Preliminary Walking Schedule for February/ March 2015

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(All walks suitable for beginners who are able to walk for 2 hours.)

Sunday 22nd Feb 2015 – St Kevins Way/Camaderry, Glendalough. Meeting at Glendalough Visitors Centre Car Park at 9.30 am. Suitable for Dogs (on leads)

Sunday 1st Mar 2015 – Tomaneena (also known as Turlough Hill)
Meeting at Turlough Hill carpark (Next to “Wicklow Gap”) at 9.30 am.

IF YOU KNOW OF A WALK IN YOUR AREA THAT YOU THINK WOULD BE SUITABLE, PLEASE GET IN CONTACT AND LET US KNOW THE DETAILS! 

The Wicklow Walkers

IMPORTANT NOTE – These walks are not guided. All walks are taken at your own risk. This page suggests walks and allows like-minded people to meet up and walk it together. Please ensure that you wear suitable clothing, including walking shoes/boots and carry water with you. If you have any questions about the walks, please feel free to contact this page.

Glendalough Silver Route

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This week I was alone in my exploring of one more hidden walking gem in Wicklow! I decided to take a path in Glendalough that is not as widely walked as some of the other trails. The walk is the “Silver Route” or Woodland walk which is marked with silver arrows. The trail circles the lower lake before climbing the base of Camaderry Mountain and then descends to meet St. Kevin’s Way.

Difficulty: 2/5. There is a short upwards climb from the Education Centre, and the final part of the assent is quite steep. However, this is only a very small section of the walk. Going the direction outlined in the below blog means you have a steep descent through the woods so ensure you have suitable footwear. The rest of the walk is very level.

Suitability: There are some tough parts, but these climbs should be no problem to anyone with moderate fitness. There is a steep climb down through a wood which can be slippy – proper footwear is a must, and walking sticks would be a bonus at this point. Not suitable for buggies, but fine for children & dogs on a lead.

Distance: 4km aprx

Time: The walk can easily be completed in an hour and a quarter (aprx 75 mins)

Information on Walk: The idea for this walk initially came from the wicklowwalks.com website:

http://www.wicklowwalks.com/camaderry-short-walk

Additional online information can be found here:

http://www.wicklowmountainsnationalpark.ie/walkingtrails.html

http://visitwicklow.ie/activities/glendalough-woodland-road-silver-route/

A Map & Information on this walk is available on the map board at the Information Center & the visitors center in Glendalough.

Map of Silver Route, Glendalough

Map of Silver Route, Glendalough

Our Walk:

As with most of the Glendalough walks, we began today’s walk at the Glendalough Visitors Centre car park. Many of the articles that I have read about this walk have suggested the Upper Lake car park however I usually like the added distance of parking at the Visitor’s Centre and the car park at the visitors centre is free! For this particular walk, which is a looped walk, it makes no difference to the length of the walk.

I set off from the car park, over the bridge and followed the Green Road towards the Upper Lake. There are two options at this point. You can continue on the Green Road to the Upper Lake or take the boardwalks to the Upper Lake. I took the boardwalk because it is slightly longer, and I find it a more interesting walk! Whichever route you take, make your way to the Information Centre beside the Upper Lake. If you continue on the Green Road you will arrive at the Information Centre. If you take the boardwalk you will arrive in the Upper Lake Car park and you can follow the signs to the Information Centre.

Across from the Information Centre there is a lovely Map Board which shows all the different marked walks. You can check out this walk on the map and see where you are heading! It is clearly marked with silver dots on the map.

From the Information Centre/Map Board, continue on the path towards the Upper Lake. Follow the path as it turns to the right along the Upper Lake shore line. From this point you will be following the silver arrows which will direct your way around the rest of the walk. As you walk along the lake shore you will be able to see the Education Centre nestled in the trees, where you are heading. The walk continues around the lake, turning left into the wooded area.

The Silver Route is well signposted with a silver arrow

The Silver Route is well signposted with a silver arrow

The walk turns right (follow the silver arrow!) just after the Education Centre. This part of the walk does climb into the trees, and is the hardest part of the walk. The path quickly levels out, and through the trees you will see some fantastic views of the valley. As you reach the highest part of this walk, the path does climb very steeply. This is only a few minutes’ walk, and when you get to the top it is downhill all the way!

Silver Route Wooded Path

Silver Route Wooded Path

A narrow path descends through the woods, and some parts of the ground can be quite soft and mucky. There is one part which has wooden boards due to the boggy ground underneath. Do take care, and be even more careful if there has been any recent heavy rainfall. This wooded path winds to the right and joins St. Kevin’s way which runs alongside the Glendasan River. This section of the walk is a wide path and is used by some vehicles so watch out for traffic.

Glendasan River running alongside St. Kevin's Way

Glendasan River running alongside St. Kevin’s Way

The route follows St. Kevin’s way until it reaches the road just above the Monastic City. From here you can make your way back to the car park by either through the Monastic City if you want to take the scenic route or directly through the Glendalough Hotel Car Park.

Highlights:

  • Enjoy a nice quiet walk, I did not meet one other person once I left the main paths.
  • The section of the walk which joins St. Kevin’s Way along the Glendasan River will make you very envious of the locals whose gardens practically include this amazing walk.
  • When you have finished your walk, take some time to explore the Monastic City located close to the Visitor’s Centre Car Park

 

Top Tips:

  • Make sure that you bring a phone with you as the walk is quite secluded so it important to have some link to the rest of the world! Also make sure someone knows that you are doing the walk and when they should expect you back.
  • Ensure you bring warm layers, regardless of the weather. Some parts of the walk are open and it can be very windy.
  • Do use the bathroom facilities before you leave the Visitors centre as you will not find another till you get back to Glendalough.
  • If you have walking sticks, do bring them along. The walk down through the forest can be tough so anything to help would be a bonus!
  • If you finish your walk around lunchtime, why not take a walk (or drive!) to the wonderful Wicklow Heather Restaurant which is located 1.5km from the Visitors Centre car park. Fantastic food and welcoming staff even when you turn up in your walking gear!

Blessington Greenway

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This week the Wicklow Walkers decided to explore a newly developed Greenway which runs from the Avon Ri Lakeshore Resort to Russborough House just outside Blessington. This route was officially opened in February 2014.

Difficulty: 2/5. A lovely flat walk, there are no hills to contend with! The path is a mix of forest trail, man-made paths and wooden walkways. The length can be adapted to suit your ability.

Suitability: This trail is also open to cyclists which means that there is no steps making it a very suitable walk for pushchairs. Also great for Children who want to bring bikes or scooters. The walk does cross two roads, which can be busy so it is important to keep this in mind when walking with children. Your dog will also love this walk! You will meet many dog owners on the trail. If you do want to bring your dog, ensure that you keep them on their lead as other walkers may not love your dog as much as you do! The day we went, we traveled with both Children (aged between 5 and 10) and our dogs.

A lovely clear morning around the Blessington Lakes as the fog cleared

A lovely clear morning around the Blessington Lakes as the fog cleared

Distance: 6.5km aprx one way or 13km aprx return journey.

Time: Walking at a steady pace, we completed the walk from Russborough House to Avon Ri in 1 ½  hours. Walking back from Avon Ri to Russborough house at a brisker pace took an hour and 15 mins.

Information on Walk: There is more information about the walk available from the following websites:

http://visitwicklow.ie/activities/blessington-greenway-walk/ http://www.avonri.com/cmsFiles/blessington_greenway_map.pdf http://mountainviews.ie/walk/141/

Our Walk:

We began our walk at the Russelltown Bay Car Park, which is situated across from the road to Russborough House. The entrance to the carpark is just before the Dublin Bus Stop on the right hand side. The carpark opens at 9am on a Sunday morning, if you do arrive before this time the gates will be locked, but you can park around the gates and walk to the path. There are a few options for this walk, you can walk from the carpark to Avon Ri and back which is about 13km. Alternatively, if you have two cars you can leave one at Avon Ri and the other at Russelltown Bay and walk from one end of the trail to the other.
Another way you can walk it, which I find useful if I am on my own and do not have time to do the full walk, is walking until the path meets the road at the bridge (which is about half way) and then turning back. At this point the greenway continues alongside the road over the bridge before turning back along the lake. For today’s walk, we were doing the full walk to Avon Ri and back.

From the Russelltown Bay car park you enter the wooded area. The path is very flat so is great for kids in pushchairs or on bikes. Cyclists do use these paths so do watch out, and keep any dogs on a lead. The path winds deeper into the woods and away from the road. This part of the walk is quite magical, and the children we had with us loved it.

After about 2km, the path cuts across the Valley mount road. Be careful with children and dogs at this point, as the road can get very busy. Once you cross the road, through the green gates, you will be looking directly at the lake. Keep your eyes open here – the greenway turns to the left between some trees, and can be easily missed. If you do miss the turn and keep going straight, you will end up at the lake shore. This is a great spot to give your dogs a chance to cool down and have a drink.

After the path turns left, it circles around some marsh land. This part of the walk is a lot more open. You will also have a view of the lake most for most of this section. The path will turn sharply to the left and leads back towards the N81. Here you will be walking alongside the lake and will be able to see the greenway path continuing on the other side. There is a gate (usually locked) which you need to walk around before you come out on a lane which leads to the road. On this short lane there are a few houses, all of which have dogs – so if you are walking with dogs do ensure they are securely on their leads at this point.

As you come out on the road, there is a path which leads across the bridge. It is at this point that I would recommend turning around here if you do not want to do the round trip. This road is quite busy and the cars do travel very fast so do be very careful with children and dogs. The view as your cross the bridge is amazing on a clear day. The photo above was taken on a foggy Sunday morning, as the fog finally began to clear. The Greenway then turns left back off the busy road.

Along this stretch of the trail, there are some boardwalks which can be slippy during wet weather so be careful! The path continues alongside the lake. You will eventually come to a left turn. There is now a sign showing the Greenway takes this left, however I prefer to continue straight to the beach and then take the path through the trees back to meet Greenway trail. When coming back, I follow the Greenway trail and this creates a nice circle.

The last section of the walk to the Avon Ri  goes through the outdoor adventure centre so can be busy with groups taking part in orienteering and you can even meet Segway groups, so do keep children close. The Greenway ends in the Avon Ri car park and the Hotel itself is easily found (if you need a bathroom break at this point!)

The same path can be followed back to the Russelltown Bay Car Park.

Highlights:

  • The woodland path is magical and can trick you into thinking you are miles from civilization
  • Enjoy some fantastic views of the Blessington Lakes and the surrounding Wicklow Mountains
  • If walking to Avon Ri and back, take some time out at the Avon Ri to sit and have a drink or snack

 

Top Tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to explore! The trail is now very well signposted – but there are many paths along the lakes that are all entertained and from experience it’s pretty hard to get lost!
  • Do bring a camera! There are some great photo opportunities along the trail.
  • If you want to make a day of it, walk over to Russborough House to explore this amazing house and grounds.