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Walking the Sperrins

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The forty-mile-wide range of the Sperrin Mountains offers good long-distance walking, without necessarily involving steep inclines. You can ramble wherever you like, but remember that – despite appearances – these are high mountains, and changeable weather makes them potentially dangerous. A map and compass are essential for serious walking.

For those not equipped for the high ground, the Glenelly and Owenkillen river valleys run through the heart of this fine countryside from Plumbridge and Gortin, respectively, and are particularly enjoyable for cyclists who should pick up a copy of the Sperrins cycling guide from tourist offices (also downloadable from whttp://www.sperrinstourism.com). The Central Sperrins Way (map available from most tourist offices) is a 25-mile waymarked trail, which begins and ends at Barnes Gap, halfway between Plumbridge and Cranagh. The two-day walk takes in a variety of countryside with spectacular views of the mountains, moorland and Glenelly Valley. The exposed moorland can often be very wet and boggy underfoot, and, as there is no accommodation en route, taking a tent is essential.

The Sperrins Walking Festival (t028/8634 7700, whttp://www.sperrinstourism.com) is held over the first weekend in August and involves various guided daily walks, graded according to difficulty.

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