Sinn Féin South Down MP Chris Hazzard said he is delighted that the Mournes have won multiple accolades at the second annual WalkNI Awards this week.
The local mountain range won five of the seven coveted titles – including ‘Best Walking Destination’, and ‘Most Epic View’. In a hotly contested field this year the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty also picked up awards in three other categories with Murlough Nature Reserve voted ‘Favourite Nature Reserve’, Castlewellan Forest Park voted ‘Favourite Family Friendly Walk’ and the Mournes International Walking Festival crowned ‘Best Walking Festival’.
The South Down MP said: “This is truly fantastic news for the local area. The Mournes, and the surrounding area of natural beauty holds a special place for all of us here in South Down so we are all very proud of these achievements.
“The Mournes offer endless opportunities for all types of visitors and residents alike – and as much as I am delighted with these awards and I am not surprised at all. Very few locations in Ireland offer similar spectacular landscapes, mountaintop views and walks accessible to all in both the Mourne Mountains and surrounding foothills.
“Great credit must go to the Newry Mourne and Down District Council, Mourne Heritage Trust, the farming community, and all those volunteers and visitors who play a role in protecting our local environmental heritage in the Mournes area.
“Its these collective efforts that deliver great accolades such as this, but more importantly ensures the protection of the Mournes for future generations to enjoy.”