Get your walking boots on and support NSPCC

NSPCC's Clare Galbraith gets into her stride in the Mournes, ahead of this year's Hike Against Cruelty to Kids (HACK).
NSPCC's Clare Galbraith gets into her stride in the Mournes, ahead of this year's Hike Against Cruelty to Kids (HACK).

THIS year’s NSPCC Mournes Hike Against Cruelty to Kids (HACK) will offer walkers two spectacular, challenging walks through the magnificent Mournes.

Combining a great day out with an opportunity to make a difference for local children and families, the annual HACK is a must for every walker’s social calendar!

With a choice of a 14 and 20 mile route, the 2012 HACK will begin bright and early in Jack O’Hare’s, Donard Park, ascending through the woods to the Glen River, before climbing to the head of the river valley - high on the slopes between Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh.

Both routes continue along the Brandy Pad towards Hare’s Gap - the most dramatic mountain pass in the Mournes. Cut by the passage of ice, this once provided a handy route for contraband goods, but now allows us to ‘smuggle’ through walkers who are in the market for a superb view of the Silent Valley’s Ben Crom reservoir.

Heading then towards the Trassey Track, the 14 mile route diverts walkers beside Clonachullion Wood (keep your eyes peeled for red squirrels!) and on to Tollymore Forest.

For 20 mile stalwarts the route then makes its way up to the col (pass) between Slieve Bernagh and Slieve Meelmore and contours round Slieve Loughshannagh before heading towards Ott. As a reward for committing to those extra six miles, 20-mile walkers will be treated to amazing views of the coast towards Carlingford.

Moving onwards, the route then makes its way past Fofanny Dam, along the foot of Meelmore, before re-joining the 14 mile route and heading towards Tollymore Forest.

Tantalised by the prospect of a well-earned barbecue, walkers will complete their adventure by making their way towards Newcastle, through the length of Tollymore Forest, and returning to Jack O’Hares.

Easy! Now all you have to do is register at www.nspcc.org.uk/hack or by phoning 028 90 351135, get training and start raising those much-needed funds for some of Northern Ireland’s most vulnerable children.