MAN OF THE MOURNES
MAN OF THE MOURNES
With epic photos from his regular hikes in Northern Ireland’s Mourne Mountains, it’s easy to see why Cool FM radio presenter Paulo Ross has been affectionately nicknamed “Man of The Mournes“.
To hear a little more about his motivations - and advice for anyone wanting to give The Mournes a go - we asked Paulo to be our next Guest Adventurer…
As I near my 100th Slieve Donard hike, there’s one question I get asked quite a lot...
“Paulo, are you not bored of the Mournes?”
Not at all. I’m actually at my happiest when I’m hiking or planning a hike.
WHY DO YOU LOVE THE MOURNES?
Everyone has different motivations. For me, it gives peace of mind, time to think about everything…or nothing at all.
A hike, long or short, leaves me feeling amazing. A great mind-body workout. In our world of always-on social media and smartphones, it’s good to disconnect. The Mournes are my ‘airplane mode’.
Hiking is an excellent way to get outside, rack up some steps and get some exercise.
A weekly hike is also great for your mental and physical well-being. The fresh air, sights and sounds of nature will make you feel relaxed and help you reset.
You’ll leave wanting more.
There’s so much variety between the seasons that no two days and no two hikes are ever the same in The Mournes.
From the vibrant purple heather of spring to the arctic-like ice capped summits of winter, it’s impossible to become bored of these mountains.
Although it may not be the highest in the Mournes, my favourite hike is Slieve Bearnagh at 739 metres (2,425 ft).
Its distinctive jagged tors resemble something out of Lord of the Rings. It’s almost alien-like to the typical landscape of Northern Ireland.
FANCY GIVING IT A GO?
If you’re contemplating your first long walk in the Mournes, Donard Car Park (for Slieve Donard) or Meelmore Lodge (for Slieve Bearnagh) are excellent starting points.
If you feel adventurous and the weather conditions allow for it, follow the Mourne Wall to take in more peaks in a day. Bring a buddy. It’s best not to hike alone at first, especially on unfamiliar or remote trails.
Before you to, familiarise yourself with the trail. Walk NI have some great downloadable maps. Check the weather and also dress and pack accordingly (snacks, water, more layers of clothing).
Also bring a mobile phone just in case - though do try keep it in your bag and give yourself a break from the screen.
Northern Ireland is a paradise for those who love to take nature walks. Everything is on our front door - we don’t need to travel for hours like some other countries.
So grab a pair of hiking boots, get out there and explore!
There’s a reason why for years, the answer to all kinds of ailments has been to ‘walk it off’.
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