Walkers from all over Mayo and beyond are set to descend on Foxford on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October for the Foxford Walking Festival.
Now in its third year, the festival has gained a reputation for providing excellent walks for every standard of walker from easy strolls on level ground right up to climbing mighty Nephin itself. Unlike many other festivals, young people are welcome to participate, although under 16s must be in the company of an adult.
“Even Mums and Dads with buggies will find a nice flat walk along the River Moy to enjoy”, smiles Jerome Coleman of organisers, Foxford Ramblers Walking Club, “Our walks are at three different levels: easy 90 minute walks on the flat for beginners and older or younger walkers, moderate 2 ½ or 3 hour walks for more active walkers, and a tough 5 hour mountain hike each day for the experienced walker”.
Often families split, with one parent and smaller children doing an easy walk while the older children try a more ambitious level with the other parent.
County Manager Peter Hynes has pledged his support to Foxford Walking Festival, and plans to take part in a couple of walks himself over the weekend.
“We want Foxford to be the walking capital of Ireland” was his ambitious call at the festival launch. Mr Hynes also joined with the organisers in thanking the local landowners for their co-operation and generosity in helping the festival go ahead.
Every walk is led by experienced guides who act as tour guides as well, pointing out interesting features and drawing attention to the truly magnificent scenery. Orange-clad marshals also join each walk to ensure the safety of all participants.
Festival goers can either go to Foxford for the entire weekend or just take part in the walk of their choice. Foxford has a good choice of hotel or B&B accommodation and staying over means enjoying the festival atmosphere to the full without having to drive home. Walks are priced very attractively starting at just €10 for an easy walk and rising to €20 for the difficult walks.
The price of the tougher walks includes the coach transfer to and from Foxford, and there is a discount for anyone who does two walks. The assembly point and registration for all walks is the Foxford Sports and Leisure Centre. Full details are available on the website www.foxfordwalkingfestival.com.
Pictured above: Walkers enjoying spectacular scenery during the Foxford Walking Festival 2012.