St Patrick’s Pilgrim Walk - Day 5 - Wed, 23 September 2020
From Hill Town to Newcastle 19km/12 miles
Today’s walk promised some rainy, cold weather. Instead, the day turned into warm, dry and sunny one!
The area is an outstanding natural beauty. Starting the walk at the sort of bottom of the Mourne mountains might have felt a little cold but walking at a vast pace made me take off my jacket in a matter of minutes. The clouds were low, and the path was badly signposted. Fortunately, there were signs for other walks too, and they seemed to direct towards the town. I was heading for Newcastle and the Tollymore Forest just before it.
I met some walkers on the way, and although no-one seemed to have heard of the St Patrick’s Pilgrim Walk, they were at least sharing some of the same paths in the same direction. We were lucky that the trails were clean, even though there were cattle and loads of sheep around. The dogs had to be kept on the lead; these ferocious dogs turn into a pack of wolves when seeing these beautiful animals.
Today only 7 dogs were walking with me, Lake, the male chihuahua, had something wrong with his eyes and rather than taking him on a long walk, I thought it was better for him to be taken to the vet to be checked out. Fortunately, nothing was wrong, so tomorrow he is back as part of the team again.
The walk took us around Slieve Bearnagh which is the 4th highest mountain in the range, into Tollymore Forest.
It was terrific to walling through another great Forest. However, I lost my way very quickly as there was no signage to be found anywhere except those of other walks. I decided to follow my instinct. You may now know by now that my instinct for direction is usually wrong. This time I was right! I came across a friendly Forest guide. When I made my complaint about the lack of signage, she explained that many of the St Patrick’s signs had been vandalized. That explained everything; it all goes back to troubles in Northern Ireland.
Since we were in the forest, the dogs were running off lead. They love to be walking free and explore every new smell they can find. There was a piece of cut grassland where they run wild for a while before continuing our walk into the seaside town Newcastle.
What a great town this is, great little variety of shops, great layout and all looking fresh and clean. I could easily live here. Sea, mountains, forests and a lovely town, what more can one ask for in these days. Tomorrow our walk will pick up from this charming town.