||Slieve Croob or "The Twelve Cairns"
||West of the District in the Mournes Area
Slieve Croob or in Irish, Slaibh Crub – the mountain of the hoof- rises to a height of 534 metres (1755) feet above sea level. Near the summit of this mountian the river Lagan rises as a tiny Stream and begins its Journey to Belfast.
The Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) was formally redesignated under the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 on 9th December 1986. This designation gave statutory recognition to the quality of the landscape in the Mourne/Croob area. On a clear day there are spectacular views from the surrounding country side and across Northern Ireland. Belfast and Cavehill can be seen in the North, the Sperrin Mountains to the West and the rest of the Mourne Mountains to the South.
The mountain forms the highest peak in the Dromara hills, a range of mountains forming the foothills of the high Mournes. This elevated drumlin landscape has a rugged, relatively wild character and a rough texture. The summits are separated by a rolling plateau of marginal farmland and the rounded drumlin landform is broken by numerous rocky outcrops and clumps of gorse.
The Mourne Foothills landscape wraps around the northern fringes of the massive summits of Slieve Croob and the Mourne Mountains. The characteristic rugged scenery, which includes some distinctive hill summits and rocky outcrops, has been moulded from igneous rock, primarily granite. Pastures are of varied shapes and sizes and many are enclosed by low broken stone walls. All these unique features give the landscape an untamed character.
The area has a history of settlement since ancient times. On the summit of the Dromara hills are the remains of a bronze age cairn (in private property) from which the mountains gained a local name of 'The Twelve Cairns'. The cairn is accessible by tolerance of the landowners and there are stiles leading to it if you follow the surfaced road to its end on the top of the mountain.
The absence of trees, and resulting exposed landscape, and the high rain fall create a short growing season for vegetation. The side of the mountains are dominated by grasses such as densely tufted mat grass. This wiry plant gives a characteristic whitish tone to the slopes in winter, which contrasts with the green of cultivated fields below. These grasses are able to survive sheep grazing which eventually kills other species such as heather that once would have dominated the slopes. The nodding white heads of cotton grass signal wetter areas as the grassland frequently grades into wet flushes. If you look closely among the hedges, you may find butterwort, with a rosette of spreading oval pale-green leaves looking like a yellow starfish (can be seen just of the transmitter road, near the summit).