Cloughmore, or the Big Stone as the locals call it is a 30 tonne granite boulder perched on the slopes of Slieve Meen in Co. Down, one thousand feet above the village of Rostrevor. This is one of those places I wonder why we haven’t visited before, so blown away were we by the scenery we are desperate to go back already.
There are two choices to get to the Big Stone – a long, hard, steep and tough climb or a shorter, very steep and very intense climb – neither is the easy option but the rewards are great. We went for the latter, found not many people at all on the track and huffed and puffed our way to the top.
Gorgeous views, trees and steep paths, the vistas were superb. Much puffing and red sweaty faces until we were rewarded with the Big Stone in all its glory. Pretty impressive but so is the view from the top – all the way across Counties Louth, Armagh and Down and the stunning Carlingford Lough.
The stone was deposited here by retreating glaciers during the last Ice Age but I prefer the local legend. The story goes that it was thrown by a giant from the Cooley Mountains on the other side of Carlingford Lough and landed in this spot. Apparently walking around the stone seven times will bring good luck. Out of puff and then swept away by the panorama we forgot to try this out.
Husband wandered, Son and I sat by the stone catching our breath and drinking in those views. When the wanderer returned we walked with him along one of the many paths. A few families around and about picking blueberries by the bucket load. We had a try of some ourselves. Growing in abundance at the top I can vouch for their deliciousness.
We had planned to hike to Fiddlers Green, a well known clearing in the woods where they hold a music festival later in the summer. We missed the track and found ourselves heading off in the wrong direction. Serendipity – the track took us through a forest dark as night but when we emerged blinking into the sunlight, the most glorious view of the whole lough spread out before us.
Just a little way further along, the track finished right by a sign claiming the view was CS Lewis’ inspiration for Narnia – not hard to see why.
Retracing our steps we still failed to find Fiddlers Green on the descent. It didn’t matter though, we can see it another time. We will definitely be back here.