independent

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Don creates Cuchulainn Way in Cooley Mountains

Margaret Roddy

Published 07/05/2014 | 05:20

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Don Baldwin

A passion for hill walking and local history has inspired Dundalk based Don Baldwin to devise a hike in the Cooley mountains which celebrates the story of Cuchulainn.

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Don, a member of the Louth Tour Guides Organisation, first published details of the 25km hike in Mountaineering Ireland's magazine 'Irish Mountain Log' two years ago and now wants more people to know about the walk which he feels is an alternative to the popular Tain Trail.

A former member of the Irish Defence Forces, Don has been mountaineering for over 30 years, mainly in the Cooley and Wicklow mountains and also climbed mountains in South Lebanon when serving with the UN.

'We've got beautiful natural surroundings here which really aren't well enough known,' he said.

'The Tain Trail largely takes people around the mountains with a good bit of it on roads, while this takes people through the mountains.'

As he is also interested in local history, he decided to name it the Cuchulainn Way in honour of the legendary warrior.

The 25km circular route takes in the major peaks in The Cooleys including Slieve Foy, Eagle's Rock and Raven's Rock and passes through the Windy Gap and along The Cadger's Pass to the Black Mountain and Clermont Cairn and Carnavaddy.

The walk talks approximately high and a half hours, allowing times for stops. It is suitable for intermediate walkers.

'Walking 25kms in the mountains is different from walking it on the road,' said Don. 'Walking on roads is a labour after a couple of miles but you don't notice the distance on the mountain.'

In addition to its natural beauty, with stunning views across to the Mourne Mountains and Slieve Gullion, the route takes walkers through an area rich in history and legend, particularly that of Cuchulainn.

'I'm really interested in promoting our area, in letting people know that this is what we have here, that our natural amenities are second to non,' he said. 'The beauty about our mountains is that the are accessible and doable for most wal kers.'

Anyone interested in finding more about the route can contact Don at donbaldwin_home@yahoo.co.uk

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