Smugglers’ Route

Brandy Pad in better weather!!
Brandy Pad in better weather!!

This Sunday, 15th February, we will be following an old Smugglers’ Route through the heart of the Mournes, “The Brandy Pad”. During the 18th century the coast around Newcastle was a favourite spot for landing contraband shipped from the Isle of Man. Brandy as well as tea, coffee, tobacco, soap and wine were all loaded onto pack ponies which then trekked from Bloody Bridge River, through the Mournes to their destination in Hilltown.

We will be following in the footsteps of the smugglers on this linear route starting from Bloody Bridge and finishing up at the car park at the end of the Trassey Track. (Car parking here is very limited) Please be aware that there is a lengthy road distance between the starting and finishing points, the bus will not be available to drop people back to the starting point so anyone choosing to drive will have to make their own arrangements for getting back to their cars.

On the day, B group will walk around 13 km and climb overall 800 m, taking in Slieve Commedagh (the second highest mountain in the Mournes), as well as Slievecoragh and Slievenagloch. They will eventually join the Brandy Pad and C Group back to the bus.

C group will stick to the Pad but will still walk around 11 km and although no big climbs, overall they will climb around 600 m.

Both walks are 4½+ hours.

Our Beginner’s group will also be out, they will decide on the day whether they will travel to the Mournes or if instead stay local. Beginner’s walks are usually 2/2.5 hours, but add travel time if the decision is made for a Mournes’ walk.

Weather could be hit or miss this Sunday with rain possibly in the forecast for the afternoon, as this is a changing situation it’s best to check the weather forecast Sunday morning for more up to date information. Do expect a chilly wind and it’s highly likely the B group will encounter snow at the summits.

All walkers must be wearing walking boots, have a water/wind proof jacket as a minimum. Bring a packed lunch and warm drink. We meet at The Gap O’ the North pub, Jonesboro’ for 10 am registration, B and C Groups will be travelling by bus, there are still places available at a price of £5 /person. The bus needs to be leaving at 10.15 am so please all walkers be on time!!!