Gortin to Moneyneany
The Sperrin Mountains form the largest area of upland in Northern Ireland. This 21-mile section of the Ulster Way journeys through the heart of the range, mainly following quiet roads and tracks. The highlight is the middle portion through the exceptionally scenic Glenelly Valley. From the head of the valley, walkers who wish to shorten the final road section to Moneyneany can use the public bus service along the B47.
OS Map 8 & 13
Terrain Rural Roads, short sections of forest track, open hillside
Route Shape Linear
Grid Reference H492858
Route Type Quality Section
Considering it traverses such a significant mountain range, this walk has surprisingly little ascent and descent. This is explained by the choice of route, which tends to contour along the valley slopes, thus preserving gains in elevation. The Sperrins are designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the main ridge is orientated on an east-west axis, stretching for some 20 miles and rarely dropping below 400m. To the south is a lower ridge running parallel, and dividing the two is the idyllic Glenelly Valley. The lower slopes are divided into pastures by stonewalls and hedgerows, and this verdant landscape contrasts starkly with the rolling moorland of the high summits above. The route of the Ulster Way contours along the southern side of the Glenelly Valley for six miles, often travelling along the margin between pasture and moorland. From this high vantage point it is possible to see the outlines of some of the many ring forts spread along the valley floor.
Please be aware that this walking route passes through areas of open land such as hillside, working farmland and working forests. Livestock may be present, ground conditions may be uneven or wet underfoot and all forestry signage should be adhered to. Please refer to the ‘Walk Safely and Responsibly’ information in the Useful Info tab above.
From the start in Gortin village, walk to the top of the main street and turn right onto the B48 Gortin-Plumbridge road. Follow this road for fifteen minutes to cross Trinamadan Bridge. On the other side of the bridge turn right onto Gorticashel Road, then quickly left onto the Trinamadan Road. Follow this road gently uphill onto the lower slopes of Slievemore. After forty minutes you come to a T-junction – turn right and continue along the Menadoo Road as it contours along the mountainside high above the Owenkillew valley.
After an hour Menadoo Road swings sharply to the right and begins to descend. Turn left here and follow a track as it continues along the contours of the valley. Keep straight ahead at two junctions and pass a deserted farm before reaching a surfaced road just south of Barnes Gap, thirty minutes after leaving Menadoo Road.
At the cross roads take the lower road to descend through the gap as views of the Glenelly Valley and the main summits of the Sperrin Mountains begin to open up in front of you. From the car park and amenity area follow the signs leading to the Corramore Road as it contours along the southern slopes of the Glenelly Valley all the way to the hamlet of Sperrin, two to two and a half hours from Barnes Gap.
Turn right onto the B47 and proceed carefully along it in the direction of Draperstown. After forty or fifty minutes you pass Goles Standing Stones on the left and then cross Goles Bridge. Stay on the B47 as you climb across the head of the Glenelly Valley and then descend steeply along the Glengomma valley.
After an hour or so, you will pass the county boundary and the council welcome signs. Here the route leaves the public road (B47), by turning left and following a stony track. You will cross two footbridges over the Glengomna Water whilst travelling uphill. The track eventually ends in a peat bog and the route continues uphill. Continue on, keeping the fence to your left as it leads eastwards to the summit of Crockbrack (526m).
Cross the stile joining the Crockbrack Way and turn right and descend towards Crockmore along the fence, this time on your right. A stoney track will lead downhill, continue to follow this track as it zig zags down the slopes of Crockmore. Continuing along the Crockbrack Way for a distance the route then branches off to the left at a cattle grid. This track leads to a small abandoned clachan called Crockataggart. From here a farm laneway leads to the tarmac road and into the village of Moneyneany beside the Drumderg Cottage.
Turn left crossing the Douglas Bridge using the public footpath, to arrive at the village of Moneyneany.
Gortin, Barnes Gap, Glenelly Valley, Moneyneany
Gortin is accessed via the B48 from Omagh. On street parking is available in the quiet village of Gortin.
Gortin is regularly served by Ulsterbus Service 92 from Omagh and during July and August by Sperrins Rambler Service 403 (operates all year round).
For timetable information please consult Translink website http://www.translink.co.uk/
Refreshments are available at the start and finish of the route in Gortin and Moneyneany. However this is a long route with no refreshment stops along the way – walkers should carry provisions accordingly.
There is a hostel at the start of the route in Gortin with a campsite 3 miles to south on B48.
There is no accommodation available along the route so walkers may have to arrange accommodation off the route in Omagh.