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Slieve Binnian

This fantastic circular walking route follows the Mourne Wall to the summit of Slieve Binnian (747m), traverses between the spectacular South and North Tors before descending along a track past the Blue Lough, Annalong Forest and back to the car park.

County

Down

Distance

7 miles

OS Map

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

Nearest Town

Annalong Village

Route Shape

Circular

Route Type

Hill, Mountain

Terrain

Tracks and mountain terrain

Grid Reference (Start)

J345219

Grid Reference (End)

J345219

Point of Interest

Blue Lough and Mourne Wall

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Mournes

Route Description

From the Carrick Little car park, follow a clear, stony track that rises gently between the fields. Note the boulder walls alongside, and the high mountains around the distant head of Annalong Valley. Cross a stone step stile beside an iron gate and turn left to follow the Mourne Wall uphill.

The wall rises steeply on the rugged slopes of Slieve Binnian, but it is an obvious line to follow almost all the way to the summit. There is a break when the wall runs into a bare face of granite, and before this point you should drift to the right and aim for a notch in the top of the mountain. Going all the way to the summit at 2449ft (747m) involves using your hands and taking care on the rock.

The reward is an exceedingly fine panorama of the surrounding mountain. In clear weather it's possible to see the Isle of Man out to sea and the Wicklow Mountains beyond Dublin. Pick your way carefully around the base of the Summit Tor and continue walking along the ridge of the Mountain. You cross a broken wall and follow a clear path past the Back Castles.

These are a handful of wrinkly little tors that you don't have to grapple with. Simply enjoy the views as you walk past them. The North Tor is a monstrous outcrop of granite towards the end of the crest, and the path passes it on the left side. The ground slopes away more steeply as the path wanders through the heather, past boulders and outcrops of granite on the way down to a prominent gap - the col between Slieve Lamagan and Slieve Binnian.

At the col turn right and follow a clear path downhill. This passes close to the Blue Lough and by keeping right at junctions with other paths, you'll be led down to a clear track passing a corner of Annalong Wood. Simply follow the track alongside the Forest fence and return to the iron gate in the Mourne Wall. Cross the wall using the stile and follow the track back to Carrick Little car park.

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 600 feet (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. Access is only available therefore through the tolerance and goodwill of the landowners. 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

Getting to the Start

The Carrick Little car park is at the junction of the Head Road and Oldtown Road near Annalong. The Mourne Rambler bus departs from Newcastle Bus station on a regular basis during the summer months (see link below).

Dogs

Dogs are allowed. Dogs must be kept on leads

Accessibility Grade

Grade 5

Facilities

Toilets and refreshments available in nearby Annalong Village.

Publication

Route 4 in a pack of walks titled - 'Mourne Mountain Walks' produced by Mourne Heritage Trust.

Publication Availability

This pack of route cards costs £5.95 and is available from a range of outlets including - Mourne Heritage Trust - 028 4372 4059 Newcastle Tourist Information Centre - 028 4372 2222 email: mht@mourne.co.uk visit www.mournelive.com

Walk Location
Map of Northern Ireland
 
Image Gallery
Maps and Downloads

Ratings and Comments

★★★★★
Christopher Somerville 23 June, 2017 @ 17:53

Very well described route - just follow the directions. NB that the path descending from North Tor to the saddle is pretty treacherous underfoot, being of skiddy, slippery granite sand. And the track in the Annalong Valley is very rubbly. This is a spectacularly beautiful and satisfying walk, but you need good footwear and a sharp eye out!

★★★★★
Des Davison 18 June, 2017 @ 23:00

We walked from Carrick Little car park to the top of Slieve Binnian as described in the 'route description'. There are two more car parks just above the first car park at Carrick Little, one of which, the first one you arrive at, has a cafe, with terrace, overlooking the valley below. The walk to the summit isn't to punishing (aim for the notch as described) - take it in your stride. Once you reach the the summit (or notch) you can clamber up the rocks to your left (not difficult but we'll worth it). The views are amazing! This is what it's all about! Travelling down, from the main Tor, you pass a number of Tors, or rocky outcrops (and a boulder field) before descending sharply down towards the track leading to the blue lough. The views are amazing! Dip your fingers in the lough! In summer, cool and refreshing. Continue on the well defined path that takes you to the place from which you began. I hope that you fully enjoy! Best wishes!

★★★★★
Sam Watson 29 May, 2017 @ 11:56

This a really enjoyable hike to the top of Binnian. Recommended. If you're fortunate enough to be able to make the most of a good spell of weather you'll be rewarded with views to remember.

If I'm allowed, this video will show you what to expect if you haven't been before: https://vimeo.com/219283340

Clockwise or anti-clockwise? Having done it 3 ways, I'd say make the top via the wall as suggested here, then take your time having walking across the heights and back off Binnian's northern slope. It's a l-o-n-g tramp on tired legs back down the path to the lane and the car park, but it's arguably better hitting the gentle descent at the end rather than going up it the start.

★★★★★
Sheila Jamieson 26 March, 2017 @ 22:18

Waited for a non-work blue sky day (a bit rare in NI) to do Binnian and it was worth it! Sunshine promised all day with a gentle breeze and 13C forecast for a late Saturday in March sounded perfect . . . and it was! The walk starts gently and then gradually gets steeper after joining the Mourne Wall. The final ascent is challenging enough but very doable if you take your time and stop to look behind you and admire the scenery every now and then! The views from the top were simply stunning and the walk along the ridge was well worth the climb! There was still snow lying in places at the top of the mountain despite it being warm enough to wear a t-shirt! The walk back to the car park from the col between Slieve Lamagan and Slieve Binnian is a bit 'dull' compared to the ascent and ridge walk so the next time I do this I think I'll head back along the ridge and down the mountain the way I came up - to catch the views I may be missed earlier in the day!

★★★★★
Liam Blair 21 September, 2016 @ 19:39

I decided against the route as outlined here and instead went the opposite direction. This to me is the better route as the walk is spectacular as is the climb something that might not be the case if the Mourne Wall were followed. Paddy Dillon in his book suggested 'my' choice and I believe it to be more rewarding. Glorious day out.

★★★★★
Sarah 9 September, 2016 @ 09:23

We started this walk in a slight drizzle but were rewarded when the clouds rolled back to reveal a rainbow in the valley, spectacular views of the mountains and Silent Valley Reservoir, amazing rock formations to scramble over and mountain ponies.

The drive to Binion, the views from it and the fun walking terrain were all wonderful - why are the Mournes not a National Park???

★★★★★
Barna 11 July, 2016 @ 00:19

Me and my friend did this walk on a windy but suny day in June.

We followed exactly the suggested path. Most likely it was the easiest way up to the top of Slieve Binnian for our amateur hiking group of 2. On the summit prepare for some really awesome scenery, rocky outcrops, and dangerously strong winds.

The way down was also breathtaking.

We managed to do this nice 13.5 kilometres of hiking in 5 hours in a relaxed pace.

Thumbs up for this path!

★★★★★
caroline sayle 9 October, 2015 @ 09:32

last Saturday morning i was up at the blue lough for the first in a number of years and heading on up to the top of binnian what a fantastic walk and the scenary is something else with not living too far away its a walk i intend to do more often , it was a good clear day and really enjoyable so if you haven't been up i would highly recommend you go

★★★★★
Neil Armstrong 6 May, 2015 @ 10:12

This has just become my favourited of all the major peaks in the Mournes. We walked it on the first of May (2015) and it was spectacular.

Tough going at the start right up to the summit but once there it was time to take the weight off and enjoy the fantastic views all around...from Wee Binnian, Annalong Wood right across to Donard, Commedagh, Bearnagh and Meelmore/Meelbeg! The view over Ben Crom is as good as it gets so be sure to bring the SLR along, it's well worth it!!!

Will be back again sometime soon, that's for sure! Cracking walk and doable for even the amateur walkers like myself!

★★★★★
Stephen Gibson 29 April, 2015 @ 17:05

For added peak walk along the road to Brackenagh Crossroads first and take the path up to Wee Binian. There is a gully climb on the Southern side which gets the day off to a good start. You can then clamber up to main Binnian peak and catch the rest of the Tors as well. Tricky enough day out at 14.5 km. not many people climb Wee Binian so will no doubt have it to yourself.

★★★★★
Drew McMath 25 July, 2014 @ 22:10

Friday 25/07/2014: What a fabulous day for what is a fantastic walk - with stunning views throughout and a welcome cooling breeze at the top. I'm pretty much ashamed to say that this was my first time up to the summit for one who lives so close (Kilkeel), however, better late than never! I love the Mourne Area , the Mourne people, and would encourage local people to take in the beauty that surrounds us. My hat goes off to the men who built the Wall!!

★★★★★
Trevor Greer 18 August, 2013 @ 22:29

Sunday 18 Aug 2013 .

The route up the wall didn't look too appealing so I followed the path towards Ben Crom and turned left onto North Tor. The paths continue right up to the summit and the men who have worked to put these in place need to be commended.

Nice clear day meant the views over the whole of the Mournes along this route was breathtaking, had to keep stopping to take it all in. The path and steps up North Tor are steep but manageable although I lost the path twice ! The castles at the top are well worth the climb and the view from the top of Binnian must be the best you will get anywhere in the Mournes. Windy and cold up there despite it being warm and sunny down below. Route down I hand-railed the wall back towards the path, bit boggy in places and would have preferred to go back the long way. The bast walk I have done in the mournes.

★★★★★
Mike & Lorraine Millae 18 May, 2013 @ 11:49

We got a clear and bright day (17 May 2013) for our first walk around the trail described. The walk was fantastic but wanted to mention the work under way on the path. The route is under repairs by a group of guys who on the day we passed them, were just down from the Binnian peak. These men not only have to walk to their place of work but then do a day’s work. It was a hard trek for a couple of amateurs like us so to do this type of work on a daily basis is truly an achievement. It looked like hard labour but their work will leave the legacy of a pathway that will last for many years for future walkers. Good job.

★★★★★
Ian Morrison 3 March, 2013 @ 19:02

Sunday 3rd March,2013. Weather, low cloud at start of walk, clearing later. Still my favourite walk in the Mournes, and haven't been for nearly a year. The new gravel and stones on the path down from the North Tor a great job. Great day walk.!!

★★★★★
Stewart Ramsey 11 September, 2012 @ 20:41

It has been three years since I last did Binnion only this time we took the route as described, starting at Carrick Little.The weather on Sept. 6th. was warm and sunny in total contrast to our first ascent in 2009. The climb to Summit Tor was stiff enough but considerably easier to the approach from Wee Binnion. The views from the summit and all along the ridge to North Tor and down to the ledge overlooking Ben Crom reservoir were absolutely breathtaking and whetted our appetite for another trip to do Slieve Lamagan and other peaks in the immediate area. This is Mourne walking at its very, very best and we, all seventeen of us, had a truly wonderful day, finished in style at the Mourne Seafood Restaurant in Dundrum. One word of caution. There isn't a lot of flat ground in and around and on Summit Tor so a lot of care must be exercised on very windy conditions.

★★★★☆
Philip Blair 10 September, 2012 @ 15:08

Did this walk on Sunday 2nd September 2012 with my wife and 2 dogs. We were very lucky with the weather with it being a fine dry and sunny day. From the summit we had excellent views to the coast and across the mournes.This was a super walk that we all really enjoyed and is something most people could do if you are moderately fit and active.

Andy Blair 27 July, 2012 @ 23:10

Walked this route yesterday and was made all the more special by the weather affording views as far as the eye could see. Walked up the Mourne Wall first and round past the Tors. Meet some lovely people en route and couple from England that had nothing bet praise for N. Ireland. Recommend this walk to everyone.

★★★★☆
TS 20 September, 2010 @ 23:09

Sun 19 Sept2010, following 2 days of persistant rain, I left Carrick Little to follow the wall to the South Tor in mist , rain and wind. On approaching the Sth Tor and veering right at the first outcrop of big rock I walked around the tor and headed for the Summit Tor. On arriving I settled out of the wind in a large split in the tor (I call The Ben Crom Suite) where the light and complexion of the rugged granite form shapes of resting Giants, stone monkeys, etc As I set of the wind changed and mist lifted to reveal the magnificance of the inner Kingdom. This is a must do mountain, never fails to call you back, inspirational.

★★★★★
Stephen Wilson 19 May, 2010 @ 23:20

Followed this route on Wednesday, May 12th, 2010. Started from Carrick Little car park when the weather was fine. As I approached the summit the weather turned nasty. At one point there was snow coming at me horizontally. The wind was bitterly cold and the cloud had really decended on the summit. The granit tor took on the form of a rather spooky looking outline and appeared out of nowhere rather suddenly. I managed to find shelter on the north side of the tor and settled down for some tea and sarrnys. Just as quick as the weather had closed in the cloud cleared and the sun appeared. It was just as if someone had pulled back the curtains and there appeared in front of me the most wonderful view of the Silent Valley I had ever witnessed. This was my first time walking this route. It will certainly not be my last. I hope to do it again very soon. The view across the Mourne range is breathtaking, looking across to Lough Shannagh on one side and Slieve Donard on the other. This is a must for all ramblers and walkers provided you are prepared for a steep ascent, following the Mourne Wall, and the ever changing weather conditions. The descent is gentle and really enjoyable. You can follow the well defined paths, passing the Blue Lough which should be on your left hand side and eventually walking along the side of the Annalong Wood back to your starting point at Carrick Little car park. If you haven't taken this route, wait no longer. Go walking, it's good for you.

Whitney 21 March, 2010 @ 18:37

What an astounding view from the Summit Torr of Slieve Binnian! Almost felt like we didn't deserve that kind of panorama for only climbing one mountain--although it is quite a steep climb, so maybe we earned it. We didn't do the whole loop, just walked to the top and back following the Mourne Wall (handy, that). As usual in the Mournes, the clouds rolled in to obscure the summit, but we waited around a few minutes and it cleared for long enough to stand in awe and take photos. Waterproof boots are a must, as the path is boggy at places, and it's a steep descent so those with joint trouble may want to bring along hiking poles for this one.

Stewart Ramsey 19 August, 2009 @ 18:23

Climbed Wee Binnian and Slieve Binnian with five friends 19/08/09 starting from the carpark on the C313 and going offroad at the Cross Water Bridge completing the circular walk by following the Mourne Wall in an easterly direction back to the carpark.Tough climb to the top at Summit Tor with visibility at 20 to 50 metres throughout. Almost impossible to stay standing on Summit Tor with winds over 60 mph (my estimate).It was a great walk but have to do again to get the view. Bacon rolls in the cafe in Annalong before starting are highly recommended and fish and chips with mushy peas at the Mourne Cafe in Dundrum were outstanding.

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