13. Old Burtonport Railway

Donegal’s once thriving narrow gauge rail network is sadly long gone, and much of the old track beds have been lost into private ownership. However, it is great to see that a section of the Letterkenny – Burtonport line between Creeslough and just south of Falcarragh has been developed into a lovely, if remote, linear walk of some 9.5 km. The route is also suitable for a pleasant mountain bike ride.

The trailhead is as of route 12 quite close to the starting point for the well known Miner’s Path ascent of Muckish. Follow the N56 north of Creeslough village to take a left turn just before a graveyard (RHS of the road). Follow the minor road straight ahead, passing Muckish Sand and Gravel quarry and then through a gateway. Continue for about 600m to find the trailhead with a limited parking area and signage for the trail (See below).

The first 2 km takes you through an escarpment and then past Lough Achair, after which you continue straight on into open countryside with only herds of sheep for company. After about 3 km you start to see well scattered housing again and a lovely view to the north opens up. Its a short hop then to Fiddler’s Bridge parking area. Cross the minor road and continue 200m to where the old Falcarragh station and platform can be seen.

Falcarragh Station

You now need to carefully cross the R256 as it is a busy route between Falcarragh and Glenveagh. Proceed a further kilometre and there is a short detour on road (Maybe a land issue), followed by a left turn onto the last section. After negotiating a couple of gates the path runs downhill to join the old railway track bed again for a further 2 km, passing through more gates, until it finishes at a pretty white railway house. Then its time for some well earned sandwiches before the return journey!!

Note: You have the option of ending the walk at the road detour or the if you have a driver to meet you, although they need to be sure of the point on the map!

Map of the route.
  • Trailhead: Carrownamaddy, foot of Muckish (Directions above)
  • Facilities: None. Middle of nowhere!!
  • Terrain: Old trackbed/path akin to rough track.
  • Length: 9.5 km each way for total of 19 km.
  • Time: 3 – 4 hours allowing for food stop.
  • Ascent: Very little and gradual.

Please Note: There is no real shelter in bad weather. (A wooden lean-to at Fiddler’s Bridge or Falcarragh Station would be very welcome.)