts – YUM!