Belfast Telegraph

The Mournes walk away with six awards for top Northern Ireland walks

Public vote with their feet for Co Down beauty spot

By Staff Reporter

The breathtaking beauty of the Mourne Mountains saw the Co Down range reach new heights after it won a host of awards for Northern Ireland's favourite walks.

The WalkNI Awards allow the public to vote for their favourite walking destinations across the region.

This year even included a new category for the best place for walking your dog.

Jayne Woodrow, who manages WalkNI.com, said: "The WalkNI Awards enable us to showcase the outstanding quality and wide range of walks that are available across Northern Ireland.

"Northern Ireland offers a unique walking experience out there for everyone and it's great to see so many fantastic locations recognised for their prestigious walking trails."

Building on last year's success, the stunning Mourne Mountains showcased its continued popularity by winning six awards, including the coveted Favourite Walking Destination.

It was also named the best place to watch a sunrise or sunset.

Newry, Mourne and Down Council chairman Councillor Mark Murnin said: "We were absolutely delighted to hear the Mournes has once again come out top in the WalkNI Awards.

"The mountain range, surrounding lowlands and forest areas offer endless routes for walkers and families to experience wild landscapes, breathtaking views and the best sunsets.

"The International Walking Festival and charity walks such as the Cancer Focus Moonlit Walk encourage new people to come and explore the area.

"The Mournes Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is simply unique, making it a superb walking destination."

The epic rugged landscape of the Causeway Coast and Glens also featured prominently in the awards too, with Benone Strand named the favourite place to walk your dog.

Other notable winners include The Giant's Lair, Slieve Gullion, which won the 'Favourite Family Friendly Walk' category, and Meelmore Lodge Café, which beat close runners-up Lock Keepers Cottage to win 'Favourite Walker-Friendly Café'.

The Moonlit Walk organised by the Cancer Focus charity was voted first in the 'Best Charity Walk of 2018'.

It raised vital funds for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland through two different walks at Slieve Donard in the Mournes, and Cavehill in north Belfast.

Visit WalkNI.com for a full list of award winners

Walking Destination of 2018: Mourne Mountains, Co Down

Place to watch a sunrise/ sunset: Mourne Mountains

Family Friendly Walk: The Giant's Lair Slieve Gullion, Co Down

Walker-Friendly Coffee Shop: Meelmore Lodge Café, Co Down

Place to walk your dog: Benone Strand

Walking Festival/Event: Mourne International Walking Festival

Charity Walk of 2018: Cancer Focus Moonlit Walk

Nature Reserve: Murlough Nature Reserve

Favourite walking destination: Mourne Mountains

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