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Saturday, 25 May 2013

Ramblers Trip 2013 to the Mountains of Mourne - Day 6 - Strangford/Portaferry Mount Stewart Home

Saturday the 25th of May 2013
It's our last day in the Mountains of Mourne.
Some of us have Mairead's Irish breakfast and some look after themselves.
We settle our bills (I think you're supposed to settle them at the beginning of your stay, but we all missed the notice). We've had a great week. Thanks for everything Mairead.
Once all the cars are packed and the passengers accounted for we agree that we'll all meet in the National Trust's Mount Stewart cafe. Scoop the only one who's previously visited Mount Stewart and she remembers it as a good visit.

My passenger is the teacher and we've planned the route to Strangford for the short ferry crossing.
We head north towards Hilltown before taking the Castlewellan/Clough road.
A rather scenic hamlet has something painted on the rocks that catches our eyes.

I'd guess it's a cleverly worded encouragement to the local sports teams

We make a stop in Downpatrick and find the Railway Museum closed and workmen busy to get it ready for the coming bank holiday.

We're taking the ferry from Strangford to Portaferry it'll save us a round trip.
Amazingly three of the four cars are on the same ferry.

It's an eight minute crossing. Apparently the round trip by road is 75 kilometers and takes a car an hour and a half. It's a lovely day.

I told these guys I'd be publishing this picture. They did tell me who they were (localish) but I've forgotten. They come over to Scotland quite often.

We follow the coast up Strangford Loch passing through Kirkcubbin and Grey Abbey before reaching the gates of Mount Stewart
I zoom in to the wee hill we climbed yesterday

Unusually there appears to be no parking charges for the car park.
Most of us are card carrying members of the National Trust however and that's required to get into the House and gardens. 
The Musician and the Sloan Ranger are a little late in arriving 
Here's Scoop awaiting her coachman to fetch the horse.

Refreshments are taken in the cafe.We'll be having a guided tour around the house later.
Me and the Teacher begin a walk around the grounds

Here's the Wikipedia page

It seems the foliage and greenery is further on than in South West Scotland

There's a lot of colour and it being a sunny day adds to it.

Who's this wandering around ?

This is the Sunk Garden.
I got a 360 degree panorama and you can see it in glorious colour on Panogio
Even better, click the full screen logo bottom right.  

This is the Shamrock Garden with some excellent topiary.

Originally 30 topiary figures crowned the top of the shamrock hedge. Today there are eight, reinstated in the 1990s in Irish yew.

Now it's time for our guided tour. We're permitted to take pictures without flash.

There are paintings galore........................

............................................this Stubbs original is the pick of them. I wonder what it's valued at ?

A story of a providential escape.

It's a house full of magnificent treasures.
Here's Ireland's Eye's take on the contents.

I can't remember what was said about these, but if they're antlers they're the biggest I've ever seen.
They're believed to have been found in the grounds of Mount Stewart.

After the tour, myself and the teacher head off for a quick look at Donaghadee, the shortest crossing between Ireland and the South West of Scotland. 
We get a ten second delay picture.
Here's a link to my 2008 post of the annual Ribraid from here

Up in the air a Pioneer 200-M manufactured by Alpi Aviation passes overhead. I fully zoom to get a fine boat. There's a fine lifeboat in the harbour and there's a memorial to the Princess Victoria.

Time to make our way into Belfast after a visit to the Newtownards branch of Lidl. I got the horn at a funny junction where I should have given way.
Just time for a beer at the Portside Inn before heading for the ferry.
The other three cars haven't been as adventurous as we have and they're already in the queue.

On board and on our way home I get a few more pictures from the boat as we leave Belfast Lough.
After a while surfing I'm no nearer finding the name of this big house. Can someone knowledgeable give me a clue. 
So concludes our little trip to the Mountains of Mourne.
I hope all my fellow rambling friends enjoyed it as much as I did.


  1. I've enjoyed the 6 day trip very much Jim - albeit from my armchair! Wonderful narrative, photos and a great bunch of people.
    Your efforts with the posts on the blog have not gone unappreciated. :)

  2. Better than the average topiary I say, and they let you take pictures too - well worth a visit by the looks of it.

  3. Mount Stewart looks a belter of a place. I'm Jealous:)
    Some great photographs Jim.

  4. Thanks Rose, hope all's well with you.

    Aye Sandy, I was really surprised to be able to take pictures too.
    We caught a glimpse of Lady Rose Lauritzen and her husband Peter, separately. I didn't think they'd appreciate being photographed.

    It is some place Bob. I'm not sure I like the idea that my membership keeps the nobility in the lifestyle that they're used to though. Then again if the National Trust didn't take over these estates, I suppose they'd just go to rack and ruin. A lot of Trust properties seem to have family members around these days. After that gripe however, I believe that Lady Rose has a lot of valuable input into the layout of her families estate.


Thanks for all your comments. I may not get to reply to them all, but you may be sure they'll be appreciated.

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