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Walk of the Week: Sliabh Beagh Way

By Linda Stewart

The Sliabh Beagh Way passes through some of the most remote parts of the Ulster countryside as it follows a meandering 40-mile course across the backbone of the Sliabh Beagh hills.

Along the way it offers walkers plenty of historical richness, potential wildlife sightings and far-reaching views from the higher ground.

This is a 6.8 mile section of this long distance walk and takes in the blanket bog of the Sliabh Beagh area. The bogland supports rich and varied flora and fauna. Listen out for the characteristic calls of cuckoos or watch out for hen harriers soaring overhead.

Directions

Before arriving at Clogher take a left turn at the B83 from the A4 and follow the Old Monaghan Road until the Bragan crossroads. There take a right turn and drive up to the Penal Cross Picnic area and car park.

From the car park, walk up the gentle slope and take the second road on the left, passing Lough More on the right. The road descends to a T-junction, where the route turns left and then right towards Bragan crossroads on the R186.

Proceed through the crossroads and follow the road as it starts to wind its way up the eastern slopes of Sliabh Beagh.

The road continues across an expanse of bog to Bragan Penal Cross, approximately two hours from Altadaven Wood.

Ten minutes after Bragan Penal Cross, take the track on the right, past Bradan Mountain Lough, and turn right at a country road.

After passing the Big Rock, the route leaves the road, cutting across open moorland where a new metal bridge has been installed. Although this route is well waymarked, care should be taken in poor visibility.

Cross the bridge and aim for the right of Lough Aportan before winding around to meet a track. Follow the track south until it reaches a small footbridge on the right and cross it onto another section of bog.

Look for a footbridge lower down on the left that crosses the Colebrooke River. Once across this you are in County Fermanagh and Mullaghfad Forest. Turn left onto a forest track and keep left as it descends to a road. A gate leads to a minor road at Muckle Rocks, your destination.

the backdrop

The route features wild moorland interspersed with sections of forestry. A section of the blanket bog around Sliabh Beagh has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for its peatland habitat.

The many loughs in the area are renowned for their wild brown trout and other fish species such as pike, bream, rudd and perch.

Augher is a busy village in the Clogher Valley with many points of historical interest. This includes the interesting parish church and the quaint old station house for the Clogher Valley Railway.

To the west of Augher is Spur Royal Castle, a typical plantation castle. Built in 1815 on the site of an older fortress, it was burnt in 1689 but restored and extended in 1832. The Castle is now privately owned. Just outside Augher on the Hill of Knockmany stands the famous cairn of Queen Anya, reputed to be more than 2,000 years old.

Clogher is one of the most ancient places in Ireland and was once the capital city of the Principality of Oriel.

The most famous of its buildings is the cathedral, in which is preserved the ‘Cloghor’, one of the ‘Three stones of Erin’. Although a monastery stood here in earlier times, (two high crosses still survive) and was followed by a medieval cathedral, the present building dates from the mid 18th century.

In the far southwestern corner of the District is Fivemiletown — its former name was Baile na Lorgan, which means ‘town on the long hilltop ridge’.

FURTHER INFORMATION

For further information on walking or any other outdoor activity, please contact Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN) at, tel: 028 9030 3930 or walkni.com. CAAN in association with Belfast Telegraph have provided this information. Every care has been taken to ensure accuracy of the information. CAAN and Belfast Telegraph, however, cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions but where such are brought to our attention, the information for future publications will be amended accordingly.

Walk Name: Sliabh Beagh Way — Bragan to Muckle Rocks.

Area: Clogher Valley.

Nearest town to start point: Clogher.

Distance: 6.8 miles / 10.9km linear.

Terrain: Minor roads, tracks and open moorland.

Access Restrictions: Dogs must be on leads at all times.

Refreshments: Valley Hotel, Fivemiletown is a 3 star hotel and offers |a wide range of meals. Corick House Hotel in Clogher is a charming 17th century William and Mary listed house.

Publications: Sliabh Beagh Waymarked Way guide, Section 3. You can pick up a copy of this at Fermanagh TIC 028 6632 3110 or Killymaddy TIC on 028 8776 7259.

Walk Developed By: Fermanagh District Council, Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council and Monaghan County Council.

Map: Sheet 18 of Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Discoverer Series, available from Land & Property Services Map Shop, Lincoln Buildings 27-45 Great Victoria Street Belfast BT2 7SL, visit psni.gov.uk.

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