Ireland Day 17 - Where the Mountains of Mourne Come Down to the Sea

Monday, 25 September 2023 20:20

The title tells a little of the story as I have found where the fabled Mountains of Mourne come down to the sea from the classic folksong. That is not all for today. I stayed the night in Newtownards at the head of Strangford Lough, the UK’s largest sea loch, so naturally I want to catch a glimpse of it. Since I was way too early for the WWT at Castle Espie I dropping into Delamont country park a little further south and pretty much had the place to myself. What a treat when a curlew flow past and landed close by. There was also an amazing tree crying out to be in monochrome. By the way the flying picture of the curlew has not been rendered to black and white, that is what the camera captured. Next up was the National Trust managed National Nature Reserve at Murlough which is where the headline picture is taken and provides the natural title for the post. The wind was whistling down the beach ‘washing’ the sand before It and I decided to grab a couple of video clips to capture this and you can see the result here. From there I stopped briefly in the rather well to do seaside town of Newcastle before climbing into the Mourne Mountains to visit the Silent Valley Mountain Park with walks up and around the reservoir at the head of the valley. The cafe served a lovely piece of carrot cake and probably the most tasteless coffee ever in the UK. So it was really cake and dark water. I’ll go back to tea in little cafes in future. That was essentially my sightseeing done for the day as I spent a chunk of the afternoon driving inland to Cavan, back in the Irish Republic, in lake country. I charged the car in Cavan and was joined at the charger by a member of the Garda in his squad car, a Hyundai Ionic 5 EV. My first electric police car. He was clearly new to the car as he did not know what connector was needed from the charger, the one I was using. I told him I was about 7 minutes away from my target 80% charge but he decided to go over to the Garda station, literally across the street, to wait there. It has been a bright day and for the first time in a while I needed my hat. Here are captioned photos from today.

My wonderful curlew, flying and on the ground a look down the loch and my mono tree.

There were a few mainly dog walkers on Murlough beach and the dogs seemed to love it and not bother the sea birds along the waters edge.

Some of those seabirds were in my favourite category, a group of terns and some oystercatchers, in this case with seals across the way.

They say leave nothing but footprints so I obediently followed the instructions.

More wonderful trees adding interest to the hazy Mountains of Mourne. Taken at the car park at Murlough

At Newcastle there were plenty of people out but only a few on the generous promenade. I guess they can’t afford an Anish Kapoor but the shiny orb was OK.

Time for another monochrome. Man and his best friend at the edge of the Irish Sea.

Up to Silent Valley and the ‘Heritage’ walk up to, across and back down from the dam, providing a nice glimpse of the Mourne Mountain scenery.

The rather pleasant Mourne Scenic Loop eventually drops down sharply to Newly, about 10 miles west.