A guided family hike in the Mournes / Randonnée guidée dans les Mournes

blue-lough-mournes-down-northern-ireland

Blue Lough

This weekend we went on the first ever guided family hike by Every Treasure. And what an adventure it was! The weather was onside, the Mourne Mountains were as breathtaking as ever, new friendships were formed and beautiful memories were made.


Ce weekend, nous avons participé à la première randonnée familiale organisée par Every Treasure. Et quelle aventure ce fut ! Le temps était de la partie, les montagnes de Mourne étaient époustouflantes, de nouvelles amitiés se sont formées et des souvenirs inoubliables furent créés.

 

About 11.30 on Sunday morning, we met up with 6 other families at the Carrick Little car park for a family guided hike to Blue Lough, a beautiful mountain lake about 3 miles into the Mournes, Co Down, Northern Ireland.

We were welcomed by Kelly, the blogger behind Every Treasure, her husband Trevor, loaded with a backpack full of sandwiches, and their three boys, all imbued with a sense of responsibility in this new family venture. 

For this first outing, they had chosen the flat-ish Blue Lough Trail because, with its spectacular views over the surrounding mountains, it is a real taster of the Mournes.

Fresh fruit and bags of crisps were handed out, and soon all 35 people in the party started walking up the wide track. 

The trail used to be paved with granite slabs, as it was used to transport Mourne granite, a popular building stone all over Co Down and beyond. 

The granite was most notably used for the construction of the incredible Mourne Wall. Built between 1904-22 to keep grazing cattle out of the 9,000-acre (3,600 ha) catchment area of Belfast’s fresh water supply, the longest dry stone wall in the world twists and turns for 22 miles (35km), and over fifteen mountain summits. 

At the first pit stop (cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks and cucumber slices, plus a bag of sweets for each of the children, all provided and carried by Kelly’s family), Trevor pointed to the right at Slieve Donard (alt. 850m/2,790ft), the highest summit in the Mournes, and neighbouring Slieve Commedagh. 

The Every Treasure family are out hiking and camping in the Mournes on most weekends, and their passion for the area really shines through. They have climbed most summits as a family, including the very steep Slieve Bearnagh to celebrate their youngest son’s 5th birthday!

Read this / A lire  7 tips for hiking with kids / 7 conseils pour la randonnée en famille

Dimanche aux alentours de 11h30, nous avons rencontré six autres familles au parking de Carrick Little, Co Down, pour une randonnée familiale accompagnée à Blue Lough (Lac Bleu), un lac de montagne situé à presque 5 km de là dans les Mournes, en Irlande du Nord.

Nous avons été immédiatement accueillis par Kelly, blogueuse de Every Treasure, son mari Trevor, sous un sac à dos plein à craquer de sandwiches, et leurs trois garçons, tous conscients de leurs responsabilités dans cette nouvelle entreprise familiale.

Pour cette première rando guidée, ils avaient choisi le sentier quasiment plat de Blue Lough parce que, avec ses vues imprenables sur les Mournes, il offre un excellent avant-goût de ce massif majestueux.

Des fruits frais et des sachets de chips furent distribués et, bientôt, les 35 membres du groupe commencèrent à gravir le chemin poussiéreux.

Cette piste, jadis pavée de dalles de pierre, servait à transporter le granite extrait des carrières de montagne avant d’être utilisé pour la construction dans la région, ou d’être exporté par bateau vers l’Angleterre.

Le granite de Mourne a notamment servi à la construction du mur éponyme. Bâti entre 1904 et 1922 pour tenir le bétail en-dehors du bassin versant des barrages de Silent Valley, qui alimentent en eau potable Belfast et le comté de Down, le mur de Mourne est le mur de pierre sèche le plus long du monde : il serpente sur 35 km et quinze sommets.

A la première pause (tomates-cerises, bâtonnets de carotte et tranches de concombre, plus un sachet de bonbons pour chacun des enfants, le tout fourni et porté par la famille organisatrice), Trevor indiqua sur la droite le sommet de Slieve Donard (alt. 850 m), point culminant des Mournes, avec à ses côtés, Slieve Commedagh.

La famille Every Treasure passe la plupart de ses weekends à marcher et camper dans les Mournes, et leur passion pour la région en est palpable. Ils ont escaladé en famille plusieurs sommets du massif, y compris le difficile Slieve Bearnagh pour y célébrer les 5 ans de leur plus jeune !

By the time Blue Lough appeared round a bend in the track, Jedi and Mermaid had met new friends. For once, there was a girl about the same age as Mermaid, and they talked and walked, and walked and talked for the rest of the day. Hiking with friends is a great antidote to complaints and trailside moaning – a trick which proved effective once again.

For more, you can read my post of tips for hiking with kids.

Jedi was soon marching ahead with Kelly’s eldest son, talking bushcraft and outdoor adventures all the way, and also speaking French, ahead of Isaac’s test the next day in school. (He got full marks, so Jedi’s tutoring must have helped a little!)

Blue Lough

On reaching Blue Lough, a tarp was rolled out on the meagre grass, and Trevor could finally lighten his load by handing out sandwiches for all 35 people in the group.

Just as Brian was saying that we should have brought a flask of coffee, Kelly went around serving tea or coffee, while her little helpers brought sugar and milk, and collected the used teabags.

Blue Lough is apparently a popular wild swimming spot. But on dipping my feet in the crystal clear water, I had no regrets for not bringing my swimsuit!

Read this / A lire  A summer of wild swimming / Un été de baignades sauvages

Avant même que Blue Lough n’apparaisse au détour d’un virage, Jedi et Sirène s’étaient déjà fait de nouveaux amis. Pour une fois, il y avait une fille de l’âge de Sirène, aussi ont-elles marché et parlé, parlé et marché pour le restant de la journée. Randonner avec d’autres enfants est le meilleur remède qui soit à toutes les plaintes et difficultés de la marche – un truc qui s’est avéré extrêmement efficace cette fois encore.

Pour d’autres astuces, consultez mon article de conseils pour la randonnée en famille.

Cependant, Jedi traçait devant avec l’aîné de Kelly, discutant bushcraft et aventures pleine nature au fil du chemin, et parlant aussi un peu français, en guise de révision pour le contrôle d’Isaac le lendemain à l’école. (Il a eu 20/20, alors la contribution de Jedi a dû servir à quelque chose !)

Blue Lough

A l’arrivée à Blue Lough, une bâche plastique fut déroulée sur l’herbe rase, et Trevor put enfin alléger sa charge en distribuant des sandwiches aux 35 participants.

Juste comme Brian regrettait de n’avoir pas apporté une thermos de café, Kelly commença à servir thé ou café à qui en voulait, pendant que ses assistants y ajoutaient sucre et lait, et ramassaient les sachets usagés.

Blue Lough est apparemment un haut-lieu de bignade sauvage. Cela dit, me tremper les pieds dans l’eau cristalline suffit à effacer tout regret de n’avoir pas apporté un maillot de bain !

With the picnic over, the group set off again to hike up to the saddle between Slieve Binnian and Slieve Lamagan, some 600 metres from the lake. This breathtaking vantage point overlooks the Ben Crom reservoir, below the soaring peaks of Ben Crom and Slieve Bearnagh on the other side.


Une fois le pique-nique terminé, le groupe s’ébranla à nouveau pour gravir le col entre Slieve Binnian et Slieve Lamagan, à 600 mètres du lac. Ce point de vue époustouflant surplombe le lac de retenue de Ben Crom, sous les sommets austères de Ben Crom et Slieve Bearnagh.

On the long way down, as the late afternoon sun shone a golden light through the light fluffy clouds, the trekking on rocky terrain started to take its toll on Squirrel and Pebbles’ little legs.

The last two kilometres were tough, but that also meant more time to appreciate the majestic Mournes.


A la descente, comme le soleil de fin d’après-midi baignait le paysage d’une lumière dorée entre les nuages blancs, la longue randonnée sur terrain rocailleux commença à affecter Ecureuil et Caillou. Les deux derniers kilomètres furent longs et pénibles. Mais ce fut aussi l’occasion d’admirer à loisir la beauté majestueuse des Mournes.

The Mourne Wall stretches over 22 miles (35km) and 15 summits /
Le mur de Mourne serpente sur 35 km et 15 sommets.

We were the last to arrive back at the Carrick Little car park. Jedi and Mermaid were finishing a cup of tea when Kelly handed out a lovely certificate and a brownie to everyone in the group. Needless to say that the chocolate cakes didn’t last long!


Nous sommes arrivés bons derniers au parking de Carrick Little. Jedi et Sirène finissaient de siroter du thé quand Kelly donna à chacun un joli certificat et un délicieux brownie. Inutile de préciser que les gâteaux au chocolat ne durèrent pas longtemps !

About Every Treasure

I first came across Kelly’s blog Every Treasure – In search of the silver lining a couple of years ago, and I was immediately inspired by her heart-felt writing and her daring adventures with her boys. At last I had found in Ireland another outdoor family blogger! 

When Kelly contacted me to feature in her Bloggers Showcase series (read it the interview here), we had already arranged to take part in Every Treasure‘s first family guided hike. (We made a weekend of it by staying overnight in Rostrevor, Co Down.)

On Sunday, it was such a pleasure to finally meet Kelly and walk the walk of outdoor-loving families with her gang!

“For us this adventure has been a long time in the making – we have been chatting about this for years! So, to see 7 families trekking together in the Mournes, having a laugh, and enjoying the great outdoors was literally a dream come true! We are passionate about families being active together and to see it all fall into place so wonderfully was super!”

Every Pleasure are planning to host bi-monthly family guided hikes through the summer. To find out more, get in touch with Kelly on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

every-treasure-family-mournes-northern-ireland

Every Treasure – Kelly, Trevor and their three boys / Kelly, Trevor et leurs trois garçons

A propos de Every Treasure

Il y a presque deux ans que j’ai découvert le blog de Kelly, Every Treasure – In search of the silver lining. Son style honnête et chaleureux et ses fabuleuses aventures nature avec ses trois garçons me plurent immédiatement. J’avais enfin trouvé en Irlande un autre blog famille nature !

Quand Kelly me contacta pour présenter mon blog dans sa rubrique Bloggers Showcase (vous pouvez lire l’interview ici), nous avions déjà arrangé de prendre part à la première randonnée guidée de Every Treasure. (Nous sommes partis pour le weekend en passant la nuit à Rostrevor, Co Down.) 

Dimanche, j’eus enfin l’immense plaisir de rencontrer Kelly et sa famille pleine nature. Or il s’avère que nous avons maintes choses en commun.

“Pour nous, cette aventure est l’aboutissement d’un long processus : nous en parlons depuis des années ! Alors, de voir sept familles marcher ensemble dans les Mournes, rire et profiter de la nature est comme un rêve devenu réalité.”

Every Treasure prévoit d’organiser des randonnées familiales guidées deux fois par mois pendant tout l’été. Pour en savoir plus, veuillez contacter Kelly sur Facebook, Twitter ou Instagram.

 

 

Country KidsOregon Girl Around the World  The Helpful Hiker

17 Responses to “A guided family hike in the Mournes / Randonnée guidée dans les Mournes

  • John smith
    5 months ago

    Great blog wonderful experiences for everybody involved and no better place than the mournes for a day of outdoor fun can’t wait till next week see you all on Sunday

  • John smith
    5 months ago

    Hi Annette just to make you aware I’m Kelly’s dad so I am looking forward to reading your blog in the future

  • Donna Smith
    5 months ago

    What an amazing blog felt like I was on the hike with you all. Am sure Kelly very much appreciated every thing you said, keep that blog alive it was wonderful. Best wishes to you and your family Kelly’s mum.xx

  • It looks like a beautiful hike. My kids are still a little young for that rigorous of a hike but we love hiking as a family. Maybe the next time we get back to Ireland they’ll be old enough. #FarawayFiles

  • How wonderful and a gorgeous day. No mist for you here, just clear blue skies and stunning views. It looks a dream walk with that gorgeous clear blue water at the top. I can imagine the idea of swimming being very appealing but the temperature of the water on your feet making you quickly change your minds! It is always a treat to meet other bloggers, especially someone you have been following, this sounds like kindred spirits meeting.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

  • What a fabulous idea to set up guided family hikes like this! I can see that this hike was made even more special for your kids by being able to enjoy it with other children their age. That scenery is spectacular. Every time I read one of your posts I’m inspired to visit Ireland. Thanks Annette, for sharing this on #FarawayFiles

  • This sounds like such a great walk and your photos are beautiful, as always! I’ll definitely be giving this a try with my family when we eventually take our boys to N Ireland. #CountryKids

  • Oh wow Annette! This is seriously cool – stunning photos. What a fantastic experience. sarah #CountryKids

  • What a stunning walk to go on, such beautiful scenery #CountryKids

  • It’s lovely that families are brought together like this to do guided walks. I particularly love that the kids made friends with other children and one child came away with full marks in their French test following on from his conversation wit Jedi #CountryKids

  • Just amazing and beautiful place… I also have got few certificates in my country for hiking. And now my plan is to visit other countries for the hike. So my first plan is for K2 and after that, I will go to Everest in few next months…

  • This looks like a fun family day out with some beautiful scenery to top it off. Thanks for sharing! #farawayfiles

  • Wow, what an amazing landscape! Thanks for sharing!

  • This hike looks gorgeous and it’s so cool that you joined up with Kelly and her family from Every Treasure to explore the area together. It’s always great when you experience an area for the first time with someone so knowledgeable and passionate. Thanks for joining us on #adventurecalling . We open again for new posts tomorrow morning.

  • What a great idea to go hiking with others, it makes it a different experience. I recently came across Kelly’s blog and it’s a great read. They did a good job carrying all the food and drinks and I love the idea of the brownies at the end-very well deserved! As ever your photos are stunning and make me want to head outside. Thanks so much for sharing #AdventureCalling

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