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Mournes & Ards Self-Guided

Mournes & Ards Self-Guided

Ireland Flag Ireland

  • Region Region North of Ireland
  • Tour Type Tour Type Self Guided (Open Departure)
  • Duration Duration 7 days
  • Bike Type Bike Types Road, Hybrid, Touring & e-bike

Core Route

186 Kilometres
2 (Moderate) Difficulty Level: 2 (Moderate)
Average Distance per Day: 31 km
0 250 km
Average Elevation Gain per Day: 1485 km
0 2000 km

Extended Route

230 Kilometres
2 (Moderate) Difficulty Level: 2 (Moderate)
Average Distance per Day: 38 km
0 250 km
Average Elevation Gain per Day: 1256 km
0 2000 km
April - October from
£675
Next Steps

This tour leads you around the Kingdom of Down , visiting Lagan Valley, the Cooley Peninsula, Carlingford Lough, the Mountains of Mourne, Strangford Lough, the Ards Peninsula and St Patrick’s Country.

Starting in Moira, the first leg takes you south along the Newry Canal to Newry at the head of Carlingford Lough. Leaving Newry you follow the coast north to Rostrevor and next morning then climb through the Mournes to the Spelga Pass from where you drop down to Newcastle. The next leg continues around Dundrum Bay to Strangford for a two night stopover. The loop route explores St Patrick’s Country and the Ards Peninsula. The next leg of the journey takes you via the shores of Strangford Lough to Comber, with the final leg joining the Greenway all the way into Belfast.

Highlights

  • The Newry Canal Cycle Path

  • Narrow Water Castle

  • Down Museum

  • The Silent Valley

  • Tollymore Forest Park

  • Dundrum Castle

  • Mount Stewart

  • Castleward

  • Nendrum Monastic Site

  • Castle Espie Wildfowl Sanctuary

Day 1

Arrive in Belfast or Moira as preferred or what fits best with your inward travel plans. Full tour briefing and bike fitting will take place early next morning at your Belfast/Moira accommodation at a pre-arranged time. If you decide to stay in Belfast you have the option to add a day either at the start or the end of your tour to see some of Belfast famous attractions.

2

Moira to Rostrevor - (Core Route 41 miles Ascent 1879 feet)Today is rural cycling through the beautiful County Down countryside with a section of the route along the 200-year-old Newry Canal cycle path. The village of Scarva has an interesting visitors centre, while historical Newry and the bustling post of Warenpoint are on to Rostrevor a lively village on the coast nestling in the foothills of the Mourne mountains. Along the way stop to see St Bagnenal’s Castle and Museum in Newry and Narrow Water’s Castle between Newry and Warrenpoint

Moira Rostrevor elv

3

Rostrevor to Newcastle - (Core Route 27 miles Ascent 2342 feet) Leaving Rostrevor you will cycle through the stunning Mourne mountains to the picturesque resort town of Newcastle and the home of Royal County Down Golf regularity listed in the world’s top ten. Along the way you have the opportunity to stop at Hilltown, the Spelga and Silent Valley dams and the forest park at Tollymore. It’s a day for the camera.

Rostrevoe newcastle elv

4

Newcastle to Strangford - (Loop ride 34 miles Ascent 887 feet) Back to coastal cycling as the route meanders through the villages of Dundrum with its historical castle, architecturally interesting Killlough, the fishing village of Ardglass and into the beautiful loughside village of Strangford your home for the next two days and a chance to really unpack

Newcastle strangford elv

5

Strangford - Strangford (core Route 32 miles Ascent 887 feet)This is a day of options. Choose between crossing Strangford Lough on a quaint ferry and exploring the Ards Peninsula or a shorter loop to a stately home at Castleward. The day offers attractions such as Exploris marine park, Mount Stewart and Casleward stately homes leisurely cycling or some lovely walks if you prefer. This is real Game of Thrones territory for those who follow the TV series

Stranford loop elv

6

Strangford to Comber - (core Route 39 miles Ascent 1455 feet) On the move again, starting westwards towards the Historical town of Downpatrick, the focal point for St Patrick with his grave at Down Cathedral, Down Museum and the St Patrick centre all clustered together in the town centre. Your journey takes through both rolling County Down drumlins and Coastal cycling routes to your accommodation near Comber. Nendrum Monastic Site is worth a visit.

Strangford Comber elv

7

Comber to Belfast - (Core Route 13 miles Ascent 688 feet) You can cycle all the way to Belfast on the core Route which is mostly a dedicated Greenway cycling path. This allows you to have some extra time in Belfast to see its many attractions including the worldrenowned Titanic Experience which is on your way into the centre of Belfast

Comber Belfast elv

8

Spend you last evening in the city of Belfast, before departing the following morning after breakfast. Extra night(s) can be arranged if you wish to explore Belfast further.

Route Map

Accommodation

The standard accommodations for this region's self-guided itineraries are guesthouses and bed and breakfasts (B&Bs). Generally, these have between 4 and 10 guest rooms and the owners/providers live on the premises. In almost all cases the bathroom facilities are ensuite (self-contained within the room), and the room facilities usually include a television and tea/coffee making facilities. There is a communal reading / television lounge. Small family run hotels are also used in a few locations. The providers are excellent sources of local information.

Breakfast is always included. Most guesthouses do not offer an evening meal.

When you book a tour, your pre-trip planner will have more details about the specific facilities and services provided by the accommodations.

Examples of our guesthouses in this region include;

Ravenhill Guest House
The Old Schoolhouse
The Rostrevor Inn

Getting there

From Belfast International Airport, Ulsterbus operates a frequent service to Belfast Europa Bus Station (45 minutes). A taxi is the other (less economical) alternative. This larger airport is where most international flights arrive.

From Belfast City Airport, Ulsterbus operates a frequent service to Belfast Europa Bus Station (15 minutes). Again, a very short taxi ride is the alternative. This airport, very close to the city centre, typically serves domestic flights, although an increasing number of European routes are being added.

From Dublin Airport, both Bus Eireann and Aircoach operate a frequent service to Belfast Europa Bus Station. Alternatively take a Dublin Bus Airlink Service to Dublin Connolly Station and a NIR or Irish Rail Enterprise train service to Belfast Central Station.

Climate

Ireland's climate is surprisingly mild given its northern location. This is mainly due to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream which brings warm waters up to Western Europe from the more tropical Atlantic zones.

Temperamental is a fitting description of Ireland's weather. It can be very unpredictable! The old adage that it is possible to experience four seasons in one day is close to the truth. During the summertime, the warmest months tend to be July and August, when average temperatures during the day can range from 15ºC to 20ºC. A hot day in summertime could produce temperatures of 22ºC to 24ºC and on rare occasions can exceed 30ºC.

The best time to travel to Ireland for an outdoor trip such as a bicycle tour is from the beginning of May to the end of September. April and October are also possible, but the chances of encountering inclement weather increase. Towards the end of October the days are significantly shorter.

Traditionally May can provide some of the best weather days of the season. The last two weeks in June have the longest days of the year.

July and August are peak travel season for Ireland. The first weekend in August (a public holiday weekend) is the busiest of the season. School holidays are from the end of June until the end of August.

The latter half of September sees the change to autumn colours.

Core Tour Cost £675
Hybrid Bicycle Rental £125
Touring Bicycle Rental £135
Road Bike Rental £165
E-Bicycle Rental £215
Luggage Transfers £250 (for two people)


£675 per person sharing, to include;

  • 7 nights' accommodation with breakfast
  • Pre-Trip Information Booklet and Planner
  • On call telephone support
  • All mapping, routes and cue sheets with gpx tracks
  • Meet, greet and bike fitting


Luggage transfer charges are calculated as follows:

The standard charge is based on one or two riders. A couple would therefore share the luggage transfer costs. There is then a small additional fee for the third and each additional person.
For example:

  • Total cost for one or two riders = 220 (110 per person based on two people sharing)
  • Total cost for three riders = 220 + 20= 240 (80 per person)
  • Total cost for four riders = 220 + 20 + 20 = 260 (65 per person)

Note that the more riders in the group, the less expensive are the luggage transfers per rider

Please note that whilst we will try our best to provide you with the exact bike as listed below, due to availability or sizing issues we may not always be able to. The bike you will receive will be of a very similar spec and always in very good condition.

Trek FX hybrid

  • 5 frame sizes
  • FX Alpha Gold Aluminium
  • FX Alloy fork
  • 27 speed

Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip).

Fitted with: Rear rack; platform pedals, bottle cage, fenders (mudguards)

Equipment provided: Handlebar bag; map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool.

Available on request: Panniers, helmet, odomoter, gps unit

Ridgeback Panorama Touring Bike

  • Full shimano drive
  • Disc brakes
  • Full length mudguards
  • 27 Speed.

Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip)

Fitted with: Rear rack; platform pedals, bottle cage, fenders (mudguards)

Equipment provided: Handlebar bag; map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool.

Available on request: Panniers, helmet, odomoter, gps unit

Fuji Sportif Road Bike

  • A2-SL double-butted alloy frame
  • Shimano Sora 2x9 components
  • Vittoria Zaffiro 700x30c tires

Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip)

Fitted with: Platform pedals, bottle cage,

Equipment provided: map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool, frame bag

Available on request: Panniers, helmet, odomoter, gps unit

Fuji E-Traverse E-Bike

  • Suntour NEX disc fork
  • Bafang H400 rear hub motor
  • Bafang 5 mode LED display w/walk assist
  • Shimano Gearing

Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip).

Fitted with: Rear rack; platform pedals, bottle cage, fenders (mudguards)

Equipment provided: Handlebar bag; map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool.

Available on request: Panniers, helmet, odomoter, gps unit

Next Steps

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