24th Annual Mournes' Clean-up

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Centre at Belfast Royal Academy held its 24th Annual Sponsored Mournes' "Clean-up" and Environment Day on Saturday, 14th December, 2013.  

Taking part were 151 people, i.e. 114 pupils, all Duke of Edinburgh's Award participants from Forms 3 to Middle 6, as well as 37 adult helpers, including former pupils who are Gold Award holders, parents and teachers. This was an excellent turn-out in the face of poor weather conditions.

 Rubbish was collected from the following sites:-

1.   Murlough Bay via Donard Hotel to Newcastle beach front

2.   Glen River from Donard Park to Thomas’s Mountain

3.   Fofanny Dam Forest

4.   Ott Track to Lough Shannagh returning via Ott Track

5.   Carrick Little car park up Annalong River to the Oxbow campsite

6.   Bloodybridge and Bog of Donard; then Chimney Rock.

7.   Pigeon Rock carpark, up either side of the Slievenaman Road to Deer’s Meadow and round to the Spelga Dam carpark; also both sides of the Slievenaman Road to Fofanny Dam

8.   All Hen Track

9.   Kilbroney Park (Rostrevor) entrance, up the Ulster Way to Yellow Water River carpark

10.          Shanky’s Hollow and Ulster Way to Yellow Water River carpark

11.          Kilkeel Beach near Kilkeel Harbour

12.          Trassey Track

In excess of two and a half tonnes of rubbish were cleared. This was very good indeed, bearing in mind the poor weather.

Much appreciated assistance was given by Down District Council, Newry and Mourne District Council, The Mourne Heritage Trust, The National Trust, Tidy Northern Ireland and Mark’s Skip Hire (Kilkeel). We are especially grateful for the award of a grant from the NGO Challenge Fund (Northern Ireland Environment Agency).

 Mr. Moore Dickson, Headmaster, Mr. Norman Beggs, Warden of the Academy’s Board of Governors, Dr. Louis Campbell, former Deputy Headmaster, Councillor Maria McCarthy, Chairman, Down District Council, Councillor David Taylor, Deputy Mayor, Newry and Mourne District Council, Mr. Sean Rogers, M.L.A., Mr. Jim Wells, M.L.A., Mr. John McCallister,M.L.A., Mr. Matthew Bushby, Countryside Services Manager, Mourne Heritage Trust, Mr. David Thompson, Area Warden for South Down, National Trust, Ms. Kate Thompson, Director, D.of E. (N.I.), Ms. Joanna Clarke, Senior Youth Worker, B.E.L.B., Ms. Colette O’Rourke, Performance and Quality Officer, Down District Council and Mr. Liam Dinsmore, Management Services Officer, Newry and Mourne District Council, were present in Donard Park, Newcastle, early on the Saturday morning to lend their support to the event and to wish the B.R.A. Team every success.

Mr John Reilly, Master-in-Charge of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Centre at Belfast Royal Academy, said at the close of the event, "The day has been very successful indeed. We have lifted a mountain of rubbish. It is rather disturbing each year to see, in certain locations, the amount of rubbish, particularly domestic rubbish, being dumped in an area of such beauty as the Mournes. People should appreciate the countryside and take care of it. All those who took part in our Clean-up have worked hard and had fun. I think it is excellent that, so near to Christmas and despite the stormy weather conditions, so many young people are prepared to give up their Saturday to care for our environment in this way. We normally make use of the Mourne Mountains for our expedition work on 12-15 weekends per year and we feel it is appropriate to give something back."