Popular walking festival returns with packed list of events

The Sperrin Mountains
The Sperrin Mountains

Walkers of all ages and abilities will be heading for the hills and exploring the local hinterland when the Sperrins and Killeter Walking Festival returns on Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17.

The popular festival will host a total of seven walks over the two days, ranging from easy family friendly strolls to moderate treks and challenging hill walks all led by professional walking guides.

The festival begins with an early 6am start at the Pedestrian Bridge at the Melvin Sports Centre in Strabane on Saturday September 16 when the 4km long Easy ‘Dawn Chorus’ Walk will allow walkers of all levels to explore Strabane’s captivating greenway along the River Mourne to Sion Mills.

Later that morning the Sawel Challenge at 9am will take more experienced walkers on a 12km hike through some of the highest peaks of the Sperrins before the Balix and Beyond 8km walk will allow more moderate ability walkers along a natural heritage site that links into the Murlough, Hollyhill and Legfordrum areas.

The Saturday will conclude with the Bat and Moth Walk where local forager Annie Mullan will guide young people and families into the twilight to explore the local nocturnal wildlife.

On Sunday the action moves to the scenic landscape of Killeter where experienced local guides will impart their knowledge about the ecology, history and folklore of this wild and remote part of West Tyrone.

At 9am the ‘Challenging the International Reach of the Killeter Camino’ walk from Killeter village will explore the international heritage links of the local area to the Camino de Santiago and the International Appalachian Trail.

Later that morning the Water of Life walk will offer the opportunity to trace the flow of the River Derg and surrounding lakes as a life giving watercourse through Killeter and beyond.

Finally the family friendly Pilgrim Trail from Killeter Village to Magherakeel and St Patrick’s Well will offer the opportunity to explore the old local route to Lough Derg where a host of local wild life including the Red Hare, Sparrow Hawks, Peregrune Falcons and the Irish Otter may be spotted.

The Killeter Walks will begin at Killeter Community Hall while the meeting point for the Gleneely Walks is Watts Barr in Plumbridge.

Registration for the Sperrins and Killeter Walking Festival is open now at sperrinskilleterwalking.com where full details of each walk are available.