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Quality Walk

Lough Shannagh

Lough Shannagh walk leads up hill on the 'Banns Road', an off road farm track. The route circles Lough Shannagh (in an anti-clockwise direction) with a high point of 587m at Carn Mountain. It also follows and crosses the Mourne Wall on places.




7 miles

OS Map

Sheet 29 + Mourne Outdoor Pursuits Map (1:25,000)

Nearest Town


Route Shape


Route Type

Hill, Mountain


Unsurfaced, uneven, hilly track

Grid Reference (Start)


Grid Reference (End)


Point of Interest

The Ben Crom Reservoir & Lough Shannagh

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty


Route Description

This walk starts at the Banns Road car park.

The track from the car park (known as Banns Road) is in constant use by farmers husbanding their sheep.  Please take care not to obstruct the track at any time.

Bann's Road winds uphill to Lough Shannagh crossing the Mourne Wall and the Miner's Hole River; the name recalling unsuccessful excavations for metal ores by Cornish miners.

The track proper ends amidst a flat expanse of white granite gravel and eroded peat hags. From here pick your way towards the northern edge of Lough Shannagh, (the lake of the fox), in an anti clockwise direction.

At its north-east corner the lough's outflow is dammed by a low stone embankment. Cross the river below the dam. Follow the shoreline to the north end of the lough and then ascend (over a boggy, pathless terrain) to a height of 50m to find a path. From here contour left (west) for approx. 600m to reach an obvious grassy gully which ascends directly to the Mourne Wall. Continue left (900m) to the summit of Carn Mountain.

The rocky mountain, which overlooks the Lough, is Doan (594m), which if climbed by the left flank (northwest) provides a rewarding view (this excursion adds an hour to the time taken to complete the walk).

To complete the walk, follow a wall leading left down the south face of Carn Mountain (this is not the Mourne Wall; the latter turns right from the summit to continue over Slieve Muck).

At the base of the hill the wall breaks at its junction with the Miners Hole River. Turn left at the break and follow the left back of the river (no path) back to the stone bridge on the Banns Road Track. (1km)

Return to the start via the same route.

Please be aware - Although, there are numerous walking routes in the Mournes, the majority of these popular walks are not formally designated public rights of way. Most routes have developed over time due to traditional use. Below 600feet (180m) most land is privately owned and is farmed or grazed. Many of the traditional access routes cross this land or pass along farm lanes and quarry tracks. Walkers are advised to respect that they may be walking on private land and are encouraged to make themselves aware of and adhere to the principles of 'Leave No Trace' - www.leavenotraceireland.org"

Please remember that much of the land you will cross is private property and access is only available through the goodwill of the landowners. Although some areas of the countryside have been traditionally used for recreation, the public have no general rights to access such land and are only walking with the tolerance of the landowner.

Getting to the Start (by Public Transport)

Translink - journeyplanner.translink.co.uk

Getting to the Start (by Car)

The approach to Lough Shannagh is from a discreet car park on the B27, 7 km north of Kilkeel on the East Side of the road. A track locally known as the Banns Road leads to the hills.


Dogs are allowed. Dogs must be kept on leads

Accessibility Grade

Grade 5


Refreshments and toilets at Kilkeel or Silent Valley Visitors Centre.


Route 5 in a pack of walks titled - 'Mourne Mountain Walks' produced by Mourne Heritage Trust. Also in Newry & Mourne Walking Guide

Publication Availability

This pack of route cards costs £5.95 and is available from - Mourne Heritage Trust - 028 4372 4059 and various Tourist Information Centres: Newcastle - 028 4372 2222 Newry - 028 3031 3170

Walk Location
Map of Northern Ireland
Image Gallery
Maps and Downloads

Ratings and Comments

tom 7 May, 2016 @ 16:21

Walked this this past week. The climb up carn was enough to catch my breath a few times, and although the weather didnt hold for us, there are great views to the central mournes and silent valley and to the silent valley - the walk around shannah was nice. The walk up to lake shannah itself is very picturesque and worthwhile. I wouldnt rate this as being particularly difficult, but when we walked it large portions were very wet, so take waterproof shoes and a spare pair of clean socks! Well recommended. Quiet too, not many people on this vs the high mournes/brandy pad/tollymore etc.

Claudia 25 January, 2016 @ 11:39

This is a fantastic family work for people who have limited walking ability. It is approx. an hour and a half to the lake and you can sit down and enjoy a nice hot drink to revive you for the spectacular views on the way back!

Georgina Milne 14 August, 2011 @ 20:28

This is a good walk for someone looking to build in distance without too many ascents. The hike to Carn can be quite long on the flat but introduces the scenery of the (often ignored) central Mournes. The Ascent of Carn is deceptively challenging, although sets you up nicely to ascend Loughshannagh. This is a relatively simple ascent and gives a rewarding view out over Co. Down. This walk can be easily extenderd to include Muck and Doan, both challenging in the own way and again, often ignored by the walkers only interested in the highest peaks. The vegetation can be very dense in the summer and impede progress for those used to walking on open, flat moorland.

Kazza Jamison 10 May, 2010 @ 10:48

Have walked Lough Shannagh and both times I found it very enjoyable though quite hard in some parts. Would recomend that its walked with walking poles ,as some parts are quite rocky. It would be easy to slip and fall.

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