THE biggest hike on the Sheep’s Head peninsula is the annual Christian Aid hike, and this year’s event takes place on Saturday September 3rd.
‘Last year was our largest walking event, with many new walkers turning up for a wonderful day and we are hoping that this year will be even bigger,’ said Andrew Coleman of Christian Aid.
The family-friendly hill hiking is held in solidarity with the people and communities in Bangladesh, as a means of supporting the work of Christian Aid and its partners throughout the development world.
‘The hike captures all the beauty of West Cork’s scenic Sheep’s Head Way and the adjoining countryside, bays and hills,’ added Andrew, Christian Aid’s representative in Cork.
Last year 220 people completed the walk, raising over €8,000, and this year it is hoped that even more walkers will participate.
Registration is now open, and the fee paid is at the participant’s discretion but families generally donate about €20 to enter. The organisers are hoping for a generous response to this year’s walk, in order to support the work of Christian Aid throughout the world.
‘This event, which began in 2009 as a hiking event, is now the largest-attended fundraising hiking event on the Sheep’s Head Way peninsula,’ added Andrew.
‘For example, for every €320 in sponsorship raised we can provide a Christian Aid Island rescue pack, which includes a goat, trees, seeds, worms and a raised house for families continuously hit by flooding and the issues of climate change in Bangladesh,’ explained Andrew.
‘This is the largest hill hiking event on the peninsula and is always a very successful day out,’ said Margaret Skuce, an experienced hill walker from Ballydehob. ‘We are again catering for all levels of walkers by offering two walking routes and we know from previous hikes that there is a great sense of achievement in participating on this event.’
Registration for all walkers is from 11am at the Kilcrohane Community Hall in Kilcrohane Village on the day.
Route 1 is 14km and takes four-and-a-half hours, so is geared at experienced walkers. It will commence at 11.30am and walkers will be taken by coach from the community hall to the Black Gate and walk on routes to join the Poet’s Way, and from there to the Carac Cairn and proceed from there to the Lighthouse at Sheep’s Head Point. From there walkers will return and walk in an easterly direction, up onto the ridge and proceed back along the ridge to the point where they will meet up with the coaches and be brought back to the Community Hall.
The second hike is 6km long and takes two-and-a-half hours and is a very family-friendly route. Walkers will leave Kilcrohane Community Hall and walk on a clockwise loop route that will walk in an easterly direction, past the ruins of a dwelling house, intersecting with other routes, joining the old Kilcrohane/Ahakista road southwards. From there they will walk uphill onto the coastal route, past the remains of the old Bardic School and onwards towards Farranamanagh Strand and lake.
They will walk through the fields and join the main road and from there return to Kilcrohane Community Hall.
At Kilcrohane Community Hall there will be tea, coffee, soft drinks, soups and sandwiches provided by local sponsor The Gourmet Grill for all participants.
The Sheep’s Head Hike is organised by Andrew Coleman of Christian Aid Cork, with the help of local supporters Margaret Skuce, Sandra Dukelow, David Hayward, the local rector Canon Paul Willoughby, Sean Coughlan and Helen O’Mahony, along with members of the Sheep’s Head Committee and many others including members of the Red Cross, Rural Transport, and The Gourmet Grill.
‘The Sheep’s Head Hike would not be possible without the support of a large number of volunteers and supporters who will help and assist on the day as group leaders to assist walkers, bus drivers, and caterer,’ said Andrew.