Sligo Camino set for record numbers this July

People enjoying last year’s Sligo Camino. Photo Val Robus.

Saturday 7th July has been announced as the date for the 5th annual Sligo Camino, with online registration opening this weekend Sunday April 1st. This trek takes walkers through spectacular scenery along a mix of tracks, trails, boardwalks, roads and forest paths along a 36km route linking counties Leitrim and Sligo.

With the 600 places on last year’s walk selling out in just days, this cross-country challenge will be hugely anticipated by walkers from all over Ireland and beyond. Due to increased demand, up to 1,000 walkers in total will walk the Camino this year, making it the biggest event yet.

Highlights along the route include the historic 16th century Creevelea Abbey on the banks of the River Bonet, views across Lough Gill towards the Lake Isle of Innisfree, the secluded mountain lake of Lough Lumman and the walk finishes with 8km of country lanes around the Annaghmore Estate.

The 5th Sligo Camino will be the biggest one yet as people of all ages and backgrounds take on the challenge of hiking 36km from Dromahair, Co. Leitrim to Coolaney, Co. Sligo along the scenic Sligo Way route. This event is a must for those wishing to combine a physical challenge with inspirational scenery and uplifting camaraderie.

Walkers have given enthusiastic online reviews to the beautiful, unspoilt scenery of the “Land of Heart’s Desire” including mountain paths, country lanes, forest tracks and trails and secluded mountain lakes. In the true Camino spirit, participants journey together savouring the countryside, the conversation and the connection with the landscape. It is a day apart and a real highlight of the Sligo summer.

What makes the Sligo Camino extra special as an event is that it is run entirely by volunteers from community groups in the Coolaney area. Over 50 individuals are involved as stewards, walk leaders, caterers and other vital roles on the day. This community involvement guarantees a big welcome and plenty of encouragement for the “pilgrims” on their journey. Funds raised by the event go towards community facilities in Coolaney, including the building of Café Fia, Sligo’s first Community Café.

On the day of the event itself, the walkers will meet at Coolaney Community Centre for a safety briefing and to board buses which will take you to the start point – these will set out at different times 7am, 8:30am and 10am. The organisers tell us that people should register for the walk only if you can walk a minimum of 8km without stopping and can walk uphill without becoming breathless. The walk is unsuitable for children under 14 years of age, even with adult supervision.

The walk incorporates clearly marked trails, paths and roadways, but also some grassy trails and boggy hillsides, so footwear such as hiking boots are recommended if the ground is heavy, along with suitable waterproof gear, depending on weather. In the case of the weather being dry in the lead up to the event, trainers or light walking shoes may suffice. The expected duration of the walk is between 6-8 hours and a first aid team as well as a ‘sweep up’ vehicle will be on hand.

Places on the Sligo Camino are strictly limited with registration opening on April 1st through, where you will also find out more information about the walk, including a map of the walk itself. The registration fee of €40 (plus booking fee) includes bus transfers, refreshments along the way, a commemorative t-shirt and a hot buffet reception at the end of a most satisfying day.