Fact file: Popular Ireland & UK Hiking Trails

December 10, 2019 by
Alex hiking in Connemara
POSTED BY December 10, 2019

In this post, we uncover facts about some of the most popular Ireland & UK hiking trails. 

If I were to say Ireland, Scotland or England to you, you might have a picture of these places in your head.

Ireland: Green, cliffs and leprechauns.

Scotland: Wild, rugged and men in kilts.

England: Open countryside, quaint hamlets and history.

But what about getting into the nitty gritty of those countries? There’s no better way to do this than hiking. So here is our list of little-known facts about some of the most popular Ireland & UK hiking trails.

Dingle Way

Inch Strand is actually a 5km-long beach on the Dingle Way. The dunes on this beach hide shipwrecks and ancient stone-age settlements.

Walking along a beach on the Dingle Way

Beara Way

The population of Bere Island on the Beara Way is 210 people. A census shows a population of 2,122 in the years before the Great Famine.

Lighthouse on the Beara Way

Wicklow Way

In the 6th Century, Saint Kevin sought solitude and contemplation in the tranquil valley of Glendalough. His followers built a monastery there which became on of the most important centres of monastic learning in Europe.

Glendalough Valley

Kerry Way

Look out for the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks when you’re on this trail, although they’re not hard to miss.

They are Ireland’s highest mountain range, containing 9 of Ireland’s 10 highest mountains. Carrantouhill, Ireland’s highest mountain, is nestled in this mountain range.

The MacGillycuddy's Reeks along the Kerry Way

Connemara & the West of Ireland

Dun Aengus is on the island of Inis Mor (Inishmore) on the Aran Islands. It has been described as ‘the most impressive barbaric monument in Europe’.

It was presumably built in an oval shape, however eroded cliffs mean that much of that oval is now on the seabed.

Dun Aengus, part of the West of Ireland/Connemara tour

Antrim Glens and Coastline

Probably not a little-known fact, but many filming locations from the popular tv show, Game of Thrones, were filmed in the glens and along the coastline of Antrim.

Game of Thrones - the Dark Hedges

Sheep’s Head Way

The Sheep’s Head peninsula has been recognised as a European Destination of Excellence. This award was to recognize the peninsula’s excellence in the development of sustainable tourism.

Countryside pictures of the Sheep's Head Way, with horses

Burren Way

The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most visited Tourist attraction, with one million visitors each year. Given that the entire population of Ireland is just 4.5 million, that number is quite impressive.

Hiking images of the Cliffs of Moher

West Highland Way

The Clachann Inn claims to be the oldest pub in Scotland, having been licensed since 1734.

Walkers on the West Highland Way

Great Glen Way

The Great Glen Way takes in Loch Ness, so you might be lucky (or unlucky) enough to catch a glimpse of Nessie.

Loch Ness Monster on the Great Glen Way

Rob Roy Way

The Rob Roy Way takes its name from Rob Roy MacGregor, a scottish folk hero who had quite an interesting life, to say the least.

Sunset in the Trossachs National Park

Speyside Way Whisky Trail

The Speyside Way is primarily known as the route from Buckie to Aviemore but there are a number of possible add-on sections including the Dufftown Loop, Tomintoul Spur and Newtonmore extension. 

Whisky Trail Scotland

Fife Coastal Path

This beautiful coastal trail is a relatively new one having been created in 2002 and originally called the East Fife Coastal Path. It originally ran from North Queensferry to Tayport and this “bridge-to-bridge” route is still the most poplar to walk.

Fife Coastal Path

South West Coast Path

The record for completing the 1,014km (630 mile) South West Coast Path is currently held by ultra-runner Kristian Morgan who set a time of 10 days, 12 hours and 6 minutes in 2020.

Hiking in Cornwall

Cotswold Way

The unique honey-coloured buildings found along the Cotswold Way are as a result of the mellow locally quarried variety of limestone known as Cotswold Stone. 

Cotswold Way

South Downs Way

The Seven Sisters cliffs found at the end of the South Downs Way are often used as filming locations for the White Cliffs of Dover as they have been allowed to erode naturally and therefore have kept their bright white colour whereas the Cliffs of Dover have been protected due to the nearby port and thus now have more vegetation growth covering them.

Hadrian’s Wall Path

Hadrian’s Wall was abandoned just a couple of decades after construction was completed and replaced by a wall even further north – the Antonine Wall. This wall was subsequently abandoned and replaced by Hadrian’s Wall for its purpose.

Roman ruins along Hadrian's Wall path

We hope that you enjoyed this guide to little-known facts about popular Ireland & UK hiking trails. If you’d like more information on our range of self-guided hiking tours on these routes, just let us know.

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