The Mourne Mountains have been awarded five of seven coveted titles including ‘Best Walking Destination’ and ‘Most Epic View’ in Northern Ireland, as voted for by members of the public in the second annual WalkNI Awards.
Beating off stiff competition from across Northern Ireland, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty also claimed awards in three other categories with Murlough National Nature Reserve voted ‘Favourite Nature Reserve’, Castlewellan Forest Park voted ‘Favourite Family Friendly Walk’ and The Mournes International Walking Festival crowned ‘Best Walking Festival/Event’.
Celebrating all that is great about walking in Northern Ireland, the WalkNI Award categories also included ‘Favourite Coastal Walk’, ‘Best Walking Festival/Event’ and ‘Favourite Country Park/Estate’, with 1900 votes being cast on WalkNI.com.
Jayne Woodrow who manages WalkNI.com commented, “Although this year was the most hotly contested to date, with spectacular landscapes, mountaintop views and walks accessible to all in both the Mourne Mountains and surrounding foothills, it’s easy to see why this location came out on top.”
Delighted to hear of the area’s achievements, Newry, Mourne and Down Countryside Officer and joint organiser of the Mournes International Walking Festival, Heather Wilson commented, “We were absolutely delighted to hear the Mournes has once again won multiple awards. The mountain range and surrounding area offers endless routes for walkers to experience wild landscapes and breath-taking views. Every year the festival brings in international visitors who instantly fall in love with this compact yet impressive mountain range. The Mournes Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is simply unique making it a superb walking destination.”
WalkNI Award Winners 2017
- Favourite Walking Destination – Mourne Mountains, Co. Down
- Most Epic View – Slieve Bearnagh, Mourne Mountains By Alistair Hamill Photography
- Favourite Coastal Walk – Causeway Coast Way, Co. Antrim
- Favourite Country Park/ Estate – Castle Ward, Co. Down
- Favourite Family Friendly Walk – Castlewellan Forest Park, Co. Down
- Favourite Nature Reserve – Murlough National Nature Reserve, Co. Down
- Favourite Walking Festival/ Event – Mourne International Walking Festival