A Hike to the Big Stone

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.

07.13.03 - Big Stone

07.13.06 - Big Stone

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.

07.13.05 - Big Stone

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.

07.13.09 - Big Stone

07.13.08 - Big Stone

07.13.12 - Big Stone

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.

07.13.14 - Big Stone

07.13.18 - Big Stone

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.

07.13.19 - Big Stone

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.

07.13.25 - Big Stone

07.13.26 - Big Stone

07.13.27 - Big Stone

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.

07.13.31 - Big Stone

07.13.28 - Big Stone

07.13.30 - Big Stone

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.

07.13.32 - Big Stone

07.13.33 - Big Stone

07.13.34 - Big Stone

50 thoughts on “A Hike to the Big Stone

    • It was so steep Anabel – the more intense option worked for us, I don’t like dragging pain and suffering out for too long!! It was most definitely worth it though, such a beautiful place and so much to explore, we loved it.

      • Me neither! I always prefer going up the steeper, more direct route, and coming down the less steep one if that’s possible. Steep descent puts so much pressure on the old knees.

  1. The views do look spectacular. They would have to be to make that steep trek worthwhile. What is it about the Irish and Scots and their stories of giants? Every large rock was chucked by a giant it seems.

  2. Wow….and to think that pictures never really do scenery the kind of justice it deserves makes this even more impressive. I love the story of the Giants and walking around the stone. I’m always curious how those old tales begin. Steep and steeper, huh. Such choices…:) I’ve would have picked your route also, for the same reason. Great visit. Thanks again for sharing.

    • Thanks George – as you can see those views make a steep or steeper climb well worth it. You’re right too, it is even better when you see it for real. Any story with a giant does it for me!! Thanks for coming along!

  3. What a gorgeous day. It’s the perfect place for so many of us who wish we could just walk into Narnia… As the weather gets warmer and the days longer we are looking forward to adventuring outdoors more…you are inspiring us!

  4. Looks like a really beautiful hike – awesome pics! Northern Ireland must be fascinated with giants – we saw the amazing “Giant’s Causeway” a few years ago. 🙂

  5. A beautiful scenery with the lake and the rolling hills! I loved watching Narnia so no wonder I like the pictures of this great landscape:) We also have scattered huge stones laying on the prairie here after the last ice age. But I have to say I also prefer the local legend story;) Too bad you forgot to walk around it 7 times, you definitely have to go back so you can do it and ensure good luck:)

  6. Joy…that huge stone just made me laugh…I mean…that thing is big!! Anyway…looks like a beautiful place…but the forest does look kind of “blair witch project” 🙂

  7. An amazing day of hiking! I like the idea that Narnia actually exists somewhere. Does the local legend tell why the giant threw the big stone?

    • Apparently he was having an altercation with another giant!! He threw this rock from the other side of the Lough to try and hit his enemy – how the legend explains this rock being the same geological material as the mountains on the other side. Good isn’t it – I like these kinds of stories!

  8. New one for me too and another place I must add to a growing exploration list, love your pix! The entire idea of my own page was to show what NI really has to offer after seeing little on our countries Trip Advisor forum page beyond “how do I get a black taxi tour round the murals?” and “how much is it to get into the Titanic center?” (from tourists). Hmm….A sunken ship and some tainted wall graffiti? Glad its not just me displaying what’s truly been hiding here for years lol. Time to reveal!! 🙂

    • Completely agree – if you go off the beaten track just a little there are some amazing places that don’t get very much publicity or tourists!! This place is gorgeous – you should definitely visit!!

  9. Didn’t know Ireland was so beautilful! Love the legend as well! Always love to hear such ‘stories’. It’s part of the culture…

  10. Amazing views Joy – looks well worth the steep hike to get there! Am glad you emerged from the dark forest safe and sound too and found another lovely view! I love the legend about the giant throwing the “Big Stone” too. Looks a beautiful serene place 🙂

    • This is one of my favourite places Rosemary – I think the legend with the giant combined with the scenery make it just magical. The hike and sweating are all forgotten about as soon as you get to the top!

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