The iconic Benbulben towering over the skyline. Pic taken by N Clancy
The North Leitrim Glens Hill Walking festival run by the Holey Soles Hill Walking Club in Leitrim will be taking to the hills once again this Easter, Saturday April 15 and Sunday, April 16 through the landscape that inspired Yeats.
Now it in 23rd year the North Leitrim Glens Hill Walking Festival is an ever-popular regular calendar event during the Easter break. With the iconic Benbulben and Glencar valley on this year's itinerary and walks beginning and ending at the Glencar TeaSHED beside Glencar Waterfall, this year's walks have a Yeatsian flavour. Walkers can get a chance to immerse themselves in the literary giant.
Very much a labour of love, the festival was set up by a group of walker friends. Noirin Clancy one of its leaders describes a sense of pride that was part of the motivation behind it: “We’ve always appreciated how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place and we love that the Festival brings people into the area.
She explains, “We live in spectacular countryside. Lots of people see for example the iconic mountain of Benbulben in the skyline every day and say to themselves that they must climb that or say to themselves they’l explore Glencar one day. We say to them that we have a team of people at this festival that can guide you. Now is your chance!”
The line up of walks range from a long and medium walks to a Sunday ramble so there’s something for different levels of fitness. Walkers are advised to ring festival organisers in advance if they have any queries.
The festival reflects the people who designed it and there's always plenty of opportunities for socialising and having some craic. This year’s festival is no exception with walkers being treated to tea and scones before walks and a dinner scheduled for Saturday.
For those bitten by the travel bug an exciting part of the festival line up is travel writer and documentary maker Manchan Magan who will be giving a talk on his adventures at The Glens Centre, Manorhamilton on Saturday, APril 15 at 8pm and this event is open to the general public.
Many of the walkers return year in and out and the longevity of the festival is perhaps due to the friendly atmosphere the voluntary organisers create.
“We’ve made friends with people who come back time and again. Its great to see them and reconnect ” explains Noirin.
The festival is gratefully supported by Leitrim County Council, Leitrim Tourism, Call of the Wild and Trail Blazers.