Northern Ireland

Sperrin Mountains in National Geographic's top 101 list

The Sperrin Mountains in Northern Ireland have been named in National Geographic's prestigious list of Top 101 scenic drives in the world.

Image caption Sperrin Mountains features in National Geographic's 101 Top Scenic Drives in the World

The mountain range which straddles counties Londonderry and Tyrone boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in Northern Ireland.

It was praised for having "wild beauty, ideal trails and dreamy villages".

Hannah Shields, the first woman from Northern Ireland to climb Mount Everest, said the accolade was justified.

"National Geographic's magazine is followed all over the world," she said.

"It was one of my inspirational guide books travelling the world. I saw pictures and read about places and wanted to go and see them.

"To have something like this on our own doorstep is amazing. The Sperrins are beautiful and when you are in the middle of them there is so much to do and see."

The Sperrins claimed number 88 on the list, which also featured the Ring of Kerry. It came in at number 57.

Explore

Pauline Gormley of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) said the accolade would encourage people to visit the Sperrins and explore the area.

"It's fantastic that the Sperrins have been officially recognised on a world platform. While it is Northern Ireland's largest mountain range it is also probably the least explored," she said.

"They take in four separate scenic driving routes, east, central, south and north of the Sperrins which have a wealth of countryside, breath-taking scenery and ancient monuments."