The Mourne Mountains have been crowned the ‘Best Walking Destination’ in Northern Ireland whilst the Causeway Coast and Glens are officially home to the ‘Most Epic View’ as voted for by members of the public in the inaugural WalkNI Awards.
Celebrating all that is great about walking in Northern Ireland, award categories included favourite walking destination and routes as well as the best views, festivals and events with 1400 votes being cast via WalkNI.com.
Sarah Nelson who manages WalkNI.com commented, “These awards are a fantastic way of showcasing the outstanding walking product we have available in Northern Ireland. Walking is one of the most accessible forms of exercise and with beautiful landscapes like the Mournes and Causeway Coast on our doorstep there are lots of opportunities to get out exploring.”
Delighted to hear of the area’s achievements, Newry, Mourne and Down Countryside Officer Heather Wilson explained what gives the mountain range its winning formula. “The mountain range offers endless routes for walkers to experience a beautifully wild landscape. From the rocky outcrops on the summits and stunning reservoir views to the distinctive Mourne Wall the entire Mournes Area is simply unique. All of these elements and the fact it is home to Northern Ireland’s highest peak make it a superb destination for walkers.”
Commenting on the winning view overlooking Benbane Head along the Causeway Coast Way, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Alderman Maura Hickey said, “The Causeway Coast and Glens are justifiably famous for the Giant’s Causeway, however beyond this popular site there are miles and miles of stunning and accessible coastline few people are aware of. With this particular view being recognised as the best in Northern Ireland, the secret is finally out and we look forward to welcoming more walkers to this area of unique natural beauty.”
The highest and most dramatic mountain range in Northern Ireland also claimed awards in two other categories including the annual Mourne International Walking Festival winning ‘Best Walking Festival’ and Slieve Donard via Glen River topping the poll for the ‘Best Route in the Mourne Mountains’. Other awards secured for the Causeway Coast and Glens included the Causeway Coast Challenge Walk, organised by local walking group the Bannside Ramblers, winning ‘Best Walk Challenge Event’ and Ballintoy to Bushmills along the Causeway Coast Way securing the ‘Best Route in the Causeway Coast and Glens’.
Belfast man, Dermot Breen took home the ‘Outstanding Achievement through Walking’ Award for his inspirational fundraising efforts for Cancer Research UK whilst walking a distance of 652 miles along the Ulster Way in memory of his wife.
Read the blog to find out more about the winners and how you can enjoy the top walking spots.