The Brandy Pad is an old smugglers track that runs from the coast of County Down
through the Mourne Mountains
In the 18th and 19th Centuries it was used by smugglers to get contraband out of the area patrolled by revenue police.
Their contraband would have included brandy, wine, tobacco, tea and silk—often shipped in via the Isle of Man.
Nowadays a popular walking route, the Brandy Pad still crosses the Mournes from east to west and extends from the coast at Bloody Bridge going over the shoulder of several of the Mourne Mountains, through the pass known as Hare’s Gap and down to Hilltown.
These days on the Brandy Pad you are more likely to meet leisure hill-walkers than smugglers—at least in daylight!
This panorama was shot below the rocky outcrops known as "The Castles", on the top of Slieve Commedagh. It opens with two hill-walkers in view—one striding along, coming from
Hare's Gap and one consulting her map, as she looks towards the view down the Annalong Valley.
Much of the water from the river that runs along the floor of that valley is diverted through a 3.6km tunnel under Slieve Binnian
and into the Silent Valley reservoir, which is just over the hill from the site of this panorama. The tunnel took 150 men four years to build and was completed in 1951. The reservoir provides water for Belfast and surrounding areas.