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Quality Walk

Central Mournes

A circular route in the central Mournes taking in sites such as Annalong Wood, Slievelamagan, Ben Crom Reservoir, Cove Mountain and Annalong Valley, with views over the Irish Sea and to the Isle of Man.




9.9 miles

OS Map


Nearest Town


Route Shape


Route Type



Unsurfaced mountain paths

Grid Reference (Start)


Grid Reference (End)


Point of Interest

Annalong Wood, Blue Lough, Slievelamagan, Cove Mountain, Slieve Beg, Annalong River

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty


Route Description

From Carricklittle car park, take the track leading up towards the mountains for 1km and cross the Mourne Wall using the stile/gate provided. Continue along the flat path for 1.8km keeping the Annalong Wood on your right. At the end of the wood, continue along the main path ascending towards the craggy outcrop of Percy Bysshe. This was used for bombing practice from off-shore ships during World War II. The path forks before this craggy outcrop, you should bear left passing the Blue Lough (on the right). Continue for another 500m to reach the col between Slieve Binnian and Slievelamagan (704m). You will see the path coming off Binnian on your left and a path leading up Slievelamagan on your right. Take this path to the right and continue to the col between Slievelamagan and Cove mountain. From here follow the path over Cove Mountain along the top of the crags. Continue along this path northwards to Slieve Beg passing the Devil's Coach Road. Care should be taken here, especially in windy conditions. At the col between Slieve Beg and Slieve Commedagh, where the path meets the Brandy Pad, you should continue cross-country in a southerly direction for 250m to pick up the path that follows the Annalong River. Continue down this path for 3.25km, until you reach the wall at the northern end of the Annalong Wood. Follow the wall up to where it meets the main Carricklittle track again and retrace your steps back to the car park.

Getting to the Start (by Public Transport)

Translink - journeyplanner.translink.co.uk

Getting to the Start (by Car)

The walk starts at Carricklittle car park. To get here follow the Moneydarragh Road out of Annalong for 1.3 km, continue straight on at the crossroads on the Oldtown Road for 2.4 km, Carricklittle car park is at the end of the Oldtown Road.


Dogs are allowed. Dogs must be kept on leads

Accessibility Grade

Grade 5


Car park available at Carricklittle.



Publication Availability


Walk Location
Map of Northern Ireland
Image Gallery
Maps and Downloads

Ratings and Comments

James 7 October, 2018 @ 12:52

An incredibly difficult walk which I and two friends attempted. We were loaded down with camping gear, which certainly didn't help. The trail is fairly straightforward, however your first ascent is (like most of the Mournes routes) more or less without a defined path and involves a bit of climbing. Once you go past the summit, the route becomes a perilously thin track right over a precipitous drop. We were so tired by this point we descended (very slowly) and didn't bother going up the final peak. The views are great and the scenery is spectacular, but it's probably the most difficult route I've walked in the mournes and I wouldn't attempt it if weather was anything other than ideal.

Mark 30 August, 2018 @ 15:40

This is a fantastic hike but if you are doing it for the first time extra care needs to be taken. The path up Lamagan is easy to lose and you may need to track upwards without the use of a path to guide. It is fairly straightforward to the summit though just keep going up in the general direction the path on the lower slope points and skirt around any steep bits to reach the summit cairn.

When on Cove please be careful. The path shown on the map quickly skirts some nasty drops and I found that the path also petered out, leaving me feeling a bit nervous and exposed. I decided to track straight up Cove at that point and found the summit cairn easily. My advice is to avoid the lower path unless with others who have been before and check the satellite view on google maps for a path to the summit cairn that stays well away from the crags. You can even skirt around the western flank of Cove if you wish.

Because I was on my own and the experience on Cove unnerved me, I decided to track over the middle of Beg rather then follow the path on the map which skirts the devils coach road. Maybe another day when I am not on my own.

I didnt bother going down into the Valley at the point marked but followed the Brandy Pad to the wall at the base of Donard, then went south past Chimney Rock to Rocky Mountain where I skirted around it, past Hares Castle and down into the valley. I crossed the Annalong River at a suitable spot and up on to the main track leading back to Carrick Little.

Given that I started my walk by summiting Binnian, I was pretty tired and the whole thing took 6 hours and was 12.5 miles long (5 hours moving, 1 hour for breaks and lunch).

In summary, I agree with the earlier comment that some tracks are unclear and easily lost. If doing this hike for the first time, do it with a friend or someone who has done it before, unless you are an old hand at this game in which case I am sure you will be fine!

Use common sense, check the weather forecast, make sure someone knows where you are. I did the route on a Tuesday morning and saw no one for 3.5 hours from Carrick Little until I hit the Brandy Pad. I had left my route and departure time with a friend with instructions to seek help if they didn't hear from me by a certain time. No help was needed and I was exhilarated by the walk. I will feel much more confident on a second try.

Loved it though, felt a real sense of accomplishment when done. Will definitely do it again, maybe from the other direction this time.

stephen Bunting 30 January, 2017 @ 13:17

This is an excellent walk as you get to see all the peaks from inside the mournes, although its not for the inexperienced. I have done most of the walks in the mournes from WalkNI and we found this very trying, the trails are unclear with some very steep drops to the sides of narrow paths, some cross country with no clear paths at all. Dont attempt this if you are not confident as you are very isolated. It took us just under 7.5 hours to do 15km with a few stops for food. I was convinced Id taken a wrong path because it took so long, but our GPS later showed we followed the map almost perfectly. Be prepared

Stevie G 13 July, 2016 @ 21:21

I walked this on 12 July 2016 for the first time. A great day all round weather wise allowing fantastic vistas and views, especially from Slieve Lamagan and moving round Cove. I am not unfit, but cannot say fit, and at the end I was sore and tired. I misread the instructions assuming it was take the Devil's Coach road, but realised this could not be true on seeing it! I did not pass over to the Brandy Pad but rather took a cross country route down by the river after retracing some steps. Going up Slieve Lamagan was tough enough, but did it in about 2 hours, took 30 minutes for lunch another 2.5 hours from there at a steady pace. This is a great day out and a great walk giving a different view of the Mournes from inside.

David 26 July, 2014 @ 21:54

I have walked many times in the Mournes, I am not sure any of them matched this walk for views. Helped by a cloudless sky... Brilliant walk.

tom 6 September, 2013 @ 22:34

From an inexperienced mountain walker and someone currently not very fit:

its not a difficult walk by any means. Id say this would take 5-6 hrs at a leisurely pace if you are fit. i wasnt so i struggled a little. very nice scenery at the top of lamagan. chose your day carefully if u want a view from the summit of lamagan, it gets clouded over a lot. i would have preferred poles to get over the devils crossroads section but the rest was ok. the path up lamagan was nonexistent, and the "path" that joins up with the annalong river we found very hard to find. ive only done the brandy pad before this in the mournes and like i say i wish id had poles to do this, particularly coming down as im not so sturdy on descents. very worthwhile though.

Eamonn 3 May, 2013 @ 10:36

A nice gentle start along the Annalong wood towards Slievelamagan. Take in the Blue lough on the right just after Percy Bisseys, a crater filled area caused by shelling practice during the second world war, shell fragments can still be found. Head on up Slievelamagan to the summit, one or two stops should get you there. Beautiful panoramic views and a nice cluster of summit rocks to enjoy lunch from, especially on windy days. Follow the obvious paths over the next few summits, not too strenuous and then start the descent to the Annalong river valley. It can be very wet along the banks and the peaty soil can be hard going on wetter days. The valley is a perfect lunch break spot, plenty of flat grassy areas to make camp if staying longer. 5 or 6 hours depending on stops and fitness levels. Recommended for adults and older children. Sensible clothing, footwear and wet gear a must. :-)

John Neeson 28 February, 2012 @ 16:15

did this walk at the weekend as a relative amateur having only been in the mournes a few times before. it took about 5 hours in total, 2 hours from the car park to the top of slievelamagan which is a fairly steep climb with no obvious track for most of the way but is achievable taking it one section at a time. and then 3 hours back down the valley including a stop for lunch. some brilliant views from the top of Slievelamagan looking in all directions. if you are thinking about it just do it, you wont regret it.

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