Walk up Slieve Martin
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This is a straightforward walk using a forest road to the summit of Slieve Martin, a medium-sized hill in the southern Mournes. On the way, you pass Cloghmore, a 50 tonne granite boulder perched on a scenic location overlooking Carlingford Lough.
Route Start Location: Upper car park, aka Cloghmore car park, Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor
|5.44 km||318 m||2 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Activivity Type: Hard Walk
Summits and Places on this Route
The lower car park near the entrance to Kilbroney Park, BT34 3AA has accessible toilet facilities and a children’s play area. It also hosts a café, Synge and Byrne https://syngeandbyrne.com/ T: 028 4173 7705
Caravanning and camping is available in Kilbroney Park with space for 20 tents https://discovernorthernireland.com/accommodation/kilbroney-caravan-park-p686281
The attractive seaside town of Rostrevor is 5 miles away with several cafés and restaurants including The Old School House Bistro and T: +44 28 4173 8211 and Synge and Byrne in nearby Kilbroney Forest Park T: +44 28 4173 7705.
For further information on Rostrevor and Kilbroney Park see https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/rostrevor-forest
Some steep stretches, but nothing much to worry about as long as you have sturdy footwear. Look out for mountain bikers as several biker trails cross the upper part of the path.
Parking : BT34 4RL
Upper car park, Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor, BT34 3AA, Grid Ref IG J 196174
Public transport is impractical, although possible, involving a journey of nearly two hours from Belfast with a change at Newry. www.translink.co.uk
Walk up Slieve Martin
This is a popular route because of its accessibility, handy car parking, good ground conditions and the wonderful views it offers, particularly from Cloghmore and Slieve Martin’s summit. The ascent is quite steep, but the journey to the 485m summit is short and there is little chance of taking a wrong turn. The walk would be ideal for beginners and family groups, although the more adventurous can include several of the neighbouring peaks in a longer trek.
Walk up Slieve Martin Route Description
1 From the entrance to Kilbroney Park, take the narrow road signed Forest Drive. After less than a mile, arrive at the upper car park where you are already at an altitude of about 230m. Information panels outline the routes available. Follow the sign for Cloghmore (the big stone) at the upper end of the car park and immediately start to climb steeply.
2 At a junction of paths about 200m further, take the narrow offshoot to the left. After a short, steep walk you arrive at Cloghmore (from the Irish An Chloch Mhór ‘the big stone’). The huge granite boulder is a popular attraction, its position overlooking Carlingford Lough and the Cooley Mountains making it a magnet for sightseers and photographers. There are excellent views of Carlingford Lough and the nearby hills across the Kilbroney Valley. The attractive area around the stone has a number of paths and rocky outcrops to explore, while, looking to the north, the summit of Slieve Martin beckons the walker as it hovers just above the treeline.
3 The route to the summit is direct and clear – just follow the path as it makes its way upwards. The mountain-biking paths on either side are clearly marked as unsuitable for walkers. The route is heavily timbered, but occasional gaps give tantalising glimpses of the scenery below, with the dense forest stretching down to the town of Rostrevor and its near neighbour, the busy port of Warrenpoint.
4 As the path emerges from the trees onto open grassy ground, a stile on the right leads to the transmitter mast. Keep to the left and follow one of the paths leading up to the summit. There is a choice of a gradual course to the left or a more direct, steeper climb straight ahead, then left to the summit. The view east displays the Irish Sea and the coastal area around Cranfield Point with Haulbowline Lighthouse visible at the entrance to Carlingford Lough in good visibility; to the south-east, Slieve Foye’s impressive, rugged summit reflects its status as County Louth’s high point, while Slieve Binnian dominates the scene to the north.
5 On a good day, the view from the summit over Carlingford Lough and Rostrevor is the aesthetic highlight of the walk. There are also decent views of the western Mournes to the north. The relative effortlessness of the trip to the summit is affirmed by the fact that someone, or several someones, managed to get what looks like a garden seat up to the top.
6 There are several alternative paths back to the car park, all of which pass through dense forestry. A return by the same path has the advantage of enabling a second visit to Cloghmore, an excellent spot for a picnic and a rest.
Legend claims that the stone was hurled from the Cooley Mountains by Fionn Mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool). However, geologists insist it is a glacial erratic that was detached from the higher mountains by an Ice Age glacier and deposited in its present position as the ice melted.
For more on the legend see: http://myths.e2bn.org/mythsandlegends/userstory7523-the-throwing-of-cloughmore-stone.html