The spring/summer schedule of walks for the West Tyrone Ramblers opened with some well attended outings. First up was trip to Clare Glen in County Armagh. 27 members enoyed the clubs first visit to this delightful work along the River Cusher. A 8 km walk along the 3 trials , River , Glen and Bluebell were undertook before refreshments at the Scarva visitor centre .
A very tough outing to the Mournes was next up when starting at Ott Mountain Car Park , 3 Mountains were climbed , Sieve Loughshannagh ,Slieve Meelbeg at 708M the highest point of the day and finally Slive Meelmore before returning via Fofanny Dam and a stop in Hilltown on the way back to Tyrone.
Thirty three members of the West Tyrone Ramblers met on the 16th April 2016 to travel to the ouskirts of Newbuildings. The weather was, cold with bright sunshine and the occasional wintry shower, including on one occasion a hail shower.
The ramblers walked along the footpath alongside the A5 towards Derry City for about one mile. On reaching the Prehen playing fields, turned left and walked across the soceer pitch to the River Foyle. Following a riverside path , through woodland, with wonderful views of the Maiden City to be oberserved until the Foyle Search and Rescue Centre was reached. The track then became a Cycle/Footpath folowing the now discussed Co Donegal Railway line to the Victoria Road Station, a distance of one mile, at this point the walkers crossed the A5 road.
Continuing their ramble back towards Prehen for about a mile, on the footpath until they came to a kissing gate the entrance to a public path called ‘the Bolies’. A woodland walk managed by the City Council. Continuing their walk up this very picturesque glen for about ten minutes, the opportunity was taken to stop for lunch.
After the rest for lunch the walkers continued back down the glen to the A5 road. Turning left and walking along Prehen Rd until they came to Hazelwood Park and the entrance to Prehen Wood. One of the few remaining remnants of ancient Irish woodland dating from the 17th century. Prehen Wood is managed by the Woodland Trust and is 18acres in size. The ramblers meandered through the wood, following leaf covered paths under a canopy of mature beech ash and oak trees, with holly and hazel trees scattered throughout .The lesser celendine and wood anemone a carpet of yellow and white flowers. The bluebells are just beginning to appear, another two weeks and the woods will be awash with them. At the site of an old quarry there were terrific views overlooking the city and river Foyle. Also to be seen throughout the wood are some additional woodland creatures in the form of wooden sculptures created by Michael Rodgers, a squirrel, fox, badger, hedgehog and butterfly.
Leaving the wood the members walked along Prehen Park to look at Prehen House, an 18th century house built by the Knoxes family and presently owed by the Peck family. Two information boards revealed the local history and folklore of the house including the legend of â€œHalf Hangedâ€ MacNaghten.
Leaving the house the ramble continued for a mile and half back along Prehen Park and the A5 to the starting point at the lay by just before Newbuildings.The end of a very enjoyable, varied and interesting days walk.
Away from the scheduled rambles the club has been busy recently on a number of outings. In preparation of the Club’s annual weekend away in Westport ,County Mayo in May , Committee Members undertook a reconnoitre. Walks in Achill Island for both grades on the Saturday are planned and a choice of 3 ramblers on the Sunday including the iconic Croagh Patrick. A delegation from the Club also attended the Ulster Federation of Ramblers Spring Meeting at Lough Neagh Dscovery Centre at Oxford Island. As well as making useful contacts, very enjoyable talks on the Connwater Greenway , East Befast and the Great Western Greenway , Co Mayo were enjoyed by the group.