24. Burtonport Old Railway trail.

Siúlóid Iarnród Ailt An Chorráin an tainm Gaeilge atá ar an bealach álainn seo. Ceann de thrí bhealach siúl suite idir caladh Alt An Chorráin agus sean stáisiún Mhín Beannaid.

Had to include a couple of sentences in the native tongue! This beautiful walk is one of three possible routes that lie between the harbour in Burtonport and the old Kincasslagh Road station, locally known as Meenbanad Station. I’m describing the main there and back (Red) route that mostly follows the track bed of the narrow gauge line from Letterkenny to Burtonport. Indeed, this old railway line is also followed by Walk that goes from the foot of Muckish to south of Falcarragh. Full distance to Meenbanad is 5.5 km giving an 11 km walk in total. The other two possible routes (looped) are described on the map below. They spend more time on minor tarmac roads where the red route I did is almost entirely on path except for a small section at the start and finish on back road with minimal traffic.

View map

The red route starts at the quayside in the fishing village of Burtonport, close to where the Arranmore ferry departs. (The island is well worth a visit with a nice moderate walk that I will include later.) The route is very well signed and waymarked, and navigation is easy. While the first 300m passes the fish processing buildings there is no offensive smell that I could detect and soon you are on a delightful little lane with the first of many lovely views on your left. In fact this walk offers a variety of great scenery for little effort and there are loads of lovely benches for a rest, many of them dedicated to a loved family member. There are also picnic benches in a couple of places and my snack stop came with a view over the sinuous Lough Waskel.

The view overlooking Lough Waskel

Two good lunch or coffee options are the Harbourfront Cafe or the Wheelhouse, out near the turn in for the harbour. (Opening times may vary)

  • Trailhead: Burtonport harbour. Car parking at the health centre.
  • Waymarks: Black posts with red arrows on white discs.
    (Orange and blue routes also available.)
  • Distance: 11 km there and back for the full walk.
  • Time: Approx 2 hours depending on pace.
  • Ascent: Very little. One or two short slopes.
  • Facilities: Plenty of seating. No toilets on route.
Old station at Meenbanad