Walking Festival ready for return

Pictured at the launch of the 2018 Sperrins and Killeter Walking Festival are Josefin Koehler, Ashleigh Devine, Festival and Events Officer at Derry City and Strabane District Council, Eamon Dolan, Lorcan McBridge, Far and Wild, Councillor Kieran McGuire and Gordon Spears.
Pictured at the launch of the 2018 Sperrins and Killeter Walking Festival are Josefin Koehler, Ashleigh Devine, Festival and Events Officer at Derry City and Strabane District Council, Eamon Dolan, Lorcan McBridge, Far and Wild, Councillor Kieran McGuire and Gordon Spears.

Experienced and novice walkers alike are being urged to register now for one of the North West’s most popular hiking events.

Yes, the 2018 Sperrins and Killeter Walking Festival returns next month and will feature a number of new routes that will explore the nature and history of the area.

The well established trek into the local hinterland will be held this year on Saturday and Sunday, September 22 and 23.

The 2018 Festival will feature a number of new routes that will explore the beautiful nature and interesting history of the area.

The event, organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council, in conjunction with local adventure company Far and Wild will host a total of six walks led by professional walking guides.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane, Councillor John Boyle noted that the programme covers every level of walker as it includes family friendly strolls, moderate treks and challenging hill walks.

“I am delighted to see the return of this popular event where everyone from the most novice of walkers to experienced hikers are catered for,” said Councillor Boyle.

In a change from previous years, the 2018 festival will begin at the Killeter Heritage Centre on Saturday with the challenging ‘Beyond Borders’ walk at 9am which will take in much of the border hinterland that Tyrone shares with Donegal and Fermanagh.

One hour later at 10am the Local and Neolithic Walk, rated as ‘moderate’, will take in a range of interesting sites around the townland from the period when Ireland was settled by its first agrarian inhabitants.

Finally on Saturday, ‘The Bright and Beautiful Walk’ will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Mrs CF Alexander, who lived in Killeter, and is named after her most famous work ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’.

The four churches in the area have come together to create four community gardens in their grounds which are all included on this ‘moderate’ walking route.

The walk will leave the Heritage Centre at 12.30pm.

On Sunday the action moves to the Sperrins and the picturesque village of Plumbridge where three more walks will leave from Watt’s Bar on the town’s Main Street.

The ‘Jewel in the Crown of the IAT’ at 9am is a challenging route that will explore Sawel Mountain.

Sawel Mountain is a peak that is visible from counties as far flung as Down and is the highest mountain along the route of the International Appalachian Trail.

At 10am the Craignamaddy Nature Walk is a 10k hike that explores the ridge that rises between the Glenelly and Owenkillew Valleys and it will be led by an expert in Flora and Fauna who will focus on the areas’ unique habitat.

Finall, the family friendly Vinegar Hill Charity Walk in aid of Rural Support sets off from Watts Bar at 1pm.

It will be guided by local walkers and walking enthusiasts who will provide some appetising home grown hospitality along the way for those who take part.