Breathe that fresh mountain air. Ahhh!
Serious hikes, serene strolls, river safaris and sure-fire craic is in store for you at the Carlow Walking Festival 2014!
You can choose from 23 guided walks that range from leisurely historic walks & nature walks, all the way through to a hard & fast 8 hour A++ hike through Ireland’s heather -covered Blackstairs Mountains. Transport to & from the walks is provided, and each walk has several guides but limited numbers of walkers in order to give you the best experience possible. There are even refreshments afterwards, and evening trad sessions in O’Shea’s fabulous pub/hardware shop that you really shouldn’t miss!
The Walking Festival runs 3-5 October 2014, and sadly, (ok not sooo sad!) I’ll be in Italy during it, so I’ll miss out myself; but if I was in Ireland I’d also be very interested in some of the complementary outdoor activities on offer during the festival too.
Go With The Flow are running a Safari on the River Barrow each day of the walking festival, suitable for absolute beginners and families. The Barrow is a great river for spotting otters & kingfishers– I know because I’ve seen several here myself, and it is such a thrill each time!
Cycling along the River
Cycling is another brilliant way to spot Irish wildlife. A gentle cycle down the towpath which runs alongside the Barrow is just the ticket. Terry and I rented the bikes & did this ourselves, and the wide towpath is lovely and flat for those of us on the un side of fit 🙂 That flatness also makes it more family friendly, so a cycle along the river, with perhaps a stop for cake & coffee in St Mullins or Graiguenamanagh makes for a lovely and easy outdoor adventure. You can rent bikes from Waterside Bike & Hike, €15 a day for adults, €10 for child. Don’t miss the stone chair of the robber Freney along the lefthand side of the Barrow towpath a few km down from Tinnahinch if you cycle to St Mullins. Picturesque seat for stopping to take a breather!
Walking in Ireland’s mountains at night is magical. One of the B rated walks (#1) is at nighttime, lead by experienced local guides. When I lived in Donegal I used to walk a bit of the mountainside at night, and believe me, it is something special. If the stars & moon are out it is even more so, but regardless, if you are in the category of ‘experienced hillwalker’ this is a walk not to be missed. And if you’d like to learn more about that B level of ‘experienced hillwalker,’ check out Walk 16, which is an informal Introduction To Hillwalking for B level walkers.
Brandon Hill is just one of the walks giving you fabulous views; see the the photo below for one beautiful view over the Barrow Valley– and how about that carpet of purple heather! Terry did this hill walk with his friend last week, and you can do it too; it is a B level walk, #6. It takes around 4-5 hours and you can usually easily see the Wicklow Mountains and several counties. I think Terry will be doing some of the Carlow walks whilst I’m away in Italy, and he is under instruction to take photos to share with you all!
The Festival is using the Twitter hashtag #WalkCarlow, so you can follow along & enjoy some beautiful views even if you aren’t here. As part of Green and Vibrant I’m organizing the hashtag and bringing a blogger or two in to experience & share about this lovely Irish walking festival, so they will be tweeting photos too– when mobile coverage in the countryside allows 😀
Do share YOUR #CarlowWalks photos & if you’ve any walking tips, because we’d love to see & share them.
There are SO many fabulous walks in Carlow, do have a look of the full Festival listings & brochure here: Carlow Autumn Walking Festival 2014 .
And DO book early, places are limited; the link to book walks is here. Walks are between €10-€20 to cover costs. Carlow Walking is a well regarded walking festival, with many walkers returning each year-maybe you will too 🙂
PS: If you’re travelling to Carlow, several hotels have Walking Festival offers; see them on the brochure, linked above.
For even more Carlow events, like the Feile an Fhomhaie 2-9 October, see http://carlowtourism.com
Enjoy your Walks & Outdoor Adventures in Carlow!